Another Sunday Morning

I don’t have a lot to say today. It’s a pleasant Sunday morning, and I’ve little desire to sully it with excessive politicking. It’s a cigar and whiskey kind of day, where I consider myself fortunate for the blessings in life. There are a few Cubans sitting in my humidor, and a bottle of bourbon with my name on it. I’ve long maintained that hard times are coming. Tomorrow maybe, or the day after. No man can know exactly when the hammer will fall. But until then, enjoy the luxuries while you have them.

A Twitter follower of mine reminded me of this old song:

Just some easy listening on a Sunday morning. I hope your Sunday is as pleasant as mine.

Numbers 6:24-26

The Lord bless thee, and keep thee:

The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:

The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.

On Manufactured Outrage

Every day some facet of American culture will bear the brunt of media attention. There will be protests, and riots, and celebrities opining on the oppresiveness of whatever thing has aroused their wrath. We will discover, perhaps for the first time, or perhaps for the ten-thousandth, that someone or something is offensive. Let us take a moment and recall a few recent issues worthy of national attention. We had the terror of people who took up too much space on the subway, and after that we had to worry about oppressive gender politics in North Carolina’s bathrooms. Today, Confederate monuments are the cause célèbre.

My stance on Confederate monuments is a matter of record, and I see no reason beat a dead horse by repeating myself. It is farcical to even discuss this manufactured issue. Yesterday, nobody cared about Confederate monuments, save for a few fringe jobs who clamored on about slave ownership somehow contaminating history, as if America was somehow uniquely evil for having continued the practice for a time.

Indeed, most folks probably weren’t even aware of the existence of Confederate monuments, at least not specifically. If they were noticed, it was as passing distraction. Oh look, a statue of somebody. Presumably he’s notable for some reason. Whatever. I recently discovered that there was a statue of Lenin in Seattle when the pictured popped up in my Twitter feed. How many people even knew that? Ironically, the statue is currently for sale for the price of $250,000. Sounds like a tidy profit for some enterprising capitalist.

Nobody cares about these things. At least, not enough to take special notice of them. Lenin will not possess his statue and steal my pocket change for the proletariat. Neither will Robert E. Lee clamber down from his bronze horse and march to D.C. with an army at his back, though we can certainly wish he would. This Southerner would even sign up for raising Sherman back from the dead and convincing him to march North this time. Eventually, the paladins of Social Justice will get around to pulling down Grant’s statue, and Sherman’s will follow. After all, Grant was a phallocentric cishet misogynist drunk, or whatever buzzwords are in fashion among the SJWs, right?

It’s all manufactured outrage. The process is simple and transparent. Any man can see it for himself if he chooses to look.

First, an issue is identified by somebody with some level of popularity, wealth, or political power. The issue can be anything, you understand. Perhaps the issue will be the cultural appropriation of taco Tuesday by white Americans. Or maybe it will be how men belching is a dog whistle for misogyny. The man, you see, is demonstrating his contempt for any females within earshot when he burps. Anything can be rationalized this way. Anything can be argued to be hateful or discriminatory.

Once it is identified and pushed in some small way by someone with reach, a few genuinely angry people will protest it. Understand that for anything in the world, someone can be found to hate it. You could make your issue the color blue and be assured that someone, somewhere, would be offended enough to protest its existence.

Now, once a few legitimate protests spring up about the thing, the media will give it 24/7 news coverage. Perhaps there are only a few dozen people who hate the thing enough to come out on their own to protest it, but that doesn’t matter. Clever editing, camera angles, and constant coverage can multiply the perceived numbers and create the illusion of a much bigger movement. Note, too, that this can be used on political enemies as well as allies. When a few dozen Klansmen get together somewhere, the editors can make it appear like the Nuremberg rally.

Once news coverage is established, various wealthy and powerful Leftists can bus in supporters, pay some protesters to show up, and deliver canned protest signs and messages. Distributors of pussy hats may be found. T-shirts made in Chinese sweatshops for a few pennies will arrive, all because of happenstance, you understand. College professors will send their students to the protests, and various Left-wing organizations under the loose control of the DNC will bring in their own people who, like most folks, did not originally care about the issue, but have been convinced by the virtue signals to do so.

Now the issue is trendy. It is a hashtag, an exciting event with news cameras everywhere, a chance to be seen on TV to claim your 15 seconds of fame. Masses of people show up, more because it’s a cool, trendy thing to do than any real belief about the issue. It’s a good time at the protest, it feels nice for them to be part of a big crowd, fighting the injustice of whatever. And Madonna, or some other screeching hag trying to restore her lost relevance, will come to soak in the adoration of the crowds.

Once the protests are large enough to obscure them, bad actors soon show up to make it exciting, or to just loot some free shit and burn down a few buildings. The ritual smashing of windows and burning of trashcans commences. People in black handkerchiefs wave Soviet flags and proudly sport their all-black fashion sensibilities.

Celebrities lament the terrible tragedy of the issue, and condemn the thing as racist, sexist, homophobic, or some other buzzword of bigotry. Every media outlet runs stories on it. Perhaps Fox pushes a counter-narrative, but perhaps not, too. Most conservative politicians won’t touch the issue, and certainly won’t defend it, out of fear of being tarred alongside it. When in power, Leftist politicians will push for legal remedies for the manufactured issue, which will either involve a suspension of some liberties, or an increase in taxation. Preferably both. When not in power, the burning, screaming, and looting will continue until the Republicans cave in, or until a newer, shinier issue is presented.

As the Confederate monuments come down all across the country, remember this: in a year, few of the participants will even remember that it happened. They will be too busy tearing down the statue of, say, General Grant, or George Washington, or some other “dead white male.” Or perhaps they will lament the sexism inherent in men’s bathrooms having separate urinals, so that men can pee standing up when women cannot.

My crystal ball is fuzzy on the specifics of our future ‘issues’, but it is quite clear on the methods and tactics used to manufacture them. This tactic will be repeated ad nauseum until there are no more freedoms left, until the taxation reaches truly Marxist proportions. And when the last issue is gone, and the media has fallen silent on them, the purges will begin. After issues, it will be people. Reactionaries, perhaps, or kulaks. Like the fake issues, the specific groups of people do not matter. All that matters is that people have their perpetual two-minutes hate, for all time.

Moral Courage and Moral Arbitrage

Every good capitalist is on the look out for imbalances in the market, opportunities to earn a profit off of a thing that either the market lacks completely, or current businesses do very inefficiently and ineffectively. You can consider it a form of arbitrage.

Today’s politicians, media talking heads, celebrities and the like are moral capitalists, even though they are economic collectivists. That is to say their morality is a form of arbitrage, always for sale to the highest bidder, where each statement they issue is calculated to profit them personally.

Take Marco Rubio, who today issued a series of tweets condemning Donald Trump for suggesting that the Charlottesville attack, and other similar incidents between Antifa and White Supremacists, was equally the fault of both parties. Donald Trump’s position is that both are hate groups, and both are quick to resort to violence to further their political goals, and that putting them together like that was surely going to stir up violence.

Personally, I think Trump is somewhat understating the case. White supremacists are exceedingly rare, even if they’ve received a shot in the arm from SJWs harping on white people all the time (hint: that tends to manufacture more supremacists, not less). What happened in Virginia may very well represent peak white supremacism, the very most such groups are capable of. Antifa and militant Marxists, meanwhile, enjoy far greater support from media, financiers (oh, the irony), and society-at-large. Antifa dwarfs Klansman and Neo-Nazis. Militant Marxists are, by far, the greater threat currently.

But that being said, Trump did put his finger on the central point: both groups espouse violent ideologies that are incompatible with freedom.

Marco, meanwhile, in his own words, pins 100% of the blame onto the supremacists.

rubio

This argument is remarkably similar to Antifa and other Marxist groups saying that mean words justifies violence, that speech they don’t like justifies burning down cities and attacking people. It is okay for them to violently shut down anybody right-of-center on college campuses around the country, but it is not okay for anyone right-of-center to speak.

Marco is on a continuum with the SJWs on this matter. He concedes the central point, that violence is an acceptable response to speech deemed offensive. Yes, in the case of Neo-Nazis and Klansmen, the speech actually is offensive. But it is still speech. Until it isn’t, anyway.

But if you’re a regular reader of The Declination, you already know my position on freedom of speech, and how speech alone does not justify violence.

To be fair, a lot of people are saying this, though, so let’s analyze this a little differently. Why does Marco denounce the white supremacists so readily, yet lets militant Marxists off the hook? As a man of Cuban ancestry, he ought to be very familiar with the depredations and dangers of Marxists. Why is he so willing to assign them 0% of the blame?

There is moral arbitrage here. When some politician or celebrity denounces Neo-Nazis, Klansmen, and other assorted white supremacists, he is cheered. He is called stunning and brave. He is bashing the fash, taking a brave stand against the most evil ideology of man. In other words, he gets a huge moral bonus in the eyes of the media. It is easy to denounce white supremacists, who probably represent less than a tenth of a percent of the population. And it is profitable to do so, as well.

If it’s cheap and profitable, expect everyone to jump on the bandwagon. The explosion of Nazi denunciations is like the proliferation of those little fidget spinners that cost 10 cents to make and sell for $7.99 in every convenience store from here to Seattle. Everybody wants a slice of that action.

Meanwhile, taking a similar stand against Marxism is expensive. If a politician or celebrity stands up and denounces Marxism as a hateful, murderous ideology that is at least as evil as Nazism, he is often shot down. Real Marxism, of course, has never been tried. Real Marxism is a good theory, a good idea that maybe just hasn’t been implemented quite right. It’s morally true and righteous, and even if it has some problems, surely bashing the fash has to take precedence, right?

Except Marxism has a much higher share of the population. Marxism is celebrated openly on college campuses around the country. Marxists trash cities, riot, commit acts of violence with frightening regularity, and Marco assigns them 0% of the blame, because somewhere, there is an inbred Neo-Nazi off his meds tweeting from his mother’s basement.

Marco obtains a moral profit from denouncing white supremacism. He incurs a moral cost from denouncing Marxism. Playing the moral arbitrage for profit thus demands he pin the blame for political violence on only one participant. Then he is “stunning and brave” in the eyes of the body politic.

Marxists have been doing this as long as I’ve been alive. It is correctly seen as stupid and disgusting to wear an Adolf Hitler t-shirt. Yet somehow Che Guevara t-shirts are absurdly common. The Nazi swastika is correctly seen as a hate symbol, yet the Soviet hammer & sickle is given a pass. It is a historical tragedy that Communism was not discredited with the same vigor as Nazism was.

It is socially cheap to oppose Nazism. It is socially expensive to oppose Communism.

Donald Trump, whatever his other faults, possesses enough moral courage to speak the truth: both groups are hateful. And he paid the price for speaking that truth. Marco Rubio, meanwhile, lacks the stones, even though as descendant of Cubans, he ought to know better than most.

I’m very disappointed in him. I expect this from Democrats who have lacked moral courage as long as I’ve been alive, I even expect it from Republicans who have no history with Marxism. But I do not expect it from a Cuban Republican. Of all people, Marco, YOU should know better. Stop playing the moral arbitrage and speak honestly.

After all, even Donald Trump is showing more honesty and integrity than you are, right now.

Weaponized Empathy and the Edge Case

Weaponized Empathy has long been a topic of discussion here. Today, let’s break down a very common use of it in private circles, in debates between regular folks on social media.

The tactic looks something like this:

Conservative: I believe in [insert policy here].
Progressive: Here is a sad story about someone (or even a hypothetical someone) who would be affected by the policy. Do you want this person to suffer?
Conservative: Well, no, of course not…
Progressive: Well then, you shouldn’t believe in [the policy]. It’s immoral.

This is an exceptionally low bar to clear for the Progressive. No matter what political positions a person might have, at least some people, somewhere, can be found who would be negatively affected by it. If, for instance, the tax code were simplified, the poor IRS agents auditing people with a microscope for violations of their arcane system might lose their jobs. Or, perhaps some poor person somewhere might end up with slightly less from the Earned Income Tax Credit.

Clearly the Conservative then wants poor people to starve, and IRS agents to be unable to feed their families. This is, of course, a rather blatant example, but read on for a more subtle and more powerful version of the argument.

Once a negative example is trotted out, the Progressive declares moral superiority and thus victory in the debate. Clearly he is more moral, because he wants to make sure nobody slips between the cracks, and everyone gets their fair share of… whatever.

A classic example can be found in this debate with Ron Paul, wherein the liberal moderator trots out a hypothetical person who has “a good job” but somehow has no money, decides not to buy a healthcare plan, has no existing government aid, can obtain no charitable aid, and possesses no friends willing to help him, and is experiencing an expensive health problem. What would happen, asks the liberal?

The absurdly unlikely (but theoretically possible) scenario is thus implied to be proof that we need government-managed universal healthcare.

Conservatives need to stop accepting this low bar as evidence of anything. Time after time, I’ve witnessed Conservatives argue these types of absurd positions by positing equally unlikely ways the free market or charity will cater to all such edge cases. Once dragged down to this position, victory is impossible. The best debaters may score a draw, edge case vs. edge case. Everyone else will lose, and the Progressive will trumpet his moral superiority over the evil, greedy Republican Uber-Nazis until he is blue in the face.

Ron Paul, being a very smart man and a doctor himself, argued this thing to a draw. I doubt many others could have pulled this off.

This is the wrong way to argue the point. It is, in fact, tacitly accepting that the Progressive’s position that the edge case means anything about national policy in the first place. Progressive policies, even if they are theoretically universal in scope, will also be subject to edge cases, as the Charlie Gard incident demonstrated. In fact, one essential truth about government micromanagement is that it is likely to result in more such edge cases, not less. Bureaucracies aren’t known for their intellectual flexibility. More people will fail to get the care they need, not less.

But even that isn’t quite the right way to argue the point. Leftism is demanding a sort of universalism that simply isn’t possible in any human institution. And, invariably, when the institution falls short of universal perfection, it is excoriated by the Left and used as justification for giving them (as in the Progressives themselves) more power under the excuse that they are morally superior. It is nothing more than a blatant power grab, thinly disguised as a moral argument.

This must be challenged immediately in any debate with them that goes down the edge case path. “Are you demanding perfection? That every single person receive 100% of all needed care? If so, you are a lunatic. Hard cases make bad law.”

This moves the bar up a notch. Now the Progressive must demonstrate that his system is better at a meta level, not just an individual hard case level. Weaponized Empathy can still be deployed at higher levels, but this is generally much more difficult, especially given the fact that Socialism generally produces very poor results when taken as a whole. However, expect the next rung on the Progressive argument ladder to be something along the lines of “well, Nordic Socialism is just great.”

More on that argument later.

America is Slowly Falling Apart

I realized something important today. There is a friend of mine who is liberal, but I always chalked up as a sort of moderate lefty. We could talk about politics, and disagree on most everything, but drink beers and bullshit anyway. No rancor. We both acknowledged that we were trying to solve the same problems in different ways. Mostly, I could understand him, and he could understand me.

But now, I feel like I can’t reach him anymore. He’s drifted off too far. Oh, he mouths the same words as before. But they are empty. Like he doesn’t really believe them anymore. And I’ve come to realize it is the same for me.

We don’t live in the same country, the same culture. I like him still, but he is a foreigner to me, now. I may as well be talking to someone from Norway or France. His issues aren’t my issues, his world isn’t my world. We’ve nothing left in common. When I talk to him, it’s just going through the motions, now. I see on his wall how much he hates Trump and thinks his supporters are racists and such. He won’t say as much to me, of course, but… it’s there. And we both know that.

It is difficult to explain, but for me this is a major turning point. I used to be able to reach the other side. Oh, it was rare that I would change their minds. But they would listen, and nod, and understand. We could communicate. Make sense to one another.

And we can’t anymore. It’s not even the same language. I hear him talk about microaggressions, and the latest thing some lefty outlet like HuffPo is going on about. Maybe it’s genderqueer rights, or how some industry needs to be nationalized because of slavery. Even the words don’t have the same definition. When he says “justice” he means something entirely different. I don’t know what, exactly. I’ve only a vague understanding of what he means, but it is not what I mean when I use the word. Repeat for many terms, from “equal” to “fairness,” and even to “colonizing.”

We were born in the same country, but I suspect we will not die in the same country. They have different stories, different heroes, different words, different beliefs, and an entirely different culture. I came to realize that he was speaking what I regarded (politely) as gibberish. Utter nonsense. But, somehow, it made sense to him.

This isn’t about disagreements anymore. It’s something much bigger. It’s about the American people separating into its component parts, like taking the whole thing to the scrapyard to be torn apart. People are fracturing along ethnic, religious, and political lines. We aren’t one nation, under God.

But like my friend and I, sometimes we drink a beer together and pretend we are, just vaguely shouting gibberish at one another from the distance. Perhaps for reasons of nostalgia, or maybe just out of some kind of cultural inertia that will soon run out of steam.

Whatever the reason, I am not optimistic about our future as one country, one people.

A Friend Encounters the Left in DC

Lately, the political world has narrowed. It has become small. When the shooting happened at Pulse, in Orlando, I saw folks I knew distraught over the affair. I knew people who lost friends there. I’ve DJed in that area many times. It was too close for comfort. It is one thing when such violence is far away, and quite another when you realize how near to you the lightning struck.

Well, it’s happened again, and even closer this time.

My friend Louis, who lives less than a block away from me, has now been a subject of national news after an altercation over his support of Trump.

Because of ongoing legal matters, I cannot tell all of the details. What I can say is this: Louis acted in defense of himself and his family.

He brought his Trump “Make America Great Again” hat with him on his vacation to our nation’s capital. Louis has been a strong supporter of Trump from day one. In this, we sometimes disagreed, on occasion, as my support for Trump was somewhat more grudging and less enthusiastic. But nonetheless, he wanted to support our President on his trip to DC, and I can’t blame him for that. While in a restaurant with his wife and two daughters, he was heckled by three men over his hat. There were threats made in front his family. I won’t repeat them here, but note that they were targeted at his wife and daughters as much as at him.

Louis tried to leave the restaurant, not wanting to deal with that sort of thing while on vacation, but while waiting for an Uber ride to pick him and his family up, the three came outside and continued with their heckling and threats. And then one of the men struck him.

Suffice it to say, once they turned the situation physical, it did not go so well for them. 3 on 1, and they got their asses handed to them.

DC Police, of course, sided with the Leftists immediately. After all, it’s not exactly a bastion of Trump support. They tried to charge him with a hate crime, despite the fact that it was the anti-Trumpers who kept following him (this much has already been proven from cameras inside the restaurant), and it was them who struck first. Fortunately, it appears that his lawyer got the hate crime charge struck down, at least. But Louis’ defense will be expensive, and victory is not at all assured, unless camera footage from outside the restaurant can be found covering the incident. The punishment is the process, and he’s suffering it now.

Our political world is narrowing. Or, at least it sure feels that way to me. Used to be I didn’t know anyone who had been through political violence like this. Now, it’s becoming routine. Not to mention Antifa has been calling Louis and his wife continuing with various threats, and trying to post bad reviews of his business. Standard operating procedure for them, I suppose. Our block is ready for them, of course, should they try anything particularly stupid.

But, being cowards who only attack with 3 to 1 superiority (and still lose), I doubt we have much to worry about. Until the next such incident, anyway. Next time it could be you, dear reader, or even me.

Be ready.

Kurt, Military Coups, and the Sucker Tax

Kurt Schlichter wrote a fascinating what-if scenario positing Leftists of #TheResistance mobilizing a coup against President Trump, using Leftist-sympathizing military leadership. While somewhat far-fetched at the present moment, there is a disturbing amount of plausibility to the idea. What is going to happen if the Left fails to make gains in 2018? What if, instead, the wishy-washy GOP Establishment types face primary resistance? In other words, what will happen if the country shifts further away from Social Justice?

Read Part 1 and Part 2. You will find it both disturbing and realistic.

Make no mistake, Social Justice is exactly what they desire. Of course, it is neither social, in the sense that it avoids any kind of organic social consensus and instead forces the issue, nor is it justice, insofar as one may be punished for deeds one has not committed. Social Justice is, instead, a sort of tax on suckers. Bureaucrats are effectively middlemen in this. They take from the so-called privileged and give to the so-called oppressed, taking a lavish cut for themselves, naturally.

Even corporations are cashing in on the trend, with videos like the famous Pepsi commercial or the recent abomination from Proctor & Gamble. Fleecing suckers is definitely something the corporate world wants a slice of, too. The idea, of course, is to virtue signal agreement with the precepts of Social Justice in an effort to get their money. Patronize our business, not the businesses of those icky conservatives. It is a strategy employed by many companies, from Marvel Comics to Starbucks.

There is a reason, after all, that liberals worship the almighty Apple.

And so the Sucker Tax is inflicted upon us both by government, and by corporate cronies. It’s big money, this Sucker Tax. Imagine being able to virtue signal your love for people of color while outsourcing your manufacturing operations to some third world toilet where you actually oppress people. Then you can sell your goods to some sanctimonious white liberal who watched the Proctor & Gamble “The Talk” video and thinks she is now an expert on race relations.

What does this have to do with Kurt’s coup scenario? Quite a lot, actually. You see, us conservatives are accustomed to thinking of Social Justice as a political ideology, a bastardized form of Marxism hell-bent on reestablishing something reminiscent of the Soviet Union. And that’s not entirely incorrect, but neither is it entirely correct. You see, there is big money in Social Justice. You can charge people more for a cup of coffee if they believe they are fighting racism by buying that Starbucks vente mocha. You can tax people into oblivion if you frame it as reparations for racism, sexism, and homophobia. Social pressure and white guilt are cash cows. The rich can get cheap help from Mexico and make taxpayers foot the bill when the gardener trips on a rake and breaks his leg, necessitating a trip to the emergency room. They get the cheap labor, you get the bill. Oppose it? You racist! Even better, you see, if there is single payer. Then the taxpayers can foot even more of the bill.

It would be nice to eliminate all the guns, so government can proceed with their totalitarian desires without worrying about defending against an armed population (it’s cheaper to oppress the unarmed). Similarly, wouldn’t it be great if automobiles were demonized as sinful destroyers of the environment so the freeway could be cleared of plebeian traffic, set aside only for use by the rich? Also, imagine how much nicer and less icky airports would be without so many people in them.

Social Justice is the ideology the rich and powerful have created in order to stay rich and powerful. Any time the people might start to get a sniff of this, a new political issue is invented out of thin air as a distraction. Perhaps we need to talk about 0.01% of the population having some difficulty selecting their preferred bathrooms. Or maybe it’s time to talk about how there aren’t enough people of color in Dunkirk, a movie produced by liberal Hollywood. Maybe it’s time for a woman who does porn to cart around a mattress all over campus to protest a rape that never happened.

What happens when these distractions fail? What happens if the American people wake up to the fact that the very same 1% the Left constantly criticizes basically is the Left? Hell, what happens if a mere 51% of America figures this out? It came very close with Donald Trump’s election. Close enough that Trump secured electoral victory.

Does anyone think these cretins are simply going to pack up and go away? “Oh, you caught us now, I guess we’ll be going.”

No. If such a thing came to pass, they would have to go all in, to give up the velvet-gloved tyranny they’ve been espousing since I was a kid and embrace the iron fist. They aren’t giving up the Sucker Tax, their entire livelihood depends upon it. And they’d need a coup to keep it, in such circumstances.

A coup that could play out very much like what Kurt has written.

Gun Control Fantasies

SJWs drool over the possibility of disarming the American citizenry. It is their most important goal, for even they realize that their path to total domination of American culture, government, and life will require them to do this, at some point. But I am, on occasion, reminded that the SJW Left doesn’t really understand us. To them, the idea that we would actually fight back is ludicrous. After all, were they in our position, they would not fight. Fighting is not their way.

Observe:

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Amazing, isn’t it? Zinnia Jones doesn’t understand how this would actually go down in practice. For one, people would need to be found who were willing to confiscate the guns. Does Zinnia propose to use the military for this purpose? They will not execute this order. At least, not enough of them would. It is possible some police forces, or federal agents might be found to do it, however. Then again, perhaps not. Even those who are inclined to agree with Zinnia’s ideology are likely to understand that the action is extremely risky.

Now, supposing a force could be found to execute the order, would it be as Zinnia claims? Would Americans just surrender, door-to-door, without fighting back? The answer has a few parts. One, some might do so, out of fear for their families and such. But once it hits the airwaves that the government is doing this, the rest would bury their guns and/or decide to fight back. It would only take a couple incidents going bad for resistance to be inspired. Once again, the military is not likely to intercede on Zinnia’s behalf.

What Zinnia proposes would result in either Civil War, secession, or some form of insurrection. But, being an SJW, disconnected from reality, he doesn’t understand this. He only sees people submitting to implied threats (we will kill you and your family if you do not give up your guns). The very thought that some would choose to fight, and that others would choose to hide, is anathema to him. After all, he possesses no such courage or ability.

But, as we can see, SJWs don’t have a good understanding of weapons, either:

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After all, does anybody have a mythical hybrid of an AR-15 and an AK-47 called an AK-15? It’s also funny when they refer to a handgun as an automatic, not understanding the distinction between semi-automatic and automatic. Their knowledge of weapons is very poor, so it would be foolish to assume that their knowledge of the people who own them is much better.

But to all of these idiots, only one thing needs to be said: Molon Labe. After all, if Zinnia Jones is so stunning, brave, and courageous for being a transsexual, certainly he should be able to muster the courage necessary to confiscate the guns himself. He should be the first one to knock on the first door. And, since he is against guns, he should be unarmed when he attempts this confiscation.

Global Warming and Suckers

As some of my readers may know, I am actually rather attentive to environmental concerns. For several years, I have put my money where my mouth is and volunteered for local cleanups (including ocean cleanups our krewe specializes in – we have a special focus on the ocean), helped out at local animal sanctuaries, and spread a message of good stewardship with regards to our home. My wife is even more attentive than I am to these matters. She has spent most of her career working in zoos, aquariums, and veterinary hospitals.

So for me the fanaticism of Global Warming proponents is particularly irritating. Last night, my wife was watching a documentary on the Great Barrier Reef, and the mass coral bleaching event that happened in 2016, and the spin was obvious from the very beginning. Cameras panned over rows of crying academics, watching the coral turn white, and then die, pieces of flotsam carrying off into the current to music that sounded like it belonged in a funeral.

Marine Biologists and Climatologists (all on government payrolls) went on a series of adventures collecting the raw camera footage of dead and dying coral. It was explained to the viewer that even a 2C degree shift in water temperatures was sufficient to kill most of the Great Barrier Reef, and if we did not act soon, it would surely die. The rhetoric in the media was particularly extreme. The reef was declared “dead” in scare quotes, even though most of the reef survived the event intact.

By act, of course, they mean to have government regulations and taxation schemes put into place that would make things more expensive for the average Joes of the United States. It is, you see, always America’s fault. And it is thus America which must be taxed and penalized for the environmental problems somewhere else. Governments have, historically, been excellent polluters and destroyers of the environment. Why they should be trusted on this matter is beyond me.

The hole in this logic was immediately apparent to me. If a 2C shift in temperature was sufficient to wipe out the reef, how has this 18 million year old reef system (the current iteration is approximately 8000 years old) survived so long?

Here are two graphs which illustrate my point:

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temp21

 

Notice that in both graphs, during both the 18 million year period, and the 8000 year period, temperatures have been higher than 2016, the time of the Great Barrier Reef mass bleaching event. So how is this reef still here? Why did it not die long before man starting dumping CO2 into the atmosphere? If a mere shift of 2C is sufficient to kill it, why is it there in the first place? Did similar mass bleaching events occur in the years when temperatures were higher than today?

This is only one of many inconsistencies which bother me, both in the climate models and the data itself. Correlation, as any idiot knows, is not necessarily causation. Perhaps there is an explanation for the why the Great Barrier Reef has survived previous warm periods, but is having trouble with this one. I cannot say. But so far, the explanation of the warmistas is insufficient.

Simple fact is, I don’t trust them. As Nassim Nicholas Taleb would say, these people don’t have any skin in the game. Indeed, it’s quite the opposite. They are paid by the very agency which wishes to push this agenda for its own benefit. Conflict of interest is readily apparent.

Thinking of this, I decided to peruse Taleb’s opinion the matter, which I located here. The thrust of the brief article is that the climate models and scaremongering are not required, nor are the specific policies espoused to correct them. Taleb’s skepticism of such modeling techniques is a matter of record. But, he tells us, the risk of global catastrophe from screwing around with Mother Nature shouldn’t be ignored. We have only one Earth, after all. It sounded sensible to me.

I’ve often thought that, were the Left truly honest about their concern for the environment, this would be the position to take. In other words, the models don’t work well, and the data is conflicting and, in any event, not accurate over a sufficiently long amount of time to be particularly useful. But, polluting the Earth is bad on general principle. Put simply, we have one planet (for now). Don’t fuck with it.

Instead, the warmistas have taken very specific policy positions but have failed to live by those same principles themselves. They will tell John Doe to give up his car, use less A/C, and to have less kids, but they will fly around in private jets, cool 14,000 sqft mansions, and do whatever they like with regards to their own families. If they really believed the Earth was doomed unless drastic measures were employed to alter human behavior, they would alter their own behavior as well.

I continue to maintain that financial wisdom is the path forward for us to be good stewards of Earth. Every time you load your shopping cart up with useless trinkets shipped over from China, running up consumer credit, you are contributing to the problem. This is an axiom I live by personally. Skin in the game. Similarly, don’t throw out the old for the new just because it is new. If you’ve ever watched those HGTV shows, you’ll see folks throwing out perfectly good refrigerators and ovens for fancy, new, “green” units. They moralize about it, patting themselves on the back for how environmentally aware they are. It amuses me how few people take into account the manufacturing expenditures necessary to make that new “green” appliance, nor understand that often times, the new models are less reliable than the old, and will eat up such savings in other ways.

Similarly, you see many Toyota Priuses, other hybrids, and new fancy electric cars driven by people who consider themselves to be proper environmental stewards. The effects of the cocktails of chemicals in the batteries are not taken into account, nor that, in effect, for a hybrid you must build two whole motors, with all the attendant manufacturing pollution. If the environment were truly their most valued goal, they would buy a used economy car, with good gas mileage, in reasonable shape. Or, perhaps, they would even ride a bicycle to work. This, of course, they rarely do. I’m much more inclined to listen to the rare environmentalist who does, however. He has skin in the game, after all.

Being frugal with your expenditures is an excellent way to both avoid loads of debt, and be a good steward. And given that China is the worst polluter anyway and is often exempted from the ire of Leftists (why let the biggest polluter off the hook?), the best things America can do is to buy less Chinese kitsch, and bring more manufacturing back to the United States. After all, we are generally cleaner about the process. The latter, of course, is anathema to the Left. They’d much rather tax American business into oblivion and let the third world dump as much pollution as it wants in an effort to punish the evil, racist United States. Such punishment is a higher concern to them than the planet they live on.

I mean, I wonder if all the crap China dumps into the water is having any effect on the Great Barrier Reef? After all, in the very same period quoted in the documentary as being extensively warming, China was rising as a major manufacturing concern. It’s entirely possible man is causing the damage, just not in the way Western academics are obsessing over.

Reducing pollution is a good and noble concern, and I support it, both in my own life and as a suggestion to others. I do not, however, support the specific policy positions of the Left, nor trust the government’s conclusions or ability to repair any damage. Notions that they can model the entire climate of Earth are foolish. Their obsession with carbon dioxide and warming has outstripped pollution concerns that could be much more pressing. They excuse the world’s biggest polluters out of political expediency, and fail to live by their own rules. They praise superficialities like “I drive a hybrid” over real volunteer work. The Leftist governments they support are often far worse environmentally than any private concern. They have no skin in the game. They are terrible stewards of the Earth. We should not listen to them.

But let’s not make the mistake of giving up proper stewardship of our home, either. As Taleb tells us, we only get one, and it is best not to play games with it if we don’t have to. And such stewardship often comes with financial benefits anyway. Leftists are determined to make their version of “good” stewardship expensive, to punish. I propose the opposite: being wise and less wasteful with your spending probably benefits the environment, too. And it is individual citizens who can best help, not bloated governments loaded with corruption, waste, and rent-seeking behavior.

On Intimidation and Character Assassination

After a short break from political posts, I have returned. This morning, I read an excellent piece at Liberty’s Torch, which touched on intimidation in politics. This, in turn, was inspired by another post at The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler. Both got me thinking on the matter of  subtle intimidation.

Intimidation is a common feature of Leftist politics, such that most regular folks routinely hide the extent of their true political beliefs.

Leftists have taken it upon themselves to insinuate that this is racism, or some other -ism, and that we are all secret fascists who merely don’t want our horrible views exposed to daylight. But they have it exactly backwards, probably by design. You see, actual neo-Nazis and modern fascists are anything but secretive about their beliefs. Though they are very few, they are also very loud. They want to be seen. They have already paid the social price for it. Calling a Nazi a Nazi doesn’t hurt their feelings any. They know what they are.

In this, SJWs and their ilk are projecting their own behavior onto their ideological opponents. Many SJWs are thinly-veiled Communists, so they presume that we must all be thinly-veiled Nazis. After all, it’s the sort of thing they would do in our place.

In reality, most people on the Right are just scared. Not of physical violence for the most part, though perhaps some worry about that too. Rather, they fear character assassination. They fear being tarred as racist, sexist, or some other thing, and losing their friends, their jobs, and their good names.

Meanwhile the Left continues to increase the number of indications of racism. Eating a plate of Chinese takeout may now be considered a racist act. Wearing a kimono to an art exhibit about a well-known painting featuring a kimono is now cultural appropriation. Enjoying the wrong video game is an indication of sexism. Failing to be 100% convinced by Climate Change activists is proof of… well, some kind of violation against The One True Narrative. The specifics don’t matter. There is always something they can use against you.

In such an environment, many folks do indeed hide their beliefs. They fear that they might be the target of a political witch hunt, that anything they say will be taken out of context by the hostile media establishment and used to destroy them.

In some ways, this has bit the Left in the ass. Donald Trump’s election was unexpected in part due to the fact that people hid their support for him out of such fear. Polls were shifted as a result. The hidden Trump closet proved fatal to Hillary’s campaign.

But nonetheless, the fear is strong. I hear it from many personal friends who read my posts, but do not comment on them out of fear of being identified. One friend told me: “I love your posts. Even when I disagree with them, they always give me something to think about. But I can’t reply. It’s too public. I don’t know how you do it.”

In a Facebook thread that blew up to over 500 replies, I admitted my conservative/libertarian leanings in public view. I lost dozens of “friends” over this, one who spent the better part of the thread calling me a neo-Nazi and suggesting that I wanted to send Muslims to death camps, before he finally blocked me.

The level of vitriol you are exposed to as an open conservative is staggering, and I am not surprised that most regular folks are disinclined to weather it. Indeed, I wouldn’t have even done it, had my financial position been at all insecure. Only from a strong financial position can you weather character assassination by the media.

And I did lose some support in that quarter. The admission cost me one of my long-time DJ residencies. The promoter was an outspoken Bernie Bro, and could not countenance working with someone who as an admitted Rightist. I made up the difference with a new residency (and I maintained one of my other ones – I found out that promoter was a secret libertarian), but it was nonetheless disappointing to me. This was someone I had worked with for several years.

The financial and social penalty for admitted Rightists is non-trivial. Whereas most Rightists I know will continue to work with admitted Leftists. Perhaps this is a mistake. The Left has deployed a weapon against us, and perhaps it is time to use it against them, to expel them from our communities, to price them out of our markets, and to remove them from groups under our control.

For me, however, the price was much smaller than it could have been. By having minimal debt (only a mortgage now, and one that is approaching 50% equity), significant savings, and multiple streams of income independent of one another, it is very difficult for a Leftist to ruin me. The attempt cost me less than 5% of my income, and even that was quickly replaced.

How different is it for a man who has a lot of debt, and only one job? How much fear does he have that a media storm could deprive him of not only his job, but of his employability? I submit that such folks vastly outnumber folks in my position.

But it is always the Left that claims they are oppressed, harassed, bullied and such. The pressure on Rightists is not so obvious, but it is pervasive and everybody knows about it. This is why the Left continues to push the Nazi label. “Do what I want,” says the Leftist, “or I will make the entire world see you as the scum of the Earth.”

Of course, it’s seldom openly stated as such. But we all know it, nonetheless.

It all comes down to the media. Without the power of the media to amplify such nonsensical accusations, nobody would fear the Left. We would laugh at such insults. The stupidity of calling everybody a secret fascist would be readily apparent. But with the media able to pick any random target it wishes, and assassinate that person’s character at will, with little to no possibility of defense… the fear is there.

Incidents like what happened to Justine Sacco reinforce this. Remember Brendan Eich “resigning” (we all know the he was pressured to do so). Remember the media trotting out to the middle of nowhere to find a pizza shop that didn’t want to cater gay weddings. The implication is that anyone could be a target. Being a small business owner in the middle of nowhere doesn’t make you safe.

Nobody is safe from the media. That’s what they want you to believe, but in such a way that no one clearly states it, that nobody clearly admits it, so that they always retain plausible deniability.

Note that since Trump unexpectedly won the election, the media has been dedicating itself 24/7 to doing nothing but assassinating his character. They even tacitly excuse literal assassination, in the case of Steve Scalise.

At some point in the history of this country, the gatekeepers in media and entertainment presumed that they were the true rulers of this country, that they determined what people believed, what they thought, and what they were allowed to say. They presumed to move Presidents and Congressmen merely by leveraging character assassination and establishing the framework of their accepted Overton Window. They could swing whole elections.

The Internet has deprived them of the exclusivity of this framing. People may (and frequently do) bypass them for news and information. But they still retain the power of character assassination, even if a few, like Donald Trump, have remained stubbornly immune to it. They have the funding, the airtime, the audience, and allies among gatekeepers and HR departments around the world.

It is that power which must be broken if we are to step out into the light again. It is not enough that we cast them as fake news, though this must be done also. They cannot be permitted to assassinate characters on a whim.

And if we cannot break them of this power, then we must deploy a similar power ourselves. How much economic damage can we force on them if they do this? How many people can we get fired? How many businesses can we destroy?

I really don’t want to go down that road. I’ve always thought it to be one of the lowest, most scummy tactics a man might use on a political opponent. I hate it, and I’ve always attacked the practice as the worst of mudslinging.

But if they don’t stop it soon, what choice do we have? And maybe that’s the message we have to use: “stop now, we really don’t want to do this back to you, but we will if we must.”

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