Experts and the Common Man… Again

There is a type of person in this world who will grate on my nerves long before he ever speaks, and will only exacerbate the problem when he does open his mouth. Over time, I’ve come to recognize this almost visceral reaction to some people as a some kind of basic human instinct. Now, I’m not one to speak on my personal feelings very often. Truly, most of the time folks would be understandably bored by such. And if SJWs are lurking about, ready to pounce on admissions of racism/sexism/whatever, you are likely to be disappointed, as most (but not all) of such individuals are actually white guys.

Yeah. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, SJWs.

If I can describe the feeling with a metaphor, it would be like that moment you walk into a car dealership, and the salesmen lurking near entrance are circling, like a pack of vultures waiting to pounce upon hapless, vulnerable prey should it show any sign of fatigue or weakness. They have lemons, and you’re a mark. You get a feeling in the pit of your stomach, your gut telling you that these people are wrong, somehow. That they are not to be trusted, and indeed, their every action much be carefully watched and calculated against.

Over the years, I’ve recognized that some folks engender this automatic response outside of car dealerships. You don’t want to deal with them in any way, but circumstances may be such that you feel the need. Perhaps that are gatekeepers, and you must get through the gate. Or perhaps they control personal fiefs that intrude on yours in some fashion. Whatever. The point is, you have to deal with them.

I’m sure most people have felt this one way or another. What I’m about to explain is why. Many of my readers, often wiser folks than I, may already know this. But for some, this may be new.

The type of person I’m talking about is the one who thinks he is better than you. No, not better in some specific capacity. The pilot may justly say “I’m a better pilot than you.” Sure. I don’t know how to fly, at least not outside of a simulator, anyway. The pilot flies better than I do, because I do not fly at all. Nor am I talking about the person who has a higher IQ, or can bench press more weight, or is a better basketball player. Again, folks in each circumstance can justly say they are better than me at those things. Whatever. The specifics are immaterial here.

I’m talking about the man who thinks he is better than you in general.

The reason this is so insidious, is that every action by such an individual is designed to elevate himself above you in general. Your opinions are irrelevant to him, because he considers himself better in all things. So if you talk to him, the response invariably becomes an exercise in establishing his authority over you. After all, if you are better than another, should you not rule over him? This has been the excuse of tyrants since the dawn of time.

Folks may remember an old troll here named Merkur. And while I don’t want to delve too much into him, since he is no longer here to defend himself, he did demonstrate this sort of air. At one point, he explained that I should read a book called You Are Not So Smart. Now, normally a book recommendation wouldn’t be untoward. But this “recommendation” occurred during a debate in which Merkur was attempting to convince me that I was biased (something I never denied — all humans are biased, I am human, QED), while taking a position of authority on the matter of cognitive biases.

In simple terms, rather than address the central point of my arguments about Islam and Weaponized Empathy, he would nitpick minor points, then accuse me of being biased, more biased, in fact, than him. Then he chose to recommend said book. Do you see it? His implication was I am smarter than you. Not “I know more about psychology than you” which I would have likely accepted. Not even “I know more about specific cognitive biases than you,” which again would have specificity and plausibility. It’s not my field of education, for sure.

The implication was you are biased, I am smarter than you, therefore I can disregard your conclusions. It’s a slippery form of Ad Hominem, because it distracts from the original conclusions. At that point, we were no longer talking about Weaponized Empathy, or the role of Islam in terror attacks. We were, instead, talking about how biased one Dystopic was (hint:  I’m sure I’m pretty damned biased – whether I’m wrong, however, is a different matter altogether).

Of course, when pressed, Merkur denied this. He just wanted to educate me about specific cognitive biases, you see. It wasn’t a personal attack. He just happened to do this in a thread about Islam, and it just happened to derail the original topic, and he just happened to avoid the original point, except to call attention to minor nitpicks.

Folks may wonder why I brought up Merkur again, since he has kept to his word and not returned. The reason is that I encountered the same behavior from Tom Nichols today. He posted a link to the following article: Working-class whites can’t handle their status as ‘the new minority’. The article is full of some rather pointed dreck about Trump supporters, blue collar white folks, and racism. Nothing we haven’t seen before from a dozen other outlets since Trump became a political force.

Now, Tom has spent a lot of time since beginning the writing and promoting of his book The Death of Expertise: The Campaign Against Established Knowledge and Why it Matters more or less insulting common folks. In our last Twitter flame war, he indicated that most Americans shouldn’t be informed by the government about the non-classified details surrounding terrorist attacks, even after the fact, because he thought most Americans were too stupid to read maps.

He then compared trust in the alphabet agencies to trusting pilots who fly airliners. Why, he thought, if people trust airline pilots do they not trust government intelligence agencies? This was evidence that the common man was an idiot. The fallacy in this line of thinking should be pretty obvious to most of my readers. It is rather easy for a man to know whether or not airline pilots are generally reliable. Despite big crashes hitting the airwaves, from time-to-time, you are generally safer in an airliner, than in your own car. The general reliability of airline pilots is data that is readily available to us. Not so much with the alphabet agencies. Indeed, we catch them in egregious lies and screw ups with frightening regularity. Consequences from their geopolitical screw ups can certainly dwarf a mere airline accident.

But my beef with Tom wasn’t just over this issue. It’s an issue that folks might reasonably sit down and chat about, because God knows there are some dumb voters out there (just look at all this Antifa business right now). What bothered me was the original tweet to him was respectful and reasoned, and his response was basically you and everyone like you is stupid, and I’m smart! This is a variation of I’m better than you. No, not “I’m more educated than most on foreign policy matters”. It was I’m better than a sizable fraction of America.

At the time, this attitude was mildly irritating, but I ignored it. We got into it again, and then again today. Now, today, I was definitely not respectful and gracious to him. My patience with him has worn thin. I was downright hostile, and that came through well enough in my tweet to him. I was fully expecting another I’m smarter than everybody else tactic from him. What I got was arguably worse. Instead, he accused me of not reading the article I was responding to, or even knowing who the author was.

This is about as dishonest and cowardly a tactic as a man might use. On the internet, his statement was unfalsifiable. There was no way I could prove to him that his statement was wrong. But we also both knew it was a total lie, invented for precisely this purpose. He debates exactly like a Progressive would. This I recognized immediately as an Ad Hominem, similar to what Merkur did, but without the modicum of decency that Merkur at least attempted to display. He didn’t want to talk about the article in question, he wanted to shift the argument away from it. And meanwhile, he chose to use an exceptionally ridiculous version of I’m better than you. The implication being that other people don’t read articles, or understand them, and so he doesn’t have to defend his posting of this drivel on his own Twitter feed.

Then, when challenged on that, he explained that it wasn’t an Ad Hominem, because he was just innocently trying to teach me about the importance of reading articles. Cue a back and forth discussion with some of his followers about the definition of Ad Hominem, and why I should have posted links to the definition in my reply to Tom (does anybody on Twitter even do that?).

Yeah, pull the other one.

This is a form of passive-aggressive behavior, hidden behind airs of self-righteousness and some kind of superiority complex. Tom is invested in himself as the smartest guy in the room, but his argument essentially boils down to I’m smarter than everybody else, so I’m automatically right. No defense of his positions are necessary, unless you prove yourself worthy (and nobody is worthy, unless they agree with him).

And what I’ve come to realize, is that these individuals produce a natural desire in most humans to punch the smug asshole in the face. Perhaps this is nature’s way of informing the individual that, like Merkur’s book recommendation, You Are Not So Smart. A punch in the face can do that well enough sometimes. Maybe the book is good (and I may very well read it – I am morbidly curious), but cold, hard reality is often better. God knows it’s happened to me more than once.

That feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when these folks are around? That’s your body saying “this guy is an ass, and it might be better if you just punched him in the face, but if that isn’t an option for whatever, well just be careful.” After all, he could be a salesman trying to sell you a lemon, or Tom Nichols trying to establish himself as the wisest technocrat in the universe. As far as we have come from the elementary playground, the argument still essentially boils down to the same thing a pair of first graders might say to one another: I’m better than you! Neener Neener!

Socrates would know him for the fool.

As an aside, I’d really like to see a debate between Nicholas Taleb and Tom Nichols. For Taleb has warned us repeatedly about intellectual idiocy, and Tom is a proponent of why the intellectuals must be trusted. The two positions are diametrically opposed. Of course, there might be a worldwide shortage of popcorn should such an event come to pass.

In the meantime, Merkur might say it’s bias, and he’s really not wrong, but sometimes, biased or not, your gut knows exactly what kind of person you’re dealing with. God, and countless generations of natural selection, have granted us a finely-honed sense for people who are trying to bullshit us. Often times, it’s worth listening to.

Thursday Afternoon Miscellany

Here are a few interesting tidbits that crossed my desk this morning:

Emperor Misha analyzes what might be the dumbest Left-wing assertion I’ve seen in a very long time:

“Cars and other vehicles “have turned into deadly weapons”, and should be banished from cities to stop attacks like the one in Stockholm from happening in future, according to Aftonbladet editorialist Eva Franchell.”

 

If you have ever wondered, dear LCs, why it is that His Imperial Majesty can’t say “Swedish” without at least chuckling derisively, this should serve as a rather good example.

 

Apart from the sheer monumental stupidity in demanding that cities be cleared entirely of motor vehicles (who will deliver goods to your stores, Einstein? You’re going to get them there on bicycles?), what is it with this whole “have turned into deadly weapons” retardation? They’ve been “deadly weapons” since they were invented although we have to point out, in all fairness, that so has pretty much everything else. That Number 2 pencil of yours? Don’t make us demonstrate what we can do with that thing, because you won’t like it.

 

It is a perfect example, so very emblematic of everything that is wrong with the “progressive” nanny totalitarian society: You can’t eliminate danger by banning “dangerous” stuff, because everything is potentially dangerous, from ICBMs to your favorite organic juicer, on to your kid’s pacifier. Do you really want to know how many beautiful babies choke on those things every year? No. No, you don’t. Because if you truly knew just how many things were potentially lethal weapons, then you’d all end your pointless lives immediately. Which, come to think of it…

Read the whole thing, it’s a thing of beauty. A rant as only Misha can deliver.

Of course, I’m sure most of my readers have already heard about Bill O’Reilly getting tossed out of Fox. Now, I’ve been trying to ascertain just what the charges were against him, that Fox would take such drastic action. The worst I’ve yet found, is one woman claiming that Bill told her to “show more cleavage” at some point in time.

Of course, I’ve no idea if it’s even true, and as is common in these scenarios, suddenly several other women have come out to claim that Bill sexually harassed them. The whole thing smells like trumped up bullshit, to be honest. And if the worst claim they have is that he said something mildly inappropriate once, Fox is utterly stupid to can him for it. Is Fox becoming an SJW-converged organization, now?

And I say all this as a guy who really doesn’t even like Bill O’Reilly. If they canned him because he was predictable, plodding, and boring, I’d buy that, and wouldn’t bat an eye at it. But instead, they do this. It’s just like when Trump commented jokingly about “grab ’em by the pussy.” Suddenly everyone is offended, and people have to lose their jobs, and it’s some kind of huge scandal.

This is utterly ridiculous, and Fox should be ashamed of themselves.

Lastly, an Antifa who hit a Trump supporter over the head with a bike lock, nearly knocking him out (you can see him stunned and confused) and drawing massive amounts of blood, has been outed. And in this case, said Trump supporter was doing nothing violent. He was just standing there talking, and the Antifa used a momentary distraction to get away with his assault. Of course, he thought he was safely anonymous. Turns out, he wasn’t. Internet sleuths identified him as San Francisco State University Professor Eric Clanton.

He is now being charged, and has already been scrubbed from the University’s website. He’s done. For reference, here is the original video:

 

The Weight of the World

Taking responsibility is part of being a man. It’s an age old axiom. When a man fails, when he screws up, it behooves him to admit his failure and to endeavor to repair it, if he is able.

But no man is responsible for another. To steal a concept from Francis, if Jones commits a crime, and Smith does not, how can Smith be held responsible, even in part, for the crime of Jones?

Yet generalities exist to muddy the waters for us. Islam has proven itself to be more militant and prone to terrorism than any other modern religion (unless we were to call Marxism a religion). Islam has always had bloody borders, and the religion has changed little since the seventh century. Clear answers to questions like these are often difficult, and can lead to excessive moralizing.

Excessive moralizing is one of the greatest sins of our age, for Smith is made to question his own culpability in the crimes of Jones. If both Smith and Jones share a skin tone, and Jones has done some evil deed, what is Smith’s share in the deed? What if Smith tried his best to stop Jones from committing his crime?

Today, having white skin often means being held as somehow generally responsible for the ills of Indians, Black folks, the sufferings of the Jews, and so on. Yet, like Smith, most of us have not done these things, nor would countenance them. Additionally, many of our ancestors fought to prevent such things. If you account men who fought the Nazis among your ancestors, how could the deeds of the Nazis be weighed against you?

Social Justice Warriors, of course, do not care. You are white, thus the crimes of Jones fall upon you, and you are advised that you must take responsibility for them. You must pay the weregild, you must give up your success and step aside, you must bear Jones’s punishment too. Some fools even suggest that reading to your own children is unfair to other children, for it gives them a leg up in the world.

Such punishments can include your own death, and that of your entire civilization. It is not difficult to find SJWs musing on the utopian world that would come to pass should white Christian males be made extinct. Indeed, Huffington Post publishes columnists who argue that they should be deprived of the vote, so that it may be made easier to “redistribute” their wealth (oddly enough, this was a hoax, and HuffPo fell for it – wishful thinking, perhaps?). #KillAllMen, of course, is also acceptable and amenable to the SJW authorities.

If you dare to complain, you are tarred as racist scum. Carry the burden of another man’s sin, in addition to your own. Suffer the punishments for another man’s mistakes, in addition to your own. You are supposed to check your privilege every moment of every day. When a progressive feminist speaks, you are to be silent and listen. Good allies should be seen, and not heard. They are not shy about this, as the aforementioned article explains:

As McKenzie puts it, “Shut up and listen.”

As someone striving to be an ally, the most important thing we can do is listen to as many voices of those we’re allying ourselves with as possible…

…Sure, your privilege may afford you the spotlight sometimes, and there are times when you can use that spotlight to talk to people who share your identity (see #8), but whenever possible, allies turn that spotlight away from themselves and to the voices that are so often marginalized and ignored.

Being a supposed ally means nothing to them. It neither alleviates your guilt, nor mitigates the punishments due to you for the supposed crimes of Jones. Being a proper progressive doesn’t mean you won’t get stabbed on a train for being a chump.

Talk to a Leftist, and he will complain that dead people who looked vaguely similar to you perpetrated horrific crimes against humanity (while ignoring similar crimes perpetuated by people who didn’t look much like you). The Trail of Tears was your fault, so was slavery, the Holocaust, colonialism, why Somalia sucks today, and why it sucked 500 years ago, and why an overweight lesbian couldn’t get a taxi cab in Manhattan at 4 in the afternoon on a Friday – whatever. It’s all your fault. Carry the sins, accept the punishment, give up your wealth (there was a hashtag running around social media some time ago called #GiveYourMoneyToWomen), shut up and stay in your lane.

Christ could carry the weight of the world, the plethora of sins committed by mankind. I, however, am unable to do so. I’m just a man, a regular Joe. I work, I pay my taxes (I’d rather not, but it’s not like the IRS gives us a choice in the matter), I have a family, same as any other. I screw up a lot, and the weight of my own responsibilities is, on occasion, rather crushing on its own. I am not Atlas, and SJWs can sit there and try to put the weight of the world on my shoulders, but it’ll never work. It’ll never do any good.

Folks, I don’t know how much of your thinking has been wasted on the matter of social justice and progressivism. A good man might ask himself if, perhaps, he really ought to carry these chains, if you are Jacob Marley to their Ebenezer Scrooge. But the question is moot to begin with. You can’t carry these chains, whether you wanted to or not. They are too big for you. They will destroy you. When you look into the face of an SJW, you are seeing someone who was already destroyed by this weight. Their psyches cracked under the pressure. They are no longer sane, or even themselves. It is almost like they are all possessed.

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This man is broken. The woman next to him is damaged, also.

You see this sort of smug, superior grin in the face of an SJW. But behind it is utter madness. These are broken people, whose actions are no longer rational in any sense. Some can only gain satisfaction from submission, from emotional and intellectual (and sometimes physical) masochism and self-flagellation. Some can’t even gain it from that, anymore. Some have surrendered completely to animus possession. These people are no longer free-thinking individuals, capable of making decisions. They are, rather, individuals who have completely lost touch with reality. Unable to cope with the weight of the world, they seek to unload it on others. It’s your fault, not theirs. Nothing is their fault, they are perfect, you are to blame for everything.

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Animus Possession gone completely off the rails. This woman hates you for existing. Everything bad in the world is your fault, because you exist.

Underneath it all, of course, they hate themselves. This has given rise to people who say things like “I won’t have children, because they would be white.” Or other folks, like Rachel Dolezal and Shaun King, who desperately wish to be black, perhaps because they could escape the weight of the world by identifying with the oppressed instead of the oppressor.

Weaponized Empathy has destroyed these people, body and soul. They mutilate themselves, hate themselves, rail against the very society that created them, and then seek to unload their shame and self-loathing on to others. Look at this before-and-after comparison of the woman who was punched in the face, while trying to hit Trump supporters with a wine bottle:

tye

This woman made a mess of herself.

This is what happens to people who try to carry more mental weight than they can handle. A man who does this will be destroyed utterly. It causes you to question your worth as an individual, and once you have deemed yourself worthless, it is easy to do as these people have done. Now it doesn’t matter if you degrade yourself, objectify yourself, attack people, and destroy lives.

Nothing else matters except some short-term pleasure, just a bit of petty satisfaction at attacking an easy target. And then the target decides to fight back, depriving you of even that pleasure.

In some way, I pity the SJWs.

I’m going to be very real with you for a moment, and take off my hat has a blogger, an author, and whatever else I may be, and just speak to you as a man.

This could have been me.

Does that surprise you? There was a time I skirted so close to falling under this spell, it would shock you. I felt the guilt, the social pressure, the desire for conformity. Despite the terrible weight such ideology carries on the mind, it is absurdly easy to fall into it. Every day we are assaulted by the agitprop. It is so easy to just say “yes, it’s all my fault, I will submit and obey.”

It will bring momentary relief, because you will no longer have to fight a narrative that is bombarded upon you 24 hours a day. That mental effort is, itself, rather exhausting on the mind. But if you accept the chains, that is a far greater weight, one that will destroy you. The chains are seductive. They call, because of the enormous weight of social power behind them.

The pressure is both great and subtle. Imagine a conversation about the weather, innocent enough on its own. A friend might say “wow, that global warming sure is kicking in today!” You’ve a few choices here. You can challenge him, but the immediate counter is likely to be something like “well, 99% of scientists agree, sooooo….” The implication, of course, is that you are stupid for disagreeing with 99% of scientists (whether or not there is any truth to that claim, either). You could remain silent because it’s easier. Or you could just give in, regardless of the truth of the matter, because it’s easiest. Meanwhile, if you counter your friend successfully, you may be down a friend by the end of the night.

So whether or not a lot of folks believe this thing, soon consensus is reached, as much to peer pressure as anything else. Then it is, further, easier to agree on welfare, tax policy, affirmative action, black lives matter, social justice, etc… Each one has a superficial rhetorical argument which sounds nice, and which has enormous media programming and social pressure behind it.

A thousand such chats happen every day, both in the real world, and the social media world. The sum total of which is designed to move you, via peer pressure and Weaponized Empathy, toward self-hatred, and intense personal guilt for things which you neither did, nor were capable of preventing.

Soon a man might find himself agreeing with lunatic propositions that all Republicans are literal Nazis, and Donald Trump is worse than Hitler because… well, nobody really knows the reasons.

Submission is always the easier short-term choice. Long-term, however, it just destroys a man’s soul. Sooner or later he’s just a meat puppet. And who might he be a meat puppet for? Who pulls his strings?

Here’s one:

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Tom Kratman’s Class Ones, self-centered and semi-incompetent oligarchs, run the show. They are the ultimate beneficiaries of all this. The Clintons and other corrupt political dynasties. A handful of Leftist executives and corporate cronies are also among them. Celebrities, media talking heads, etc…

They talk out of their asses, and wrap themselves up in flags, but they believe in nothing. You think Chelsea Clinton gives a fig about a black thug shot by a cop? You think she cares about the plight of an illegal Mexican family, crossing into the country?

No. Deep down, I doubt even the SJWs really believe this. But it doesn’t matter. They have been destroyed by the weight of the world, conveniently offloaded by politicians and leaders around the world onto hapless people who are incapable of carrying such moral weight. It’s never a Clinton’s fault, after all.

It’s your fault. Or, perhaps, some semi-anonymous Islamophobic videographer. Whatever.

Look, I’m fond of saying that I’m just a regular guy. And there’s a reason for that. There are some very strong-willed, intelligent people out there who can resist this agitprop and social pressure without much effort. For some, it is easy to shrug it off and pay no mind to it. But that’s not most folks. Marxists are great psychological manipulators. It is their one great talent, and it is enough that it nearly makes up for all their other intellectual shortcomings, which are legion. Most folks are vulnerable, at some level.

And resisting psychological manipulation is not easy for most people. It’s not enough to just say “don’t be brainwashed.” Folks need to know how the brainwashing works, how it can be identified and resisted, how you can avoid going down the path that leads to people who can’t even figure out what gender they want to be, or what ethnicity they are, or what pronoun they feel like using today. These are people who can’t even say “hey man, how’s it going” without being triggered. They are constantly on the look out for the most minor of violations against the political narrative, their entire mind, body, and soul hijacked to serve political figures who care nothing for them (indeed, who probably laugh at their gullibility behind closed doors).

You owe them nothing. You aren’t responsible for the crimes of the world, except those in which you have directly and willingly participated. Anyone, and I do mean anyone who says otherwise is attempting to manipulate you, and place chains upon you. It is, often times, difficult to resist the allure of just giving up the fight. It’s so much easier to throw in the towel, and jump when someone else tells you to. When damn near everyone accuses you of something, to just say “yes, I’m guilty.”

But you can’t. I can’t. And even if I could make such a choice for myself, I cannot make it for my family, for my country, for my civilization.

You are not Atlas, and you do not need to suffer his punishment. You are not Christ, and you will never be morally perfect, and can never carry the weight of another’s sins (you will have enough trouble with your own).

The Definition of Insanity Is…

There’s a great clip from the game Far Cry 3 which explains the definition of insanity:

This isn’t a new definition, though the game’s villain definitely puts a colorful spin on it. The original quotation is commonly attributed to Albert Einstein, though it may be apocryphal. Nonetheless, the basic concept has been with us for quite some time.

Thing is, in the world of politics, this is almost exactly what we do. The same thing, over and over again, expecting the situation to change. Francis explains over at Liberty’s Torch:

We returned a group of legislators to Congress who could best be described as “pusillanimous time-servers.” There’s very little courage to be found among them; they cower at the lightest criticism from the press, to say nothing of the way they shrink from the barbs of their political opponents. Their highest ambition is to die in office; by their behavior we must conclude that they believe the best course toward that end is never to offend anyone. Was it really imaginable that they would follow any bold course, regardless of the topic or their supposed positions on it?

 

We consistently expect more honesty, candor, and respect for our rights from politicians than they provide in practice. We keep “throwing the rascals out” and electing a new set, “insanely assuming that they are better than the set turned out. And at each election we are, as they say in Motherland, done in.” (H. L. Mencken) How is it that we have not yet confronted the fatuity of our expectations?

 

The greatest need of our time is for realism about politics, governments, and the behavior thereof. Will it come? If so, from where – or whom?

Here we are, us Americans, doing the exact same thing, over and over again, expecting things to change. We say to ourselves, “no, no, no, no, this time, it’s gonna be different.” And it never is. Not really. Maybe Trump is a little different, as we’ve never tried electing someone like him into high office before. But even that may be a stretch, and he may turn out to be more of the same. Certainly the rest of our politicians have nothing new about them.

Where does that leave us, then?

Well, as the quote tells us in so many words, you have to try something new, something different. Donald Trump was a peaceful something different. If that doesn’t work out for us, the options on the table grow fewer. At that point, the non-Marxist must ask himself if there are any peaceful options remaining. It may be that there are none, because Marxists don’t respond to peace any more than militant Islamics respond to peace.

It may be that Marxists view peace as a weakness, and thus violence truly is all that remains to us should Trump fail. I don’t know. I’m just a regular guy on the Internet, whose opinions may or may not have value in this context. But one thing I do know is that doing the same thing over and over again… that is crazy.

Narcissism: The New Face of Evil

The last thing I expected logging in to Social Media today was a bunch of headlines about an “Easter Massacre.” What a mess. This site has the video the shooter livestreamed on Facebook, and it’s agonizing to watch. A poor 74 year-old man was just walking home, minding his own business, and a piece of human garbage randomly selected him to be shot in the head for no reason whatsoever.

Fortunately for the nonce, it would appear the shooter’s brag about killing thirteen others is probably bogus. Hopefully they find this guy and put him down.

This idea of livestreaming your criminal activities is just sick and intensely narcissistic. A few years ago, an IRS scammer who bilked millions bragged on Facebook that she could never be caught, being that she was so clever and all. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out how that ended up.

We have a peculiar brand of evil, here. It isn’t the intensely sociopathic, cold-blooded evil which we traditionally associate with acts like this. That kind of evil tends to want to hide itself. The sociopath often pretends to be a normal human being. No, these individuals are narcissists. They crave attention and recognition. Indeed, they crave it so badly, it overrides their empathy toward their fellow man. At that point, killing, stealing, assaulting — whatever — all becomes part of some grand effort to become popular even if that popularity is effectively negative.

These people would rather be hated by many, than loved by a few.

The disease is not limited to casual murderers killing old men on the streets, or tax scammers bilking people out of their tax return money. It can also be seen at a meta level in the recent Antifa protests and attacks at Berkeley. This is attention-seeking behavior, a desire to be seen in the headlines, to be famous, or infamous even. They will pepper spray women in the face for daring to have the temerity to wear a Trump hat.

But, like the child throwing a temper tantrum, it’s not merely about being angry that a candidate lost, or a particular political effort failed, it’s about wanting attention, it’s about everyone in the grocery store seeing the child throwing his arms around and screaming.

In other words, it is narcissism. It’s media coverage they crave, it’s even blog posts like this one, talking about how evil these people are. Some of my readers might be thinking something along the lines of: “well, if you believe this, Dystopic, why are you writing about it? Why not starve them of the attention they seek?”

Therein lies a conundrum. If I don’t discuss the issue, the media still will. They will sensationalize him, either as a monster, or maybe the product of the Capitalist White Supremacist CisHeteroPatriarchy, or something else equally inane. Whatever the angle, they will give him the attention he wants regardless of what I do. But at the same time, we must understand why people act this way and what they presume to get out of it.

I’m not sure what we can do about this attention-seeking brand of evil, save to be armed and ready every moment of the day. How much better, after all, would it have been to see this would-be murderer get shot by a concealed-carry holder on his own livestream? What if the old man simply blew him away and went on about his business? Maybe that’s all one can do about this.

Nonetheless, in the coming days, it is possible the media may try to make excuses for this man. Don’t forget the shocked and confused face of a 78 year old man, just walking home, in the moments before he was shot in the street. Narcissism or not, this was pure evil.

Selective Weaponizing of Empathy

Weaponized Empathy is a topic I keep bringing up here at The Declination. It is an insidious weapon, both pervasive and subtle. The weapon preys upon your better nature, twisting your better instincts in the service of another.

Guilt-tripping is the best way I can describe it. You are made to feel guilty and remorse for things you have not done. A white man might be made to feel guilty for slavery in the United States, despite having never owned slaves, nor having countenanced slavery in any form. He might be called a Nazi for being vaguely Right-of-center, despite his ancestors having participated in the liberation of Jews from Nazi Germany.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a fresh-off-the-boat Romanian immigrant. You’re white, so you’re privileged. Therefore, also, you are guilty. The Left tells us not to be prejudiced, that is to say to prejudge a person. Yet they ascribe guilt, a literal form of judgment, onto people they don’t know.

Then they say that you should feel guilty. Perhaps today you should feel guilty for being white, and tomorrow all men should feel guilty for having penises. And the day after, straight people should feel guilty for not being homosexual. And so on…

Guilt. I’m tired of it, folks. Pardon my French, but it’s all horseshit. Commensurate with Right-wing philosophy in general if you do the crime, you’re going to do the time. But the reverse is also true. If you haven’t done the crime, then you should not do the time.

In other words, I’m done with that sort of thing. I don’t care if folks on the Left think I’m some kind of cold-hearted, heretical bastard, a blasphemer of the religion of political correctness.

Whatever.

Most folks have heard about the attack in Sweden. If you haven’t, you’ve probably been living under a rock. Meanwhile, a Leftist Swedish rag talks about how cars ought to be banned in response to the attacks.

I wasn’t originally going to comment on the attack. After all, there are too many Islamic terror attacks these days for one blogger to ever hope to cover them all (and isn’t that a sad state of affairs?). But one thing compelled me to do so.

You see, like the picture of the Syrian boy who drowned, there is a horrifying picture floating around the Internet right now of an 11 year old girl who was, quite literally torn to pieces by the terror attack. Pieces of her are scattered all over the road, a leg here, a leg there, guts strewn all over the road.

I’m absolutely not going to post it on my blog, because my readers are likely to lose the contents of their stomachs if they see it. But I’ve seen it, and so have many others. You can probably find it for yourself with a little Google-fu. I did, however, verify the photo with local landmarks, and the position of the covered bodies in the photographs the press has released. So it’s not a fake (there have been weaponized fake pics floating around social media all too often lately).

It is, by an order of magnitude, a more powerful picture than the dead Syrian boy.

So why haven’t you seen even a semi-censored/pixelated version of this picture? Is it because it is too gruesome? Doubtful. Certainly if that were true, they could have at least posted an alternate angle.

No, the gruesome death of Ebba Akerlund doesn’t fit the pro-Islam, pro-migrant narrative. They could weaponize the photo, if they chose to, but they don’t want to. So why are pictures of Syrian children weaponized, and Swedish children not? It’s not rocket science, obviously.

This could have been worldwide news, at a level that would dwarf the dead Syrian boy, or the affair with United Airlines. But only a few outlets are even carrying her story at all.

It’s enough to make one sick, almost as sick as someone who saw the picture in question.

As for the media, I’d appreciate it if you stopped wasting my time, trying to sell Islam to the West like some kind of used car salesman decked out in 70s plaid, trying desperately to clear his lot of lemons. I’m not buying, okay?

Trump & Syria

Well, the reaction to Trump’s attack on Syria is, to say the least, rather mixed. Personally, I am somewhat disappointed. I don’t know about all of my readers, but I’m exhausted of Middle Eastern quagmires. Evan McMullin decided this was a good time to agree with Trump’s attack… and then bash Trump anyway. So doing what his opponents want doesn’t seem to have any effect on how much they hate him. If that was his goal, it failed miserably.

On the other hand, doom-and-gloom folks who say this is the end of Trump are off base, too. Drudge has something like 65% favorability for the attack on their recent poll last time I looked at it, and only 21% opposed (the remainder are uncertain). So folks on the right are still more or less behind him.

All that being said, I’d prefer if Trump concentrated on our domestic issues, especially illegal immigration. That, and keeping Syrian migrants out of the country, since those nations who have embraced mass numbers of migrants continue to suffer terror attacks from the same. Middle Eastern quagmires never end well. We’ve tried them time and time again, and the cost in blood and treasure isn’t worth it. To put it simply, it’s not our problem. And, quite frankly, I’m irritated at those who want to import these problems into my country.

All that being said, Francis has written a much better summary of where we are now that this has happened, and so I will more or less defer to him on this.

As I said on Twitter earlier, this is disappointing to me. I hoped to see better from Trump. However, I’ll let this one pass. There are many plausible explanations for why he did this, and not all of them are bad. That being said, I hope this is an aberration, and not the setting the tone for his administration. Otherwise I might be inclined to rethink my support for him going forward.

The Edgar Suit is Slipping Away

The esteemed Sarah Hoyt has written a great followup to Marxism: the Bug Wearing an Edgar Suit. As we know, the Left infiltrates institutions, guts them, and wears the skin of the destroyed institution, demanding the respect once due to the original. They then use this to destroy individuals who do not cooperate with the politically correct narrative. Marxists may be terrible economists, and inverted moralists, but they are quite good at playing political games. It may be the only real talent they have.

Unfortunately that talent is generally sufficient to launch them to the fore.

Sarah explains for us:

There was a time — listen to me, children — when the left had the power to utterly destroy anyone they chose to.

 

They would descend in a swarm, find some little thing you had said, take it out of context, then pound you with it until you no longer had a job, a marriage, any friends willing to admit to knowing you.

 

Actually it wasn’t even required that they take something you said and take it out of context.  They controlled all the gate keeping positions and a whisper campaign could go out — the equivalent of having your papers stamped PU for Politically Unreliable — and depending on how much money they could make off you, you’d either be turned out without references (so to put it) or, in my field, be kept in midlist durance vile.  (In other fields there are equivalents, where you do all the work, but never get anywhere with money, let alone power.)

 

This is partly how they GOT all the gatekeeping positions, and kept them, or in other words, how they gutted all the important institutions of our culture and then wore the institutions’ skin, demanding respect.

Most of us on the Right have dealt with this. The options were generally to hide your political views, and stuff yourself into the Conservative closet, or to suffer significant penalties to your career, your social life, and your income. The Left made Conservatism expensive in terms of social capital. However, as Sarah tells us, the Left had to spend vast amounts of capital themselves in order to achieve this. They had to take over academia, the media, entertainment, and infiltrate pretty much every sizable institution in the country. In simple terms, they needed a monopoly.

Because if a Right-winger had the ability to leave the places where the Left held sway, he could no longer be silenced.

The Edgar suit has been slipping away for quite some time now. In 2016, the media’s skin suit slipped off entirely. Their hatred of Trump was so great, and their love of Hillary so complete, that the skin suit cracked and fell apart. Everyone knows the media is partisan now. The fiction of an unbiased, impartial purveyor of news has fallen away forever. And here’s the kicker: all of this vast expenditure of social capital was insufficient to topple Donald Trump’s campaign. They put all their chips into the pot, and still couldn’t buy victory.

They continue to attack Rightists this way, and they enjoyed some success with Milo (though he avoided complete defeat, too), but increasingly, they require cooperation from the Right itself in order to destroy enemies. Treacherous, dishonest blowhards like Evan McMullin are solicited by the Left for cooperative action, because the Left lacks the ability to win these battles alone any longer.

And even that was insufficient to totally destroy their chosen target. They did some damage, but Milo was left standing.

Even if a Rightist may lose such a conflict, it behooves us to fight to the end, tooth-and-nail, because even a Leftist victory is Pyrrhic for them, now. Force them to spend ever-more absurd amounts of money and social capital. Bankrupt them on the social stage. Make victory so utterly expensive that even they are afraid to pay the price.

It’s like punching a bully in the nose. You may win the resulting fight, or you may lose, but rest assured, the bully will now have to add this to his mental calculus: if I attack this man, he’ll punch me in the face.

And, increasingly, we are winning these engagements, because the accumulated respect due to original institutions is fading. The skin suit is rotting. Edgar’s carcass is slipping away, revealing the alien cockroach festering underneath the maggot-infested sack of meat.

Every time the left pulls that lever for the outrage machine, they’re spending capital.  Every time they start a witch hunt, the skin suit slips a little and the respect we owed the gutted institution is lost.

 

It won’t be long till our only reaction to outrageous accusations is what it already is in Science Fiction outside their circles: point and make duck noises.

Sarah makes an excellent point here. Someday these fights won’t even be serious any longer. We will laugh at them. They will be outside, looking in. But make no mistake, even then we must remain vigilant. The Marxist is always looking for his way in, and the Marxist will always be with us. Its overly-simplistic moral relativism will always appeal to some, and will always be manipulated by those seeking it as a path to personal power. Call it whatever you will, but even the ancient Greeks understood it well enough:

Remember your Aristophanes:

Praxagora: I want all to have a share of everything and all property to be in common; there will no longer be either rich or poor; […] I shall begin by making land, money, everything that is private property, common to all. […]

 

Blepyrus: But who will till the soil?

 

Praxagora: The slaves.

The Police State – Now at Your Local Hotel

This bit of news can really set a man’s blood to boil: Widower staying with his own daughter, 13, is accused of being a PAEDOPHILE by Travelodge staff and interviewed by police all because he booked a double room.

The story is pretty simple, a British father who lost his wife to cancer years before took his 13 year old daughter on a short little vacation. He booked a room at the Travelodge, and went to check in, and the only type of room they had left was a double room, so he said he’d take it…

…then a whole dramatic escapade ensues where the Travelodge manager interrogates the customer, calls the police, and accuses the father of being a pedo. Police take the child away from her father, and interrogate her as to whether not he is her father.

It’s absurd that a meddling hotel manager would do this, of course, but at the same time consider the blindness the British authorities had toward the Rotherham rape cases. If the supposed perp is a Muslim or non-white, the practice is largely ignored out of fear that the authorities will be tarred as racist. If a British man takes his daughter on a vacation, he is subjected to ludicrous accusations with absolutely no evidence whatsoever behind them. Then both father and daughter are interrogated by the police.

This is rather like the absurdity of old grandmothers being subjected to random deep TSA screenings.

I’ve taken to calling this phenomenon Reverse Profiling, insofar as whatever the common sense profiling might suggest, the authorities must do the exact opposite. If, for instance, purple Martians were known to be more likely to commit random acts of terrorism, those same purple Martians must be let in without any screening whatsoever. And if old grandmothers were known to rarely, if ever, commit said acts, the book must be thrown at as many of them as possible.

The hotel chain, meanwhile, crafts lies to try and justify their actions:

Mr Darwell complained and says that the company are now falsely claiming that he tried to pay by cash in order to justify their suspicion.

‘They say I insisted on paying cash when I arrived but its rubbish. I had already paid by credit card before I even arrived,’ he added.

The increasing involvement of companies in policing and politics is starting to become quite worrisome to me. They are becoming a cog in demands of the State. And meanwhile, SJWs make demands that companies embrace political correctness, that is to say Leftism. We like in a bizarre world wherein Capitalism is, itself, being bent to the will of Leftism. It’s beyond crony Capitalism and into some kind of bizarre hybrid not entirely dissimilar from Chinese Market Communism, or whatever they are calling their system these days.

‘Our colleagues are trained based on current national guidelines from the NSPCC, the police and other agencies and in the past, hotel team actions have led to successful intervention to protect young people.

The government said to jump… and even in a blatant case of obvious misjudgment, they jumped. A decree comes down from on high that hotels should do (x), no matter how ridiculous or stupid it may be, and off they go.

I bet dollars to donuts that the hotel manager wouldn’t have said a damn thing if the father had been a Pakistani and his daughter had been in a burkha. And just who do you think the odds favor in cases of kiddy diddling? After all, Mohammed himself was okay with the practice, so long as they were older than 9.

Imagine, even, that the father had been, instead, a mother. Feminists would have crawled out of the woodwork to make this an instance of sexism, and proof of the evil Patriarchy. But they’ll be silent for this. No outrage, because deep down, most of them would probably think the man deserved it because he was male.

But let’s be honest, if it were a mother and her child, nobody would have batted an eyelash anyway. Only white men are evil, after all, didntcha know?

Debt: The Opiate of the Masses

Lately, debt has been on my mind. America has been addicted to it as long as I’ve been alive. Our government is in debt, companies are in debt, individuals are in debt… even my local CDD is in debt. Credit is a dangerous tool, one that is easily turned on the wielder. Thus the comparison to opioids. What may have a use in certain cases, especially emergencies, may become addictive and deadly if not managed properly.

Recently, I rejoined an ancient computer hardware forum, and some of the folks there were discussing credit. As is normal for me these days, I expressed my general aversion to debt, and extolled the wisdom of living with your means. The hostility this engendered was, perhaps, worse than if I had declared myself a worshiper of Lucifer. It was like I had personally run up to their homes and kicked their dogs. Or, perhaps more appropriate to the title of this post, as if I had suggest that the opium user should quit his habit.

A few of the forum denizens explained that it was better to buy expensive things on credit, if the interest rates were low, and then invest the cash at a presumably higher rate. And sure, playing the spread between interest rates is an old trick. But here’s the kicker: how many of them were actually doing this? I hear this excuse all the time from folks I know have little to no liquid assets. It’s a lot like the addict saying “I can quit any time I want.” They claim they can sell the car, or furniture, or whatever they bought on credit whenever they want, and that debt can have beneficial effects too.

If it truly worked this way in practice, there’d be a lot less bankruptcies and delinquencies, I think.

Perhaps some folks do play the spread between investment returns and low loan rates successfully, and there is nothing wrong with such a strategy, if well executed. But they are surely outnumbered by folks who use this as a quick excuse to load up on things they want, and can’t afford. It is the same with folks who claim they are using their credit cards for the points, or the rewards. Some people do this successfully (my in-laws play this game very well). But a hefty fraction use this to excuse their credit addiction, and wind up carrying balances, easily wiping out any gains from rewards or airline miles.

Another excuse is that credit cards are more secure than debit cards, for a variety of reasons. It’s easier to cancel a charge than to reverse a debit transaction, and the credit card puts an extra layer of defense between your savings and checking accounts (or wads of cash that can be mugged from you) on the one hand, and the merchant on the other. Again, there is truth to this. I actually employ such a strategy myself. I exclusively use a credit card for most medium-to-major purchases (and all online purchases), and have the full balance paid each month automatically, so balances are never carried and I don’t get charged interest. But how many folks actually do this, and how many use it as an enabling excuse?

Some quick statistics on credit usage:

The average household with credit card debt pays a total of $1,292 in credit card interest per year.

That’s $1,300 flushed down the toilet every year. The average balance held by folks who had credit card debt was $16,748.

The average auto loan balance, again for folks who have auto loans, was $28,948.

Probably worst of all is the average student loan balance of $49,905.

Finally we have mortgage debt, which averages at $176,222.

Now a lot of folks will balk at the mortgage debt figure, but the fact remains, as I’ve said before, that mortgage debt isn’t “good” either, at least not personal mortgages. In a business situation, the optics are a little better, as business is, in essence, always a game of calculated risk and reward. But this is a game that can screw over the individual very quickly. The worst case from a business perspective is that the business fails. If you don’t have personal liability for the business, well, it still sucks, but you’ll be okay.

Some folks may talk about the mortgage interest exemption, and the low rates of mortgages these days, and the fact that houses are just so damned expensive. These things are all true. And in my case, I still do have a mortgage (though it is much less than the average, at least). I regard this as a personal failure, however, and I would not recommend that others do it. Indeed, eliminating the mortgage is my highest financial priority. I picked up a considerable amount of extra work solely to pay this down as quickly as possible.  If my readers wonder why some days The Declination doesn’t get an update, there you have it. I’m probably pulling another 12-14 hour workday.

If I had it to do over again, I’d buy a travel trailer when I turned 18, park it on a piece of crappy land someplace, live on the cheap and stash my money for a decade. At the end of it, I’d have been able to buy a house, car, and anything I wanted in cash. And I absolutely mean that. The only reason I don’t now is that I have a family, and the place we are at is good for my family, and I’m pretty certain I can pay this off in a couple more years. Even then, this is no excuse. Getting a mortgage was a mistake, one I must mitigate as best I can.

Now, if you feel you can earn a better return on your money playing the spread between mortgage rates and investment returns, by all means, do so. But if you don’t have the liquid assets to pay it off at any time, it’s not a good idea.

Sometimes I suspect my grandfather’s generation, who lived during the Great Depression, was much wiser in this. They knew the dangers of debt, and the vagaries of banking. They didn’t trust the government or the banks, sometimes in almost comical fashion. One grandparent of mine was fond of stashing wads of cash in utterly bizarre places throughout the house, places no one would think to look. A family friend buried guns in a sealed box in the backyard, just in case the government ever decided to come for them. Another had stashes of gold he kept hidden. Folks from that era were far more suspicious and less trusting. And certainly, my grandparents were not fond of debt. Neither side of the family carried a mortgage, or ever financed a car.

We’ve come to the age when a smart man can rationalize away conventional wisdom in favor of his addictions. He can talk a good game, and tell himself it’s all okay, and what he is doing is supremely clever. But conventional wisdom survived some terrible times in history… and historically, spendthrifts often come to bad ends. And the rationalizations aren’t so different from the addict telling folks that he can handle his habit, and that he’s not really addicted. After all, he can quit any time he wants to, right?

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