Dangerous Helicopterism

So some of my readers may have been wondering why I’ve been a little quiet lately. Wonder no more. I’ll be writing a regular weekly column for Milo’s new Dangerous.com site. My usual blog posts will continue here, of course.

The first article can be found here (please comment on it there): THALES: Curious About Helicopterism? Let Me Explain. There I got into detail about a sort of gallows humor meme many of my readers may be familiar with.

This is a pretty big milestone by my accounting. I want to thank some of the folks that have helped my writing get to this point. Tom Kratman, Sarah Hoyt, and Francis Porretto have been huge influences, and I never would have made it this far without them.

More to come!

Signalling Lies

These days, I figure almost everybody knows someone who is a complete idiot with his money. Somebody who, perhaps, makes a decent wage but constantly overspends in an effort to keep up with the Joneses. This is the kind of person who buys a $5000 Italian leather couch and then tells you that it’s a $5000 leather couch. It is important to him, you see, that you acknowledge his ability to spend money on overpriced couches. This is nothing new; it’s a form of status signalling that goes back to the dawn of humanity, most likely. My beads are prettier than your beads. My mud hut is bigger than yours.

The fascinating thing about it, however, is that most folks I’ve met who do this don’t actually have the money. They have car payments and furniture installment loans. They have credit card debt and student loan debt. They may have home equity loans on top of their regular mortgages. And frequently, they lack the liquid assets to cover any of these notes. Their lives are constantly stressed, for any interruption in their income stream could expose the lie of their status signalling. People would know that they were broke. That is more terrifying to such folks than losing the possessions themselves.

Even folks who do have the money often spend themselves into poverty trying to chase status. Stories of celebrities who spend their vast sums of money and wind up in crazy amounts of debt are absurdly common. But at least they had the money at some point. The status signal wasn’t entirely dishonest.

SJWs do something similar with regards to various forms of bigotry. Their goal isn’t necessarily to defeat bigotry, as some of the more honest among their number admit that it isn’t really possible to eliminate all biases in human beings in the first place. And even the most idiotic of SJWs has to know deep down that in America, we have it pretty good with regards to demographic group tolerance – or we did, anyway, before SJWs started screwing around with it again. Rather, the goal of the SJW is to signal that he is not racist/sexist/whatever.

Like the guy who shows you his expensive couch, the SJW who spouts off how much he loves Antifa, and how he goes to all the local BLM protests, is actually saying look at me I’m better than you. He’s signalling that he’s one of the enlightened, educated, and right-thinking individuals. Not like those icky poor people; not like those icky Right-Wing would-be Nazis.

It’s all about ego gratification. It’s about feeling superior, and being able to look down with disdain on the unwashed, the impure, the unrighteous. Even some who are nominally Right-Wing have fallen victim to this (see: Tom Nichols, Bill Kristol, etc…). But like the neighbor who wants you to think he’s rich, many of them aren’t. Like Joss Whedon, feminist warrior who cheated on his wife with a dozen women, they are signalling a lie. Some, like Bill Kristol, may have once been what they are signalling, but aren’t any longer. Somewhere along the way, they took the signalling to be more important than the truth.

It’s confusing the packaging for the product, confusing PR with the people behind it. It is tacitly saying that appearances are more important than realities. This is a core tenet of Social Justice Leftism. A superficial understanding leads many to believe women make 77 cents for every dollar a man makes. That is the appearance. Dig deeper, and the truth comes out: women make different career choices, work less hours, and tend toward lower risk tolerance. When these things are accounted for, the gap vanishes into irrelevancy. But this doesn’t matter, because the superficial appearance trumps the reality. Thus the SJW signals his acceptance of appearance over truth by constantly bleating this metric.

Underneath this ideology is a house of cards. One misstep, one accidental exposure of truth, and like the indebted man with his fancy furniture, the repo man will come and take it all away. Harvey Weinstein’s casting couch, Joss Whedon’s infidelity, or as I spoke of once before… an SJW’s obsession with getting beaten by men dressed as Nazis in a BDSM club… and it all it comes crashing down around them. Their moral preening is no more true than the yuppie’s affectation of wealth.

I often tell folks that I’m not that great of a guy. I prefer the position of Socrates on wisdom: none of us are truly wise. I prefer the Christian’s view on sinning: we all do it; we all fuck up. And I prefer a dose of humility to the obsession with social status. I don’t always achieve these lofty goals (see #2), but I’ve long believed that trying to achieve them is worth something. On the flip side of that, it’s very irritating when someone tries to signal a lie, and we all know it’s a lie.

I don’t judge my neighbor on the basis of his wealth, why should I care about that? But if he goes out of his way to lie about it, then I care about being lied to. I can’t be too harsh on a man who has committed various sexual indiscretions (provided they aren’t grossly illegal, of course – see pedo shit, rape, etc…), sex is and always will be a hangup for humanity. But if you pretend to be a moral puritan about sex, and it comes out that you are a creep, then I care about being lied to. It is a ‘cast the first stone’ situation. If you are casting stones at someone, and you are guilty of the same, you are tacking on intentional, self-centered dishonesty in addition to whatever it is you did. At least have the courtesy to be quiet about it. Better yet, go ask forgiveness from Christ.

On top of the aspect of dishonesty, it’s also insulting and patronizing. We know the signals are a lie. For the man bragging about his wealth, look… we can do math. For the man bragging about his sexual purity, we know you’re full of shit, we’re human beings too, you know. We know how it is with sexual desire. For the man declaring himself wise, an expert in all things, we know it’s all bullshit. We see when you are caught in lies and mistakes. In other words, we aren’t fooled, and by continuing on with your status signals, you’re only fooling yourself. Even your fellow signalers know, deep down, that you are lying. They merely enable your lies so that you may, quid pro quo, enable theirs.

Ultimately, the signals won’t work. Even if you fool us for a little while, sooner or later we’ll find out.

I don’t think any human can remove all signalling from himself; some of it is undoubtedly unconscious. And sometimes a signal can be true: Donald Trump’s ostentatious wealth is actually true in his case. But better to err on the safe side when it comes to signalling. Best not to do it. If you must, be very sure it’s not covering a lie.

Sanctuary “Justice”

Well, we have a verdict for Kate Steinle’s killer: not guilty. He admitted to killing her but claimed it was an accident. That claim, of course, changed several times over the course of this story. Whether it was a result of media incompetence, his own lies, or some combination of both, I cannot say. He was, however, convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Supposedly he is to be deported. Again. After all, he already came back five times, why not a sixth?

Either way, I’m not surprised. California is a Marxist paradise, after all.

Leftists are generally fond of using the “if it saves one life” defense, or its uglier cousin “you just want people to die” with regards to everything from government-run healthcare to regulation and gun control. When dealing with sanctuary cities and illegal immigrant crime, however, you will hear nothing but crickets from them. After all, only the Left is allowed to use such a blatant fallacy to guilt their opponents into silence.

Remy explains in a humorous video:

 

Trump was widely panned by his critics for suggesting that Mexico doesn’t exactly send us their best and brightest when the illegals hop over the border. I fail to see the error in his statement.  A couple weeks ago I was talking with a friend who lives in Virginia, and she was lamenting the rapid growth of MS-13 in her locale, many of whom are illegals and/or are involved in illegal immigrant smuggling and, of course, much worse. We’re talking about Virginia here. It’s not exactly close to the border.

Ann Coulter suggested in her book In Trump We Trust that the real illegal immigrant figure could be as high as 30 million, not the more commonly reported 11-12 million figure. This gives us a range of about 3% to 9%. That is not a small number, and we can see why Democrats push for amnesty and eventual citizenship for them, or at least a way to get some of them to the polls. Kate Steinle is a minor bump in the road for their impending demographic takeover (famously celebrated in the book The Emerging Democratic Majority). Trump’s unorthodox electoral victory shows that they are very close as it is. What value is the life of some white girl in the face of all that?

Yes. Two can play the “you want people to die” game, Lefties.

If Trump puts up a wall before 2020, he’s going to be reelected in a landslide. If he fails, then expect the Democrats to push through amnesty as fast as they possibly can, to prevent the rise of anyone right-of-center ever again. After that, things are likely to get very dicey in America.

Meanwhile, a murderer will go free… and probably come back across the border soon enough.

Bigotry: The Ultimate Sin

Bigotry is the ultimate sin in modern American Leftism. Racism and sexism are the most commonly cited varieties, of course, but other permutations exist. Homophobia, Islamophobia, fatphobia, ageism, and presumably a whole host of other possible violations.

The fact that it is accounted as the ultimate sin provides the Leftist with a moral club with which to browbeat his opponents. If one accepts the proposition that these are the worst sins of humanity, and one also accepts the proposition that all humans are biased (which is true – humans categorically cannot be fully objective), then everyone is guilty of the ultimate sin. Weaponized empathy is then applied. You are guilty, look at all the horrible things that happened in the world, which are now your fault because you’re guilty of the ultimate sin.

Redemption is only possible through the application of Progressive policies. Give up your wealth, give up your possessions. Surrender your country, vote the way the Progressive technocracy wants. And even then, the intercession through political submission is only temporary. Tomorrow you will still be a racist, and more will be required of you.

Take this Leftist example on Twitter. Admittedly, he is not exactly the brightest bulb even in the ordinarily dim Progressive world. But he does a nice job of illustrating this view of the Ultimate Sin ™.

thales2

Read it very carefully. “Someone who is not racist is a better person than someone who is.” And then our intrepid Leftist attempts to escape by taking issue with my application of “a tad.” The application, of course, was very deliberate, as was my example. We’ve already had plenty of real life examples of highly intelligent, useful, inventive people being tarred and feathered because they were deemed guilty of the Ultimate Sin ™. Remember the case of Brendan Eich? Remember Tim Hunt? So a man can do something, accomplish something great, but everything is rendered null and void with even a minor violation of the Progressive narrative. You could cure cancer, but if you made a joke about “chinks” you’re now accounted as lower than every person Progressives see as not-racist.

Let me rephrase that a bit. The person Progressives deem as not-bigoted (and this is a temporary license which can be revoked at any time) is automatically a better person than some of the brightest, most accomplished people in history.

Worse, bigotry is seen as a binary state with them. You are either bigoted, or you are not. Gradations are meaningless. The man who makes a politically incorrect joke about “wetbacks” is as evil as Hitler, because both are “bigots.” This is one of the convenient tools of Antifas who see Nazis in their breakfast cereal, all Ultimate Sinners are bigots, all bigots are Fascists, all Fascists are Nazi, all Nazis are Literally Hitler. They misunderstand why Hitler was evil. He wasn’t evil because he didn’t like Jews, he was evil because he killed them by the millions. It is the physical action not the thought which rendered him evil.

Progressives lump both into the same category and call it all bigotry, but one of these is not like the other. If you have a bad thought you must feel guilty for the thought. If the badthink turns into speech, you are a Nazi, because speech is synonymous with physical action (except when they are talking, in which case it isn’t). They are like Neo in The Matrix, dodging sense and consistent definition like the protagonist dodged bullets.

Everybody has inappropriate thoughts of some kind or another. The sensible person dismisses them and does not allow them to unduly affect his life. He need not feel guilty about them. He merely needs to not act on them. Do not allow weaponized empathy to hijack your brain and make you feel guilty for bad thoughts (some of which aren’t even bad in any objective sense – they are just un-PC). Do not fall into the trap of bigotry as the Ultimate Sin ™. And certainly there is no need to submit to Progressives so that they may conduct intercession for you or grant you a temporary, revocable license as a non-bigot.

Consider the extreme endpoint of the Progressive train of thought. An equal-opportunity murderer is better than the man who cures cancer but makes a politically incorrect racial joke. The Marxist roots of this line of thinking should be evident by now. It’s the same strain of ideological madness that led to Communist regimes prioritizing political criminals over violent ones. Fidel Castro released many murderers and employed them as guards and executioners for political prisoners. After all, the murderer is better than the political opposition.

Progressives think this is getting to the root of the problem; that by attacking the thought, the bias, they are somehow curbing the action. Except that this doesn’t work. Controlling thought at this level is impossible short of deliberate brainwashing; short of making everyone functionally identical drones. The proper way of heading off bad behavior is to not act on something inappropriate. When a man gets mad at someone over something small, he may think about beating the stuffing out of that person. But should he act on the thought, or dismiss it and calm himself down?

This is part of simple human maturity. The Progressive must treat humans as children, incapable of walling off thought and action; that each thought must turn into corresponding action, so one must be constantly on the lookout for biases, wrongthink, or otherwise. Some of the smarter ones attempt to escape this trap by (truthfully) admitting that this isn’t actually possible. But then they turn around and say we must now compensate for these implicit biases; for these thoughts. They believe that the thoughts must somehow be turning into unconscious actions that are small and immeasurable as single units, but still causing a collective effect. Since clearly [insert demographic group here] are worse off than another, the Progressive might say,  we must compensate for the difference, because the cause of the difference must be collective wrongthink; collective bias against [demographic group].

There is an unfounded assumption baked into that: namely, that such small, unconscious actions are the primary cause of such inequity. Many other explanations exist. With the famous “77 cents on the dollar” comparison with women, different personal career and life choices probably play a role. With regards to black people, Thomas Sowell points to the welfare state as the primary cause. He has explained that by subsidizing the destruction of the black family, the black middle class has been wiped out, and this, accordingly to him, has resulted in the inequity. Some suggest nutrition and dietary choices play a role; that people who eat like crap don’t develop as well. Others suggest general biological differences as another possibility (and not merely racial – but also sexual). Progressive brains explode into rage at the mere hint of this notion. It is considered beyond the pale to discuss. Cultural differences are also often cited, with the famous Asian stereotype being a common example (“you study to be doctor NOW!”).

Point is, whatever the reason(s), the Progressive assumption is that it must be the fault of wrongthinking bigots, and we must transfer their ill-gotten, bigoted gains to the poor, oppressed people of… whatever. Naturally, as intercessors on your behalf (and they get their cut, accordingly), you must submit to their will, or your non-bigot license will be revoked and you will be considered worse than literal murderers.

Because bigotry, you see, is the Ultimate Sin ™.

Happy Thanksgiving

Hopefully my readers are settling down with a nice meal, good company, and a bit of old fashioned entertainment. It’s one day where I often feel the need to set politics aside, because damnit, you can’t talk about that all the time, right? Tomorrow is another day, and I have a full plate of things to discuss then, but for now enjoy a day off from it all.

We’ll be settling in to eat in a few. Turkey, ham, bacon, and all the usual fixings, of course. Stuffing, corn, mashed potatoes and gravy, and yes, the jellied cranberry too – even though some folks think that’s sacrilege. Also, plenty of beer, cigars, and whiskey. Not necessarily in that order, of course. To me it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without a glass of bourbon on the rocks.

I tried to think of something profound or really meaningful to say for Thanksgiving, but it’s a holiday that doesn’t really lend itself to that, in my opinion. To me, it’s just about how things used to be. Family, friends, and a hearty meal. Simple, but enjoyable. Take time away from the world and focus on people who are important to you.

Of course, I try to pretend Black Friday doesn’t exist, and that it isn’t creeping into Thanksgiving itself. What a mess that is. I’ve no idea why anyone would brave it, and push aside a wholesome day to wait in a long line of angry people for a cheap TV or Xbox. But I promised no politics, so we’ll talk more about that another time.

So relax, my friends, have a good time, gorge yourselves silly, and enjoy Thanksgiving.

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