Nassim Nicholas Taleb has delivered an insightful argument: intolerance works. Conceptually, this is fairly simple to grasp. Consider the old saying “the squeaky wheel gets the grease” or the similar “the customer is always right.” We’ve all seen it personally at one time or another. Some customer will be completely unreasonable, and hordes of employees will submit and beg for forgiveness, while the regular folks suffer in obscurity.
Taleb’s take is rather more high-level, however. In the article, he explains how a relatively small number of demanding, intolerant people can come to impose their preferences on everybody on the principle that the flexible individuals will go along with it if the cost is not terribly high.
Islam’s spread is explained in such a context:
The two asymmetric rules were are as follows. First, if a non Muslim man under the rule of Islam marries a Muslim woman, he needs to convert to Islam –and if either parents of a child happens to be Muslim, the child will be Muslim. Second, becoming Muslim is irreversible, as apostasy is the heaviest crime under the religion, sanctioned by the death penalty. The famous Egyptian actor Omar Sharif, born Mikhael Demetri Shalhoub, was of Lebanese Christian origins. He converted to Islam to marry a famous Egyptian actress and had to change his name to an Arabic one. He later divorced, but did not revert to the faith of his ancestors.
You can extrapolate across many generations, and see how Islam’s stubbornness will slowly erode local faiths and traditions, until they are driven into extinction. One suspects this feature of Islam was deliberate.
But it works for non-sinister things, too. Taleb explains this concept by using the example of the circle-U symbol on the back of most juices as the supermarket. This is the symbol of the beverage being kosher. It is less of a hassle to simply make all such beverages kosher, than to develop and maintain two sets of drink lines, one kosher and one not. Since non-Jews don’t care about whether or not something is kosher, soon all such drinks are kosher. They don’t tolerate non-kosher products for their own personal consumption. So the beverage company must choose whether to cater specifically to them with a separate juice line, or just make everything kosher.
In this case, the word “intolerance” is not necessary good or bad, but simply an indicator of inflexibility on a certain matter resulting in an uncaring majority embracing (often by accident) the preferences of a tiny minority. Definitely read Taleb’s original piece to fully understand what I mean by this.
But this concept can be, and often is, used for malicious purposes. Consider:
Clearly can democracy –by definition the majority — tolerate enemies? The question is as follows: “ Would you agree to deny the freedom of speech to every political party that has in its charter the banning the freedom of speech?” Let’s go one step further, “Should a society that has elected to be tolerant be intolerant about intolerance?”
This is in fact the incoherence that Kurt Gödel (the grandmaster of logical rigor) detected in the constitution while taking the naturalization exam. Legend has it that Gödel started arguing with the judge and Einstein, who was his witness during the process, saved him.
I wrote about people with logical flaws asking me if one should be “skeptical about skepticism”; I used a similar answer as Popper when was asked if “ one could falsify falsification”.
We can answer these points using the minority rule. Yes, an intolerant minority can control and destroy democracy. Actually, as we saw, it will eventually destroy our world.
So, we need to be more than intolerant with some intolerant minorities. It is not permissible to use “American values” or “Western principles” in treating intolerant Salafism (which denies other peoples’ right to have their own religion). The West is currently in the process of committing suicide.
Islam, and especially its militant varieties, are taking advantage of the tolerance of Western countries with regards to religion, race, and culture, and using it as a weapon of conquest. In the same way benign preferences like kosher drinks become common, soon kow-towing to Islam will become ubiquitous.
Don’t believe me? Here are die-hard feminist leaders, who don’t-need-no-man, and damn the Patriarchy, cheerfully submitting to Islamic codes of dress, parading in front of the Islamic leaders like pieces of meat for the auction block.
Islam is stubborn and intolerant. And this intolerance is a form of strength, especially within otherwise tolerant societies. So the question becomes, does our tolerance extend to tolerating our own cultural demise? Islam is famously strict on the matter of homosexuality. Should Islamic intolerance of gays (to the extent of executing them) thus be embraced because we are tolerant?
It’s a logical absurdity.
But it extends far beyond Islam. Consider the famous intractability of Vegans and militant vegetarians. Not only do such individuals not want to consume meat, but they become offended if you deign to do it. This is a form of intolerant behavior. My Jewish and Seventh-Day Adventist friends don’t condemn me for eating pork, they simply do not eat it themselves. I have no Vegan friends, because most of them are intolerant. “How dare you eat meat!”
Fortunately, they are small enough to be a nuisance rather than a direct threat to meat consumption. But imagine if intolerant Vegans reached a critical mass (Taleb suggests 3 or 4% can be sufficient for this). How soon before businesses have to start making tough decisions surrounding pleasing the militant Vegans?
The good thing is, carnivores are displaying a certain level of intolerance right back at the Vegans. Observe:
Amusing, of course, but also indicative of a sort of counter-intolerance backlash building against the Vegans. If both sides are intolerant, and one is very small and the other very large, rule by the intolerant minority will be averted.
There are other ways to avert the intolerant minority rule problem. The second is avoid importing the intolerant. This could conceivably work with Islam. Another is cost. It is cheap to make juice kosher, the price difference is near to irrelevant, and there are no other real costs associated with the practice. And so all juice can be kosher, and nobody is really put off by it. But imagine if it cost 10 times as much to make juice kosher? How soon would the practice end, or be restricted to rich Jewish neighborhoods?
Second, the cost structure matters quite a bit. It happens in our first example that making lemonade compliant with Kosher laws doesn’t change the price by much, not enough to justify inventories. But if the manufacturing of Kosher lemonade cost substantially more, then the rule will be weakened in some nonlinear proportion to the difference in costs. If it cost ten times as much to make Kosher food, then the minority rule will not apply, except perhaps in some very rich neighborhoods.
Note that I’m not arguing for this. I don’t know of anybody who gives a damn about kosher lemonade, and I certainly don’t. It wouldn’t surprise me if even Stormfronters were inadvertently drinking kosher products (something I actually find somewhat amusing to think about). Nobody cares because the difference is so absurdly minor. But let’s return to the Vegans. Their preferences are much less tolerant than those of Jewish folks (who will generally leave non-Jews alone about their eating habits).
Now suddenly we have demands that companies stop serving meat, or, alternatively, use practices deemed good enough to satisfy militant organizations like PETA, which would drive up the cost of meat consumption radically. Makes a difference, doesn’t it?
Islam’s religious laws are even more extreme and rigidly stubborn. So, too, are the increasingly ridiculous demands of Social Justice Warriors, in which they take issue with everything from Christianity to whether or not people should be allowed to play video games, or wear dreadlocks. The reach of both Islam and Social Justice is total. Every tiny aspect of life is to be seen through their preferred lenses.
And as per Taleb’s argument, they will win if permitted to continue with their intolerance. The intolerant minority wins. And let’s be honest here: the kosher lemonade would soon disappear under Islamic rule, because Islam is very intolerant of that particular minority.
If Islam and Social Justice ever battled it out for who could be most intolerant, we all know who will win that fight. Both groups wish they could conduct a mass murder of their enemies. But only one group has any practical experience in it, the effective Stalinists having long since died out, leaving purple-haired, genderqueer weaklings to carry the Communist torch.
Islam has no such issue, and thus it earns the title as the most intolerant belief system with any sizable following. And it will win if we tolerate its intolerance.
Fortunately for us, the time appears to be fast approaching when our tolerance of the Islamic world’s antics (and SJW Vegans) will be fully exhausted. In this blogger’s opinion, that time can’t get here quickly enough.
Folks, we’ve gone beyond mere doublethink into the Twilight Zone of Social Justice insanity. There is nothing too stupid, too bereft of meaning, to become an SJW headline. It’s getting to the point that a random chat bot could compose headlines that made more objective sense. Turing’s test must now be applied in reverse: when does a human being become so stupid as to approximate an AOL chat bot?
For our first example, I present Exhibit A:
There is narcissism, there is solipsism, and then there’s whatever the hell this is. The ability of SJWs to coin irrelevant, bizarre jargon for their nigh-incomprehensible word salad is impressive, in its own way. Although, this headline begs the question: did this woman swear an oath to lie only with herself?
I can only presume that this woman conducted a sort of false ceremony in an effort to convince others that she was happy with her miserable life. More attention-seeking devices from the same species that invented the selfie stick and duckface, because damnit, it all has to be about me. Why go through all this effort to convince others of your satisfaction in your choice to remain single? If Social Justice remains true to form, we will soon be told that “sologamy” is morally superior to mere monogamy, because all sex is rape, or all men are evil (#YesAllMen). But hey, it’s all about equal rights for women, right?
Let’s move along to Exhibit B:
Affinity Magazine is one of the few SJW rags to approach Gawker levels of Social Justice virtue signalling. I actually skimmed this pile of drivel, and I feel dumber for having read it. One quote stood out as especially idiotic:
The surplus of women seeking higher education at universities has created less power for women in relationships they develop. This has caused women to compromise their Christian values and have sex in order to attract and keep a male partner. Women have to compete with one another for a male’s attention. Because of the ratio, women are both pressured into being promiscuous and being slut-shamed by the Christian influenced American society.
Here we see the SJW ranting about the “surplus of women seeking higher education.” Presumably, she is bothered by the fact that more women than men are attending and graduating colleges these days? I thought education was all about empowering women? Make up your damned mind, please. Now, she explains, colleges are promiscuous because they are not Christian enough? And this is, somehow, Christianity’s fault because America is mostly Christian.
Even a superficial reading of the article is sufficient to expose the author as a drooling idiot.
On to Exhibit C:
Family is a concept Marxism has been at war with for a very long time. A strong nuclear family tends to resistance collectivization because of the simple truth that a parent generally wants the best for his children. Bread lines, riots in the streets, and the other sorts of things common in Communist countries just aren’t seen as wonderful and great for the children. Certainly Venezuela’s infant mortality rate didn’t so so well recently.
And so for SJWs, anything to promote the image of families as divisive, oppressing, and outmoded is quite welcome, even when presented in the passive-aggressive form of “how not to hate your husband.” The very premise is ridiculous. You don’t need a guide to tell you not to hate your husband. If you hate him, why are you married in the first place? And why would having a child with someone you love cause you to suddenly do a complete 180 and hate his guts?
Okay, it’s not a news headline. But it is a spectacular example of just how far the Leftist will go in his quest to make everything political. A mother who died 25 years ago is dragged into a political tweet about Trump on Mothers Day. This rationalization is like a final boss in the game of word salad. The pretzel-like intellectual hoops Joss must jump through to associate his dead mother with Donald Trump are truly staggering to observe.
What is this? What is he even trying to say? Is he saying he’s glad his mother is dead, because if she were alive, Donald Trump’s existence would somehow ruin her day? Is he saying that, if his mother wasn’t dead, he’d “give her the gift” of death, because Donald Trump is president?
Our final exhibit today exceeds even the idiocy and pettiness of Joss Wheedon:
Yes, my friends, this is true. Trump sometimes eats more ice cream than other people at the dinner table. CNN thinks they are delivering a funny when the reporter says “and CNN got the scoop… literally!” Bad puns aside, the pettiness of talking about dessert choices at the White House is low even for the very same media that fell for the 4chan Russian hotel prostitutes hoax.
When I saw this graphic floating around Social Media, I was convinced it was a photoshop job, just because I couldn’t believe even CNN would stoop quite that low. But I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised, after all the media told us that Trump’s habit of ordering his steak well done was some kind of apocalyptic omen.
Oh, whatever will you do, if you are eating dinner at the White House, and the server brings you one scoop of ice cream, and gives Trump two!
The lengths the media has gone to in order to discredit Trump is unlike anything I’ve ever seen in America. The vitriol, the passive-aggression, attacking him for even the most minor and petty of perceived transgressions against the gods of ice cream scoops has convinced me that this is only one step removed from all-out open warfare. Nothing is off limits. Not even the most minor of things, one’s taste in food, is off the table.
The attack is 24/7, never letting up for even a moment, with the entire media, most of the government, and most of the entertainment industry engaged in constant battle against Trump’s administration.
They didn’t even hate Bush quite this much.
Francis wrote a quick short story that bears some relation to my last bit of writing. It’s definitely worth a read. One line, which I won’t give away, is particularly amusing, and captures a fundamental flaw in the various Progressive protest movements that have popped up recently.
It’s fascinating to note the motivations of these protesters. One video I saw some months back was an interview with three vaguely gangster-esque black men. The interviewer asked them why they were attending the feminist Slut Walk event, where women come out dressed like strippers if, indeed, they even bother to wear clothing at all, and then rant and rave about how rape is a problem, and walking around mostly naked does not imply anything sexual. Certainly the trio of gang bangers looked rather out of place among the women with transparent thongs and nipple tape, with “proud slut” scrawled onto their breasts with sharpie pens.
The gangsters were emphatic and honest in their reply: “it’s easy to get laid here. Lots of loose chicks.”
It does make you wonder how many people just show up to these things to get some easy sex. The amount is not likely to be trivial, in this blogger’s opinion.
Just a quick short story. Enjoy.
The old Waffle House wasn’t what it used to be, Jonathan reflected. Of course, that was true enough of any roadside eatery, these days. The eggs were runny and cold, the toast slightly burnt. But food was food, and you had to take what you could get.
He glanced outside the diner, where the usual protest was in full swing. That, too, had become a regular feature of his life. Every morning, the funding came to keep the agitators coming, to keep the signs fresh and the protesters numerous and at least somewhat clean.
Jonathan looked up as the door opened, and the old bell rang. He knew who it was without looking, of course, but some deep, primal instinct told him never to have his back to this man.
“Hi, Jon.” The man walked up to the counter and sat down crisply, his suit exquisitely tailored and pressed, his graying hair perfectly combed, without so much as a single misplaced strand. His tie was a deep and bright red, solid, and unadorned. He looked every bit of the corporate executive that he most assuredly wasn’t. For how could a Red be a corporatist?
There was nothing for Jon to say, for he didn’t even know the man’s name. So he merely nodded and averted his gaze slightly. He wondered briefly if he was the antelope, and the other man a predator, gazing through the grass at his quarry in one of those old Discovery channel shows. The man’s toothy grin did nothing to dissuade him from the comparison.
Snapping his fingers, the suited man summoned the waitress, an overweight tranny with unshaven stubble framing her face. But you weren’t supposed to notice things like that anymore, Jon chastised himself silently. All bodies were beautiful. He repeated the mantra in his mind until the wrongthink vanished into the mental ether.
“Give me a cup of coffee, and then I’ll have whatever he’s having,” the man’s smile broadened. “But do tell the cook to pay better attention to his work.”
Normally, such a demand would be met with disdain. Nobody wanted to serve white men anything. They were lucky if they even got the food they paid for. But, like Jon, the waitress seemed to sense something off about the man and nodded quickly.
“Good. Now that that’s handled, on to business, my friend.” The man slid a manila envelope across the counter. “The usual pay for our revolutionaries. You’ll find a little extra in there for yourself, too. You’ve done well this week.”
Jon forced a smile. “Thank you. I am sure it will help in the struggle.”
“No doubt.” The man’s smile slowly disappeared, and Jon felt a spike of fear. “We will need to do a little more this week, however.”
“More?” Jon wondered aloud.
“Yes, more. The fascists have been busy this week, as you know. There’s been a lot of incidents. The revolutionaries down in south beach got a little overzealous. Some kids were killed. The fascists gunned down some of our people in reprisal, and we can use that, of course…”
Jon nodded in understanding. “But the optics are still bad. It will look like they were justified. They’ll win the moral high ground.”
The man smiled again. “Exactly. So I need you to provoke the fascists into action this week. It needs to be brutal and bloody. We need some… sacrifices made for the Revolution.”
Jon knew what that meant, and he hesitated. He’d have to get the rabble-rousers to provoke a shooting, and some poor children of color would need to die. The bodies would prove the fascists to be murdering warmongers, and points would be scored in the media and on the Internet.
There were times he wondered if he was even on the right side of history anymore. Everything was about who could produce more dead children, who could goad the other side into delivering as much suffering as possible. He was no longer in the business of creating a world of equality and fairness, he was in the business of getting innocent people killed.
Nodding in understanding, the suited man’s expression turned both sympathetic and grave. “I know it’s hard, Jon. But that’s how it has to be. This is war, and if we don’t do it, the fascists will win.”
Jon said nothing. At least he understood why the man was paying him extra this week. He could drown out his conscience in drugs and sex. Party all night, riot all day, or sometimes the reverse, if the occasion called for it. It was a far cry from the dreams of a futurist progressive society he’d been sold in college.
Though it had been decades since he’d last seen the inside of a church, the voice of his town’s lone pastor echoed in his mind in that moment, almost against his will. The pastor often talked about Cain, and why the jealousy and murderous rage had grown within him. “Cain was blind to the flaws in his own character, and ascribed his woes to his innocent brother.” Was it possible he was doing the same? Blinding himself to the flaws of his own movement?
“The Devil,” the preacher told him, “he makes you think his desires are your desires. And so the Devil wanted Abel dead, and worked his will through Cain.”
But fascist wingnuts were still fascist wingnuts, he thought to himself. And if he was selling his soul, so were they.
The suited man seemed to know his thoughts, and grinned. He lit up a cigarette, which had been illegal indoors for decades now, and puffed on it gently, the haze of smoke obscuring his features. Nobody bothered to stop him.
“Do you believe in God, Jon?” The man asked.
“No,” Jon answered reflexively.
“I don’t like the idea that some all-powerful being controls my fate.” Jon replied.
“So what about the historical dialectic? The inevitable progression of economic and socio-political systems?” The man challenged. Outside, the protesters were growing louder and more angry.
“That’s different. That’s mankind making his own destiny. We evolve. We progress as a collective species. Nietzsche said it best. God is dead.”
The man’s grin broadened. “Ah, yes. Maybe so. But what about the Devil?”
“What about him?”
“Funny thing about the Devil, is he always seemed to know people better. God would say ‘do this’ or ‘don’t do that.’ And then he’d offer the choice of willing obedience. And he might tell you some reasons why the obedience was wise. But the Devil,” the man took in a long drag from the cigarette, “the Devil, he was smarter than that. His question was always ‘what do you want?’ He gained obedience through bargaining. ‘Do this,’ he’d say, ‘and I’ll give you what you desire.'”
“Okay, I’ll buy that,” Jon began. “But what does that have to do with us?”
The man smiled. The waitress set his plate down on the counter, ignoring the haze of cigarette smoke. The eggs were perfect and fluffy. The toast covered in generous amounts of butter.
“To get what you want,” the man said between forkfuls of eggs, “you need an exchange. The Capitalists got that part right, at least. They just got the medium wrong. You can’t just say ‘this is good, so we should do it.’ Now we Revolutionaries, we do the same thing, but not with money.” He gestured to the manila envelope. “Or, at least eventually it won’t be with money.”
“I don’t follow.” Jon said.
“The old saying ‘money is power’ is not quite true. Money is a form of power, but it is diluted. It is mixed up with notions of value. In the progressive world, we trade on power more directly. No middleman, as it were. We are all little Devils, asking the other ‘what do you want?’ We trade on desire.” He took a bite of the toast and savored it for a moment. “Well, some of us are little devils, anyway. Others are, perhaps, somewhat larger.”
“So what do you want, then?” Jon wondered aloud.
“What I want is more death, I want our blood in the streets, Jon. Brains leaking on the asphalt, body parts strewn everywhere. I want the cameras and phones out, showing it all in real-time, high def. I want the whole world to blame the fascists and say ‘look at those devils.’ I want them to feel it in their craws and despair. Christians are so easy to manipulate, sometimes. You make them look like devils, and they’ll wail and self-flagellate, and despair. In their despair, they will surrender to us, because they will believe God wants to punish them for the failure. They take our sins as their own.”
The man gulped down the last of his food, and smiled warmly again. Jon was unnerved at the casual description of a massacre.
“But don’t worry, Jon. You give me what I want, and I’ll give you what you want. That’s how it works, remember?” The man wiped his face with his napkin and patted Jon on the back. “We’ve all got a little devil in us.”
Jon stared into the man’s eyes for just a moment too long. He saw his reflection in them, the haunted, drug-addled revolutionary he had become. He didn’t like what he saw.
The man got up and nodded, still smiling, dropping a twenty on the counter. During their conversation, most of the other customers had vanished. The waitress was nowhere to be seen.
Jon followed him outside, where the protest was in full swing. His rabble-rousers and paid protesters looked at him beseechingly. The money would be needed tonight, he knew. The drugs, the booze, the sex… they would all need to forget. Jon nodded, raising his fist in to the air, and the energy of the crowd floated over him.
As the chanting began, Jon looked through the crowd for the suited man, but he was already gone, only a small cloud of cigarette smoke marking his passing.
Across the street, the counter-protesters were already mobilizing, and for a moment, Jon locked eyes with his opposite number on the other side, a man that looked for all the world to be just like him, world-weary and yet focused. There was murder in his gaze. A haze of cigarette smoke wafted into the breeze from the restaurant behind the fascist leader, and Jon pondered that.
He found himself wondering which one of them was supposed to be Cain, and who was supposed to be Abel. For, while his faith in God had long been broken by the worldly needs of the Revolution, he was pretty confident the Devil still walked among them.
For those who aren’t yet aware, prominent second amendment defender Bob Owens took his own life. It’s not apparent why he chose to this. A cryptic and short message was left on his Facebook wall: “In the end, it turns out that I’m not strong. I’m a coward, and a selfish son of a bitch. I’m sorry.”
I don’t know him personally, so I’ve no idea what prompted this action. All I can say is, the Progressive trolls are out in full force celebrating his death. Indeed, one posted on his Facebook page (in full view of his family) that it would be great if all of them killed themselves. Tolerance truly is a one-way street in the minds of the Progressive. My good friend Nicki has a great deal to say on that, among other things.
There’s not much I can say in comfort to the folks who knew him, some of whom may be readers of The Declination.
Some years back, I lost a good friend to suicide. His death was unexpected. He left no notes, no reasons why. To this day, it bothers me. I wonder if there was something I could have done, something I failed to notice. I’m never able to latch on to something, and that’s maddening in itself. I can’t imagine how Bob’s wife and daughters feel right now.
I don’t understand suicide. Oh, intellectually it’s a simple enough concept. But it’s not a thing I can really wrap my head around, partly because I’m stubborn as all hell. I can’t imagine the level of resignation and depression that would trigger such a thing, because for me, I’m much more likely to get angry than depressed.
But I know it’s not that way for everyone, as it clearly was not for Bob Owens. So all I can really say is, if you feel as he did, if you are resigned and depressed, don’t bottle it all up. Don’t hide it from everyone. If I would have known something was wrong with my own friend, I would have done everything in my power to help him. But your friends and family cannot do this if they don’t know you have a problem. Speak up. Tell those who care about you. Perhaps it may embarrass you, perhaps you may be afraid of admitting your problem. But no help will be forthcoming if nobody knows.
In many ways, the world has turned against folks like us. If you’re white, male, Christian, straight — or any combination thereof — you are bombarded constantly with how evil, terrible, and guilty you are because of things you did not do. Atrocities you did not commit, nor would ever allow if you could prevent them. And if you crack under the pressure, the people trashing you will celebrate your demise. Indeed, they will clamor with joy and tell your family that they should follow you into death, because you have committed the great crime of wrongthink.
I don’t know if any of that has any connection with why Bob chose to take his own life. I can say it most assuredly didn’t help. In the end, the decision was still his, and his alone. And it is sad that he made that most irrevocable of choices. As they say, it’s a permanent solution to a temporary problem.