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.
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.
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:
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?
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).
Many years ago, I wrote a short story about the fading of the rational world, and its replacement with the mystical. It wasn’t very well written, and to some extent I still think I am lousy at writing fiction. But the premise was a fascinating one. I would like to revisit it someday.
Anyway, the concept was that, long after a nuclear war, knowledge of the rational world was failing, becoming piecemeal and quasi-mystical. And that the universe itself bent to this notion, that humanity’s collective experience was sufficient to change the natural laws of the universe. In simple terms, the Earth was becoming a magical place. The protagonists were on a mission to find the nearly-completed spacecraft from a pre-war colonization project.
They leave just in time, escaping a fantastical Earth into the “rational” universe. When their descendants return to Earth, generations later, they find no evidence humans had ever been there at all. The two worlds — the fantastical and the rational — had split off and become inaccessible to one another. It was a play on the nature of subjectivity versus objectivity, of Free Will and Fatalism.
In any event, the recent terror attacks reminded me of this old story, and a fundamental problem at the core of how we view Islam, terror, and the war we are fighting against both. This is a war in which you have already been drafted. The enemy always gets a vote…
People say “not all Muslims” and “Islam is a religion of peace.” They prattle on about the peaceful, moderate Muslims. They will tell you of Muslim friends, or Muslim coworkers, and how great they are. The fact is, they aren’t wrong. Such Muslims exist, presumably in large numbers, even. On the other side, we discuss how terror attacks are, almost invariably, perpetrated by Muslims. The question is not if another Muslim terror attack will happen, it is merely when, and how many bodies will be produced. We talk about history, how violent Jihad destroyed the old Roman world, how Islam has perpetually had bloody borders and genocidal madmen at the fore. The fact is, this is true too.
You see, the problem isn’t the deity. The problem is the priests.
Theoretically, Allah is one and the same with the God of Moses and the father of Jesus Christ. Oh, certainly there are differences (the divinity of Christ being a big one). But still, we are supposedly worshiping the same entity, right? Why, then, all the hate between the intellectual descendants of Abraham? For one, Mohammed as illustrated in the Quran and, more appropriately, the Hadiths, was a violent, megalomaniac of a warlord.
Robert Spencer, of course, wonders if a warlord named Mohammed even existed in the first place. The Hadiths are not attested before the beginning of the eighth century. The Quran only partially so, and with clear transcription errors. We cannot know with certainty who Mohammed was, what he did, or if anything written about him is true at all. In simple terms, the leaders of the Islamic world could have fabricated him out of whole cloth, or twisted him to fit an agenda of their own making. We wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.
Regardless of the existence or non-existence of Mohammed himself, the word of his priests, the religious leaders of Islam, is clear: conquest and subjugation in the name of Islam. This is not a religion of peace, as is assumed, but a religion of submission — the denial of the Thomist notion of Free Will.
Perhaps, if they chose to, the priesthood of Islam, such that it is, could interpret it differently. But it steadfastly refuses to do so. And when one or another rogue reformer in the Islamic world suggests they ought to (see the Bahais and the Ahmadis) the rest of Islam tries to murder them.
The problem isn’t the people. The problem is the priests.
Imagine if nearly every Christian churchman was an intellectual disciple of the Westboro Baptists. That’s the reality of the Islamic world. Whether or not the man herding goats in the Sudan is our enemy is irrelevant. He has no power. His opinion of us is meaningless. Moderate Islam, such that exists, has no voice, no power.
And in the Muslim world, like the fantastical setting of my short story, subjective experience is reality. When a warrior loses a battle, he thinks his loss is punishment. He was insufficiently devout. He must dedicate himself more to Allah, such that next time God will grant that his bullets fly true and smite the unbelievers. So the imam comes, and tells him to follow the example of Islam set forth in the Hadiths. Then the Great Satan will be beaten.
The Thomist notion of God, that of a being who set the universe into motion, willed it into being, and then left it to unfold, is completely foreign to Islam. There is no Free Will in Islam, save for the choice to submit or die.
Such peaceful, moderate Muslims that exist are Muslims who, like many Christians, are not particularly devout. They do not think about the Quran constantly, or follow the example of Mohammed in the Hadiths. But there is guilt for this, just as there is guilt for the Catholic who rarely attends mass, or the Jew who becomes a secularist. So, on occasion, a previously “moderate” Muslim will find his calling in the exhortations of a radical imam, telling him that he must be more Muslim.
The problem isn’t the prophet. The problem is the priests.
The war between Islam and everybody else predates the founding of the religion. It predates Christianity, Rome, and probably all of written history. The conflict is an ancient one, rooted in the battle between the Fatalists and those who believe in Free Will. It is Freedom against Slavery. Sovereignty versus Submission. Islam clothed itself in the uniform of the Fatalists. It was not the first to do so, and certainly not the last (Marxists wear the uniform, likewise).
From this, you can understand the underpinnings which bind the Social Justice Warriors and Militant Marxists with the Radical Islamists: all believe history has already been written. Everything is predetermined, and everything is predicated on devotion to the cause. The priests, of course, determine precisely what devotion means. They virtue signal, they “educate” their followers on what Allah — or the historical dialectic — desires of them, that they might find Paradise.
In the West, we have a priesthood, also. But this isn’t a priesthood who answers the call of Christ. The priesthood of Marx can be found in the media talking heads, in the ivory towers of academia. Remember, insufficient devotion to Marxism is cause for expulsion. You are a heretic. Or, if you are a right-wing Christian, you are an infidel. Like in Islam, it is permissible to do whatever they want to you.
The problem isn’t bigotry. The problem is the media.
Behind all of this, the Marxists and the Islamists both believe in a sort of subjective utopia, that their devotion is alone sufficient to change the world, to bend reality itself, to change the very laws of the universe. The Muslim fighter believes that Allah will bend the bullet’s path, and smite the infidel. The Social Justice Warrior believes that humanity contains an infinite number of genders, but that race doesn’t exist (it’s a social construct). The Dialectic shall change the very biological nature of mankind himself.
Neitzsche’s ubermensch was really just a fat genderqueer lesbian wolfkin with a cornucopia of mental illnesses. The worst mass murderers in ISIS-controlled Syria are paragons of devotion to Allah, model citizens of the new Caliphate. Both are freedom fighters against the terrifyingly bigoted Christian oppressors of the world.
The problem isn’t Free Will. The problem is Fatalism.
If Free Will doesn’t exist, then there is no point to anything. That is the path to Nihilism, the path to genocide, the path to every ill which humanity has ever conceived of. For, in the end, Fatalism tells you that nothing is really your fault. You have no will. You are a victim of history, a soldier of Allah, a vessel for another power that is not-you. And not-you did the thing.
It is the shifting of blame away from self, it is the destruction of self, the annihilation of purpose. And then, once this terrifying self-destruction has taken place, the priesthood of your Fatalistic belief system of choice will remake you in their chosen image. (How can you have chosen Allah or Marx if you have no Free Will? Answer that one SJWs).
The priests make of you what they will. You are now a vessel for someone else’s beliefs, a tool wiped clean for another’s purpose, a purpose that is not your own. The priest sleeps well at night saying to himself “I didn’t kill anybody, my slave did.” And the slave sleeps well at night thinking “I didn’t kill anybody, I followed my master’s orders.” Yet the killing happened.
That is how the person saying “not all Muslims” and the person saying “Islam is the problem” can be simultaneously correct. Everybody involved thinks there is no choice. The SJW thinks terrorism is just something that happens, like a natural disaster, an act of a God they don’t believe exists. Then they will light a candle and pray to a deity they don’t believe exists either. Hearts will be chalked onto sidewalks, messages of love and peace displayed in empty ritual, as if, like in my story, the very thought will somehow change the fabric of the universe. At least the Christian believes there is probably a God at the other end of the line. The SJW believes nothing exists, yet conducts the ritual anyway, filling some deep-seated human need.
This, in a world without choice, where oppressor and victim are preordained, where original sin is heaped upon a white baby, because somebody who looked vaguely similar once did something evil. But the chosen of God, or Marx, or whatever… they are free of sin. Paradise is for them.
Just as, half a world away, Muslims will cheer the deaths of infidels and those they see as sexual deviants. It will be seen, as with all such things, as the divine wrath of Allah. The terrorist was merely the vessel through which Allah’s will was carried to the Great Satan. The chickens come home to roost. Paradise is coming. The Caliphate will be real, merely because they think it so.
In the world of Fatalism, the problem is always the priests.
Of course, whether or not the priests believe their own material is another topic altogether.
I, like many in my particular circle of political pundits and commentators, often think of myself as a recovering Libertarian. That is to say, my instincts are to live and let live, and to avoid enmeshing myself in someone else’s business. Those are very Libertarian instincts, when converted into political parlance.
Thus any alliance with the “Social Conservatives” has been one of convenience. We share a common enemy in Progressive Leftism, and that is all.
But as I’ve aged, I found portions of Libertarianism to be self-defeating. Namely, Libertarianism is chiefly defined by its opposite. What Authoritarian Socialists like, Libertarians dislike, and vice-versa. Given that Socialism is one of the most insidious and pervasive of society’s ills, that’s not a bad place to start. But it’s just that, a starting point.
But Libertarianism tolerates its own ideological destruction. It would sit idly by, for instance, while civilization tore itself apart so long as that destruction was not perpetrated by a government force. When Brenden Eich was ousted from Mozilla for his donation to an anti-gay marriage campaign, Libertarians shrugged. Let the market decide, they said, even though this was a gross and obvious error.
Libertarians thus allow de facto silencing and censorship, so long as the ruling class retains plausible deniability over its enforcement. If a government had demanded Brenden Eich’s resignation, they would have been rightly outraged. When a group of immature, anti-civilizational SJWs attempt to strongarm the overall culture, the Libertarians remain silent.
Libertarians have correctly identified the enemies of freedom in government (pretty much all of government, really). But they fail to understand that enemies of freedom can exist outside the bounds of government, also.
This is a fatal flaw. A Libertarian society is likely to fall victim to the quotation commonly attributed to Lenin: “The Capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them.”
A better way to put it is, a smart Capitalist would use his brain and decline to sell rope to Communists who want to hang him. Libertarians are well-advised to consider this.
Or, to put it in a modern context, accepting illegals from a Socialist-leaning Third World country like Mexico is unlikely to further the interests of freedom in America. Soon, any nation that did this would be overrun with Socialists and would no longer be free in the American sense. The same could be said with large-scale Muslim immigration. The places they come from are not bastions of intellectual and economic freedom. Unless the individual immigrant is some kind of pro-Western, pro-Freedom revolutionary, they are unlikely to serve the cause of freedom in America.
But Libertarians often feel they must accept immigrants regardless of political leanings, culture, religion, origin, etc… Indeed, in debating with many of them, I find they are torn. Many of them see the results of this problem, but are unwilling to compromise their principles in order to fit reality. They will fuss and fawn over the poor, down-trodden migrants as much as any Leftist.
They dislike radical feminism but countenance its destruction of everything from higher education to toys for girls. They concede the other side’s right to disagree without understanding that the other side does not reciprocate. If SJWs ran the West openly — and weren’t merely subverting it — I’d be thrown into an oven before nightfall. Trying to have “meaningful” dialogue with such people is an exercise in futility.
Agreeing to disagree still requires, paradoxically, a certain level of agreement. Instead Progressives attack Libertarians incessantly, but when attacked themselves, retreat behind freedom of speech. It is similar to the Islamic way of fighting these days. They will murder, terrorize, and commit genocide. But when attacked themselves will revert to tearful denunciations of the evil Western Imperialists. We’re babykillers, they will say, or something equally offensive.
Too many Americans fall for this ruse.
I’m not sure what the proper response is. I don’t wish to destroy freedom in an attempt to save it from the clutches of the Progressive Left. But I can tell you that the Libertarian road leads to eventual defeat. And tolerance of the intolerant is a critical weakness of the West, as a whole.
It used to be understood in the laws of war that when an enemy took off his uniform, but continued to fight, he could be executed as a spy, tortured, and otherwise deprived of the usual protections applied to a prisoner of war. Wearing the uniform was a certain base level of agreement between the combatants.
Similarly, Progressives seek to destroy our freedoms and do not agree on our basic rights. But they will attempt to shelter themselves behind its protections whenever challenged. I said of the freedom of religion, once, that if you do not believe in freedom of religion yourself, you ought to be deprived of its protections. Let it be as you desire. If the Buddhist or the Jew will live with me, the Christian, in peace, all is well. If any should come along and suggest that I shouldn’t be allowed to practice my religion (or, worse, must convert or submit to theirs — see: Islam), why, then, is he allowed the comfort of his own? There are places in the world which function under religious tyranny and enforced orthodoxy. Go there, if this is what you want, don’t turn my country into that.
If I cannot exercise my right to freedom of speech, why, then, do we concede their right to speak?
It’s a dangerous road, one that Libertarians rightly fear, because it trespasses on the knife’s edge of freedom and tyranny. But where they won’t consider it, I must.
But nobody said freedom was easy, simple, or free.
Years ago, during the Occupy Wall Street movement, Adam Carolla came out with an epic rant of tremendous power, in which he referred to the problems of modern America stemming from participation trophies. Browsing around on Facebook, I was reminded of it from this comment:
It’s the truth, and I can say that I have experienced the same sense of profound disappoint that many others did when they learned that the world just doesn’t care about you or your feelings. Oh, you can pay a therapist to care, but it is a hollow thing. You can go to an echo chamber full of other people who are “suffering” from a variety of imagined ills, as the SJWs have done. But if there is anything I have learned in my short time on this Earth it is that there are very few people in the world who genuinely give a damn about you.
Of course, friends and family care. And, ironically, these are often the people we sell out and distance ourselves from in effort to be popular, famous or rich. But, the point is, the world is not a great big fan club for you. Most people genuinely don’t care if you succeed or fail. Unlike the paranoid, not everyone is out to get you. And on the same token, neither does everybody necessarily like you (nor should they — SJWs, I’m looking at you).
On the matter of trophies, my father earned a number of them in High School for various things. He was a very talented athlete and won a number of track and field events. Those old trophies were kept in this dilapidated old bag, and every year he would look at them and ponder whether he should just chuck them in the garbage for being a waste of space. Each time, I would convince him to keep them, because I was proud that my father had been a talented athlete.
But I guess what was really eating me was that I had squandered my own athletic talents. His trophies were proof to me, since I had the same genes, that I could do it if I really wanted to. My meager participation trophies were enough, I thought. But they really weren’t, and so each year I would try to convince my father to keep his trophies around. It puzzled me back then that they didn’t mean anything to him.
I wonder when this really started? I know it was fully in force when I was a child, and I was born in 1980.
Finally, one year he overrode my objections, and into the garbage they went. I asked him why he would throw them away, and in typical fashion (for my father is not a man of many words), he explained that the trophies didn’t matter. What matters is that he knew he won, and he could carry that knowledge without the corresponding waste of garage space.
It took a long time for me to understand his wisdom. The piece of gilded plastic was meaningless. Only the achievement really mattered. The paragons of Participation Trophy culture have everything exactly backwards. When it finally hit me, along with a number of similar revelations, I wound up lobbing my own trophies into the garbage, even the few that were meritoriously earned. Basically, who cares if some organization recognizes your achievements or doesn’t. You know whether or not you have done well.
Awards aren’t entirely meaningless, or at least they ought not to be, but in today’s “gold star, everybody gets a trophy” environment, they often do a lot more harm than good. The last time I ran a 5k and they handed out the obligatory medal to every participant, I wound up using the ribbon and metal as material for one of my steampunk creations. It wasn’t good for anything else.
I know a lot of Leftists in my generation just can’t seem to make the transition away from Participation Trophy culture. It’s too comfortable for them, for they never have to confront the fact that they haven’t even failed at life, because they have done nothing noteworthy at all. In their minds, they are (as Vox Day often calls them) Secret Kings, people worthy of pomp and circumstance merely for existing.
I used to do a lot of work on Deviant Art, and it was of mediocre quality. I am a decent designer, especially when it comes to User Interfaces for software and the web, but I am not a terribly talented artist. There is a spark of some kind that I am missing there. And so my art was of acceptable quality, but not very inspiring. People would, of course, tell me exactly what I wanted to hear. But, deep down, I knew it was hollow. Like my father chucking his trophies into the garbage, I decided to delete them and remove myself from the various art circles I had previously been a member of.
Some would say all of this is depressing, but it wasn’t to the previous generations. People knew, once upon a time, that they would not be good at everything, and there was no shame in trying and failing. But, and this is the important part, framing failure as success is the path to self-delusion.
Even as I gave up on my digital art, so have I redoubled my efforts at writing. I will fail fast, and often. Indeed, I may never go to the places I wish to go with it. But neither will I accept the false reassurances of the Paladins of Participation Trophy culture.
We are not all winners. And this might be the most important life lesson of all.
If you are following my Twitter account, you have no doubt noticed the kerfluffle between myself and a gentleman (I use the term very loosely) named Phil Sandifer. This man describes himself as a “Post-Modernist Marxist Occultist,” which, in some twisted fashion, does make some kind of sense. After all, you would have to believe in the occult to think that Marxism can be made to work without a hefty sacrifice in blood. Perhaps that is what he means by his self-identification as an occultist, he proposes to sacrifice the blood of millions to bring in the great Utopia?
Anyway, I digress. The central point revolves around a question. He asked me what I thought about Hegel’s “Tripartite Anatomy of the Notion.” This is an overly-embellished way of saying Hegel’s three point logic system. Now, Hegel’s logic system is quite nearly indivisible from the man himself. Hegel attempted to apply the system to very nearly everything. He considered it axiomatic. He applied it to the natural sciences, where it failed miserably. He applied it to the socio-political arena where, in the form of his successor Karl Marx, it similarly proved to be a failure.
Karl Popper explains the failure for us:
Hegel achieved the most miraculous things. A master logician, it was child’s play for his powerful dialectical methods to draw real physical rabbits out of purely metaphysical silk-hats. Thus, starting from Plato’s Timaeus and its number-mysticism, Hegel succeeded in ‘proving’ by purely philosophical methods (114 years after Newton’s Principia) that the planets must move according to Kepler’s laws. He even accomplished the deduction of the actual position of the planets, thereby proving that no planet could be situated between Mars and Jupiter (unfortunately, it had escaped his notice that such a planet had been discovered a few months earlier [Hegel was trying to refute “Bode’s Law”, a simple mathematical progression which implied that such a planet might exist]). Similarly, he proved that magnetizing iron means increasing its weight, that Newton’s theories of inertia and of gravity contradict each other (of course, he could not foresee that Einstein would show the identity of inert and gravitating mass), and many other things of this kind. That such a surprisingly powerful philosophical method was taken seriously can be only partially explained by the backwardness of German natural science in those days. For the truth is, I think, that it was not at first taken really seriously by serious men (such as Schopenhauer, or J.F. Fries), not at any rate by those scientists who, like Democritus,’ would rather find a single causal law than be the king of Persia’…
Hegel’s three part system begins with a thesis, or “being” if you will. I.e. something is. It then continues on to an antithesis, or not-being. I.e. something is not. Aside from being rather blindingly obvious, that things can be or not be, so far so good, right? Well, Hegel’s system has a third part, synthesis, that encompasses “becoming.” So we can say that his system is described thusly: being -> not being, encompassed by an intermediate stage of becoming.
This is where he goes wrong. And in this, you can see a sort of prototype for Marxist dialectic. Marx proposed that Feudalism would give way to an intermediate state, Capitalism, and then proceed to Communism. He regarded Capitalism as the “becoming” stage. The problem here, of course, is that the intermediate stage is a thing in itself! I.e. it is being. Hegel applied this test to the concept of life. He regarded life as a contradiction, because one must die. Thus all of life could be regarded as a “becoming” stage in which one is at varying levels of life and death.
It doesn’t work. I am alive. Tomorrow I may be dead. It is an either/or proposition with no intermediate stage possible — certainly not one which encompasses all of my life.
Now, this is admittedly an oversimplification. I do not propose to cover Hegel completely in one blog post. But I do wish to point out two important facts:
1. Hegel was a crock and his three part logical system failed every test to which it was known to be applied.
2. Marx was a Hegelian himself, and thus Marxists are, themselves, Hegelians, with all the philosophical baggage that implies.
Of course, none of this is relevant to the immediate argument Phil Sandifer proposed. Phil, I suspect, is simply angry that I half-jokingly referred to myself as a “Philosopher-DJ” in the FAQ section of this blog. He and some of his Twitter followers have engaged in a sort of circle-jerk, wherein they quote Hegelian or Marxist concepts in overly flowery language in order to feel smart and superior to the evil Capitalist Disc Jockey. As is typically the case with SJWs, this not about having intelligent conversation regarding Hegelian philosophy, it is about them feeling good about themselves.
Such charming Leftists, aren’t they?
Anyway, I digress again. The point being, that these individuals seem to have it in their head that no one is allowed to disagree with them, certainly not a lowly DJ. They continued with their smug, smarmy, self-applied superiority complex by insulting the very man who is largely responsible for teaching me about Hegel, Marx and much of philosophy in general:
Vox has a saying. SJWs always lie. In this case, I think SJWs always project. I provide a link to my philosophical mentor’s writing, whose works I have read in their entirety, and he thinks I have just randomly Googled it (does that make a difference as to whether or not Dr. Ross is right, I wonder?). It makes you wonder how often he randomly Googles things and then claims to be an expert in them.
In any event, Phil doesn’t desire intellectual debate, and most of his replies have questioned whether or not I have read Hegel or Marx, or have any real knowledge of them or their work, rather than my opinions and citations on Hegel’s three part logic system. You see, he cannot fathom the idea that a non-Marxist might be familiar with Hegel and Marx, and not take them seriously.
He then proceeds to discuss Debord and the Situationists like they are some kind of religious icon. He reverts to all caps or nasty language whenever they are mentioned, such is his anger that nobody takes them seriously, either:
This really amuses me. This is not a man to be taken seriously.
On a side note, if any of my readers are interested in Dr. Ross’s work, he is former Professor at California State University, and he is not a Leftist (you might consider him a Right-leaning Libertarian). That alone should be considered rather shocking. He is something of an Agnostic in matters of faith, but his writings on the history of Byzantium and the history of Philosophy are absolutely superb, and among the finest in Friesian philosophical tradition. Honestly, these should be books in their own right, but he provides them freely, and if you email him, I find that he is always happy to engage in intellectual debate and explanation.
Dr. Ross is largely responsible for converting me away from the madness of Marxist thought, and that is no minor thing.