Freedom & Fear

Perusing the usual suspects today, I came across an excellent piece by the esteemed Sarah Hoyt. In it, she discusses just why so many people turn against the notion of freedom and liberty. Why does Orwell tell us that Freedom = Slavery, and how can such a notion enter in man’s head? Observe:

A Libertarian friend of mine thinks this is because people like being slaves; they like servitude.

 

He is wrong.  It’s not that people love being slaves.  It’s that freedom is scary, because if you’re free you can fail AND YOU ONLY HAVE YOURSELF TO BLAME.

Bingo. As I’ve been saying for quite some time now, what these people truly desire is freedom from consequence. That is what power is ultimately all about. Why are some people attracted to the idea of Fatalism? The notion that everything is fated to be and you can’t change anything? Because it absolves them of responsibility.

If, for instance, millions had to die to bring about the Marxist Revolution, there is an easy out: it was inevitable, says the historical dialectic. Capitalism, they say, must give way to Communism. Thus the heaps of bodies necessary to get there are not really your fault… they were an inevitable result of Fate.

Of course, that’s a rather extreme example. Lesser examples can be found in current notions of racism/sexism/etc… America is probably one of the least discriminatory places on Earth. It was founded on the notion of meritocracy, and where it was imperfect in this (see: slavery, Jim Crow, etc…) it endeavored to fix the problems.

Does anyone really believe that, say, Saudi Arabia is more tolerant than the United States?

Yet so many shout “racism, sexism, homophobia” from the rooftops. Why? Because it absolves them of responsibility. If a person screws up, he might blame the racist white people, or the misogynistic men, or the glass ceiling. The actual target doesn’t matter. The fact that it’s not his fault does.

These people are willingly throwing away their own agency, the idea that they might possess free will, in order to escape feeling bad for failure. When you see it from that angle, suddenly Sarah’s observation is made clear. These people are afraid, not of you or I, but of themselves, of their own failings and insecurities. These are then projected upon us. We become the scapegoats for their own inadequacies.

Sarah explains further:

It’s no coincidence that America, arguably the freest country in the world, when it comes to pursuing the avocation you want to pursue and being successful (or not) is also the birth place of SJWs and Micro aggressions.  It’s no coincidence that it’s in America, a country that prizes women so much it’s almost a matriarchy, that women keep insisting they live in a patriarchy and grossly oppressed.  (All without realizing how much more oppressive even other western countries are. Let alone places where your genitals will be mutilated for the crime of being a girl.)

 

These things are done, and eternal oppression forever claimed, because humans don’t want to be slaves.  Oh, no.  They want to be free.  Completely free to do whatever they want.  They also want someone to blame as they fail.

In order for us to be blamed for their failures, we must be visibly punished for the sins of those failures. When Zoe Quinn “codes” a crappy word document and tries to pass it off as a video game, it’s not her utter failure as a game dev that is to blame, it is the sexist patriarchal establishment. When she had sex with video game journalists to get coverage for said game, and got caught, that wasn’t her fault, it was the fault of her woman-hating ex-boyfriend.

Nothing is ever Zoe Quinn’s fault. Nothing whatsoever.

In this, they are slaves to their animalistic instincts. They have lost the capacity for reason, insofar as a normal man might make a mistake, learn from the mistake, and resolve not to repeat it. Since the mistake is always someone else’s fault, SJWs never learn from them.

But they do become exceptionally good at spin, lies, rationalizations, politics, and blaming others. Practice makes perfect, after all, and few have as much practice in these arts as a militant SJW and/or Marxist.

You’re going to have to take your freedom, your failure, and your guilt about your failure, as one single deal.  This is called being an adult.

 

At one time there used to be much psycho-babble about fear of success.  Frankly I thought — and still think — this is bullsh*t.  Everyone i know who claims a fear of success aren’t terrified of being acclaimed, rich and famous.  No, what they fear is that they’ll succeed just enough for everyone to realize how they failed.  Say, they’ll have a bestselling book, but the websphere will be on fire with word of their horrendous typos, or their ignorance of chemistry or something.

I’ve even been guilty of this once in a while. I’ve flubbed more than a few things on The Declination in my time, and on occasion a reader will call me out on the mistake. And I must admit a brief moment of unpleasantness. Worse than that is when it happens when I am performing. I’m a club DJ in my other life, which is to say I mix and remix live, on the fly. This leaves me open to occasional screw ups (in the DJ business, we call these trainwrecks). It sucks to have made a mistake in full view of the world, and to have hundreds or thousands of people staring at you, knowing you screwed up.

But the unpleasantness is just a reminder to pay better attention the next time around and to learn from the mistake, not to pass it off or ignore it. To the SJW, the unpleasantness, rather than being something of a teacher, is instead an emotion to be suppressed by rationalization. It’s not really my fault, thinks the SJW. And upon thinking this, he must find a scapegoat to offload the blame on to.

Sarah closes with this:

Adulting sucks.  But it is what you must be, if  you want to have your freedom and eat it too.

 

Shut up about it, take the bitter with the sweet, shoulder the awesome burden of your freedom and carry on.

And this is the rub of it all. SJWs and militant Marxists refuse to grow up. They are afraid of growing up. Because the age-old excuse of the toddler “it’s not fair” will no longer hold sway. When the adult hears that line, his response is bewilderment: “who told you life was fair, bub?”

And it isn’t, nor will it ever be. It’s not the purpose in life. So what is? Well, I suppose that depends on the individual take on it, but in this blogger’s opinion, the purpose is to leave this world a better, wiser soul than when you entered it. SJWs, it would seem, have a long way to go.

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.

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:

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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).

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.

Competitive Morality

Virtue signalling is a topic that both fascinates and horrifies. We all know how this game is played by now, and if for some reason any of my readers do not, let me assure you that you won’t remain in the dark for long.

Moral trumpeters are legion.

For them, it is an arcane ritual, designed to alleviate them of guilt, of a peculiar form of original political sin. It also gives them hierarchy to compete against. The person who takes the most wealth from one person and gives it to another is the pinnacle of proper Progressivism, the greatest of their moral agents.

Who the wealth is taken from, and who it is given to, doesn’t really matter from any moral perspective (it matters in other ways), so long as the wealth is taken. You might take millions from a man who cured cancer, and give it to a bunch of barbarian slavers in the Third World, but all is good because the millions were taken.

The middleman gets all the credit, of course. Lesser Progressives must bow to his superior morality, that he managed to steal more from one to bribe another to do his political bidding. The taxpayer is insulted for not giving more of his wealth to the government. There is no gratitude. The media is most moral, and the guy living in the sticks least moral, for no matter what he might do for the poor, no one is there to see it, therefore it isn’t moral.

If a person helps another, and the cameras aren’t there to record it, it is as if it never happened.

Competitive morality requires that you trumpet your moral achievements to the world. Stephen Colbert shows us how it is to be done:

colbert

 

Here Stephen Colbert is telling us that we are not Christians, and do not follow Christ, if we don’t want to give our earnings to the government. This is designed to wound a genuine Christian, by calling him a poor follower of Christ, and elevate himself as a superior agent of morality at the same time.

Mr. Colbert would be well-advised to read Matthew 6:2:

Therefore when you give your alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

Stephen Colbert and his ilk are revealed for what they are: hypocritical trumpeters of their charity.

So long as one man in the world has less than another, men like Stephen Colbert will find cause to call us selfish and uncharitable for not giving all of our wealth to the government, to spend as it sees fit.

Those same people say that churches don’t do enough to help the poor. This meme is a great illustration:

678c51e51f211ee02ebd4a58fdfb3b7a

Give all your money to government, and not churches, because it is better at helping people. Right.

These people know that charity and taxation are not the same thing, and yet they continue to make these insinuations, continue to trumpet their moral superiority. “I’m better than you,” says the liberal. Sometimes they imply that they are more moral in sarcastic, passive-aggressive fashion. “I worked for Greenpeace, did you?”

My first instinct would be to say “no, I prefer to donate my time and money to the parents of kids with cancer in my hometown, because charity starts at home.” But that’s actually a bad reply. It’s a form of trumpeting your own charity right back at them. More importantly, it doesn’t work.

That is their heresy, not ours. We’ve no need for that sort of thing. Instead, explain how their charity really isn’t charity. If you’re taking someone else’s money, grabbing a cut for yourself, and passing along some of it to another in exchange for his vote, you’re no Mother Theresa. You’re an asshole.

The Clinton Foundation was more interested in ensuring Chelsea Clinton’s dress fit right than whatever was going on in Haiti. Whenever massive amounts of money are moved from place to place, these people get a slice of it. They can also determine who it goes to, and under what conditions.

Obama, for example, was very dead set against securing the border or stopping illegal Mexican immigration. But he was all for ending the Cuban refugee wet foot-dry foot policy. Why? Cubans didn’t get the “Hispanics have to vote Democrat” memo. If Cubans were reliable Democrats, Obama would have taken the whole damned country, if he could’ve gotten away with it.

The Leftist motto is rob from everyone who makes money, and give to the most gullible poor slobs they can con into voting for them.

They are King John, not Robin Hood.

And they want to con the Christian man into going along with it by working at his conscience. If we could translate their insinuations, their passive-aggression, it would result in something like this:

Just look at you. I bet you have a car and a nice home. I bet you have savings and valuables. I bet you sometimes spend money on things you want rather than things you need.

 

You haven’t given every last cent to the poor. You prioritize your own family, friends, and community over the people I want to give money to, and that’s selfish.

 

You are a bad Christian, and a bad man. You are immoral. I am better than you. And because I am better than you, you must obey me. You must give me your wealth, to dispense to whomever I see fit to give it to.

 

Because if you don’t, I will continue to make you feel bad for being successful. I will make you look selfish in front of your friends. I will chip away at the foundations of your faith. I will insult you and make fun of you. I will turn the media against you. You will be the butt of all jokes.

This is the message people like Stephen Colbert are sending to us. They presume themselves to be your moral superiors, your intellectual superiors, your betters in all things. They look down upon you while ripping you off for all they can steal.

So the next time one of them calls you immoral, or trumpets their own morality, you must answer as Rhett Butler did: “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn”.

Food, Virtue Signalling, and Narcissistic Supply Part II

A few days ago, the media attacked Donald Trump for his habit of ordering well done steaks. Naturally, I had a lot to say on the topic, as snobbery of any form grates on the nerves.

Little did I realize that Nicholas Nassim Taleb was going down a similar road at more or less the same time. He captures the essence of food snobbery here:

I once had dinner in a Michelin-starred restaurant with a fellow who insisted on eating there instead of my selection of a casual Greek taverna with a friendly owner operator, his second cousin as a manager and his third cousin once removed as a receptionist. The other customers seemed, as we say in Mediterranean languages, to have a cork plugged in their behind obstructing proper ventilation, causing the vapors to build on the inside of the gastrointestinal walls, leading to the irritable type of decorum you only notice in the educated upper classes. I note that, in addition to the plugged corks, all men wore ties.

 

Dinner consisted in a succession of complicated small things, with microscopic ingredients and contrasting tastes that forced you to concentrate as if you were taking some type of exam. You were not eating, rather visiting some type of museum with an affected English major lecturing you on some artistic dimension you would have never considered on your own. There was so little that was familiar and so little that fit my taste buds: once something on the occasion tasted like something real, there was no chance to have more as we moved on to the next dish. Trudging through the dishes and listening to some b***t by the sommelier about the paired wine, I was afraid of losing concentration. I costs a lot of energy to fake that I was not bored. In fact I discovered an optimization in the wrong place: the only thing I cared about, bread, was not warm. It appears that this is not a Michelin requirement.

It’s fascinating because it’s so true. Most high-end restaurants I’ve been to operate more or less as Taleb describes them. The server will spin a line of bullshit about the wine pairings, lecture us on the acidity of this or that, and attempt to sell us on the exclusivity of the place. Everything is unnecessarily complex.

There have been exceptions, of course. There is a high-end steakhouse near where I live called Bern’s Steakhouse, and it apparently has some renown, given that out of town friends often gravitate toward it. In that case, the place lived up to the hype. The steak was excellent, among the best I’ve had, along with what is probably the best french onion soup I’ve ever tasted. But the building itself is sort of run down, and the wait staff doesn’t lecture you on the menu, or the pairings, or any of that garbage (this despite having one of the largest wine collections in the world). And the menu is simple. You go there for steak, and the accompanying sides, and that’s pretty much it.

But such unassuming high end restaurants are the exception, not the rule. For the most part, be prepared for a lot of pretentious bullshit about why complex ingredient lists and overpriced wine is proof that you have an elevated palate, that you are special in the way those dirty unwashed masses aren’t. As Taleb puts it, they have corks plugged up their asses. It must be uncomfortable.

I couldn’t imagine living that way.

As Taleb tells us, this extends beyond food, however. When people get to thinking this way, everything must be complex, special, expensive, and out of reach of the unwashed masses. It’s about differentiation, thinking yourself better than others.

When people get rich, they shed their skin-in-the game driven experiential mechanism. They lose control of their preferences, substituting constructed preferences to their own, complicating their lives unnecessarily, triggering their own misery. And these are of course the preferences of those who want to sell them something. This is a skin-in-the-game problem as the choices of the rich are dictated by others who have something to gain, and no side effects, from the sale. And given that they are rich, and their exploiters not often so, nobody would shout victim.

It’s not just when they become rich, however. It’s when they start to climb above the teeming mass of humanity. Remember when Hillary Clinton looked positively baffled by a beer tap, when looking to do some kind of misguided blue collar photo op? There she was, with a fake smile and a beer glass full of foam, looking for all the world like she would rather be anywhere else.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton hoists a beer during a tour of at Pearl Street Brewery in La Crosse, Wis., Tuesday, March 29, 2016. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton hoists a beer during a tour of at Pearl Street Brewery in La Crosse, Wis., Tuesday, March 29, 2016. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Beer, you see, is the peasant’s drink. Unless you’re becoming a beer snob, I suppose. Either way, though, it’s too simple and plebbish for a refined power broker like Hillary. I bet she’s one of those women who sniffs the cork repeatedly before deigning to pour a glass of wine. Oh hell, silly me, what am I saying? She probably pays somebody to pour the wine for her.

I think most Americans daydream on occasion about what they would do if they were supremely wealthy. I asked one of the redneck gearheads at the local muscle car meetup about what he’d do with a few million bucks.

“I’d buy a GT350. Supercharge it,” he replied.

Simple needs for a simple man, I suppose. No Ferraris or Lambos for him. He just wanted to go fast, and to hell with the rest of the bullshit. There was no talk of servants, or mansions, or outings to the fanciest French restaurants. It was all about the go-fast.

Nicholas Nassim Taleb explains that even if the costs were reversed, he’d prefer a pizza over the bazillion-course microscopic servings at the fancy place:

Let’s return to the restaurant experience and discuss constructed preferences as compared to natural ones. If I had a choice between paying $200 for a pizza or $6.95 for the French complicated experience, I would pay $200 for the pizza, plus $9.95 for a bottle of Malbec wine. Actually I would pay to not have the Michelin experience.

Of course, this isn’t to say that if you genuinely liked the complex food that it’s somehow wrong to eat it. Neither, should it be noted, should you forgo the Ferrari if you can afford it, and if you really want one. The key is to avoid the artificial narrowing down of your options, in some misguided attempt to signal your superiority:

Many have been mistaking this idea for an advocacy of Spartan choices rather than something about the restriction of freedom.

If you’re poor, you can have the pizza, or nothing. If you’re rich, you can choose the pizza or the fancy food, as you prefer. You should not say no to the pizza just because someone is trying to sell you on the superiority of complex food. Neither should you deny yourself the fancy shit, if that’s what you really want.

But whose desires are you satisfying at that point?

I’ve found in my short time on this Earth that most people espouse things that aren’t them in spades. I used to think it was a drive toward artificial conformity, you know, the traditional cliquish high school behavior writ large. But I find that this operates in reverse, too. At times they choose something precisely because they don’t want to be associated with some group. Ask any Mustang guy what he thinks of the Chevy Camaro. Buying a Mustang is as much about avoiding being a Camaro driver (jokes about mullethead, Miller Lite drinking GM guys abound). And the wealthy patrons of Michelin’s don’t want to be seen crawling around some neighborhood pizzeria. That’s for plebs!

It’s funny, because the virtue signalers often spout cliches like “be yourself!” You first, asshole.

All of this is artificially restrictive of choice. Becoming wealthy is supposed to grant you more choices, not take them away, not pigeonhole a person into the sort of vapid, petty-tyrannical, I’m-better-than-you snobbery espoused by our political class.

And it makes you think. How much of what they say or do isn’t even based on their own preferences, but based on some kind of desire to signal superiority? Social Justice is signalling moral superiority. Food snobbery signals superiority of taste. And then there is the sort of Dunning-Kruger-esque desire to signal intellectual superiority by barfing word salad like the privileged cisnormative heteropatriachal conspiracy, or some bullshit. I mean, if you don’t like white guys, I’d actually prefer if you just said that. You’re still a racist shit, mind you, but at least you’re not a pretentious racist shit.

Put simply, if you like well done steak, order away. If you prefer pizza to Michelin’s, get yourself a pizza. And if all your friends are virtue signalling their food superiority, you probably ought to get new friends.

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