Fear is a Potent Weapon

Reading the usual suspects this morning, I came across a good piece by Francis: the Fear Weapon. It resonated with me on many levels, and at least partly because of a recent incident in my own life.

A couple weeks ago or so, I was working late in my home office downstairs. I do a lot of consulting work, and I kind of overburdened myself on contracts this last month. It’s required a lot of long nights to catch up. It was close to midnight. Suddenly the doorbell rang multiple times, and I heard screaming and crashing sounds outside, as persons unknown threw stuff around on my porch.

Not knowing what was going on, I hit the gun safe, which has a quick release, and grabbed my trusty Mossberg, then headed to the front door to see what was going on. I saw three people in the shadows, causing a ruckus, then suddenly running down the street when I flipped the lights on.

Since they were running away I set the shotgun down next to the door and opened it slightly. A bunch of my neighbors were outside chasing the three down the street. They had been walking their dog late at night and saw them causing the ruckus. I never got a good look at the perps, but from what I could tell, they were three black teenagers. I chatted with the neighbors who had chased them off a bit, then closed the door and considered what I was going to do next.

My wife preempted me by posting on our neighborhood’s watch page on Facebook, which is monitored by the local Sheriff’s office. She posted that the teens had caused a ruckus on my front porch, and that this was inadvisable, because I was armed. Certainly, if it was a prank, she said, it was a very stupid one.

Immediately, some folks in the neighborhood got pissed at me. They were offended that I would arm myself, and that I would consider using said arms on some kids who were “just playing some pranks.” One threatened to call the cops on me because, he claimed, brandishing a weapon is a crime. I advised him to go ahead and do so, and in any event, the whole thread had already been read by the local Sheriff’s office anyway, and they certainly didn’t think I had done anything wrong. Our local deputies are very good folks.

Some other folks explained how Castle Doctrine works in Florida, and that it was perfectly legal for me to carry a weapon in my own home in those circumstances. Either way, the man quickly backed off from his statements. But a few other folks messaged me asking if it was really reasonable to arm myself when it was probably just stupid kids doing stupid things.

My answer was: how the hell should I know that’s all it was? All I knew was somebody was screwing around on my front porch in the middle of the night for reasons unknown. Sure, it could be a harmless prank. It could also be something much worse. I had no way to know what it was, or who was doing it, and I’m not taking chances with my family’s life on the line. And I also suggested that if those teenagers were from the neighborhood, maybe my wife’s post put the fear of God in ’em. Maybe it would stop this stupidity before someone got hurt.

Other neighbors explained that this particular prank was actually pretty common. These teenagers would apparently do this every night to somebody in our area. After my wife’s post this completely stopped in its tracks. There hasn’t been a single report on the Neighborhood Watch page of any such activity since then. It was enough to make me wonder if the guy threatening me on the watch page was actually a parent of one of these kids, and that’s why he was so pissed off.

Either way, a healthy dose of fear put a stop to it.

Some people don’t get the message until you put some fear in them. They don’t think you’re serious, or that there’s really anything wrong with what they’re doing, because nobody is there to give them a reality check. Fear is that gut check.

It’s nothing like the craziness Francis talks about in his post, but it’s also a bit of anecdotal evidence in favor of the idea that employing fear can be good and healthy, and in any event, may be the only way to put a stop to certain behavior.

Deleted Post on Laci Green

I don’t usually delete my posts, even if I’m in error. And in this case, I’m actually correct, except on one point, which has proven to be of significance. But I have removed a post in which I gave Laci Green a whole lot of shit. There’s a reason for this.

I still hold that during her time as an SJW, she was completely off the rails, and all that I said was true and correct. But, as many may know already, Laci has, of late, abandoned the SJW community. Or, perhaps more charitably, she has been booted from it. And she has a fascinating story to tell about how oppressive and twisted that community can be.

Read this Tweetstorm.

There are times I fear for the future of America, and the entire Western world. Because Marxism, in its Social Justice form, has taken the moral high ground. It is seen (not by us, but by a sufficiently large number of folks) as morally superior. Peace, love, tolerance, equality, fighting poverty and injustice. Who could have an issue with those things, right?

Well, as Laci’s own story demonstrates, the peace-love-tolerance bit is largely a sham. Laci explains:

it’s…fkng sad. i feel proud of sex+. i wish i’d had support and guidance from my allies. instead – shame, guilt, very conditional warmth

Everything is conditional with them. Say the right things, or you are made to feel shame and guilt for things you have never done. There is no tolerance. Quite the opposite, there is rigorous conformity.

TL;DR my experience taught me that others who are called a *BIGOT!!* may hold the capacity to do good when given a chance (and maybe a hug).

She’s beginning to see through the lies, the accusations of bigotry, of racism-sexism-homophobia. Why? Because she, herself, was called a bigot, merely for deigning to choose a politically incorrect boyfriend.

truth: all the years ive done sex+, i absolutely loathed myself. i felt i was never good enough, always failing to do social justice right.

I’ve spoken at length on this subject before. In fact, in the post title The Weight of the World my words sound like an eerie (and much more verbose – but y’all know how it is with me) echo of what Laci just said. Observe:

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…

 

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.

So the main reason I have deleted the post on Laci Green is simple: she actually managed to prove me wrong about one thing. I’ve often lamented that reaching the other side is impossible. That once someone goes down the path of SocJus and Marxism, they are lost to us.

Laci, whatever her other failings, managed to summon the intellectual courage (perhaps with the help of her boyfriend) to escape that intellectual and emotional prison. And for that, she has my respect.

It makes me wonder how many others are trapped behind the SJWs, questioning and wondering, but too afraid to speak up for themselves, too afraid to disagree or be caught exercising wrongthink.

Is there a possibility that a preference cascade could be lurking behind all of this, one that might sweep away the tides of extreme Leftism? Or was Laci merely a little stronger (and more fortunate) than her fellows?

The question bears more thought. In the meantime, welcome to intellectual freedom, Laci. I do hope you enjoy it.

Kurt Has a Point…

Kurt makes a good point in this article. First we had the Tea Party, which was polite, principled, and generally full of pleasant people (who even cleaned up after themselves). The bureaucracy didn’t want to listen to them. Called them racists Nazis, and what have you.

So after that, we got the Trumpites. They gave up any pretense of politeness, jettisoned a good many principles, and if they weren’t as unpleasant as their liberal counterparts, they weren’t as nice as the Tea Partiers. The bureaucracy didn’t want to listen to them. Called them racists, Nazis, and what have you.

Does the Left not understand where this trajectory leads?

I mean, as Kurt tells us, it’s not like this sort of rhetoric the Left is spewing is designed to calm matters down:

And now they want to use non-ballot means to make sure the normals’ choice is again ignored.

What do they think comes after Trump? Someone nice?

Marxists frequently refer to non-Marxists as “reactionaries” as if reacting to the tyrannical demands of Marxism is somehow wrong, or unexpected. If you punch someone in the face, expect a reprisal in kind. If you try to take over a country in order to purge your ideological opponents, sooner or later they might try to do the same to you. This sort of tit-for-tat logic is somehow shocking to the Leftist, who typically screams “it’s not fair” when his opponent attempts to do the same thing in response.

This is all going down a road I really don’t want to go down, personally. But looking at it from a basic Game Theory perspective, if you keep hitting Betray reflexively, right or wrong, sooner or later, the other guy is going to behave likewise.

Right now would be a very good time for the Left to back off. Escalation is going to go nowhere good. What came after the Tea Party? Trump. Now imagine what comes after Trump…

Who Occupies the Moral High Ground?

So unless you’ve been living under a rock today, you’ve probably heard of the woman who disrupted the play in which a mock Trump is assassinated on stage. There’s been a lot of division on the Right on how to properly respond to this. Kurt Schlicter dismisses it as rather trivial here. Robert Kroese had a different take, which you can read here. My own position was somewhere in between. I thought the whole thing was rather stupid, as the tactic will have no measurable effect. The play won’t be cancelled, nor will it paint Rightists in any better light. It won’t end media corruption or spin. It is, in fact, a rather empty gesture. But, on the other hand, I have no particular desire to expend my effort to put a stop to it either. As far as I’m concerned, there is considerable schadenfreude in the whole affair. Leftists don’t bother stopping their SJWs and Antifa thugs (indeed, they rile them up for greater atrocity), why should I waste my time chasing down Right-wing stupidity? Now Leftists have some idea of the lunacy Rightists deal with on a daily basis. Welcome to the club.

As it so happens, the best position on this mess comes from Iowahawk. He proposes a solution to anti-speech lunacy that handles the tit-for-tat problem rather neatly. See, the problem for me is not that I agree with the woman interrupting somebody’s play, but rather that the other side would be laughing if a Lefty jumped on stage and grabbed the mic at a Right-wing event. Why should I keep faith if I already know the other side is going to betray? Some folks will say “stick to your principles”, which is a nice-sounding argument. But how do you avoid the Game Theory problem that entails?

Read this thread, it addresses the Game Theory issue with this in detail:

twit

 

Now this might actually work. Though, as some others have pointed out, it won’t do any good if their side tries to get around it via legal wrangling. Honestly, that’s above my pay grade anyway. But all this got me to thinking. Most folks arguing that we needed to do something about the interrupter were doing so based on the notion that we need to occupy the moral high ground, and we can’t do that if we tacitly support raving lunatics. Sounds reasonable.

But here’s the monkey in the wrench. We don’t occupy the moral high ground. We haven’t occupied it since at least the Reagan years, and probably long before that. Why is that? If you’ve been following my series on Marxism and Morality, you may have an inkling of where I’m going with this.

Marxism possesses the moral high ground, at this point in time.

It’s true. They have it. And not recognizing that they occupy it is half of how we got to this juncture in the first place. Let me be clear. I’m not saying Marxists are right. They are most certainly, terribly, wrong. It’s a travesty that an ideology full of lies, which has massacred millions has been ceded the moral high ground. But it’s also true that they hold it, no matter how much we might protest the wrongness of it.

Why do they occupy it? Because we let them have it. We granted them the courage of their convictions. We treated Marxism as a “good theory” that just doesn’t work in practice. We suggested that our enemies (and yes, they are our enemies) were as moral and honest as we were, they were just merely mistaken about the means, that’s all.

Meanwhile, they call us Nazis, fascists, racists, sexists, homophobes, Islamophobes, whatever. They never granted us the same conviction we granted them.

So one side was saying: “these people are good people.” And the other side was saying: “these people are the scum of the Earth.” Their side was hitting Betray on endless repeat. Our side Kept Faith on the same endless repeat. They tallied the high score again and again, and we kept losing. Nobody sides with the loser.

And so, after decades of this sort of thing, they are acknowledged as good, moral people who are either correct (if you’re a Leftist) or good, moral people who are merely incorrect (if you’re a Rightist). Meanwhile, we’re accounted as Hitlers by a solid percentage of the population.

Also, we ceded Academia, Media, and Entertainment to them. And they have been using it to browbeat us, and tell everyone how we want old people to die, how we want sick people to die, how we want people to starve, how we hate minorities, etc… And if we ever defended ourselves, it was a losing battle. “Oh, look at how defensive he’s getting, it MUST be true!” The fact is, Marxism was designed to be rhetorically appealing at a superficial level.

Is there a sick person? Just give him care! If you don’t, you must want him to die! It’s such a simplistic, easy-to-meme narrative, that it’s difficult to break. Of course, if you know the facts, you quickly realize that government care is more expensive, stifles advancement, and creates a system where care is rationed anyway, it is merely a bureaucrat doing the rationing. But the second you start to spout these facts, the audience yawns. “Don’t kill granny” is a much more compact message for people with short attention spans, which describes all too many people these days.

The Right needs to be thinking about similar levels of memetic compression. Yes, Milton Friedman and Ludwig von Mises are great citations when discussing economic theory, but to the layman, you need something more concrete. Trump won the nomination (and the Presidency) in large part because he, or at least someone in his campaign, understood this. I’m going to bring jobs back. Let’s Make America Great Again. Love or hate the man, he knew how to compress his narrative. Rightists need to do a lot more of this. When one of them says “Republicans want to push granny off a cliff” the response should be “Democrats want to outsource your job to China.”

But you rarely see Republicans do this anymore, because they are too principled to use rhetoric this way. Jeb would rant about love and compassion, and nobody cared. Everybody yawned. These are the same people who get pissed if their phone takes 3 seconds to download Candy Crush. They aren’t going to tune in for all the nuance and dialectic. But we usually avoid using rhetoric this way because it’s unprincipled.

No, no, it’s only unprincipled if the rhetoric is a lie. And besides, if the enemy is beating you to death with a weapon, it behooves you to get one of your own.

It’s like a solid percentage of my fellow Rightists never understood basic Game Theory. Stop keeping faith, damnit! These people will never like you!

All that being said, I get where Robert Kroese and some others are coming from too. The fact of the matter is, in the main, our side is correct. And even if we were wrong we do genuinely believe what we’re saying. We believe the free market is better for people. We believe in freedom of speech. We believe that the best government is generally small, and distant from the lives of the citizenry. We aren’t using them as cynical cover for some kind of supremacist Nazi-like agenda. They, on the other hand, may very well be using their concern trolling for a globalist Communism-like agenda. Certainly, a good many are. Principled Leftists do exist (see: Dave Rubin, Camille Paglia), but they are becoming increasingly rare and are, in any event, drowned out by the Marxists, who have more or less hijacked the Leftist narrative at this point.

An interesting test I periodically conduct on Twitter is to find admitted and avowed Marxists, and ask them a question. I ask if we could split America today, and give half to them, and half to Rightists, they could have their Communist utopia, today, right now. I even suggest that they could be granted the more valuable half. The better real estate, natural resources, whatever. Would that satisfy them, I ask. They get what they want immediately, we get what we want (which is mainly to be free of them).

I’ve never had one agree with me that this is a good idea. Not one. They always spin it like “we’re doing it for you too” or “we couldn’t let you be unfree and oppressed by Capitalism.” The Hell you say. If Capitalism is oppressing me, screw it. Sign me up for that. Every once in a while, a Marxist will admit the truth: “we hate you, and we want your ideology to be made extinct.” I don’t care if Communists exist somewhere on this planet. I only care if they have power over me and mine. They can go be Commies all they like, so long as it’s not in my life. The same courtesy is, once again, not reciprocated. We must be destroyed.

Which goes right back to where we started on all this. Do we owe it to the other side to police our own crazies? No. We don’t owe them anything. If they want to agitate for our side’s leaders to be assassinated, I say we owe them nothing. But should we do it anyway, for some other reason? Maybe. Certainly the optics on this are bad, and the woman who did it accomplished nothing. So from a tactical level, yeah, this is no good. And as Iowahawk pointed out, maybe there’s another way we can solve the problem, while still avoiding punching the “Keep Faith” button for the umpteenth time. I’m open to all that.

But what I’m not open to is hitting “Keep Faith” again, or pretending we occupy the moral high ground. We don’t. And if we’re going to win this thing, we’re going to need to topple them from that ill-gained position. The positive side is, the more they burn cities down, shoot people, and generally act like assholes, the weaker their hold on that position becomes, even with media interference running on their behalf 24/7. They are starting to lose their grip on it, finally.

So in the end, if you’re considering emulating this woman: don’t. It won’t work. And it’s possible it may be counterproductive. But definitely be considering ways in which we can make a difference in this war (and it is a war, don’t think of it any different, even if it’s mostly a cold war right now), and stop assuming that your enemies have your best interest at heart. They don’t and never did. Don’t Keep Faith with them.

On Marxism and Morality, Part 2

So in Part 1 of the On Marxism and Morality series, we discussed how Karl Marx used the word slavery as a sort of sleight of hand to imply that any free man who sold his labor was, in fact, a slave. In truth, slavery is a condition wherein you are fundamentally denied choice. The worker can walk away. The worker can go work for someone else. Indeed, the worker can change careers, or obtain capital himself. Many choices exist for him. The slave has none.

But as Francis pointed out, Marx was aware of this objection.

Marx was aware of the objections to his thesis on freedom grounds, so he did what any determined totalitarian would do: he redefined freedom. Freedom, according to Marx, is an absence of tension and conflict, which he maintained can only be achieved when the means of production have been put under control of the workers. A nice little circularity, eh?

Indeed it is. Let us turn to Marxists.org (I don’t want to give them traffic, but feel free to navigate there if you wish) for a suitably Marxian definition of freedom:

Freedom is the right and capacity of people to determine their own actions, in a community which is able to provide for the full development of human potentiality. Freedom may be enjoyed by individuals but only in and through the community.

Notice the qualifier at the end of their definition. In the Marxist world, freedom only exists through the community. This is fundamentally opposed to the Rightist notion of freedom as a natural state. The lone hunter-gatherer is free, in that he can do as he wishes. No one is applying force on him, save the laws of nature, which can neither be altered nor appealed to. The man becomes unfree when force or threat of force is used to compel him to do something.

If I hold a gun to your head and tell you to give me your wallet, that is a momentary state of servitude. It is a violation of freedom.

In the Marxian world, this is not quite accurate, because the community supersedes the individual. A man is a slave unless he is a part of a specific type of (read: Marxist) community. Let’s go further:

Only in community [has each] individual the means of cultivating his gifts in all directions; only in the community, therefore, is personal freedom possible. In the previous substitutes for the community, in the State, etc. personal freedom has existed only for the individuals who developed within the relationships of the ruling class, and only insofar as they were individuals of this class.

Karl Marx and Frederick Engels

The German Ideology

This is actually very revealing. Freedom in the Marxist world speaks of human development. It is freedom from nature, not freedom from fellow man. As I’ve said before, this is a fundamental conflict with various forms of Rightism, which regard man as being free by nature, and only later being tied to bondage. In the Marxist world, man is born a slave unless he is a Marxist, living in a Marxist community. Convenient, isn’t it?

One exception is made: Marxists regard the ruling class as free, but only because it oppresses others. This is a contradiction. How could both Marxists and Oppressors be free, but non-Marxists who don’t oppress anyone categorically be slaves?

Let’s return to the concept Francis spoke of:

Positive Freedom and Negative Freedom:

 

Negative freedom means the lack of forces which prevent an individual from doing whatever they want; Positive freedom is the capacity of a person to determine the best course of action and the existence of opportunities for them to realise their full potential.

 

The overwhelmingly dominant tendency in the history of bourgeois society has been to open up negative freedom, by removing feudal and other reactionary constraints on freedom of action. Free trade and wage-labour are the most characteristic bourgeois freedoms which have resulted from this history: free trade being the freedom of a capitalist to make a profit without restriction, and wage-labour being the freedom of a worker from any means of livelihood other than being able to sell their labour power to the highest bidder. Thus this negative bourgeois freedom is a kind of freedom which is real only for those who own the means of production.

 

Positive freedom has been built up almost exclusively as a result of the struggle of the working class: initially the legislation limiting hours of work, child labour and so on, later the creation of free compulsory education, public health systems, right to form trade unions, and so forth, freedoms which explicitly limit the freedom of the capitalists to exploit workers, but give worker the opportunity to develop as human beings.

-Marxists.org

We see here that what a Rightist would define as freedom is actually acknowledged in Marxism as “negative freedom.” Marxists admit that “bourgeois society” has opened up negative freedom. But immediately this goes right off the rails. Marxism.org tells us that workers don’t really have this freedom because they don’t have capital, and thus must sell their labor. In this, they treat “labor” as a monolithic block. In reality, labor can be many kinds of things. You could be a plumber, or a writer, or a programmer, or an actor. You could work for a company, or you could be a contractor and work for yourself. Labor is not monolithic. Labor cannot be dismissed as non-free by itself. Only if someone is forcing you to do specific labor can it be called unfree. A slavemaster holds a whip and tells his slave to pick cotton. Slavery. A laborer agrees to work for $10/hour picking cotton. Not slavery. And in any case, the worker may obtain capital if he is unsatisfied with his role.

But then Marxism posits a ‘superior’ form of “positive” freedom, which is, in fact, nothing of the kind. And then Marxists try to explain that there is some kind of tension between all these forces, and only when it goes away and everything is cleared away for you (note: by someone else) are you “free” in any real sense.

It’s a bunch of rhetoric about “realizing their full potential.” This word is left undefined. When an artist gets government money to do some sort of modern art project, Marxists eat it up. We’re letting the artist be an artist, they say. He can realize his full potential, they claim. Except there’s a catch. If everyone realized this potential, who would clean toilets and pick up garbage? We’d have an awful lot of bad art, for what incentive is there to improve if you’re going to get the money anyway? And we’d have an awful lot of garbage and dirty toilets, because nobody “realizes their full potential” scrubbing fecal matter. But if nobody scrubs the crap, you get a dysfunctional (and smelly) society.

This is not a new concept. We can go back to the Greeks, and read Aristophanes, and see this central fallacy of Marxism laid bare for us:

“Praxagora: I want all to have a share of everything and all property to be in common; there will no longer be either rich or poor; I shall begin by making land, money, everything that is private property, common to all.
Blepyrus: But who will till the soil?
Praxagora: The slaves.”
―Aristophanes

Yes. 2,500 years ago, the Greeks understood the central points of Marxism well enough. And it is clear such foolishness was satirized rather heavily. Marxism needs slaves, real ones, not laborers cast as slaves because of political needs. And the people “realizing their full potential”? They will be the Party members, the new political aristocracy, whose coin will be popularity and political power instead of bank balances. They will realize their potential. You won’t.

Fact is, a human’s potential is unknowable by any but God anyway. Even a man himself does not know if there was more he could have done, or better choices he could have made in life. Whatever his pure theoretical potential, he will always fall short of it. Consider also that a man today, possessing machines to serve him, can do far more than a man thousand years ago. We can make more and better goods, grow more food, prevent more disease. Our potential is not some static number that you magically hit and suddenly you’re “free”. It is always changing, never certain, and not fully quantifiable.

Either Marx was aware of this, and didn’t care, or he was too dense to get it. But either way, the Marxist definition of freedom is bullshit. It is, in fact, even less true than the notion that labor is slavery. For at least labor can sometimes look rather similar to slavery in some superficial manner. “Positive freedom” and negative freedom have absolutely nothing in common. Positive freedom is pure bologna, because it’s not freedom at all. As Aristophanes explained for us, it actually implies that at least someone will have to be enslaved.

Must Watch

Francis posted this Mark Steyn video this morning, and I believe it is a must-watch, so I am reposting here. What’s fascinating is that it was recorded only hours before the attack yesterday. As always, Mark Steyn is something of a prophet.

Developing News: House Majority Whip Shot

Take a look for yourself over at Fox News: Steve Scalise, aide shot in Virginia.

Reports on my Twitter feed are indicating that witnesses claimed the gunman asked “where are the Republicans” before going on his shooting rampage. So while unconfirmed, given the target and that possibility, this is likely a politically motivated attack.

Yesterday, I got into a long-winded war on Facebook with a number of former friends who decided to take issue with a post in which I told people I was no longer going to censor my politics in public. One of the fascinating things, as it relates to this news, is that one Lefty made the claim that I was “exaggerating oppression.” I.e. he felt that there was no anti-right wing bias, and that I was making it all up. He claimed that the Kent State shooting was proof that it was more dangerous to be a Leftist, than a Rightist.

And then he dared me to come up with a single Right-winger shot for his politics by a Leftist.

It appears his wish came true.

More to come as we learn more.

Tuesday Afternoon Errata

I had a long successor post on Marxism planned for today, but the workload is too much for that, presently. So enjoy a few little tidbits before we move on to Part 2.

First off, if you’re a regular reader of The Declination, you are no doubt familiar with Francis over at Liberty’s Torch. And today, he has reminded me in rather amusing fashion that he is, in fact, an engineer. After all, only an engineer would use a term like PDOOMA (Pulled Directly Out Of My Ass). He goes on at some length to discuss the problems with climate simulations, and why the ones currently utilized are likely to be about as accurate as a crystal ball at a trailer park psychic’s home. This would be amusing enough, but then he resurrects an old post from Eternity Road to tell us, at some length about PDOOMA, and how to tell when a bad actor is doing exactly that with his statistics.

I highly recommend both pieces. Between both posts, it explains almost every objection I have to the notion of “man-made climate change.”

Second, this morning I became aware of an interesting tizzy going down on Facebook. Jon Del Arroz, an up-and-coming conservative author, managed to rustle the jimmies of Mike Glyer, of Vile 770 fame. Larry Correia and Brad Torgersen soon joined in, with Mike Glyer periodically slinging insults at Larry, to the effect of how stupid everyone else was, and how smart and special Glyer himself was. Mike Glyer often tries to hide under a veneer of respectability, but his SJW instincts steered him badly off kilter today.

It’s all rather amusing stuff. Feel free to peruse and laugh. Naturally, I had a few contributions to the thread as well. Vile 770 is, in effect, an intellectual equivalent of a sewage treatment plant, where Mike Glyer tries to put a nice face on some very nasty Progressive characters, whose primary reason for posting at Vile 770 is to sling hate on conservative authors.

Francis talks about Garbage In, Garbage Out. Well, there’s Mike Glyer’s place for you, in a nutshell. Here is a reliably-informed diagram of the inner workings of File 770:

sewage_Treatment_plant

I’ll leave you with my own estimation of Mike Glyer’s intellectual prowess:

Also, it’s worth noting that Mike Glyer’s insults basically boil down to “neener neener, I’m smarter than you.” It’s the sort of childish taunting you’d hear in an elementary school playground. It’s also projection in its pure form.

You see, Mr. Glyer probably spent most of his youth getting smoke blown up his ass about how special he was, how beautiful and unique he was, like some kind of special snowflake. Now, reality came and ran over his puffed-up dreams like a goddamn freight train. Here men like Larry Correia and Jon Del Arroz do good for themselves, and Glyer has to be thinking “why can’t I be that good, I’m special, I’m smart, I’m a snowflake?”

Here’s a life lesson for you, sir. The people who blew smoke up your ass when you grew up were liars. Every damn one of them. All of the buttslurping pond scum at Vile770 are as useless as you are, sir. You’ve contributed nothing of value to this planet, certainly nothing worth getting paid the kind of money Larry makes. You are the architecture critic who never built a building, the movie critic who never held a camera, the political pundit who can’t even be bothered to crawl his lard-filled, twinkie-stuffing ass to the voting booth.

Socrates once explained that he couldn’t find a wise man, and he himself was not wise. But he was wiser than some for knowing this. And every time you crawl out from whatever cesspit you hail from and insult your betters, I am reminded that though I’m no great shakes in the success department either, compared to the likes of Larry, I’ve got one up on you for at least not being a pretentious, delusional fuckwit staring at my own reflection like Narcissus, with his face plastered and drunk in front of a toilet full of his own vile spew.

PDOOMA indeed.

On Marxism and Morality, Part 1

Many Americans have a near-instinctive loathing for Communism, both the word, and nations and leaders who have put it into practice. How many can articulate why it engenders such disgust?

SJWs and other assorted Marxists use the battle-cry “educate!” The assumption, of course, is that anyone who disagrees with Marxism is either uneducated or, somewhat less charitably, just so stupid as to be unable to grasp its nuances. Marxism, some have claimed, is itself something of a misnomer, for Marx did not expressly construct the ideology. He was, they say, merely a philosopher.

Whatever. Call the ideology whatever you wish, it still remains the same. My own familiarity with the ideology comes from a lifetime of learning from those who lived under it, including my own in-laws. In this, my education in Marxism has been rooted in practicality. What does this ideology produce when its adherents are granted power?

This is how most Americans approach the subject, for we are nothing if not a practical people. You can sell us on a shiny, stylish new car, and claim it is the greatest thing ever invented. But if it breaks down frequently, is expensive to maintain, and generally fails to do the job for which it was purchased, we account it as a shitty car. We treat Communism the same way. One might claim it is more fashionable and trendy, that it is a greater and more moral ideology than our own. But when we see it fail, in every time and place in which it has taken hold… Well, it doesn’t matter how good of a salesman you are, or how many times you say it wasn’t real Communism. The American will look upon it like the worst of lemons on the Buy Here, Pay Here lot.

Our intrepid, plaid-clothed salesman may claim that we are merely uneducated, for the car is loaded with the latest in technological progress, but the American pays him no mind. It’s not as if we haven’t heard that line a dozen times before. But when pressed, the American often has difficulty articulating precisely why views it as a lemon. “It just doesn’t work right,” might be the response. Or perhaps he will say “the sales guy sounded like a weasel, no thanks.”

The claim of uneducated has a ring of truth to it, which is why the dig is often so effective. An American might think “well, you’re right, I don’t know an awful lot about it. I just know it doesn’t work.”

So let’s pry the lid off Marxism a little bit and approach it from an everyman’s perspective, and see what we might find. Let’s dig in and see precisely why it is such a lemon. Where its failures are, and how we’ve come to the point where Marxism, despite being seemingly defeated in the Cold War, has come dangerously close to complete control over most of the Earth.

This will be an ongoing series, where I will select a passage from Marx’s Das Kapital and go over in detail what it means, and how it relates to our current situation. And rather than this being some kind of long-winded sociopolitical scholarly treatment, it will be plain, and written for the layman. There’s enough loaded jargon on Communism festering around on the Internet these days, after all. I’ve no desire to add to that particular landfill.

Here are two quotes for today:

“In reality, the laborer belongs to capital before he has sold himself to capital. His economic bondage is both brought about and concealed by the periodic sale of himself, by his change of masters, and by the oscillation in the market price of labor power. Capitalist production, therefore, under its aspect of a continuous connected process, of a process of reproduction, produces not only commodities, not only surplus value, but it also produces and reproduces the capitalist relation; on the one side the capitalist, on the other the wage-laborer.”
― Karl Marx, Das Kapital

And:

“The essential difference between the various economic forms of society, between, for instance, a society based on slave-labour, and one based on wage-labour, lies only in the mode in which this surplus-labour is in each case extracted from the actual producer, the labourer.”
― Karl Marx, Das Kapital

Here Marx is attempting to sell the reader on the notion that workers are slaves, or at least have a relationship fundamentally similar to slaves with their masters. The worker may choose a different a master, says Marx, but he is still in economic bondage. It is still, in his words, a man conducting “the periodic sale of himself.”

In the days of the Industrial Revolution, this undoubtedly appealed to a great many workers. Let’s face it, life in the factory was hellish. They were dirty, dingy, disgusting, and undoubtedly dangerous. The hours were long, and the toil would have felt as close to slavery as anything could be. And then some Socialist agitator would come and explain that he had been granted insight into the ideology of Karl Marx, a man who said that one day they would escape this bondage.

Except the notion of this difficult labor as slavery is incorrect. It is the foundation upon which the rest of Marxism rests. That it is truly unjust for a man to work so. Let’s look at that notion more closely.

What would happen to a man in the stone age who refused to do the equally difficult and dangerous labor of hunting and foraging for food? Naturally, he would die. Was he thus a slave? If so, he would be a slave to Mother Nature. Before the Industrial Revolution, what would a man generally do for work? Most likely, he would be a farmer. Farming (especially back then) was also a hard, risky business. It is telling that people left the farms to go work in the factories, and never thought to go back.

You see, while the relationship between a factory owner and his workers may superficially resemble that of master and slave in some fashion, it really isn’t one. The worker can choose to do whatever he wishes, and whatever someone will pay him to do. He could be a farmer, or a servant, or a factory worker. He can choose who to work for, which is also very powerful.

Periodically, Facebook will fill up with comments about how evil and terrible Walmart is, as a company. They pay very little, it is said, and the work is demanding. Costco, they often claim, is so much better than Walmart in this respect. They pay their workers a living wage, provide healthcare benefits, and so on. The implied question is “why isn’t Walmart as good as Costco?”

That is a question I can answer, for many moons ago I worked at a Costco as a stocker and occasional cashier, when the dotcom bust hit in the early 2000s (no jobs for programmers back then). I would unload trucks, haul pallets around, and otherwise. And sure enough, they paid a great wage. Over $12/hour, and back then, it was good money for that kind of work.

So how was it that Costco could afford this, and Walmart couldn’t? Well, Costco is very picky about who they hire. And their expectations for work were very lofty. They worked me to the bone, let me tell you. And if you didn’t work to the bone, you didn’t last very long. Out of my crop of hires (over 20 new people), after three months I was one of only three still left. Some were fired. Most left on their own accord, because the work was too much for them. Walmart is much more lax about such things. When I go to a Walmart, I often see workers just lounging about, or slowly shuffling from place-to-place without any fanfare. Cashier lanes are much slower, too. You just didn’t see that at Costco. Or not for very long, anyway.

This gives the worker a choice. Go to Costco, where you’ll work very hard, but get paid pretty well to do it. Or slack off a little and make do with the Walmart wages. Otherwise, these Walmart workers would all be knocking on Costco’s doorstep for a job, rather than protesting in the streets, or posting rants on Facebook why Costco is great and Walmart stinks.

Is that really the choice of a slave?

Often times, the political Left will tell you that hard work doesn’t really get you anywhere. You’re exploited, you see, by the greedy Capitalists. But how many of them would really choose the higher-paying, but hard-working Costco job over the easier, lower-paying Walmart one? They want to have their cake and eat it too. Most folks have choices like this in their lives. You can almost always work more or harder, if you really want to. Whether the additional work is worth the payoff is another question entirely, but you do have a choice. And choice is precisely what separates you from slavery. If you take the choice away, i.e. embrace Marxist thought, you might be comfortable (probably only for a little while – see: Venezuela), but your lack of choice means you’ve effectively embraced enslavement.

And all of this presumes that you can’t, in fact, also acquire capital of your own. You can, and many folks do. Then you are no longer just a worker.

This notion of the worker as a slave is one of Marxism’s most important foundations, and it is built upon a lie. It is a lie designed to sound plausible, for after a long day of hauling pallets and paying rent, life can seem rather slave-like. Especially when you see the owner chugging up the hill in his fancy new Benz. But take it from a man who could afford pretty much any Benz he wanted, now, if he was inclined to be stupid with his money: you won’t always be where you are, and you do have a choice.

Nobody ever said that just because you aren’t a slave, life will be easy, full of plenty, and without dangerous, difficult struggles. A hard life doesn’t make you a slave, and an easy life doesn’t mean you aren’t one. Choice, not labor, is what determines your status as a slave or a free man.

Marxism: A Cross Between Mean Girls & Lord of the Flies

The right wing has a serious problem culturally and socially, and it goes beyond the fact that Marxists have claimed education, media, and entertainment. Consider the reasons why the Marxists wrangled control of them. Every organization they infiltrate either falls to them in short order, or survives only by becoming incredibly intolerant and explicitly rightist. Even a few of those organizations eventually fall, too.

Yet once Marxists claim an organization, their dreadful mismanagement of it soon results in the organization either failing completely, or requiring subsidy and support from the outside for its now implicitly Marxist mission.

Greater minds than mine have determined how this happens, how SJWs and their ilk manage to subvert and dominate organizations. The question I want answered is why we continually allow them to do this.

A large portion of my writing on The Declination has been devoted to discovering the underlying problem and defeating it. Weaponized Empathy is one such concept, and yet it seemed somehow incomplete. Correct, but insufficient.

Marxists live and breathe power politics. This is the whole of their existence, their singular purpose: to seize the property of others and redistribute it, setting themselves up as the fulcrum by which society is measured and weighed. I know better, says the Marxist, you must obey me.

I am smarter than you, says the Marxist, thus I know better how to utilize your property, you must therefore relinquish it to me.

Of course, if they said it outright this way, nobody would support them, for the tyranny would be obvious. Yet, despite the many failures of Marxism in the last century, support for it continues to claim moral superiority in every visible way.

Let’s not kid ourselves. Communism still retains the moral high ground in the minds of men, even in the minds of many conservatives, who struggle with accusations of racism, sexism, hating the poor, etc… People know Marxism doesn’t work. They know it is wrong. But it doesn’t matter, because as soon as the accusations are slung their way, they feel guilty.

When Trump opposed Obamacare, the rhetoric was that poor people were going to die if the program was cancelled or modified (toward the right) in any way. Of course, this was not quantified in any real way.

But it didn’t have to be quantified, or even true, because the rightist now faced a choice: defend himself and look guilty, because as you know, if you are defensive, you are seen as guilty. What are you hiding, they ask, that you would be so defensive about it? Or you could ignore the charge, and let yourself be blasted in perpetuity for it. Without mounting a defense, you may be left wide open for rhetorical attack.

That is the real challenge here.

An analogy is possible. Go back to high school, when “burning” other students was considered the norm. If someone called you a name, or insulted you, you did not defend yourself. If, for instance, someone called you stupid, you did not rattle off your IQ and GPA to prove the person wrong. You would be laughed at for doing that. “Lol, did you see that kid? John called him a pinhead, and he said he has a 140 IQ. What a lameass tool.” Being defensive is a fast death in the high school world.

Furthermore, while ignoring the insult was somewhat preferable to getting defensive about it, that didn’t always work either. You could keep ignoring it, and others would keep saying shit about you, chipping away at your reputation without fear of suffering any damage themselves. This was a slower death, in that the damage did not immediately destroy you, but enough attacks would eventually do you in.

The sole method for victory was to immediately burn the other kid back. And if he, in turn, had a response, you had to do it again. This would go on until one or the other would win. But even a loss in the burn contest imposed a price upon the winner. He had to consider that next time he might lose.

This may be the biggest problem with how the right wing addresses politics. We tend to think of it as serious business (because, in truth, it is). Economics, foreign policy, poverty, freedom… these are all real world issues to us, things that, though we may disagree on, we genuinely want to solve. We’re adults, trying to fix a problem.

Marxists, meanwhile, are high school kids. Nobody really cares about your GPA, your beauty, your wealth, your IQ, or even how much you can bench. Popularity is all that really matters. It is the coin of the realm. And while some stats can be of assistance in this regard (you don’t want to be the poor kid at a rich school, for instance, or the reverse), it’s really an amorphous blob of power politics that truly sets one apart from another.

Many rightists were probably pretty good at the burn game in high school. But they also left this behavior behind and grew up. Marxists never did. If anything, they regressed. They continued down that trajectory while we became out of shape, lame, and stodgy, in their eyes.

The only reason Marxists haven’t obtained victory, for they have completely dominated the burn game, as only Donald Trump has really given them a run for their money in this, is that rightists control the weapons. We’ve become dorky, lame, and are the butt of all jokes. But at the same time, we are still stronger and are much better in a fight.

And that was the one great equalizer in the high school world. If you lost the burn game, escalation was on the table. Instead of insulting him back, you might just punch him in the face instead. The Marxists fear this. This is why they always pull back just short of the point at which the right wing would revolt and beat the stuffing out of them.

If the disrespectful puke insulting you took a hook to the jaw, he instantly lost, regardless of who had the better insults. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.

What our side needs to understand about politics is that when the leftist says “you’re a racist” this isn’t any more likely to be true than a high school kid saying “you’re stupid.” If a kid calls you a pinhead, the answer isn’t to pull out a tape measure and declare that your cranium has normal size characteristics. That is what we have done on the right for far too long.

“You’re sexist,” says the Marxist.

Your reply should be something on the order of “you’re an economic illiterate.” Don’t reply with how your policies are actually good for women, even though this is probably true. You can articulate that elsewhere. Write a blog post, or build a website to discuss the truth of the issue. But don’t respond directly to the Marxist with this, it won’t work.

The Marxist may then reply with a counter of his own, and so on and so forth. If a Communist calls you “fat” reply with “yeah? At least us capitalists have food.” If the Marxist calls you greedy, reply in turn that he is jealous because he is poor. If he’s a rich Marxist, ask him when he plans to donate his billions to the NAACP, because he’s just another white liberal racist trying to put poor black folks on a Democrat-run voting plantation.

And if the Marxists ever wind up winning the burn battle anyway, and fully takeover the country and want to come for us… Well, then escalation is on the table. Believe me, they fear it. Deep down in their bones, they are afraid of us. Because that is the instant reset button. They immediately lose the second it comes to that.

With Marxists, it is perpetual high school politics. View them through this lens, and a lot starts to make sense. Their tactics, their methods… it’s all straight out of school. Moral high ground, in their world, is straight-up popularity, and nothing more. You wonder why mountains of bodies surround every major Marxist regime? Imagine if you gave a bunch of catty valley girl teenagers absolute power over life and death. What would happen? How many would die?

Weaponized Empathy? Almost every teenager knows how to use this weapon. It is merely that we’ve forgotten because we grew up and moved on. They are stuck perpetually in a world that is a cross between Lord of the Flies and Mean Girls. Where everything is about a false idol of fairness, and personal popularity. Where sick burns outweigh anything right or true. If Karl Marx was a prophet, he must have had visions of American high schools. And as for the Marxists themselves, one might rightly suspect they just want revenge for all those wedgies and swirlies they got as kids. They never forgot. They never let go, or grew up.

Too many rightists fear losing their principles and their maturity by falling into that cesspit to do battle with them. Why? Marxists are immature idiots. Crush them and put them in timeout. And if they get too far out of line, spank them. We can play their own game better than they can if we ever bothered to try.

And perhaps that gives us the best burn to deploy against them: “shut up, the adults are talking.”

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