The Diminishing Returns of Social Justice

Have you ever been cleaning your house, sweeping the floor or vacuuming the carpet, and after hours of work, you put away your vacuum, hang up your broom, and chillax with a beer…

…and then you see it. A crumb that somehow missed the dustpan. A dust bunny the vacuum failed to suck up. A smudge on the baseboards that you just did not see until you put everything away.

What do you do?

Well, if you’re OCD about these things, as I can be sometimes, perhaps you break out all of your cleaning gear again, and go to town on the smudge, hit the floors one more time, and go through the whole process all over. Or maybe you just get up, and physically pick up the speck, or rub the smudge on the baseboard with your shirt. I’ve done that, too.

You return to your now-lukewarm beer. You got the speck this time. No more smudges. It’s time to relax after a job well done. And then you see it. Another speck of dirt… You sigh. But you’re not getting up again. No way.

This sort of thing applies to almost every corner of life. If you’re a car guy (as I also am), the small scratches and paint chips you accumulate on your daily driver can drive you nuts.

Social Justice operates like this.

If we imagine the various ills of racism, sexism, homophobia, and the myriad of other -isms and -phobias decried by the Progressives as a messy room, we can see how ending Jim Crow, passing the 19th amendment, and passing the Civil Rights Act might be seen as cleaning that room.

And the specks of dirt left in the room after we’ve cracked open that beer are the microaggressions, the privileges, and the various imperfections in the ‘level playing field’ that feature prominently in political discourse.

In many ways, I think the political Right has made a mistake in trying to say these privileges, microaggressions, and other such things do not exist. Instead, I wonder if the better approach is to point out that the carpet will never be entirely free of dirt particles. Your baseboards will never be perfect. You can break out the cleaning gear again and again, and only succeeded in rubbing the paint off the baseboards in your obsession to have perfect cleanliness.

Oftentimes there are relatively obvious things that can be done to address very blatant inequalities. Certainly, eliminating government-enforced segregation was a big one. And perhaps police reform is urgently needed in a lot of places. But after a while, you reach diminishing returns in the quest for perfection. How has affirmative action worked out?

Adam Corolla gave the example of how he wanted to become an LA firefighter, and had to wait years – in the process giving up on this desire – because he was white, and continually shuffled to the bottom of the stack. Somebody rubbed the paint off the baseboards. Even if being white is probably still a net gain in some situations, it is also a net negative in others. Imagine being the white kid trying out for the basketball team.

Intersectional privileges, in Social Justice parlance, are essentially infinite in nature anyway. That is to say each person will have a personal collection of advantages and disadvantages based on various attributes. What is gained by privilege A is lost by privilege B, and so on. I recall a debate on Twitter back in the Gamergate days, where an SJW ranted on about blue-eyed privilege. Theoretically, sure, maybe having blue eyes statistically means a 1% more likely chance of some good thing happening. But my brown eyes have never bothered me. And it is difficult to see what my brother’s blue eyes really bought him in life.

These privileges are specks of dirt on the carpet. And in some cases, a good pass with the vacuum will eliminate the worst and most visible effects – especially when those privileges are mandated by a hostile government.

But the SJWs do not know when to stop, crack open a beer, and just live with it. They keep scrubbing until the paint is gone. They keep vacuuming until the carpet is torn up. Knuckles bloody, beer expired, and angry, they just keep going.

A white woman in a kimono must be cancelled.

The Golden Girls with that mud mask stuff on is blackface, get rid of it.

To hell with Aunt Jemima syrup.

Tear down the emancipation monument.

All because there’s a speck somewhere.

When called out on this behavior, they point to the speck of dirt and say “see! Look! Racism still exists!”

Yes, it does. You’re never going to get rid of it all. Start from the assumption that humanity is a flawed creature, that individuals are full of biases you will never rid them of entirely, and that some in-group preference is unavoidable. Start from the assumption that every human has advantages and disadvantages in life, and you will not be able to level them all. There will always be a smudge or a speck.

At a certain point, crack open your beer and chill, damnit.

A different way of looking at it is defining what clean means to you. Does a clean country mean that no incidents of racism will occur? No. Does it mean there will be no monuments that offend anyone? No. Does a clean country mean every demographic permutation or ‘group privilege’ situation will be equally represented in everything? No.

Also, given that there are nearly an infinite number of potential overlapping privileges, what makes this particular speck you’re focusing on so much more important than the others?

Feminists gloss over atrociously bad male suicide rates and workplace deaths. Why is #metoo so much more important than men killing themselves, or dying in workplace accidents? It’s not so much that I want to obsess over the “men kill themselves” speck of dirt on the carpet. Rather, why is THIS speck so much more worthy of obsession than THAT speck. It’s subjective and emotionally driven. White privilege is a problem when it confers advantages over some other demographic group. But when the white kid is picked last for the basketball team, or Adam Carolla can’t even get an interview for the firefighter job he wanted, nobody cares about Non-white privilege.

Even if we conceded that, net-net, White privilege outweighed Non-white privilege (and I’m not so sure it does – SJWs tend to focus on the advantages of one and the disadvantages of the other with little balancing in the reverse direction), is the return on investment really worth it?

How much is complete fairness worth?

In Harrison Bergeron, it was worth bringing all of society down to the lowest common denominator. Is that what we want?

And let’s assume we finally figure out this one privilege in the infinite Social Justice Pantheon of privileges. Great! Only a near-infinite number more to go. What’s next? Height privilege? Blue-eye privilege?

Or maybe it’s male privilege, which is one I really find laughable. Progressives often focus on higher overall pay for men. Or the fact that women are often valued for their looks. The second one his kind of hilarious, because in many ways being valued for appearance is an advantage if you’re an even modestly attractive woman. This is a card most men can never play. It’s not in their privilege deck at all.

I ran a poll on Twitter – and let’s be clear, Twitter polls are for fun only, don’t take this as serious business – and 91.5% of folks rated “hot girl privilege” as higher than male, white, and straight privileges. Again, very biased sample set.

But if we ran that same poll out in the world and got real statistical data out of it, can anyone imagine hot girl privilege losing? I can’t. Can you?

Of course, like the others, there are disadvantages too, even there. A hot girl probably has to deal with a lot more creepers and internet stalkers than some random dude-bro.

The main point I’m trying to make here, is that SJWs and Progressives tend to be very arbitrary when it comes to selecting which privileges to be worried about, and furthermore, they tend to be very arbitrary when describing them, selecting only the disadvantages of one and the advantages of the other with little thought to a balanced comparison.

And they can never stop cleaning. There is never a point where something is good enough. The house is never clean. Nobody can ever relax, crack open a beer, and chill. Social anxiety must continue forever. Never stop cleaning. No peace.

But also, that privileges, microaggressions, and other Social Justice talking points do exist in some fashion. Saying they do not gives SJWs leverage in the argument. The speck of dirt on the carpet is real. It’s there.

It’s just that I’m not getting up from the couch second time over one speck of dirt. Oftentimes, it is not anywhere near as important or dramatic as they claim. I’m not going scrub the baseboards until the paint peels off for a tiny smudge. The ROI isn’t there.

I’ll keep a clean house, mind you. But we’re never going to have perfection. And eventually, people just need to stop, live with it, and get on with their lives.

Escape the City: a How-To Homesteading Guide

So there are very few people I will do plugs for on my blog. Generally speaking, I keep this blog free of advertising and other such things. It is my outlet – shared with my co-contributors – for observations about the wider world. But on occasion, a good friend will create something so interesting that I absolutely must share it with my readers.

Francis and I both know the author Travis Corcoran quite well. I’ve been up to his farm before, so believe me when I say that everything he talks about doing is stuff I’ve seen in person. I think the best burgers I’ve ever had in my life were served at Travis’s farm – from sheep which he had raised himself. Travis knows what he’s talking about. He has started a Kickstarter for a book in which he shares his knowledge. And in light of the insanity we’re seeing in the cities these days… well, I think his timing could not have been better.


God knows (and I do not invoke Him lightly), that I’d like to have a farm someday. It is beyond my means at the present moment for a number of reasons – but you better believe I’m going to have hardcover copies of his books on my shelf for when that time comes. And it’s worth noting that if the craziness going on today escalates far enough… well, I’d like to think most of my readers have read Lucifer’s Hammer. Our current political situation isn’t equivalent to an asteroid impact, but when I see libertarians calling forth the Sweet Meteor of Death on social media, I have to wonder if God won’t grant their wish.

In any event, I can be quite lazy when it suits me, and so to have a handy tome to reference for all of the things I don’t know that I don’t know is excellent. Sign up for a copy of this book – you won’t be disappointed.

The Great Awokening

Dear readers, is it just me or does 2016 already feel like a long time ago? I don’t know about you, but I miss the days when Woke Democrat mobs only came after people who posted nationalist memes and ethnic humor on Twitter. Today, you can be cancelled for almost anything – or at least the attempt can be made by nominal Republicans angry that a pizza chain dared to thank a random person on Twitter in 2012. As long as, that is, said random person became an official in the Trump administration 8 years later.

Domino’s Pizza probably should employ more clairvoyant Woke employees.

The Great Awokening means you should be able to accurately predict mob opinion. Failure means Cancellation.

As statues come down across the country – to include Thomas Jefferson – well, it seems like we’ve entered an orgy of monumental destruction. Strippers start twerking and masturbating in public as some kind of protest. And we continue to watch rioters burn down fast food restaurants because, naturally, it is important to target Wendy’s and McDonald’s when discussing police brutality. And while race may be at the center of this issue, it is by no means black and white. Watch as a black man waving an American flag is attacked and his flag destroyed by Antifas chanting that America is a colonialist, fascist state. Said antifas – a good many white – chant that he’s a race traitor, of course.

Cancel culture now includes those who do not directly support #BlackLivesMatter, even if they agree that George Floyd’s death was wrong and police reform is urgently needed. If you don’t believe in the core principles of Social Justice – the current central premise of its most prominent faction being, of course, that if you are white you are guilty – then it is time for you to be cancelled.

The Great Awokening doesn’t care about the cause, only your virtue-signaled submission.

There are so many more incidents I’ve seen lately – and I’m sure my readers have seen still more. This includes people in my personal life, many of which have stated that if you are not protesting with BlackLivesMatter, then you’re a Fascist, and you need to be cancelled. Or, perhaps, you should be reeducated in camps, as Bill Palmer explains:

If you’re right-of-center, well, you should clean toilets or something, or be sent to reeducation camp for ‘rehabilitation’. These views are mainstream on the political Left. Or at least they are among mainstream Leftists I know in my personal life, and see on social media. Leftists who still want to have a peaceful dialogue with Rightists appear to be an endangered species.

The other day, I saw a tweet from a group of armed Texans ensuring the Alamo was protected. A great many Rightists praised them, and while I agree that it was a good thing, I disagree that this means anything in the long run. Eventually Texas will go Leftist. In a decade. Two, maybe. I don’t have a good handle on any kind of timeline, but it will. And then the Antifas will burn it down. Do you think activists have forgotten that Texas was a slave-owning society that took land from Mexico? That’s how they’re going to see it.

You might save the Alamo today. You won’t tomorrow. They will come, one day.

The Great Awokening holds nothing off limits.

Some folks agreed with Confederate statues coming down because some were erected by legitimate segregationists for political purposes. That, and the Civil War meant that Southern leaders and military men were, in effect, traitors. That second one is a position I generally disagree with – I think that, despite the bad motivations behind Southern secession, there’s a lot more nuance to men like Lee, who were in a position to either betray their home state, or the Federal government. But whatever. I get the arguments.

I also told everyone that the mob would not stop with the Confederates. Columbus statues are coming down. Thomas Jefferson too. You may say “well, Columbus did a lot of terrible things.” Sure. You may say “Thomas Jefferson carried on illicit relationships with his slaves.” Also true! Welcome to the wide world of humans are imperfect jerks. Are we honoring them for the bad things they did, or the good things?

Even if you agree with those… what about George Washington, who slowly came to despise slavery, and provided for the freedom of his slaves? What about the statues of prominent abolitionists that have been vandalized because they were white? What about Winston Churchill’s statue in Britain, that was covered with graffiti? Did they deserve it? Well, I’m sure they’ve all done something bad. And in Churchill’s case, fighting actual, real-life Nazis is not worth setting aside his mistakes. You cannot be honored unless you are perfect, it seems.

Are we making the argument that we should have no monuments of people, because the woke crowd will find something wrong or unwoke with every one of them?

The Great Awokening tolerates no monuments to the past. 

Watching media talking heads and prominent Democrats (and Quisling-like Republicans like Rick Wilson) celebrating the protests and excusing its spread of COVID-19 while simultaneously condemning Trump rallies for spreading COVID-19 is a hilarious exercise in doublethink. It reminds me of the constant back-and-forth reporting about the utility of wearing a mask. If you wore a mask, you were depriving doctors of them, who of course needed them – even though they didn’t work – and, of course, it wouldn’t work for you. Then all of a sudden if you went anywhere without wearing a mask, you clearly wanted old people to die.

As Zero HP Lovecraft said on Twitter: “The irony of millions of people chanting ‘I can’t breathe’ as they huddle together and expectorate a respiratory virus at each other is a gift from Gnon.”

The Great Awokening has no central truths. Everything is fluid.

If someone with a cell phone captures you on video during a heated political argument, prepare to lose your business… then watch as your spouse is also fired from his job. Say nothing and submit, and hope the Wokists pass over your home on their way to more prominent targets. Woke Capitalism means that almost every major company (except, paradoxically, Domino’s Pizza?) will fire you if the mob asks them to. And you cannot predict with decent accuracy what might trigger that mob, or cause them to notice you. Even the insufficiently-Leftist J.K. Rowling stands at the edge of the Woke precipice. If you’re black, your skin color does not protect you from the mob. If you’re a Leftist, your previous utility to the cause does not protect you. The mob has no rules, except that it demands submission to its tribe.

The Great Awokening might as well call itself Submission. Wait… isn’t there already a religion that calls itself that?

My friends, we are witnessing in real-time the birth of a new religion, and I feel rather like the Symmachi, or Julian the Apostate as Christianity spread like a great wave across the Mediterranean Sea, at last conquering the Roman Empire that, once upon a time, tried so hard to suppress it. Only where Christianity offered forgiveness and eternal life, Wokism brings only eternal guilt and damnation. Only temporary respite may ever be gained from it. Today’s loyal Antifa soldier will be tomorrow’s mob target.

Am I overstating my position? No, I don’t think so. Watch as the Woke participate in the washing of the feet. Watch as they chain themselves together to apologize for things they have never done. And notice, still, that their position at the bottom of the progressive stack – as the eternally damned – is never changed. You may submit, and gain temporary respite from the mob. But sooner or later, racist, you will be judged guilty again. You are privileged. All white people are racist. All men are sexist. All cisgenders are transphobes, and so on. The SocJus claim is that systemic and unconscious bias can never be fully eradicated. By being Woke, you become aware of your sin, but you are never forgiven for it, nor is there any redemption from it.

This unique twist on Original Sin – without the possibility of salvation – marks this belief system as something new, a sort of Post-Christian heresy, shorn of God, torn from the divine – a not-religion that somehow fulfills the same emotional purpose of a religion. A faith that requires no faith, only constant self-loathing. This not-faith gains new adherents by twisting out-of-context Bible quotes and spouting them at people who can summon no moral defense that does not awaken the wrath of the mob. “God is love!” Yeah, God is also the guy who thought the Canaanites sacrificing children to Moloch made them worthy of destruction at the hands of the Israelites.

Again, Zero HP Lovecraft captures it succinctly: “As with any religion, the faith with no name has its different theological schools, which even fight with each other. The major schools are queerism, feminism, and blackism, the latter of which is an ecumenism in which white people worship black people.”

In the current political climate, blackism is the leading denomination of Wokism.

In the Great Awokening, Moralistic Therapeutic Deism has finally found a new god to replace the one they hate so much: a Lovecraftian horror created from the collective virtue signalling of the mob.

In the Great Awokening, Trump is the equivalent of Lucifer. Because, as Satanists heading to the Antifa rallies have explained: Lucifer was the good guy of that particular story. Clearly. He was fighting against the oppressive colonialism of God. But in any case, the Orange Man is now the stand-in, the eternal enemy. Orwell’s Emmanuel Goldstein given real flesh. Someday, they shall distribute the crimethink, the golden book of Trump, containing within it every heresy, every blasphemy uttered by the ancient politician. Itself the only monument to the old world permitted by the Woke.

The ghost of Rick Wilson will smile with pride.

Police Overreach, Rioting, and a Noxious Rhetorical Climate

Unless you’ve been living under a very impressive rock – like a bad Brendan Fraser movie about people stuck in a bunker for decades – you know about this George Lloyd business. I’ve seen the video. If you haven’t, you should do so. It is pretty incriminating for the officers involved. I’ve never been much of a thin blue line kind of guy, but I definitely check out here. I know two very good friends who have been screwed over by exceptionally bad police overreach. Francis, over at Bastion of Liberty, surely knows one of them – he is a friend we have in common.

Police petty tyranny has been growing worse in recent years, and we add to that a certain tendency of some urban police departments to engage in soldier-LARPing behavior, well the problem only gets worse. Add to that the condition of various inner-city black communities, the current political climate of race-baiting social justice activism, and the fact that COVID-19 lockdowns have surely driven people mad with boredom and lack of social contact, and you have a perfect storm for this rioting behavior.

It’s hard to blame it on any one thing, save that the poor behavior of the officers in question surely struck a match and stuck it firmly in a powder keg of epic proportions. Personally, I am exhausted of this repeating cycle, which has been a thing since at least the early 90s and the Rodney King riots. Questionable police behavior (sometimes not really so bad, and other times absolutely inexcusably idiotic) leads to racial animus, which results in barbaric looting behavior. We’re all spiraling toward a singularity of stupid, the gravity pulling us deep into a descending orbit, too strong for any of us to escape.

Political rhetoric has become absolutely poisonous. Sure, it was bad in 2016, but this year it grows worse, and I grow weary of it. Every discussion even coming anywhere near a political point is liable to turn into a land mine. Friendships are breaking. Families are cracking. America is burning and creaking at the seams. I don’t know how much longer this dysfunctional system is going to continue to limp along. We may be witnessing its slow death. Or maybe we’ll bounce back again, and our country will be undone at some unspecified point in the future. It’s hard to say.

With the election approaching, I think it’s only going to get worse.

Sadly, I think underneath all the nuclear-level rhetoric, the unleashed ids, the emotional appeals and post-hoc rationalization, both sides of the American political spectrum are clutching a piece of the truth. I’m not sure how many people want to hear that, but I’ve become convinced that it is true. I posted the following summary on Twitter earlier:

  1. In general, policing has gone very bad in many ways.
  2. Black communities in most major cities suck.
  3. At least some of the suck is self-inflicted.
  4. I despair of any of that changing in the near future.
  5. We’ll be here again. And again
  6. Racial profiling is almost certainly a thing.
  7. It is not without some rational basis.
  8. Both facts poison interactions between cops and blacks.
  9. White liberal race-baiting doesn’t help.
  10. Neither does ‘thin blue line’ garbage.
  11. No political faction wants to tell the whole truth because it will piss off constituents who don’t want to hear it.
  12. Both major factions possess at least some components of the truth.
  13. I feel like some character in Battlestar Galactica. “All of this has happened before.”

The black communities in most major cities are littered with problems. Violence, crime rates, economic depression – you name it. Rightists are right about that. Leftists want to blame white racism, but that doesn’t hold up to investigation. Surely, even if Leftists believe racism to still be bad even they must acknowledge that it is far less bad than, say, the Jim Crow era. Why do these problems continue? Why do we see so little progress? I was rereading Larry Elder’s Ten Things You Can’t Say in America today after a debate with a Leftist on this subject, and it struck me how little had changed since then on matters of race, saving that acrimony continues to worsen. The same issues from 20 years ago are little changed today. What gives?

Police officers know this as well as anyone. Let’s be real, they certainly do racially profile (the Left is right about this); stereotypes about violent crime have a basis in fact, and cops know it. And, from the other direction, blacks certainly are inclined to see cops as the enemy, the attitude leaks into police interactions all the time. Combine those two factors, and the chances of an interaction going bad increase dramatically. And when that happens, prepare for protests that, likewise escalate in severity. Riots, looting, mob interactions – all intermingling with the still-peaceful (but emotional and crazy) main element – while the cops either stay on the sidelines as Rome burns, or escalate the situation even more themselves.

In some ways, it almost doesn’t matter that this particular policing incident really was bad. If it had been a legitimate death, it still had the potential to flare up into what we have today. We are at the point that any police interaction with the black community has the potential of blowing up into a national orgy of combined protest-riots. This one is the worst I’ve seen in my lifetime. There is a protest scheduled down the street from where I live tomorrow – it is likely they won’t bother my neighborhood (it is known that a lot of military folks live around here), but even the potential is strange to me. There were burnings and lootings all over Tampa Bay, especially in the University Mall/Temple Terrace area.

Tampa is not exactly a city known for rioting behavior. I cannot imagine how bad it must be in other major cities.

And we’re not even halfway through 2020 yet. The election looms over us, while the COVID-19 pandemic continues (and may be exacerbated by the riots – we don’t know yet), and political rhetoric has reached levels that make 2016 look like a picnic in the park. We may solve the police overreach issue – though I really doubt it, now – but the broader issue about any police interaction with the black community potentially triggering national riots remains no matter what might be done about that. I think we’re well beyond the ability to solve this in any constructive manner.

I’d like to be wrong. I’d like for someone to pour some water on this fire, to rein in police overreach, to deal with qualified immunity, poor recruiting, travesties like civil asset forfeiture, etc… I’d also like to take us back from 5 minutes until midnight on the racial rioting clock. But I doubt either will happen anytime soon.

Like I said, I feel like it’s an episode of Battlestar Galactica, and I’m reciting the catchphrase. All of this has happened before and all of this will happen again. Again. Again. Again…

 

Memorial Day, Book Sales, and Approaching Election Insanity

First off, I hope everyone is having a great Memorial Day weekend. The kids are having a blast, we can grill up some hot dogs and hamburgers – now that the backyard is back in some kind of semblance of order, and the weather is perfect.

There’s a lot I could say about Memorial Day in principle. Most of my family is/was military. I never joined, and it’s something that has periodically bothered me. I’ve been exploring some reservist options before I age out completely, at the suggestion of Tom Kratman. But aside from all that, well… I’m not a big “this is what this holiday means to me personally” kind of guy. I just hope if you are active duty out in the sticks, or like my brother, stuck in the middle of nowhere doing COVID testing, you can find some rest and fun at some point throughout all this.

COVID continues to be a mess, and arguments over continuing or ending the lockdown have ascended to idiotic status. Most of these people don’t know anything about anything, but a few media buzzwords circulate and they think they are experts. I don’t know how it’s going to go, personally. I continue in a form of semi-lockdown myself, working from home and leaving only rarely. But I am an introvert, and a UI developer. For me, staying away from people is kind of great. Certainly, it’s not much of strain on me. I imagine it is different for others.

As election 2020 approaches, everything is all up in the air. I have no predictions. If COVID is still out in the wild come November, things are going to get messy. There has been a great deal of speculation that voting by mail increases the potential for fraud. Whether or not this is really true, the perception is there, and that could be dangerous. Before COVID, I would have said Trump would probably win. Give him 3-to-1 odds, especially against that doddering old fool, Biden. Really, Democrats? That’s the best you could come up with? Tulsi Gabbard might have had a chance at reconciling some of the tribal madness and appealing to some Trump converts. But Biden? Without this Black Swan event, that was probably a foregone concludion. But COVID and the economic damage mean it’s difficult to make any meaningful prediction, save that it’s going to be a nightmare no matter how it shakes out, probably.

On a more positive note, some of my best author friends are having a Memorial Day sale, and I can vouch for the quality of most of these authors. My friend Hans G. Schantz led the charge, but we also have some of my favorites like Travis Corcoran and L. Jagi Lamplighter. Give it a go and pick up some new reads if you’re interested. My own novel, Eternal Crusade (this title is tentative at the moment) is about 50% complete. At my current speed, I figure it might be done before the end of the year. Let me know in the comments if you’re interested in some excerpts. Also, Terra Nova: Wars of Liberation, containing my short, is now available in paperback form and a lower Kindle price.

It’s also worth noting that as time become difficult for many Americans, I’ve noticed a definite drop off in SJW nonsense. I think even they know that the patience for 59739.5 genders has cratered now that a lot of folks are worrying about whether or not they’ll even have jobs tomorrow. Good times can breed a high degree of political idiocy. Bad times can sometimes restore a little realism. That’s not to say this is a good thing. More like a silver lining in a really nasty storm cloud.

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