The recent kerfuffle over Clay Travis and his trademark phrase “I like the First Amendment and… boobs” has flooded social media these last few days. And it brings up a fascinating amount of cognitive dissonance. Keith Reed, who immediately white-knighted on behalf of poor, offended Brooke Baldwin, posted frequently on the subject of boobs, ass, and attractive women on his public social media pages. Brooke herself frequently wears things that accentuate her breasts and has ‘suffered’ references to boobs many times before. The outrage over the mere mention of boobs is all fake.
The thing of it is, today people often take things out of context deliberately in order to feel the rush of being offended; to get attention and sympathy from others. Being offended supplies a person with increased social status. Being offended makes them powerful for a moment. So any opportunity that presents itself, even if deliberately taken out of context or obviously exaggerated, is quickly embraced. Brooke and Keith both saw golden opportunities to be offended by Clay Travis mentioning boobs.
Note that he didn’t refer to her boobs, or any specific boobs, but merely that he liked them in general. This is hardly a great secret, the notion that men like boobs.
At the same time, Leftists will lob accusations of Nazism and white supremacism at Donald Trump and his supporters. Boobs, apparently, are offensive. But calling people Nazis, effectively the scum of the Earth, is totally okay. If challenged, Leftists often attempt to retreat with “oh, I didn’t mean he was literally a Nazi” or “I’m just joking around.” We know they aren’t, of course.
Fact is, most people know when they’ve been insulted, and when something is a joke, even if word-smithing can make either seem indistinct. The reaction to an insult is visceral. You know it. For a man who has less formal education, perhaps, an insult might even go over his head in a technical manner, yet he still knows he was insulted because of context, tone, and body language.
Now, I’m a First Amendment guy, like Clay Travis, so I don’t care even when I am insulted. Folks have a right to be offensive, to insult, even to hate (so long as they don’t act on it, anyway). But what does get irritating is when someone claims that I am insulting them, or offending them, when it is clear that I had no such intent. Or, vice-versa, when someone insults me, and we both know it was an insult, but he denies it and claims he was not with some seemingly-clever word-smithing.
Leftists gain a lot of power from feeling insulted when no insult was intended, and offering insult and then pretending no insult was offered. It’s a form of framing that we see very often in the media. And it’s absurdly common on social media outlets as well, where hashtags like #KillAllMen trend for a time, and then its authors attempt to escape by claiming it was a joke, and they didn’t really mean it. A woman might say “I hate men” and when challenged says “I don’t hate men.” But when a man says anything negative about any woman whatsoever – Hillary Clinton for example – she will be offended on behalf of women everywhere.
It’s a combination of Mean Girls and Clueless. It’s the sort of juvenile high school girl behavior we expect of a 90s teenager, only this is now often used by adult men too.
A hint for SJWs and media talking heads who find themselves reading this: we know. We see through it, okay? It’s not hard. Everything from tone to body language to snobbish airs of superiority you put on give it all away. We know when you’re being sincere, and when you’re being false, and you’re not fooling anybody. In fact, I’d respect you more if you just came out and said what you honestly believed. If you insulted us and didn’t bother to hide it, if you were truthful and claimed you wanted us all dead, I could at least respect your honesty. Your patronizing tone is, quite honestly, more offensive than your ideals (and those are often bad enough on their own). Your assumed airs, your narcissism and self-worship, your solipsistic attitudes… we know them, we see through them, and the only folks you manage to fool are your own kind.
Such Leftists want us to assume that they are acting in good faith, and then treat us as if we are acting in bad faith. This gives them a sort of social arbitrage in open debate, a sort of home field advantage, if you will, that the Rightist must overcome. And given the reach of the modern media, that advantage has become quite substantial. It’s time to deprive them of it. Assume no good faith. If you believe a Leftist is truly acting in good faith; if you don’t get the sense that he is lying and attempting to reframe everything to his advantage, then all is good. But be on your guard. The Leftist who avoids this tactic is becoming an endangered breed.
For the rest, treat them as you would an unruly, lying teenage valley girl. Even, paradoxically, when they are grown men. Keith Olbermann certainly has more in common with a teenage mean girl than any real grown man, after all.
Every good capitalist is on the look out for imbalances in the market, opportunities to earn a profit off of a thing that either the market lacks completely, or current businesses do very inefficiently and ineffectively. You can consider it a form of arbitrage.
Today’s politicians, media talking heads, celebrities and the like are moral capitalists, even though they are economic collectivists. That is to say their morality is a form of arbitrage, always for sale to the highest bidder, where each statement they issue is calculated to profit them personally.
Take Marco Rubio, who today issued a series of tweets condemning Donald Trump for suggesting that the Charlottesville attack, and other similar incidents between Antifa and White Supremacists, was equally the fault of both parties. Donald Trump’s position is that both are hate groups, and both are quick to resort to violence to further their political goals, and that putting them together like that was surely going to stir up violence.
Personally, I think Trump is somewhat understating the case. White supremacists are exceedingly rare, even if they’ve received a shot in the arm from SJWs harping on white people all the time (hint: that tends to manufacture more supremacists, not less). What happened in Virginia may very well represent peak white supremacism, the very most such groups are capable of. Antifa and militant Marxists, meanwhile, enjoy far greater support from media, financiers (oh, the irony), and society-at-large. Antifa dwarfs Klansman and Neo-Nazis. Militant Marxists are, by far, the greater threat currently.
But that being said, Trump did put his finger on the central point: both groups espouse violent ideologies that are incompatible with freedom.
Marco, meanwhile, in his own words, pins 100% of the blame onto the supremacists.
This argument is remarkably similar to Antifa and other Marxist groups saying that mean words justifies violence, that speech they don’t like justifies burning down cities and attacking people. It is okay for them to violently shut down anybody right-of-center on college campuses around the country, but it is not okay for anyone right-of-center to speak.
Marco is on a continuum with the SJWs on this matter. He concedes the central point, that violence is an acceptable response to speech deemed offensive. Yes, in the case of Neo-Nazis and Klansmen, the speech actually is offensive. But it is still speech. Until it isn’t, anyway.
But if you’re a regular reader of The Declination, you already know my position on freedom of speech, and how speech alone does not justify violence.
To be fair, a lot of people are saying this, though, so let’s analyze this a little differently. Why does Marco denounce the white supremacists so readily, yet lets militant Marxists off the hook? As a man of Cuban ancestry, he ought to be very familiar with the depredations and dangers of Marxists. Why is he so willing to assign them 0% of the blame?
There is moral arbitrage here. When some politician or celebrity denounces Neo-Nazis, Klansmen, and other assorted white supremacists, he is cheered. He is called stunning and brave. He is bashing the fash, taking a brave stand against the most evil ideology of man. In other words, he gets a huge moral bonus in the eyes of the media. It is easy to denounce white supremacists, who probably represent less than a tenth of a percent of the population. And it is profitable to do so, as well.
If it’s cheap and profitable, expect everyone to jump on the bandwagon. The explosion of Nazi denunciations is like the proliferation of those little fidget spinners that cost 10 cents to make and sell for $7.99 in every convenience store from here to Seattle. Everybody wants a slice of that action.
Meanwhile, taking a similar stand against Marxism is expensive. If a politician or celebrity stands up and denounces Marxism as a hateful, murderous ideology that is at least as evil as Nazism, he is often shot down. Real Marxism, of course, has never been tried. Real Marxism is a good theory, a good idea that maybe just hasn’t been implemented quite right. It’s morally true and righteous, and even if it has some problems, surely bashing the fash has to take precedence, right?
Except Marxism has a much higher share of the population. Marxism is celebrated openly on college campuses around the country. Marxists trash cities, riot, commit acts of violence with frightening regularity, and Marco assigns them 0% of the blame, because somewhere, there is an inbred Neo-Nazi off his meds tweeting from his mother’s basement.
Marco obtains a moral profit from denouncing white supremacism. He incurs a moral cost from denouncing Marxism. Playing the moral arbitrage for profit thus demands he pin the blame for political violence on only one participant. Then he is “stunning and brave” in the eyes of the body politic.
Marxists have been doing this as long as I’ve been alive. It is correctly seen as stupid and disgusting to wear an Adolf Hitler t-shirt. Yet somehow Che Guevara t-shirts are absurdly common. The Nazi swastika is correctly seen as a hate symbol, yet the Soviet hammer & sickle is given a pass. It is a historical tragedy that Communism was not discredited with the same vigor as Nazism was.
It is socially cheap to oppose Nazism. It is socially expensive to oppose Communism.
Donald Trump, whatever his other faults, possesses enough moral courage to speak the truth: both groups are hateful. And he paid the price for speaking that truth. Marco Rubio, meanwhile, lacks the stones, even though as descendant of Cubans, he ought to know better than most.
I’m very disappointed in him. I expect this from Democrats who have lacked moral courage as long as I’ve been alive, I even expect it from Republicans who have no history with Marxism. But I do not expect it from a Cuban Republican. Of all people, Marco, YOU should know better. Stop playing the moral arbitrage and speak honestly.
After all, even Donald Trump is showing more honesty and integrity than you are, right now.
Stepping away from the blatantly political for a time has already proven healthy. This morning, an aphorism entered my brain which, in turn, inspired a whole lot of thinking.
Some people demand absolute perfection of all others, but possess no desire for self-improvement.
I’m sure someone else has said similar at some point in time, but nonetheless the thought was inspiring for its completeness. When discussing politics with most people, exceptions are often brought to the table as if they somehow disprove the original assertion. For instance, one might say that a free market solution to healthcare is wrong, because one individual in certain extenuating circumstances might receive inferior care. The imperfection is then championed, weaponized empathy is applied to it, and soon the media talking heads ponder why Republicans want to push granny off a cliff.
Forget the political side of this for a moment and focus on what the real underlying message is. This is imperfect, says the academic, and since it is imperfect it must be discarded.
This same brand of thinking is what leads to excessive legal wrangling over minute issues of grammar. Second amendment opponents will drive themselves into conniption fits over the position of a comma. The point, the spirit of the law, sails right over their heads. They are consumed by a search for perfection, for an absolute set of principles that governs all human interaction without the slightest deviation.
In other words, they demand perfection from all others, while celebrating their own victimhood and eschewing self-improvement.
Those of us with a modicum of sense have long made peace with the fact that anything involving humans is going to lack perfection. The presence of perfection in anything short of the divine is, in fact, prima facie evidence of error. It cannot be perfect, thus either someone is mistaken, or is deceiving you. Demands for perfection should be scoffed at. One may as well demand flying pink unicorns, for all the good it will do.
In this way, academics and media talking heads are prone to treating people as some kind of scientific experiment. The Scientific Method provides us with a situation where a counter-example is proof of error. If, for instance, I were to dispute the claim that, in a vacuum a feather would fall at the same speed as a hammer, one counter-example would prove me wrong. Both were brought to the moon as a sort of amusing demonstration, of course:
With humans, however, it does not work this way. And this is a key problem with the way academics are prone to thinking. If a counter-example is found to disfavored public policy, wrongthink, or politically incorrect thought, that example is deemed sufficient to disprove the theory. If one person suffers because, say, Obamacare is repealed, then it is proof that Obamacare was good, and free market healthcare is bad.
I feel like I’m stating the obvious here, but humans are not feathers and hammers. Conduct your experiment with another set of humans, and you may get an entirely different set of results. These people are committing a category error long before their favored political positions are even properly formed.
The thing to note about folks who think this way is that they rarely reflect inward. They are quick to criticize the imperfections of others, but are loathe to look at themselves under a similar microscope. This is how you can get folks who complain about greedy capitalists, and yet are caught with their hands in the cookie jar, stealing money for themselves. You would think that someone obsessed with perfection would start with himself, but alas, it is rarely so.
Human perfection is impossible, short of divine intervention. And whatever else academics might believe, they are certainly not gods. Hell, even the Greek gods had less personal problems than they do.
Remember when I spoke about the moral high ground? Well today we are witnessing another chunk of Marxist moral authority cracking and falling apart. I’m not sure how much more the Progressive Left can take before it loses all credibility, before the preference cascade sweeps it away, or forces it to resort to outright war.
Marxism’s grip on the moral high ground is slipping. They are weak. The assault must be pressed more vigorously now. Why now? Well, CNN has resorted to blackmailing random meme makers on Reddit and 4chan. Why? Because he created an anti-CNN meme that Donald Trump retweeted on Twitter. Like most tyrants throughout history, the busybodies at CNN can tolerate no dissent, no humor targeted toward them. Complete submission to the moral authority of the Leftist media, and by extension, Marxism itself, is required.
But by bringing the immense power of CNN to bear against a single random meme maker on the Internet, he has exposed the increasing desperation of the Marxists, who in their constant attacks on the Right, are exhausting the moral authority that fuels them. CNN has tried to reclaim their moral authority by saying he was an anti-Semite, a racist, and other such things. But whether true or not (and nobody trusts the media to make those judgments any longer), the thrust of the matter is that CNN has attacked a single individual of no particular importance for daring to make fun of them.
How can they claim the moral high ground if they destroy random people on the Internet?
How can Hillary say she is better than Trump when she steals money from poor black girls in Haiti?
For once in my life, I’m seeing the Right do what it ought to have done all along: fight back and contest the moral high ground. The fact that CNN feels the need to attack small time individuals on the Internet shows their increasing desperation. They know the high ground is slipping from their control.
One way or another, folks, this is coming to a head. In the next few years, we’re going to see who is going to win this thing. Nothing is off the table anymore. All decency has been jettisoned. All mercy extinguished. This is a no-holds-barred fight to the finish. If the media loses the power to commit character assassinations, I’ve no doubt that the Left will increasingly resort to the more literal form. And if it takes all the might of CNN to take down one anonymous guy on the Internet, their power is definitely on the wane.
They deployed everything against Trump and lost.
Isaac Asimov once said in his Foundation novels that violence was the last refuge of the incompetent. For the Left, it is the last weapon they can deploy in order to keep their control over our country, our civilization, and maintain themselves as the arbiters of right & wrong, the ultimate moral authority. They are edging closer to deploying that final weapon, and CNN is the proof.
They have declared war on /pol/ and /r/The_Donald. They may not like where this heading.
Enjoy the show, as CNN is rendered impotent, turned into a pale shadow of itself. Their reputation is falling apart. First Russia conspiracies, fake sources, lies… and now targeting individual normals. They are fast running out of weapons. They will be as powerless as Sauron, soon. Nothing more than a foul wind that cannot even hold form or shape.
“Great. Now this Scaramucci story was a big problem, and not just because we got caught. As you know, Russia is ratings gold, but if we keep coming up empty we’ll leave our audience as unsatisfied as a woman married to a liberal man,” Zucker explained, using an analogy his audience could relate to. “We just can’t keep reporting shaky Russia stories about billionaires based on single, anonymous sources that turn out to be fake news.”
“So … avoid slandering billionaires? Maybe focus on rodeo clowns and so forth?” suggested Jim Acosta.
“Exactly,” replied Zucker. “Don’t do this kind of thing to people who buy their lawyers in bulk! I’m not saying pick on people who can’t fight back against a giant media company but, you know, try and pick on people who can’t fight back against a giant media company.”
This is pure comedy gold. I admit I lost it with the brony reference. Leftists may have won the Culture Wars back in the day, presumably during the 60s, but their obsession with avoiding offense, and internecine ideological cannibalism, wherein they all jockey for position in the Victim Olympics, has rendered them vulnerable.
Remember when I said that Marxism possesses the moral high ground? Well, their position has become weak, and they are caught up in internal strife. Now is a great time to remove them from this position. Their comedians are unfunny, their reporting borders on being completely made up, their election scams failed. They are in disarray, and resorting to increasingly extreme tactics, like Antifa rioting in the streets, and apologies for loony Bernie Bros who go out on shooting sprees.
We may never get another opportunity like this, if we fail to take this one. Satirize them, insult them, give them a small taste of the loathing they’ve given us for decades.
Even Sean Hannity, a paragon of proper sportsman-like conduct, has seen the golden opportunity we’ve been afforded by Leftist stupidity and haughty arrogance. Watch this little clip:
I’ve no doubt that the Left (and phonies like Joe) will grow increasingly unhinged and angry as the world continues to defy their will. Remember, they thought they had this thing in the bag, they thought it was all over, that we of the Right were a mere mop-up operation. And now they are being pushed back on every front.
Xerxes can whip the sea until he is blue in the face, but it changes nothing.
This afternoon, I came across a fascinating Tweet thread by the esteemed Eve Keneinan. Eve echoes my own thoughts on the subject of Academia and militant anti-theism. Leftists love to make fun of folks they perceive to be peasants. Farmers, rural folks, working men, they are all stupid hicks and rubes to the hard Left. And Leftists love to make fun of the Christian faith possessed by these folks. Stupid sky wizards and zombie overlords, they’ll say. All the ‘brights’, the so-called smart people are, of course, proper atheists and good Socialists.
Except as Eve points out, they aren’t. Sure, the working man might not have a fancy education, but this doesn’t necessarily imply stupidity. And meanwhile, those truly comfortable with their own knowledge and experience seldom see a need to be insecure about it. It is the midwit, the person who is moderately more intelligent than average, and thus has had years of smoke blown up his ass about his relatively high intelligence, who is most vulnerable to such insecurity. And, in turn, superficially intellectual philosophy is appealing to him.
It was [midwits] in Vietnam who were most likely to turn traitor. They are the most easily led by the nose class of persons.
Stockdale spent 8 years in the infamous Hoa Lo prison, the “Hanoi Hilton,” and observed many things about the human condition.
One was the varying effects of Vietnamese communist propaganda on various types of men.
Rough, uneducated soldiers were largely immune. A sergeant from Tennessee met every attempt to break his loyalty with one word: “BULLSHIT!”
Stockdale, highly educated (having studied philosophy) was also largely immune. He could show his captors how THEY were misreading Marx …
The men who turned coat were the moderately smart, moderately educated. THESE are the class that are MOST susceptible to propaganda.
Flattery and negging, in turn, are the weapons used to convert the midwit into the service of Marxism. You’re stupid if you believe in the Christian sky wizard, and the ‘invisible hand’ of Capitalism. You’re dumb if you think you have freedom. But you’re smart if you understand Marxian dialectic. You’re smart if you see through to the great wisdom of Socialism. Only the educated and wise, you see, are capable of understanding the nuance. Your own insecurity is a weapon in their hand. Your desire to be perceived as intelligent is soon used against you.
Whereas the “stupid rubes” are largely immune. They point, laugh, and say “you’re full of shit.” It doesn’t matter if you call them stupid. That is something they’ve heard from city-slickers since the dawn of civilization. And you can flatter them all you like, but they are largely immune to that, too. For them, fancy words are about as useful as a windshield wiper on a goat’s ass.
The city boy with a 125 IQ who gets his 4 year degree, on the other hand, is extremely vulnerable. He’s intelligent enough to notice that he’s above the norm, but will likely always feel small in the presence of greater men. Academia can easily mold him into a good Socialist by playing the flattery/negging game. He is invested in his status as better than others, and that is the easiest lever with which to move him.
Of course, the highly intelligent, highly educated folks tend to be relatively immune to this sort of thing. If you are very secure in your intellectual capacity – and this is more a matter of knowing your limitations than anything else – the lever will not move you. Only truth will do. Fooling such a man is extraordinarily difficult. But, it should be noted, that in many ways the country rube is still the harder man to fool. The high intellectual will evaluate and entertain a thing, dissect it, and attempt to understand it before passing judgment on it. The “rube” will simply dismiss it if it fails to produce concrete results. The how and why isn’t of much concern to him.
In many ways, this is very sad. For though folks on Twitter are prone to using the term “midwit” as an insult, it really isn’t one. A man of moderately high intelligence and good education is incredibly useful. They form the ranks of engineers, technicians, programmers, medical specialists, and a number of other critical fields. They just need to get over themselves. Yes, you’re smarter than the average bear. But don’t get in over your head. Just because you were the best basketball player on your middle school team doesn’t mean you’re going to go pro. And don’t let folks falsely flatter you and manipulate you because, deep down, you’re insecure about this.
And lastly, remember one other fact. The folks you might dismiss as uneducated hicks are often a lot more intelligent than they appear to be. What, did you think every guy with a 150+ IQ went to an Ivy League school? Some were happy where they were at. Some preferred to till the soil, or work on old cars, or DJ dingy nightclubs. I’ve got friends of all shapes and sizes. Some of my people are rednecks from the sticks, who do a lot more hunting than they do reading. Others, like my friend Francis over at Liberty’s Torch are men of immense intellectual capacity and education (don’t tell him that, I don’t want his head to explode!). And you know what? I learn a little bit from all of ’em.
If you get over yourself, then no matter what your IQ level or educational achievements, you might just learn something. And, of equal importance, you might avoid swallowing a load of complete bullshit.