In the distant future, as Gibbon did, some historian will stick his wrinkled finger on a calendar date and pronounce “and on this date, the United States of America fell.” If by some miracle I were to witness the event, I would not be surprised if that date was already in our past. Historians have the benefit of hindsight, but also of not living in the aquarium they spend their lives researching. Some say Rome fell in 476, as a puppet emperor was deposed and sent into retirement. Did Roman citizens know this was an ending of things? No. To them the real emperor resided in Constantinople. Since they had first drawn breath, all power resided there, in New Rome. Old Rome had been a shadow for generations, and even in Italy, rule had long been pronounced from Ravenna, itself far less important than the economically powerful East.
Justinian the Great thought himself the Emperor of the Romans and ruled over the Mediterranean shores as tightly as many of his predecessors, more than half a century after the fall. What changed, then, on that day historians marked? Symbols changed; I suppose. We see discontinuity, but there was none. We see change, but such change was gradual, the product of generations.
The point is essentially arbitrary. A finger found its way to a date on a calendar, one small event in a sequence of centuries, and thus was it pronounced: Rome has fallen.
Looking back on American history, where lies that point for us? Like the later days of classical Rome, we are two nations, now. Unlike Rome, there is no easy split. We are not East and West, nor are we North or South. Even Urban and Rural does note quite get to the root of the thing, though there at least we finally see some correlation.
Nor is this split limited to America. The entirety of the Western World suffers from it. But here in America we can see its purest form. We try to put labels on it: Left and Right, Liberal and Conservative. But these too fail to grasp the essence of the divide. These aren’t merely two political parties who disagree on some things. Now, they are people who have entirely different viewpoints about the world, who are brought up in different ways, who live and breathe diametrically opposed cultural values.
In America, there are two countries. We might say with some accuracy that they evolved from a single one. But whatever the origins, they are two peoples now. With the rapid influx of unassimilated immigration, we have the seeds of more countries being sown. More than two, someday. De facto, America is broken up into little islands of Red and Blue, and in some cases, completely foreign exclaves.
Each country has its own culture, its own social mores, religious preferences, traditions, and ways of life. For now, a theoretically common law and government seems to unite them on paper, but the days of Trump and Biden show us that each country views rule by the other side as illegitimate. Both sides will claim fraud if the other wins, and it is entirely possible they are correct to do so.
Moldbug once claimed that American Leftists want to count ‘every vote’ because they know that, in the end, they do somewhat outnumber American Rightists in a raw sense. They think it fair that this minor majority means they are empowered to do whatever they wish to their enemies. And American Rightists want rules, procedures, and formalized structure to the vote, because they know that, in the end, their people possess more raw power. The guns are on their side. The countryside is theirs, along with most of the raw productivity. A drug-addled ghetto resident may not be bothered with voting if it requires even a modicum of effort on his part. In this way, both countries cheat. Both countries think their own brand of power should grant them supremacy.
Therefore, Leftists wish to abolish the electoral college, and resist voter ID rules. Their goal is to get as many people to the polls as possible. It doesn’t matter if the voter is a pot-addled loser who hasn’t held a job in 20 years, or an oldster out of his gourd with dementia, or a convicted felon. The more, the merrier. It is the opposite with the Right. Keep the electoral college, institute small barriers to the vote like voter ID. Each small barrier to the vote is some lazy slob who decides it’s not worth the effort to put down the crack pipe for an hour and head to the polls. Deep down, most Rightists would say that their votes ought to count a little more than someone like that.
At a more fundamental level, it is a political power game between two peoples forced to live side-by-side. Each day grows increasingly hostile. Rule by the other is seen as tyranny – and perhaps rightly so. Were we geographically separated, I suspect America would have already given up the fiction of unity. But look around you. Even in a rural area, you will find your share of Leftists. Even in the urban core, there will be closet Trump voters. Suburbs, of course, remain a battleground. Rightists often say the cities cannot survive without the countryside, and that is true after a fashion. But how well does the countryside do without the cities?
This crosses even formal country boundaries. China is an enemy of America – something even most Leftists understand at some level. Yet China and America are interconnected economically to an extremely high degree. It is even stronger still between the Two Americas.
Even so, rule by the other grows increasingly intolerable. In older days, we would probably have already seen Civil War begin. Yet, as prosperity still reigns, few people are truly motivated to risk everything they have to start that conflict. Oh, there is always talk of this. Antifas will cry out that the Revolution has begun, and the Boog Boys will talk about sheepdogs. Social media will fill with memes about helicopters and Communists.
Nobody truly crosses the line, though. Treatment of January 6th participants shows that great punishment will come down on anyone who even creeps up on the line. Now, you might say that Antifas do not receive the same treatment – and that is true, after a fashion. The punishment of the Rightist who creeps up on the line is blacklisting. It is cancellation. It is judicial tyranny. These punishments rarely (but sometimes) catch Antifas. In other words, the system punishes them. For Antifas, the punishment is rather more literal and personal. Each riot incurs upon them a slight chance that a policeman will maul them, or that a Kyle Rittenhouse will come, and they will die. This is much rarer the other way around. Typical punishment differs between the countries.
Regardless, the Revolutionaries do not actually revolt. And the Boog Boys launch no Boogs. Yet always the unspoken threat of both lingers over the political horizon. Both know that, should that day come, the iPhones and vente lattes will dry up. Cheap ammo and plentiful bacon will be gone. And all know that the first movers – the ones who do not just creep upon the line but cross it blatantly – will pay a great price for doing so.
So, the Two Americas engage in a Cold War with its occasional, but isolated, hot spots. Mutually assured destruction has been achieved without nuclear weapons. If the cities go, so does the country. But as the country goes, so does the city. As Leftists go, so do the Rightists. This probably all hovers somewhere in the mind of the average American. Perhaps it is not even fully realized, consciously. Maybe it manifests as a vague unease – a feeling of going too far, a fear of stepping over the line. Each time someone approaches the line, they draw back.
What will their family think? What will friends on social media say? Will they be able to get jobs, buy food, and enjoy the latest Apple devices? No… no they cannot step over the line.
But the Saxon still hates. The Communist still seethes with anger every time he sees an F-150 with a Salt Life sticker on the back. Neighbors nonetheless pretend not to know the affiliations of others. The Democrat lives in peace with his Republican neighbor – but only so long as the other pretends they are living in the same America.
Once, perhaps this is how America remained one country despite ideological divisions, in older days. Peace was maintained so long as the fiction remained that your neighbor was little different, ideologically, from you. With the rise of the Internet and social media, all such polite fictions have been stripped away. You know. They know. Everybody knows. Yet, some remnant of the old peace remains in the real world.
But beyond the router, there is no peace.
Look out of your window and see urban gentrification, perhaps. Or peaceful suburbia. Perhaps you see farm fields, forests, or the unbroken concrete towers of the projects – those never particularly peaceful, but no worse, perhaps, than you recall in your youth. America outwardly looks like America.
On the Internet, however, it is every cyberpunk dystopian hellhole ever conceived. And worse, perhaps. The things that lie beneath on Twitter should scare anybody.
A video was posted the other day of two thieves conducting an armed robbery. One of the victims pulled out a handgun and shot one of the thieves. You could tell the affiliation of every commenter. Their cultural and moral values were so diametrically opposed that nothing could unite them. To the Leftist, this was a great tragedy, and the victim was evil for killing some presumably poor person for the crime of attempting to feed themselves and resist systemic oppression. To the Rightist, the armed robber had forfeited his life the moment he drew that weapon and attempted to steal someone else’s possessions. The shooter was to be commended for eliminating such a clearly deficient specimen.
In a way, it does not even matter which one was right, though I suspect my readers would have a strong opinion. What matters is the diametrically opposed viewpoints, the hatred and vitriol thrown back and forth between people who are theoretically of the same nation, the same cultural stew. Of course, they are not of the same milieu, not truly. We know that now. Was it always this way, and the Internet just exposed it? I do not know. Maybe.
Regardless, there is no peace beyond the wifi.
Yet the fragile peace – with its occasional flare-ups – that holds in the real world cannot hold forever. What will happen if that dam ever bursts? If all the animus, hatred, and vitriol of social media crosses into reality?
Driving down the street, look at the signs. MAGA signs never taken down. Declarations that this house or that house believes in the core tenets of Progressive Faith. Screaming matches over mask and vaccination policies. The peace in the real world stands on the edge of a knife. Everyone fears to cross the line, to admit openly what they know privately: these are not my countrymen. These are not my people. I do not like them, and they never liked me. They do not share my values, and I do not share theirs. We have nothing in common.
What happens when all pretenses are stripped away?
Someday, the historians will look back on our history, and they will find a moment – perhaps one as seemingly-insignificant as the deposition of a minor puppet ruler in Italy was to the story of Rome – and they will say “this is the day America was cleaved in two.”
Perhaps those same historians will say of the Cold War that both the USSR and the USA fell, the former due to economics and the latter due to cultural infighting. Perhaps like the ancient fall of Sassanid Persia and the diminishing of Byzantium. Or perhaps it will be seen as something entirely different. We live in the aquarium they will someday comment on. None of us will live to know.
Regardless, there is no singular America, not anymore. Only the outward appearance still exists – and only so long as the waning pretenses of peace last in the real world. Not forever, I imagine. Perhaps not even very long.
David Hogg recently claimed owning 22,000 rounds of ammunition should “put you on a list or something.” As with all such claims, one wonders what the threshold of being on “a list” might be. Can you own 100 rounds without being on a list? 1,000? In reality, of course, the Left generally wants to track ammunition the way guns themselves are tracked. Read the Giffords.org position for more on that. Whether you have 22,000 rounds, or just a handful of .22lr, the Left wants to know and track.
In some ways it reminds me of helicopter parenting writ large.
So many Leftist arguments boil down to the fact that they want to be your parents. They want to divvy up everything fairly. They want to monitor what you say on the Internet. They want to know how much of this or that you have, and regulate where you are permitted to go, and the method by which you travel. Of late, I have seen a number of liberal acquaintances mentioning that masks should become a permanent feature of society, because flus and other sicknesses can kill old folks, too, and how greedy and selfish is it to not wear a mask (even if you are vaccinated) and put others at risk of catching a cold?
Wear your mask, little Jimmy, and put on your helmet when you ride your bike!
I am old enough to remember when it was the Right who wanted to censor things – Harry Potter was Satanic or something. Now, Harry Potter’s author is transphobic, so out with that, I suppose. Your Leftist “parents” have determined that it is not good for you.
So many liberal causes have, at their root, a desire to control everyone else. Climate change implies that we must be told how much energy we are permitted to use, what we may drive, where we can go, and what we can purchase. Gun control implies that we cannot be trusted to defend ourselves. Knife regulation in the UK is particularly hilarious to me. Put that butter knife down, Jimmy, only grownups can have those! And by grownups, we mean agents of the government, of course. Extensions of political will. We might trust a soldier with an M-16 in battle, but when he leaves the military, he clearly cannot be trusted with an AR-15 in private life. Mommy government decrees it.
This video shows the child-like manner laid bare.
When you look at Social Justice language and style, it has a profoundly childlike spin to it. You have Safe Spaces, and everybody’s feelings are paramount. If you are having difficulty with college, there are spaces full of teddy bears and positive reinforcement to help you manage. There are Trigger Warnings to be had – like everything rated PG and above needs to come with a disclaimer. We must have warning labels on everything. It is not enough, even, to say that smoking may cause cancer. We must put giant bold language on every pack: SMOKING KILLS! Sugary drinks should be regulated, but remember, fat is beautiful (body positivity!), and everyone is special.
It’s as if life in a Left-leaning society is an adult-centered parody of Kindergarten. If you’re rich, the question is always “did you bring enough for everyone?” If not, of course, your wealth is illegitimate and immoral. One mass shooter, probably on a cornucopia of meds or just plain crazy, goes in and shoots up a place, and suddenly nobody can have guns, because there are a couple of insane loons. Get your universal healthcare, too, because Mommy Government will fix all the boo-boos. Censorship is important, because Mommy Government says nobody can say anything mean on the Internet!
It’s as if we aren’t adults, and aren’t allowed to decide if we want to smoke – knowing the risks. It’s as if we are incapable of separating words from actions, or brushing off a mean comment like a functional adult. We’re clearly all children who can’t go to college without stuffed animal infused Safe Spaces to keep you safe from all the icky mean things in the world. You can’t be trusted to drive a car, own a firearm, earn your own money, or choose your own doctor. And all the children must strive to save the Earth from the evil automobiles and air conditioners that are destroying it. Perhaps the Left will offer some construction paper and plastic scissors (the metal ones are too dangerous, of course) so we can all make little Kindergarten posters about saving the poor creatures of… wherever.
In the Liberal mind, nobody is an adult. Everyone is a perpetual child, and must be treated as such. If one argument doesn’t work on you, they will try another. And another. And another. If gun control doesn’t do it, then censorship, maybe. Or Climate Change. Or righting the historical wrongs committed against people long dead, by people long dead. Maybe it’s universal healthcare, or maybe it’s ending homelessness. If one cause doesn’t guilt you into becoming a Ward of the State, some other one will. It’s like throwing spaghetti against the wall until one sticks.
And if you disagree despite all this, go into timeout, little Jimmy. You’re clearly a meany poopyhead white supremacist.
Leftist moral supremacy is a Kindergarten kind of taunt, too. It’s “I’m better than you, neener-neener!” If you prefer private retirement plans to government ones, you clearly want to push granny off a cliff, therefore the Liberal (who does not want to push granny off a cliff – unless she’s a Republican) is morally superior! Wheel out the bat signal of ultimate virtue! Little Jimmy is not a Democrat! Na-na-na-na-na-naaaaaa.
I wonder what percentage of Leftists had severe Daddy issues growing up? Either way, I suppose there’s a reason we call it the Nanny State.
And Hell, maybe there are people out there who need a perpetual Mommy Government to do everything for them. But for the love of all that is holy, can they not drag the rest of us back down to Kindergarten with them? Some of us actually like being functional adults.
Saint Augustine tells us (along with Gandhi, many years later) to love the sinner, and hate the sin. Conceptually, it’s easy enough to grasp. Practically, it’s not always an easy task. Drive down the freeway during peak traffic hours and tell me how many folks drive you crazy with poor driving antics. Certainly road rage wouldn’t be so prevalent if most folks managed to live by this rule. However, making the attempt to live this way is worthy even if we cannot always live up to it.
Social Justice orthodoxy demands that we hate the sinner for the sin. Paula Deen famously used the word “nigger” after being held up at gun point, and admitted that she may have said it in other contexts at some point or another in her life. This stain is considered permanent in some sense. Once you use the word, you are forever guilty, as if the offense were like committing a felony. Your record cannot ever be expunged. Forgiveness is impossible. You will be hated forever. You are an unperson, erased like a man in a Stalin-era photograph.
Fascinatingly, the author of the piece does not appear to have a problem with Joe Rogan himself, per se. Indeed, his opinion of Joe is high enough that most of the piece is about the author’s attempt to live likewise, and Joe’s ability to relate to the common American man. Rather, he takes issue with the fact that Joe Rogan would dare to talk with sinners, with the unpersoned. The money quote:
Joe likes Jack. He likes Milo Yiannopoulos. He likes Alex Jones. He wants you to know that he doesn’t agree with much of what they say, but he also wants you to know that off camera they’re the nicest guys. If we all have fatal flaws, this is Joe’s: his insistence on seeing value in people even when he shouldn’t, even when they’ve forfeited any right to it, even when the harm outweighs the good. It comes from a generous place, but it amounts to careless cruelty. He just won’t write people off, and then he compounds the sin by throwing them a lifeline at the moment when they least deserve it.
Once a man is unpersoned, the shunning is supposed to continue forever. You must hate the sinner, and if you do not, this itself is a form of sin. It is, in the author’s own words, Joe’s fatal flaw. Talking to the sinner is forbidden. Forgiveness of the sinner is forbidden. It does not matter if the sin was three years ago, or thirty years ago. It does not matter if the sin was a casually insensitive joke, or a Virginia governor donning blackface in a yearbook. Although we might suspect that Governor Northam may have been given some level of a temporary pass for his Democratic party allegiance. Political expediency may delay your final unpersoning, for a time. Then again, it may not. Courts of public opinion are fickle, prone to whimsy, and as cruel as any schoolyard bully. There is a reason the justice system is not put to popular vote, after all.
His invitation to Jones was indefensible, and his defense was even worse. I had assumed going in that Rogan would explain himself at the top, similar to what he’d done after booting the Jack Dorsey interview. But he didn’t. He went the other way. He promised a “fun” interview with Jones, as if it was a joyful, long-awaited reunion rather than offensive for even existing, and he assured his listeners that “you’re gonna love it.”
Even before Jones sat down, Rogan seemed unpierced by the genuine anguish that Jones had caused the parents of murdered first graders. I won’t quote anything Alex Jones said on the podcast, so just picture a walrus with a persecution complex, or a talking pile of gravel. They got the Sandy Hook stuff out of the way first—Jones evaded responsibility, Joe grumbled about the media—and then they got into what Jones was really there to talk about: aliens, suicidal grasshoppers, Chinese robot workers, that kind of thing. My breaking point was at the 21-minute mark, when Jones apologized for “ranting” and Rogan replied, “It’s okay—I want you to rant.”
Alex Jones is presumed by the author to have caused genuine anguish to the parents of Sandy Hook shooting victims. First, it bears mentioning that this claim is extremely dubious. If somebody doesn’t wish to listen to Alex Jones, he doesn’t have to. I’m not exactly in the Alex Jones fan club, and I generally avoid listening to him. Similarly, if Joe’s interview of Alex Jones starts to cause somebody distress for whatever reason, well, you can watch something else.
Similarly, the author notes that “Jones evaded responsibility.” What does this even mean? Alex Jones was not responsible for the shooting. There are many things one might conceivably pin on Alex Jones, to include those scam supplements sold under the InfoWars brand. But Sandy Hook – and the feelings of the victims and their families – isn’t one of them. To the author, however, it does not matter. Alex Jones is a sinner. He should therefore be unpersoned, and anyone who even talks to the unperson is himself guilty of a sin.
Perhaps a sin worthy of unpersoning as well.
I’m glad, though, that the men of America have Joe Rogan to motivate and inspire and educate them in limitless ways, including how to recognize a moron. Whatever gets the job done. It might unsettle some of us that we must rely on his fans to separate the good stuff from the bad, but that’s the hard work of being a responsible adult in the modern era—knowing what you should consume and what you shouldn’t. We all need to decide for ourselves, but trust me on this one: You can skip the mushroom coffee.
In the end, the author comes around – perhaps reluctantly – to the view I took above. For this I give him some credit, for I get the general impression from his writing that this view was difficult for him. He likes Joe at some level, but he is conflicted about his status as a sinner. But he does explain that you are responsible for the content you choose to consume. Joe Rogan’s time to be unpersoned has not yet come, at least in the author’s view. For now, perhaps, the court of public opinion has not ruled against him.
But once the you are deemed have offended the sensibilities of popular culture sufficiently, well, your time will come. There is no appeal, no forgiveness, no coming back from your unpersoning. Once a sinner, always a sinner. Once a sinner, never a real person again. You just become another caricature, a guy in a Hitler mustache, a cartoon villain, upon whom anything may be blamed, up to and including school shootings you had nothing to do with.
Hate the sinner, regardless of the sin: the new mantra of mob justice.
A friend of mine formerly known as Glomar Responder (Mr. X) on Twitter sent over this screed as a guest post. It’s an interesting commentary on the bifurcation we’re seeing in libertarianism. I’ve spoken on this matter before, as my natural inclination is toward smaller government and so I have historically been rather sympathetic toward libertarianism. But there are problems in libertarianism that continually get overlooked, and an increasing number of “left-libertarians” making their political debut. There are open-borders libertarians who do not realize they are slitting their own throats by encouraging, or at least allowing, the mass importation of people who work counter to their goals. It’s clear there is something going on, and Glomar explores the idea below.
Met with a high school friend last night, talked a bit about how libertarianism became a leftist shit show so quickly after the so-called “libertarian moment” where it looked like the Rand Pauls and Ted Cruzes were the new hotness in politics.
And she has a theory.
Libertarianism isn’t one movement, it’s two.
The popular political branch that actually got people elected and polls well in the southeast is based in the classical Anglo-Saxon system, as carried on especially by the British Isles border peoples. It basically stopped evolving at Locke.
And when founded in the US, it was REACTIONARY. It was a restoration of the rights of Englishmen and the small, local systems that the border Welsh, Scots, and Irish were used to.
So you have volunteer fire departments based on the militia system. You have Sheriffs with real law enforcement power, instead of a constabulary. You have common law rather than large bodies of code.
And then there’s intellectual libertarianism, which continued to evolve, especially in France, Germany, and Spain.
And Proudhon and Stirner had a huge influence on them.
So you get your John Henry Mackays, linking libertarian political thought with sexual promiscuity and outright pederasty.
Something that would have gotten you lynched by the “libertarians” of e.g. Kentucky.
So, unfortunately, “intellectual” libertarians run the movement, such as it is. Politicians and elites are far more likely to gravitate towards intellectual movements based in French and German philosophy than they are to say “hey, maybe those rednecks and hillbillies have preserved a great system, and we should adopt it.”
So you get think tanks, and a few college professors, pushing “respectable” libertarian thought that is atheist (due to both French revolution era and German influences), sexually promiscuous and experimental, and radically atomized individualist (because Stirner).
And the people it attracts in the academy and in young political life are the white upper middle class degenerates, because it gives them permission to be freaks, without giving them the obligations to the worker from classical communism, the obligations to the progressive stack from Frankfurt branches, or the obligations to God from social conservativism.
“Dude, weed” is actually their ideal sales pitch to the classical Anglo-Saxon borderer libertarians.
Because the Stirnerites think they should be able to have their hedonistic experiences as they choose, and the hillbillies think “you think Washington can tell me what crops I can grow? Fuck you, buddy.”
It’s a solid point of agreement between the two. As is shrinking government intervention in their lives generally.
But the hillbillies, their basic stance is “leave me the fuck alone, I can get by just fine with my family, neighbors, and church.”
And the intellectuals are much more “leave me the fuck alone, the child consented and anyway I’m raising average wages worldwide by making cheap crap in China without any trade barriers.”
You’ve got a bunch of government minimalists and localists on the one hand, who have a very long history of voluntary participation and civic duty.
They don’t like a distant crown passing edicts on them, but they’re cool with showing up at the fire hall when the chief tells them to.
And then you’ve got a bunch of people who want to be left alone because they’ve bought into the atomized individualism that lets them live without obligation. They can fuck who they want, exploit who they want, and act like general eternal teenagers.
“Fuck you, dad,” the political movement. So abortion is cool, because “the child is trespassing on my body.”
And voluntary hierarchy? REEEEEEEEEEEE!
The former is attractive or at least understandable to many normie Americans, because it’s just a more radical version of the system they were born and raised in.
They can see the Jefferson in it.
The latter is repulsive to most of them.
It rejects many of their fundamental institutions. Of course we serve in the military (militia tradition, remember).
Of course we have laws regulating marriage (still religious, never adopted the atheism of the Continental libertarian/anarchists).
And a few decades of middle and lower class guys going to college and reading e.g. Rand has kinda mashed the two together in many places.
But there’s still a fundamental divide, and it’s becoming more apparent as the “I don’t owe you or your culture shit” libertarians side with the left.
Child drag queens don’t bother them.
Why would they? So long as I don’t make you do it, I don’t owe you shit.
Immigration? Borders are just imaginary lines, statist, stop making my lawn mowing more expensive.
No, I don’t owe my neighbor’s kids shit. They should lower their price and compete with the Guatemalan lawn crews and their riding mowers.
They have to speak Spanish at school? Oh well, we don’t have an official language.
That lawn crew will eventually vote away my buttsex? Well, I’ll be dead.
Libertarian VOTERS didn’t change.
They’re still just classical Anglos (or at least spiritual anglos).
But the money and the “movement,” organized libertarianism, doesn’t represent them, it was always fundamentally different.
Anyway, long story short she’s convinced her formerly very active libertarian husband to disassociate from movement libertarianism because Darth Fonzie is cringe and gross, and Latin American socialists don’t vote with her very, very white daughter’s freedom and interests in mind.
Francis posted a series of links yesterday (give it at least a quick glance – the titles alone will give you the gist) and suggested that they were thematically unified. This theme is apparent to anyone with eyes to see, yet when I’ve challenged Leftists on events like these in the past, they always have a rationale for why what we all see is not true.
When Donald Trump exclaimed that his choice of fast food for the Clemson team was good American food, Paul Krugman replied with a snarky tweet saying that Burger King was owned by a Brazilian company. This received thousands of likes and retweets from Leftists who, presumably, felt that Krugman had just demonstrated how stupid Trump was.
Yet, Burger King is American food. There is nothing more American than the hamburger, especially in fast food form. When you track the ownership, Burger King’s parent company RGI is 51% owned by 3G Capital, an international investment company with two headquarters, one in Brazil, and the other in New York. Krugman thinks this somehow alters the character of the food. So, since this investment company operates partly out of Brazil, does Paul Krugman think Burger King counts as Brazilian food, then? Clearly not. It’s a lie designed to score points.
The rationalization of Krugman’s statement is a way to deny the fundamental truth. Leftists are experts at this tactic. They deny the fundamental characteristics of a thing, and embrace the ephemeral in an effort to bend political realities their way.
Trump was right, Krugman was being a pathetic stooge. A 3 year old could detect the difference.
Getting back to the list Francis provided for us, each is part of a greater whole: a sort of declaration “actually, what you see and hear isn’t true, you should believe what we say instead” espoused by the Left.
The home invader is an “unwanted house visitor.” Give me a break. This redefinition has to stop. It continues because we permit it to continue. “We” being people on the Right, often enough. We assume good motives, because we ourselves possess them, often enough. This is a mistake. The other day, I spoke of an example wherein a Leftist tried to equate the probability of political violence to that of a meteor that causes a mass extinction event.
This isn’t just being slippery with your definitions, it is being brazenly dishonest, or more charitably, incredibly idiotic.
Burger King Hamburgers aren’t American, Krugman claims, because Burger King is, through a couple levels of corporate layering, partly owned by a company that’s half-based out of another country? Lolwut?
You can’t make this stuff up.
Francis’s list encompasses some of the more ridiculous examples of this behavior, but understand this: Leftists are constantly doing this. Many times they are being more obtuse and less obvious about it. Still, it’s going on.
Michael Crichton’s Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect operates similarly. Pick a subject you are expert in (it could be anything), that you know from head-to-toe. Read news articles and watch television broadcasts about this subject. Note how utterly wrong and off-base the media is. Yet, knowing this, many still believe the media when they bloviate about something else.
A similar effect exists for this Leftist propensity of redefining things to suit their argument. And yet, the next time you encounter one, you treat him as if he’s sincere? Bad idea, folks.
I’m thinking maybe we could name this the Ocasio-Cortez Amnesia Effect. Same concept. Different group of dishonest Leftists.
If you debate Leftists, carefully examine their premises. Look at their definitions, what they consider to be the essence of a thing. Odds are, you’re going to find some redefinition going on. Once, a Leftist tried to tell me that the Confederacy was just as bad as the Third Reich, because both tried to genocide an entire race. This was news to me. Don’t sign me up for the Confederate race relations fan club, certainly. Yet they did not genocide blacks. Our intrepid Leftist began a long string of legal rambling, starting with some UN boilerplate, to suggest that genocide and slavery are really the same things.
Like Krugman, he was saying that Burger King is really a Brazilian restaurant.
This concept ties into Artificial Intelligence efforts, which have yet to deal with a very specific problem. Software may be written that is very dynamic, that can learn. You can show the software, for instance, 5,000 pictures of deciduous trees, and eventually it learns (to a reasonable level of accuracy) that which is probably a tree. But then you show it a coniferous tree, and it will not recognize it as also being a tree. Now you must show thousands of additional pictures, and tell it these are all trees. Yet, show a toddler who can barely talk a picture of one tree, and he can usually make the intellectual leap. He grasps quickly the essence of what tree is.
The AI lacks the ability to extrapolate the essence of a thing. It’s a serious challenge in software development. Leftists pretend to lack this ability in order to score points. They want you to show them 5,000 Burger King hamburgers before admitting that this is fundamentally an American food. So I am withdrawing even the charity of suggesting they are stupid. They aren’t. Toddlers can do this, and they can’t? Give me a break. They know full well what they are doing. They are pretending to the stupidity if called out on their lies.
Remember the Ocasio-Cortez Amnesia Effect. Really, I should have called it the Paul Krugman Burger Effect, but it doesn’t have quite the same ring, does it? Anyway, she does it too. They all do it.
Some time ago, Tom Kratman explained to me that pacifism is, at its core, a form of moral cowardice. The reasons for this are many and varied, but we can summarize it by considering that, were the pacifist to see a gang banger beating the crap out of an innocent old lady, the pacifist would consider intervening to be an injustice. After all, the pacifist would say, being violent in turn only brings us down to the gang banger’s level. In the mind of a pacifist, both the gang banger and the defender of old ladies are equally evil, for both resort to violence.
Leftism is full of moral paradoxes like this. I have, of late, taken to calling the phenomenon a form of brain lock. Leftism resembles, in part, a form of philosophy sometimes called moralistic therapeutic deism. It fits in neatly with this “I’m spiritual, not religious” nonsense espoused by a number of indecisive morons. I’ve seen this phenomenon called “post-Christian”, or a number of other similar terms. It is assuredly post-modern, for it has no obvious antecedents in our recent history. Whatever we call it, it is the dominant belief system in the Western world, even with many who consider themselves to be Christians.
In essence, it is a dumbing down of Christian morality combined with a form of pseudo-scientific Marxist absolutism. The pacifist will say that all violence is bad, but in his absolute devotion to this overly-simplistic principle, actually prevents himself from doing anything to stop the very violence he theoretically decries.
Good, the MTD adherent will say, is being nice. It is the Golden Rule, or something very much like it. So the adherent will countenance importing many not-nice individuals, in the name of being nice. Consider how Angela Merkel and her enablers like to guilt Germans about the atrocities of their anti-Semitic Nazi past, and use this guilt to import hordes of anti-Semites.
This is the kind of contradiction that infects adherents of this overly-simplistic worldview. Equality is their god, because equality is nice. If you have more, you should give it up until you don’t. Elon Musk shouldn’t shoot cars into space until Flint’s water supply is fixed. It is an inversion of Game Theory. The more your opponent punches up betray, the more you keep the faith. If Muslims blow your buildings up, write sympathetic pieces about the religion of peace, give them tons of money, and yell at folks who are skeptical of the religion.
In the pursuit of absolute justice, they propagate injustice. If a man cures cancer, should he be allowed to keep the millions that would surely flow to him? Or should he have to give it all away because of equality? Surely the unemployed crack addict should have the same standard of living, right?
This form of morality is both absolute and simple, and it does not work at its stated goals. Want more terrorism? Do this. Want more crime? Want more people to be on welfare? Do this. Want more violence, war, and hatred? This, this, and more this. Pacifism leads to more violence, not peace. Welfare leads to more layabouts, not more productive people. If you genuinely dislike violence, you must be prepared to do violence to those who violate the peace. If you value productivity, you must allow poverty to be uncomfortable.
The world does not conform to the MTD view. Being nice doesn’t make people be nice to you in turn. The Golden Rule contains an implicit condition: at some point, the rule should be reciprocated. You don’t apply the rule to a known genocidal maniac. In Game Theory terms, the Golden Rule means that, in the first round of the game, you select keep faith hoping that the other player will see the value in selecting likewise. If he fails to do so, and betrays instead, betray him in the second round since he cannot be trusted. Perhaps the betrayal will convince him that you are not a sucker, and he will learn to keep faith. Or maybe he’ll just keep hitting betray, and you will at least have avoided being a complete gullible moron.
Leftists can’t do this. They recoil from the necessary duty of being not-nice, of employing violence on the violent, of quid pro quo economics. They can’t see past this and encounter a form of brain lock in which they cannot comprehend how being not-nice in this moment could lead to a nicer society down the road. They cannot understand how violence can make the peace.
Or, if they do understand, they are merely too cowardly to carry out their duties as such. Perhaps for some, this is all post-event rationalization for why they did not intervene to save the old lady from the gang banger. “I am too good, too moral to fight,” says the pacifist, “someone else should do it for me.” Whether that someone else is a Rightist they loathe – but secretly need to keep from being turned into a bloody pulp – or a god they don’t really believe in (but hey, they are spiritual, not religious) doesn’t matter.
In fact, the distant not-really-extant god that they crawl to only in dire need is a great example of this. Fuck you, you don’t exist, says the adherent to God. He’ll drop a cross in a jar of piss, call Christians retarded and make fun of their stupid sky wizard. The next day when he loses his job and gets dumped by his gender-confused housemate he’ll expect the universe – or his god-like spirit – to intervene on his behalf and fix all his shit. And if that doesn’t work, he’ll crawl to the government, hat in hand, and expect the money cribbed from the rest of us to put humpty-dumpty back together again.
And if you don’t, you’re not nice, you big meanie. Now obey or I will apply social peer pressure to you!
The insidious side of this belief system is that it only works if the non-believers cave in to it, in sufficient numbers. That is the problem we have here. Go talk to a liberal on social media and try this experiment. Say something morally complex, like the first boat of refugees invaders to Europe should have been sunk, and that doing so would have actually prevented the loss of life the ensuing mass migration incurred. Or, if that is too spicy for your taste, merely state that illegal immigrants should be deported back to their birth countries.
Immediate brain lock will occur. You are a big meanie. You are evil. You are immoral and inferior to the Leftist, who is, of course, nicer than you! You can extol the virtues of self-defense, and a fair number of them will dispute the morality of even that much. You should run away, you should not stand your ground, for how could you be so mean to the violent criminal?
There is no breaking through the brain lock. The notion that good does not mean nice is foreign to them. They are sheep thinking sheepdogs and wolves are the same, because both have sharp teeth.
Once a Leftist has brain locked, the only possible expression is fury. How dare you question orthodoxy, infidel! This is why moralistic therapeutic deism may be a good description for the phenomenon, because despite often atheistic pretensions and its Marxist genealogy, it acts like a religion. It is merely that the religion is not well developed and is extremely over-simplistic.
Christianity spent many centuries arguing about its tenets. The nature of Christ, the Trinity, things like just war theory and just what was meant by the commandments… these were all theological debates (some of which went much further than that) that occurred in Christianity’s long history. Christianity largely solved the moral dilemmas and contradictions throughout the ages. And it did so through rigorous debate and practical application. It wasn’t always pretty, either, as Leftists often harp on.
Point is, though, it was done. And in so doing, answers to moral problems were arrived at, and a history was forged with guidelines for how to handle certain moral issues. MTD has none of this long history or debate. Its principles are simple and absolute. They lack even the forgiveness mechanism Christianity provides for those (all of us at some point or another) who fail to live up to its tenets. For them, guilt is eternal. Guilt lasts even past death – this is how white Americans can be held responsible for slavery long after all slavers and all slaves are dead. The guilt is never excised. Forgiveness is never granted.
Lacking such mechanisms for exploring the answers to complex moral problems, and lacking even the ability to forgive those who fail, MTD is, in fact, the opposite of nice.
It is an evil belief system in the same way pacifism is a cowardly belief system. And the reason for this is that the system allows and even encourages evil to flourish in the same way pacifism encourages violence. The fact that its adherents are unable or unwilling to see this is tragic. It doesn’t change the outcome one whit.
It is also prone to ever-greater heights of extremism. Vegans are often telling us that eating animals is violence against animals, and in turn, since niceness is the only virtue, we are evil for being omnivores. PETA once went so far as to cheer when a shark bit the leg of a little boy (IIRC, he lost the leg), because the boy and his father had been fishing, so the boy clearly deserved it for practicing violence against the fish.
They saw cheering as virtuous in the same manner as a Leftist celebrating that his country’s culture and history will be flushed down the toilet by waves of migration – much of it illegal and little of it assimilated – that dwarfs most migrations in human history. There is no higher cause, no greater positive sacrifice in the mind of the Leftist than cultural self-destruction.
And yet, having determined that all that is Western, or white, or male, or Christian – whatever – is evil and must be destroyed, they do not make the final rational leap: they are (usually) white themselves. Brought up in the West. At least vaguely post-Christian. Some are even kinda-sorta male. Shouldn’t they kill themselves, too? You know, set an example and all that.
No, of course not, says the coward. That’s for someone else to do. They are the anointed elites, you see.
They ain’t got time to save the old grannies. They are better than all that. It is a much better use of their time to rant about how an old Christmas song is sexist, or something.