Thursday, June 30, 2011

Somnolence

Love,
parcelled out in ounces,
stored in sanitized bags
in the freezer:

This is where Rage against the Machine gets its name from.

Can we not agree that some species of madness are therapeutic in a land where the ground has grown soft?

Do we need boats, or snowshoes? Can a compass without magnetism work?

Whither the suspense: sleep or confused engagement?

Edit: do you the reader ever think like this? Do you believe that reason can operate without a wide net? Can lines ever be trusted without consulting circles?

If all this sounds like bullshit, move on: I'm not talking to you.

Keynes and the Coalmine

It really is essential to grasp the demonic, consciously destructive nature of the work of Keynes. He was not wrong. There is no point in arguing Keynes versus Hayek. The answers are self evident to competent minds filled with accurate facts. The argument is lunacy versus reason, the wrecking ball versus brick and mortar.

As I thought about it this morning, I got to thinking about his coalmine analogy, reliably reproduced by reliable idiot Paul Krugman:

If the Treasury were to fill old bottles with banknotes, bury them at suitable depths in disused coalmines which are then filled up to the surface with town rubbish, and leave it to private enterprise on well-tried principles of laissez-faire to dig the notes up again (the right to do so being obtained, of course, by tendering for leases of the note-bearing territory), there need be no more unemployment and, with the help of the repercussions, the real income of the community, and its capital wealth also, would probably become a good deal greater than it actually is. It would, indeed, be more sensible to build houses and the like; but if there are political and practical difficulties in the way of this, the above would be better than nothing.


What is he arguing for? The diversion of money from productive to non-productive uses; the channelling of money from the actual economy to an artificial economy created by the government that will cease the moment the government stops spending money.

But the longer you can get the government to sustain an artificial economy, the more damage you do to the actual economy, and most importantly, the more DEPENDENT you make more people on the government. As I have said, this makes them pliable.

This is what was done in the Great Depression by FDR. He did "stimulus" spending on things--like the TVA--that were not inherently productive, and he deranged prices through wage and price controls.

A further consideration, plainly operative in our own day, is the mystification that deficit spending produces with respect to clarity on the part of producers what their future costs will be. Clearly, at some point tax rates or interest rates will go up, but it is hard to say when and how much. How do you price your products? How do you plan production? Is it not easier to produce less, and wait and see? Is it not more intelligent?

Add to that ridiculous idiocies like Obamacare and you get long term, unnecessary, economic malaise.

I was thinking the other day, also, about the French banlieus (spelling close), which are large housing complexes that are isolated from the economy. They are government built and maintained, but they CANNOT, of their nature, be self reliant. If we take as one pole of a continuum a subsistence farmer, who doesn't really need anything from anyone, the opposite pole is that of people whose housing and income is provided by the goverment, and who are incapable of any independent economic activity of their own. No wonder they riot.

It is important to grasp that deep, profound intelligence can coexist in the same mind with profound evil. Not only can it, but it often does.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Hard and soft

If you are only hard, you are cruel. If you are only soft, you are irrelevant.

The task of Goodness it to be relevant--to make a difference--but self evidently not to take pleasure from cruelty. I do strongly believe, though, that it is necessary at times to act cruelly, as in military drill instructors, and parents who want self reliant children.

If you're sending snails out in the world without their shells, that is true cruelty. You have sentenced them to a life of pain.

Keynes again and other stuff

As I ponder this notion of price derangement, the vision comes to me of setting small fires all over the economy, whose source no one can determine. Some of them--like the housing bubble--become quite large. Always there are these autonomous entities wandering our economic landscape and disrupting everything that is stable.

There are many examples, but let's pick Davis-Bacon wages as an example. This scheme was enacted under Hoover, and stipulates, in effect, that any project involving labor pay above market wages. This is great for those who get those wages. It is bad for all the people who could have underbid them, and gotten work, but who couldn't, by law. It is bad for taxpayers, who of course get more money siphoned out of their pockets. And to the point here it is a price derangement scheme, in which the proper value of labor is disrupted.

Mad genius that he was, he could clearly see that, in good times and bad, the constant prevention of the achievement and maintenance of rational pricing would over time cause recurring crises--of the sort Marx predicted, but which never occurred, forcing Leftists to "validate" him by causing disasters intentionally--and if the "solution" was always further price derangement, sooner or later the whole house of cards would collapse. This was his goal.

A further thought occurred to me today. I was sitting in a hipster bar, where everyone has long hair, beards of various sorts, where some of the women look like mannequins and others pincushions, and where everybody has a scooter. Somewhat incongruously, there was a very good bluegrass band playing. Bluegrass is real music.

Obviously, this is the sort of place where artwork of various sorts is on display. I looked at a crudely rendered painting of a women, where her breasts physically emerged from the canvas. Oi: not really that clever. Then I realized they were skulls. The skull theme again. It's all around you if you pay attention. Death and aggression.

Anyway, it occurred to me that moral relativism is consonant with, resonates with, is systemically connected with, the abandonment of the gold standard. Eradicating the gold standard was a virtual obsession with Keynes, and was accomplished early in FDR's first term.

What does abandoning the gold standard do? It makes price derangement easier. Unbacked currencies can be inflated and deflated almost at will.

One gets the sense that there he was, in Paris for the WW1 negotiations, furious at the terms imposed on the Germans. He writes a scathing condemnation of the Versailles Treaty in the work that made him famous: "Economic Consequences of the Peace", where among other things he points out that inflation is a means of wealth confiscation, and that it had been lauded by Lenin as the best means of undermining Capitalism".

Lightbulb moment, somewhere in the early 20's, perhaps a bit later: inflation AND deflation derange prices, and the two combined at the same time will create an invisible and damaging wave that will cause problems that can always be claimed to be curable by government. This allows a gradual take-over of all economic sectors that will ACCEPTED by the people, since they will be in crisis, and the consequences of which will only gradually dawn on them, after it is too late.

This was the task he set himself, and the "intellectual" underpinning of which he clearly accomplished.

Moral relativism: in what does this consist? Does it not consist, practically and empirically, in condemnation of specific practices, but never an affirmation of actually universal values. We can judge racism in this country, but not in other nations.

What gold does is anchor value. What moral systems--meaning systems, in my rendering--do is anchor meaning. If values are allowed to float, then they become unclear, do they not? A sense of right and wrong becomes diffused, then gone. You have the commands of the leaders, but that does not work on a sacral level. There is no sublimation of pain into meaning. All you have is pain.

So I watch these people who poke thick rods through their noses, and eyebrows, and get tattoos all over their body. What they are doing is functional for them, useful for them, but only based upon defective starting points.

One last thought, then VOB: I was watching something like Jackass, but different. Guys driving camper trucks over ramps and getting 20' air, then crashing. Flipping go-carts in water pools. Boys being boys.

This is male masochism. I have said for years that most boys are lucky to make it to physical adulthood. Males just take risks, and enjoy taking risks, well knowing what the possible results are. In olden days, this was the impulse behind war. The goal is to win, but many men just want to get it on, and see who prevails. You have energy, and you want to walk into a wall and knock it over.

We have reached a point in our cultural history where we can begin asking general questions about what sort of life we want in the future. There are many correct answers to this question, and as I have often argued, I expect the best ones to be local. Meaning, like investment, is best deployed locally, using local information and intelligence.

We can and should ask questions, though, like "what POSITIVE role has and does war play, and how can it be replaced?" What sorts of pain are desirable, and how best should we pursue them consciously?

Where is the courage that built this country?

Well qualified people are coming forward stating that Obama's purported birth certificate is a forgery. http://www.wnd.com/?pageId=316749

When is someone in our government going to grow the balls to challenge him on this? I understand politics, but the essence of the Alinskyan method is terror, and if you give in to it, it works, to the detriment of everyone but the sociopathic sons of bitches trying to erect hell on earth.

This situation is very simple: if Obama had had a birth certificate, he would have released it in 2008. He did not. He put a picture of tampered document on the internet, along with the word of campaign supporters that it was real.

There are two failures here, both inexcusable: first, the Supreme Court SHOULD have rendered a judgment as to whether or not a man with a foreign national father was "natural born". Self evidently, the warranted concern on the part of the Founders would have been divided loyalties, and in point of fact Obama has undermined our special relationship with England, and it would seem obvious beyond the need for argument that his identification with his Kenyan father--the book, remember, was "Dreams from my father"--has played a role in this.

Secondly, the Supreme Court should have forced a disclosure of a legally valid document with respect to the birth certificate. The lawsuits were there; they could have heard them, and done their job.

Cowards that they are, they failed in both tasks. We can still hope that someone in our government will do their jobs, but right now I want to spit in their collective faces for shaming our proud history, and all the brave men and women who died protecting our nation--and who used their lives building our nation--by letting patent lies with respect to important issues pass by without action.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Peter Bauer

I don't have time to type out some of his memorable statements, but I want to strongly recommend students of economics--which should include people who genuinely want to help the poor, but want to do so from a position of intellectual clarity, and not childish sentimentalism--read Peter Bauer's excellent "Equality, the Third World and Economic Delusion".

I think the evidence speaks clearly that so-called "aid" policies have had the net effect over the last 60 years or so of promoting totalitarianism, slowing or halting economic development, and contributing to even wider poverty throughout the world.

Put another way, leftist politics have damaged the lives of nearly every person on the planet Earth, in clearly identifiable and quantifiable ways.

Time, Part Two

In silence, lines extend.

Psalm of the Day

PSALM OF THE DAY.

A something in a summer's day,
As sIow her flambeaux burn away,
Which solemnizes me.

A something in a summer's noon, --
An azure depth, a wordless tune,
Transcending ecstasy.

And still within a summer's night
A something so transporting bright,
I clap my hands to see;

Then veil my too inspecting face,
Lest such a subtle, shimmering grace
Flutter too far for me.

The wizard-fingers never rest,
The purple brook within the breast
Still chafes its narrow bed;

Still rears the East her amber flag,
Guides still the sun along the crag
His caravan of red,

Like flowers that heard the tale of dews,
But never deemed the dripping prize
Awaited their low brows;

Or bees, that thought the summer's name
Some rumor of delirium
No summer could for them;

Or Arctic creature, dimly stirred
By tropic hint, -- some travelled bird
Imported to the wood;

Or wind's bright signal to the ear,
Making that homely and severe,
Contented, known, before

The heaven unexpected came,
To lives that thought their worshipping
A too presumptuous psalm.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Emily Dickinson

Time

What if you knew it was your destiny to spend your next 1,000 lifetimes fighting like a son of a bitch for what is just and right in whatever world you land on?

It's always one hill at a time, isn't it? Me: I like the idea.

Story of O

I posted the following on this website.

This is a topic I have given a lot of thought to. As I see it, the core problem that faces all human beings is the problem of pain. Why should we live at all, as Camus, asked, particularly if there is no larger world around this one? Atheism makes this a very hard question to answer.

Now, the existence or non-existence of God is an empirical question which I won't examine here. (I do on my website cursorily).

But all of us have to figure out some means of transmuting pain into something higher, or we WILL kill ourselves.

Look at this video, from one of the rougher parts of the training of American Air Force Special Operations troops http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X07-xQ_YajI&feature=relatedIs this not a type of torture? But it has a purpose, that of making them stronger. Their motto is "voluntary suffering is weakness leaving the body".

But what if you are unable, within the constraints of your perceptual abilities--as expressed in the latent or explicit philosophies we all use to guide our lives--to find any good reason to live?

Do you then not enter into a direct, unmediated relationship with pain, almost as a protective reaction? If you are seeking shelter from the maladies of bitterness, self pity, resentment and unrelenting hostility to the world, can you do better than to make of submission a creed, a religion, and is it not the hope of all the faithful to be martyred for their faith?

My preoccupation is with Goodness, but I see no way to pursue the idea properly without seeing life on this planet as it really is. Plainly, these sorts of things help some people. As I imagine it, it makes them feel more alive, more tingly, and releases some latent energy in them.

The question, though, is: is this the only way, and if not, is it the best way? Many of us look at these practices and see mental illness. I look at them and see defective solutions, but to real problems, and solutions which are better than the alternative in most cases, which for many would likely include suicide.

Foucault spent a career talking about power, and yet he liked to be whipped.

I could go on, but I have things to do. There are parts of these things that are mildly erotic for me, for moments, but mostly they are gross, and the awaken empathy in me for the women who are so desperately sad and lonely--don't call this love--that they endure these things just to stay with the man who abuses them. "I'd rather feel pain than nothing at all".

I have called BDSM "ersatz sacred". True sacrality is something which converts pain into meaning. It is the reason we suffer voluntarily. People obviously suffer voluntarily in BDSM, but they don't BUILD anything from it. There is no more complex structure there afterwards than before. There is perhaps release, but not expansion, at least over the longer term.

Proper Economics

Free markets less price derangement=generalized wealth.

The question arises from time to time about monopolies and cartels. There are exceptions to all rules, but in my view, over the long haul, this problem can be solved in two ways. First, the development of cultural habits that demand enough, but not too much. Second, if the value of money is allowed to rise through a policy of monetary stasis, then wealth will be generalized and spread broadly enough that there will be no NEED for monopolies.

There are people in this world who enjoy fighting and winning zero sum contests. But they are not the majority, and the goal is not perfection. If we have a reactive surface of educated, motivated and diligent citizens, problems can be dealt with as they come up, within the larger context of free markets less price derangement.

I will add that one problem with futurists, as I see it, is projecting what will HAPPEN, rather than who we will be. The first flows naturally from the second, making cultural contuity and improvement infinitely more important than technological improvement.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The essence of Keynes

If I've used that tagline before, then the "really real" core of Keynes. . .

is Signal Distortion. If prices act as a signalling system, and if a system of prices forms an Extended Order which efficiently orders the production, delivery and consumption of wanted goods, then anything which deranges prices deranges the system. The signalling system doesn't operate properly.

I would use the analogy of my own understanding of cancer: if parts of the economy are made external to the larger free flow of goods as facilitated by the price system, then not just those parts, but the economy as a whole becomes deranged. Massive government spending is a sort of cancer which wears a hole in a weblike fabric.

As an example I have used, much IMF and World Bank aid has been spent on things like dams in third world countries, that did not have remotely enough money or industrial capacity to warrant those investments. The money comes in, gets spent on construction--which employs for some years local people--then the money is gone.

What has happened in the meantime is that the wages paid those workers deranged all the other local wages. Supply and demand, free market forces were not at work. This hurts EVERYONE outside the system, which is to say all private small businesses in that market area. Further, it only helps non-independent entities--which in general is to say government elites--and damages all private enterprise that could be viable independently and sustainably. This is a disaster for any economy. It does HARM, on balance. And this is more or less what FDR did with the New Deal, which beyond question extended rather than shortened the Great Depression.

Keynes knew this. He knew EXACTLY what he was doing.

It is baffling to me to behold people actually arguing, in this day and age, that Keynesian ideas COULD benefit anyone, much less that they do.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac: semi-autonomous entities along Keynesian lines. During the time they did their damage, they wee "Government Sponsored Entities" (if memory serves), but they did not have to report to anyone. Moreover, they were largely unregulated. The result? Complete price deviancy and malignancy. Homes were allowed to inflate at far greater rates than free markets would have allowed, prices were deranged, and the fix--which we are still in--can only consist in reattaching the housing sector to the larger economy as a whole, absent--let me coin a phrase: "Price Derangement Entities", or PDE's.

As I think about it, such entities could be counted on to roll around as virtual wrecking balls, leaving economic damage wherever they go. This would apply EVEN IF they were not trying to do that, and even if they were not fundamentally socialists of the Keynesian stripe. This would include any agency associated with the misnamed War on Poverty, and quite obviously the entirety of the so-called Stimulus. TARP would apply.

Keynes was unquesionable a first-order economic genius, and as such an idiot savant. He was as stupid in the moral arena as he was brilliant in the realm of economic subversion.

The last century has been filled with much stupidity and much evil. I of course can't say if it's too late to turn it back, but perseverance and not giving a shit if you succeed or fail because there is no fucking way you are quitting is a fundamental part of Goodness, as I have defined it. So the possibility of success is entirely irrelevant.

Go to it, and do or die.

Keynes and Hayek

It occurred to me today that Keynes latter career can be summarized as creating a body of thought that, when implemented, would in Hayek's terms Act For prosperity, but in reality Act To poverty and increased governmental control. You create a plausible pretext, all while knowing that to the extent people followed your ideas, they would get the opposite.

He further immunized his system from criticism by making it tautological: if you spend money to boost the economy and the economy improves, then it was your doing. If you spend money and it fails, then you didn't spend enough. Add to this the fundamental insight that politicians never balance budgets, and you have debt accumulating day-in, day-out for decades.

This is the result that has in fact been achieved. He also has in place his "semi-autonomous bodies", like Fannie Mae, the IMF, the World Bank, and of course the Federal Reserve. To this I would add semi-autonomous AGENCIES, like the FDA, the EPA, the Dept. of Homeland Security, etc. Practically, many of these agencies can escape the scrutiny of Congress. They enable Obama to execute policies by fiat, rather than by legislation.

The aim was for wealth to be less important, as Keynes himself said, and his hope--pathetic and ungrounded as it may have been--that people without money would find better sources of meaning that he achieved in his own life.

No pain, no culture

If, as I have posited, the principle task of meaning formation (one of four tasks which "culture" performs, and by far the most important one) is contextualizing and reducing psychological pain--as exemplified chiefly by resentment and self pity--then any social order which does not accept the necessity of pain in life, has in fact rejected any and all possible cultural forms. It has castrated itself, and will in short order be taken over by another culture which actually provides solutions to that problem.

I have in mind at the moment Sweden, and stories like this. Even from a strictly materialistic standpoint, girls and boys are put together differntly. Their hormonal landscapes are different. Their bodies are different. Their brains are different.

From what moral principle does the need for reducing and eventually eradicating all cultural markers arise? From where, specifically, are these children to get the raw building blocks of "identity", and how exactly are small children to decide who they "want to be"? The logical end of giving this freedom would be to stop nurturing and guiding them altogether, and let them stew in silence for ten years, and see what happens. Self evidently, that would be child abuse. As I see it, though, even this abdication of direction amounts to child abuse.

Presumably, of coruse, there will be tacit and unconscious reinforcement for boys to act like girls, and vice versa. The question is: will this make them happier in life? Will this teach them to face the challenges of life--such that remain in a cradle to grave welfare state--with dignity, poise, and perseverance?

I doubt it. All of the Scandinavian countries are committing slow cultural suicide, by reproducing at half the rate needed to maintain their populations. This is happening at the same time as massive increases in birth rates among Muslim immigrants. Unless something changes, Mark Steyn is right is assuming that all the cultures which allows this to happen will be submerged eventually in Sharia.

To my mind, this is an abdication of responsibility on the part of the Swedes and others. They want to live in this make-believe, fairy-tale world, where everyone is always nice, and hard men and hard women are never needed; where suffering is always accidental, and sybaritic pleasures the norm.

That is not the world we live in. We may be able to build it someday, but only by marginalizing and converting or destroying all the anti-liberal elements in it.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The feminine as cultural carrier

As I say from time to time, I definitely repeat themes, but what I intend are what amount to sketches, in which I try to flesh out ideas in new ways, and thereby find new pathways to new places. The treatment of women in our culture is a principle consideration of mine, and I am exploring that theme here in slightly new ways.

It seems to me that women retain and transmit 2/3rds of most cultures, if not more. Men may do most of the talking and most of the walking, but they feel keenly the women around them.

Women feel more deeply and more often than most men, in my view. They are more sensitive socially. They reach, in my view, states of connectedness and spirituality more readily than men. They enter into mythic worlds, in my view, more easily than men. I will grant to the reductionists one item on this: their brains are physically wired differently, such that they can use their entire brains with greater facililty. There are more connections between the hemispheres, and their hormonal cycles necessitate learning to manage and recognize mood changes. Emotional circulation is more or less necessitated by their biological reality, when that is much less the case with men.

Maternalistic cultures tend to lose in competitions with paternalistic cultures. Sensitivity will lose out to naked and structured aggression every time. Lao Tzu counseled "understanding the masculine but keeping to the feminine". According to the legend, he said this on the way to an unknown fate out in the mists beyond the boundaries of the kingdom he was leaving for good.

As a sort of romantic ideal (and I use the word romantic in all sorts of senses; in this case what I intend is an outcome that would be emotionally fulfulling, in the sense that most of us are happy when the good guys win), I would like to see the triumph of Liberalism in the sense of much greater cultural diversity, and I cannot see how it can be retained psychosocially unless we empower women to BE women. Unless we respect them for what they can do BETTER than men, rather than demand of them that they BE men culturally, and only differ in their capacity for the physical reproduction of the species.

What do I mean by this? As it seems to me, women by far have the best aptitude for emotional and sexual satisfaction, IF, and ONLY IF, they are given the affection and safety they need to truly open up emotionally and spiritually. This, in turn, can only happen in a relationship in which sex is one of the factors, but not the primary one. This, in turn, leads to the creation of women who dominate their worlds qualitatively, who raise good kids, and empower their men to be men; and who in turn preserve our culture, as transmitted and influenced disproportionately by those women.

I feel, too, that most women do not want to be dominated (clearly, some categorilly do, as do some fewer number of men), but do want to be led in matters pertaining to the real world. They want men who are stable, reliable, mostly sensitive, and who know who they are and what they want. This is the field within which the optimal blossoming happens.

One needs to look, therefore, with great consternation to the widespread eradication of the notion of the woman as feminine. What was bought in the sexual revolution was greater social acceptance of women detaching themselves emotionally from their need to nurture, and instead pursuing pleasure as its own end, regardless of the emotional cost. Such women need never get married or have kids. They can pursue men solely based upon pleasure considerations, and not with regard to their characters, or with an aim to develop a deep and trusting relationship. They can abandon all pretense of pursuing love, in other words, and settle instead for physical relationships that are not qualitatively better than really good masturbation. I have seen women post on-line that they preferred dancing to sex. It's easy enough to see why that would be the case.

And our culture is increasingly filled with anger at women. The black culture is particularly guilty of this. I have personally heard ten year old black kids refer to ten year old black girls as "hoes". You could google almost any random hip-hop song and find aggressive and sexually brutal lyrics when it comes to women. They seem to view women as objects.

Most of them, statistically speaking, grow up in single parent homes, in which the father plays little to no role. This means they have to get all of their emotional nourishment from their mother, who was often emotionally underdeveloped when she had them. They have both an exaggerated need for her, and likely an underlying anger for putting them into that situation. Psychosocially, this leads to chronic and generally oppressive denigration of the feminine.

But this phenomenon is not confined there. I went to see the "X-Men: First Class" movie, and saw a number of somewhat disturbing scenes I wanted to point out as supportive of misogyny. First, the CIA agent has to pretend to be stripper/prostitute. One could say, I suppose, that our culture is becoming "stripperized", in that normal housewives are taking stripping classes; it is a common way for college girls to earn tuition money; and it is talked about in the mainstream media all the time. When I was growing up, such clubs were for dirty old men. Tattoo parlors were for bikers, sailors, truckers, and convicts. Much has changed.

Then you get the image of a girl kissing a man while he is taking her blood, which Eric Lenscher says is "kinky". Pain for the woman and pleasure for the man. One could almost, I suppose, see an echo of the vampirism that surrounds our kids nowadays. If you have kids or an interest, go check out the "teen fiction" section of your local bookstore. All the books whose colors are mostly red and black deal with images of what I would argue symbolize morally and emotionally defective human beings, projected onto fictional creatures like vampires or werewolves.

And Havoc does target practice with the forms of women. That is what he is destroying. They could have used bales of hay or anything else. They used female mannikins.

Emma Frost is tied up and briefly strangled, an image which follows shortly on that of her copulating with the Russian General. This is S & M.

Finally, we have the image of the sex-worker turning to hate and murder. One wonders if those balls she shoots out do not symbolize the internalization of the rage she felt performing oral sex, that is then thrown back out into the world as explosions.

All of these themes happen mythically, or if you prefer unconsciously, or semi-consciously. But they feed into the understandings of both men and women of what our proper relationship should be.

Actually, I will add that Charles Xavier had an absent mother. I wonder if the sensation of that is not increasingly common even among those who grow up in two parent homes, whose mothers are unfeminine and unnurturing.

I would think that is a common experience of children of single parent homes, whose mothers work a lot of hours, are tired when they are home, and all too many of whom are not up to the task of feeding their little ones emotionally.

Now, sexual relations are complicated. In what I believe is the world's oldest extant epic, Gilgamesh, the hero starts the poem out by in effect making a habit of raping the wives of all the men in the kingdom. If memory serves, he was always the first one to have sex with a woman when she got married. He was big and strong, so no one could stop him. How they end this is the subject of the poem.

I know so many women--an amazing number of women--who seem to be somewhat masochistic. I hear stories, and wonder why they react the way they do. Women, in general, really do seem to want to be led/mildly dominated--even though of course they complain about it--and they will put up with a lot of crap from men to protect fundamentally unhealthy relationships. They talk endlessly about problems they never fix. It is relatively easy to conclude from this that they don't mind the basic situation, provided they can talk about it enough.

It does seems to me our culture in some ways is getting meaner, at least in terms of the media presented to us, which is presumably indicative of larger fluctuations in taste. Part of this is directed at women.

Sartre had some sort of idea where he set up the relation between the sexes as fundamentally antagonistic. Clearly, this is the case sometimes. At the same time, there are cycles back and forth--even and perhaps particularly in healthy relationships-where power swings back and forth, love swings back and forth, attention swings back and forth, vulnerability swings back and forth. A healthy relationship is alive and evolving. At a minimum it is a reality that is fulfilling for both parties most days, in most ways.

This requires, though, respect for and appreciation of the feminine.

Liberalism

As I feel it worth pointing out from time to time, I use Liberalism in its historical form, of desiring as much liberty for people as is possible. Liberty, liberal, and, in my view, the word for life are all related. Self evidently, what goes by that name currently is anything but liberating. Those under the thrall of this doctrine believe in using the regulatory power of the government to engineer society, which necessarily results in unwarranted restrictions in economic and political liberty.

Anyway, that was just a clarification.

The point I wanted to make is that liberty can in some respects be treated as a commodity. Specifically, one can posit that the demand for liberty goes up as cultural diversity increases. Many of the little wars around the world amount to one group of people wanting to live their own way, who have taken up arms to free themselves from some other group.

The more liberty you want, the higher the price (the higher the demand, the more costly the supply). If you are content to let others make most of your decisions, then you don't have to work much. If you want you and your community to make most fundamental decisions, then you have to get it done.

The cost of absolute liberty is death, since if you want the freedom to kill others, you shall be killed yourself. Note, too, that this death can be moral--I have often spoken of hard-core leftists as "moral suicides"--in that moral death some people pay for the "liberty" of being enslaved. This is a psychological malady of the sort Rousseau talked about. It is the outcome of being so ungenerative as to be unable to form a coherent code for governing oneself, and therefore seeking release from freedom.

The cost of to liberty of order within a political system rises with the immorality of the people, and falls with their capacity to rationally govern themselves.

Liberalism, then, is a political implementation of basic economics as applied to the mass forces which govern behavior. As I have often said, the operative metaphors are Smith's Invisible Hand, and Hayek's Extended Order.

The essence of Liberalism is breaking things down to localized orders to the extent practical. Some look back romantically on the countless diverse Medieval towns--around the world--which has so many local customs, festivals, ways of dressing, etc. I want a return to this much more interesting way of living, consisting in genuine diversity.

As a general rule, you can look up the antonym of any word a leftist uses, and from that discern their true intent. George Soros wants a closed society. Those who agitate for diversity want absolute cultural conformity, and hide this by pretending that race and sexual "Identity" alone constitutes culture. In reality, the most important cultural differences historically have always been religious. They want to end religion. They want to end moral distinctions of all sorts, more generally, in favor of political correctness, which is in fact nothing more or less than the demand for conformity to doctrines originating with elites.

They want to clone ideas, and propagate them flawlessly, eventually across the entire planet. This is anti-Liberal, anti-humanistic, and by my definition anti-moral, since as I have argued proper moral decisions are always LOCAL, imperfect, and necessary.

The fulcrum of economics

The basics of economics are well understood, and well articulated by people like Thomas Sowell, in his "Basic Economics".

The crux of my own contribution is to point out that the demand for money is fixed. There is never any intrinsic value in money, qua money. Yes, gold can be converted to fine jewelry, but it is not then acting as money.

Mutability in supply is, then, necessarily a corruption of the generalized wealth building that would otherwise happen in conditions of free markets.

Given a fixed supply of money, the purchasing power per unit of labor would logically rise. This follows as an element of common sense from the obvious fact that productivity has been surging vastly faster than population for the last centuray and more, yet what you can buy--although it has increased vastly in quality--is really not that much more. What has in fact increased VASTLY is our collective debt. This is the fault in the US, primarily, of the Federal Reserve, and in the developing world that of the World Bank and IMF.

As should be obvious as well, this corruption is necessarily in the favor of some, at the expense of others; and, to the point here, to the benefit of a few, at the expense of most of us.

Monetarists like Milton Friedman looked at what happened, and thought about how to improve it. They saw monetary contraction causing recessions, and concluded therefrom that a modest amount of inflation, by extension, was the corrective. Friedman's arguments in favor of capitalism and free markets were sound, but in my view he missed this very fundamental point, for the simple reason that he was an economic historian. This perhaps made him a realist, but in my view there is also a moral principle involved here, that we still have kings and economically non-productive avenues to vast accumulations of wealth.

This is unfair. It is literally and with no exaggeration theft, and on a scale beyond even my own comprehension.

The economic system I am talking about (here, if you have not see it) has never happened anywhere, since the beginning of recorded history, to the extent of my knowledge.

Neither have nuclear bombs. It is time we begin in earnest the new thinking that needed to attend our new capabilities that Einstein talked about.

The demonic are among us, and collectively probably do have the ability to crash the global economy. Their numbers are not great: merely their money and following power are.

Our task is to reach those capable of moral judgement and encourage them to change their mind--and I have in mind here those who think they are "improving" the world by eliminating political liberty; and to fight like hell those who are psychopaths. Where George Soros lies on that continuum is unclear, but that he has in mind the enslavement of the many for the benefit of the few is clear enough.

Most Communists take as their task the REPLACEMENT of a Capitalist elite with an elite of their choosing. The fundamental power relationship, however, devolves from one of what can amount to de facto slavery--although in historical reality it has always been liberting--to one of actual and overt slavery of the worst sort. No slave plantation in the American South ever erected psychological torture camps to "free" the souls of their charges.


I will add that they have always lived among us. Globally, genuine Goodness is probably increasing rapidly, with the "outbreaks" of peace we see. I doubt that fewer wars have been fought around the world ever, in human history.

There is certainly room for cautious hope, but only if people keep waking up to the danger they are in, and the fundamentally corrupt nature of our current system.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Yodelling Veterinarian of the Alps

I first watched this many years ago when the kids were little, thought then, and think now, that it is an excellent metaphor for things an observant person will notice every day all around them.

Please note in advance that it is, in fact, a silly song, but one with a larger point than the one made in the video.

I will add for those with young ones that I was a big fan of Veggie Tales. I would watch them to this day if my kids still enjoyed them. They are genuinely funny, at last as I recall them.

The Yodelling Veterinarian of the Alps.

Please do not ask me for a consistent tone. I can't do it. Why be flat when you can roll?

Van Jones and Generic People

The essence of community organizing is convincing people that you know better than they do, and that they should follow you. Since you need a "them" to fight a war, it normally consists in extorting money from people who have it, but doing it in such a way that no one involved in the process learns anything about business, how to create jobs, how to run a business, or has any creative economic ideas.

In spite of what are no doubt some temporary victories, then, the net effect is community impoverishment. If Van Jones had gotten his "green jobs in the ghettoes" program going, it would have been dead in ten years, at considerable expense not just to the taxpayers, but to the economies unfortunate enough to have allowed actually viable business enterprises to atrophy due to competition happening outside the free market.


The reality is you can't extort money from intelligent people--and by definition those who own businesses know how to run them, or they would go out of business anyway--forever. If you are doing it in the form of coerced unionism, you will steadily lose jobs over decades, as has happened in the Northeast, with Detroit being particularly hard hit. What happens is that the business owners know that to stay competitive, they have to cut costs. If Unionism makes that impossible, then they avoid the unions by going somewhere beyond their reach. Had activists in Seattle not been so greedy, they would have a lot of jobs that instead went to South Carolina.

Given their choice, most people are intelligent enough to realize that a job with lower wages is better than unemployment, since even the most generous unemployment packages run out eventually, and are always combined with a loss of self esteem and typically depression and anti-social behavior. Not working too long is psychologically damaging.

Likewise, you can extort "blood money" from governments, but eventually the people paying that money rebel, and either change the government, or move out of the jurisdiction involved; again, as happened in Detroit.

One would think that the organizers would realize the damage they are causing at some point. One would think that common sense at some point would cause them to question whether or not their hard work to create a legally sanctioned labor monopoly--which denies individual workers the right to self determination, and by extension the use of their own judgement, rather than that of the community organizer--was a good idea.

Here is the reality: Marxists like Trumpka and Van Jones think of people as consisting in generic types. How you classify them depends on the particular radicalization you are working on--inner city blacks require a different set of lies than suburban unionists--but fundamentally you assume they are stupid, homogeneous, and without the capacity for self determination without the "enlightened" intervension of their future dictators.

The rhetoric of class warfare does not admit of personal consciousness. It never considers that the "rich" might in fact be providing some needed service, like jobs; and that the poor might be poor because they are unintelligent and unmotivated, and just fine with their station in life. Most of Appallachia is like that. They just want to be left alone.

As I think about it, once you think of people as generic, where does the qualitative outlier come from, that enables their organization? Is it not the "leader", and have we not directly derived the "Fuehrerprinzip"? Hitler's entire argument rested on the idea that the German people were generically perfect, but rudderless without him. The Jews were generically wicked, and could thus be judged, condemend and slaughtered en masse. There was no room for qualitative variation.

The Soviets, and Chinese, and Vietnamese did the same thing. They decided that having a certain amount of wealth, in and of itself, and without regard to the sources or uses made of that wealth, constituted a capital crime. Of course, there was always the enticement of legalized theft, rape, torture and murder, for people of a psychopathically sadistic mindset. Imagine what Ted Bundy could have made of the opportunities granted the Cheka, and NKVD. They never took human beings into those dungeons: their class membership told them all they needed to know.

Yet all developed societies reject the notion of collective guilt. Most white southerners--something like 95%--were not slave owners. Many were uncomfortable with slavery. They fought for their homes, under invasion--Unconstitutionally--from the North.

Presumably in our day and time, not all Arabs are comfortable with the idea of slavery either, even thought it is explicitly authorized in the Koran, including the taking of sex slaves (and in unlimited quantities; only wives were limited to four).

In our own day and time, manifestly (Allan West and Herman Cain being two examples) not all black Americans are happy about the implicit paternalism and smug arrogance with which leftists assume that they can arrogate to themselves the right to speak for people they don't understand. Is Van Jones "one of the people"? He went to Yale Law School. I don't know where he gets his suits, but it probably isn't JC Penny, where I have always bought mine.

Obama went to a prep school where he smoked pot, drank, and snorted cocaine "when he could get it". This was the sort of place where Biff and Buffy go, and where tennis and golf are the big sports. He followed this with trips to very expensive Ivy League schools, where the power elite and political radicals congregate. He is no more ghetto than I am, and likely less, since I have spent a lot of time working alongside normal people who will wear a hard hat the rest of their lives. I'm not anti-union: I'm against using the power of law to prevent people from making their own decision as to whether or not to join.

Obama's only apparent talent is convincing people who should know better than he knows what is best for them. The implicit message of "hope and change" was "you don't need the details, because I am all that and a bag of chips: trust me". Newsflash: not only does he not have the faintest clue how to help people in actuality, he is leading them to hell in a handbasket. Moreover, he will never personally have to face ANY of the consequences of his actions. The Party members never do. They just blame bourgeois traitors and foreign influences for failures occasioned by stupidity, and the predictable results that follow it.

Friday, June 24, 2011

The AGW Cult and Millenarianism

Two characteristics of cults is they have leaders, and they demand perfect conformity to the dictates of those leaders.

What is interesting is that the Anthrogenic Global Warming crowd keep making dire predictions--the world is COMING TO AN END. We have to end freedom. Liberal democracy is the tool of the rich elites (who of course will just build mansions on the moon when the planet melts) and needs to be ended.

Do you remember Al Gore, when he was Vice President (We Americans sure know how to pick 'em, don't we?), telling us in 1998 how many awful things were going to happen within ten years if we didn't act then? James Hanson was doing the same dog and pony show a decade before that.

Five years or so ago, we were told with absolute confidence that global warming was going to cause a bunch of really bad hurricances, and weren't we going to feel sorry we didn't listen to our mental superiors. We are at a 40 year low.

So what do they do when they are wrong? What do all Millenarians do when they pick a date for the end of the world and it doesn't happen? They find some slight miscalculation in their basically correct forecast, and pick a new date.

Alternatively, they tell us they are absolutely right, but they can't say when our doom and destruction will come, but we sure better listen to them now, and repent for our freedom and impoverty. Sell your house: the world is on fire. We can't say when, but when those giant mosquitoes come for you, you're going to wish you hadn't mowed your lawn, eaten beef (cow farts), and driven to work each day.

This is what those capable of irony call farce. "Unscientific" would do as well.

Sehnsucht

Listen to this song, and feel it. Somewhere down the crazy river.

Here are the lyrics:

Yeah, I can see it now
The distant red neon shivered in the heat
I was feeling like a stranger in a strange land
You know where people play games with the night
God, it was too hot to sleep
I followed the sound of a jukebox coming from up the levee
All of a sudden I could hear somebody whistling
Fromright behind me
I turned around and she said
"Why do you always end up down at Nick's Cafe?"
I said "I don't know, the wind just kind of pushed me this way."
She said "Hang the rich."

Catch the blue train
To places never been before
Look for me
Somewhere down the crazy river
Somewhere down the crazy river
Catch the blue train
All the way to Kokomo
You can find me
Somewhere down the crazy river
Somewhere down the crazy river

Take a picture of this
The fields are empty, abandoned '59 Chevy
Laying in the back seat listening to Little Willie John
Yea, that's when time stood still
You know, I think I'm gonna go down to Madam X
And let her read my mind
She said "That Voodoo stuff don't do nothing for me."

I'm a man with a clear destination
I'm a man with a broad imagination
You fog the mind, you stir the soul
I can't find, ... no control

Catch the blue train
To places never been before
Look for me
Somewhere down the crazy river
Somewhere down the crazy river
Catch the blue train
All the way to Kokomo
You can find me
Somewhere down the crazy river
Somewhere down the crazy river

Wait, did you hear that
Oh this is sure stirring up some ghosts for me
She said "There's one thing you've got to learn
Is not to be afraid of it."
I said "No, I like it, I like it, it's good."
She said "You like it now
But you'll learn to love it later."

I been spellbound - falling in trances
I been spellbound - falling in trances
You give me shivers - chills and fever
I been spellbound - somewhere down the crazy river

This is a very sensuous song. It evokes that period in the morning when it is warm, and possibility is in the air, you are alert and waiting, but you don't know for what.

Add to this her admonition, apparently emotionally congruent with the moment of "Hang the rich". When I realized that was what he said, this song changed for me.

There is an element to Leftism of what the Germans call "Sehnsucht", and the Portuguese "saudade". Looking it up, I see I am not the first to make this connection. That piece is actually worth the read.

For my own purposes, the analogy I use--which admittedly is a strange one--is getting poison oak. I had a summer job in college hiking through the woods, and even though I took care to protect myself, invariably both of my forearms would get completely covered in an itchy rash, that drove me nuts. Running hot water over it both made it worse, and created a sensation of pain, pleasure and release. I have never felt anything like it.

But I feel this longing is always a gap. Now, gaps can be useful: they create space into which you can move, but it is important where that gap is, or alternatively in what direction you choose to move.

Mystical literature is full of "saudade" for God. You see poets like Hafez and Rumi, Kabir, Mirabai, St. John of the Cross, Teresa of Avila and many others describing meetings that are all too short, connections of bliss felt and then withdrawn. I have felt brief flashes myself, of a connection in which the entire universe is experienced as a sea of rich and infinite joy.

I don't know what the answer is, but I am going to stop because thinking about this makes me sad. I hit it again after a while in a new way.

Justice

Pure socialism, which we can define as a system in which there are no economic difference between non-Party members, is really the same as feudalism, in that an unelected aristocracy uses its power to bestow favors on those it likes, and to withhold them from those it does not like. If you want to start a business in China or Vietnam, you better know somebody, or do a lot of palm-greasing.

This is, of course, a regression to another age, that of kings. You have no rights. From where you are sitting, if you aren't part of the system, they may as well be Gods. They just invoke History, rather than the much more tangible presence of God.

I was thinking about it, though: what would be more fair, bestowing favors arbitrarily, or by chance? It is argued that having bad luck in Capitalism is unacceptable, that you have to have a "safety net", which in reality consists in a pair of handcuffs and a jail cell you are locked in for your own "safety".

But is a system better in which, say, black people can't even be considered for some positions, say Party membership? Or white people? Or Muslim Uighurs?

Would it not be more just to offer up Party membership--and all the opportunities for corruption that go with it--on a lottery basis?

When you analyze, really analyze Leftism, it is a species of lunacy. Literal insanity, in the sense of a complete separation of idea from reality, truth from falsehood. If we define schizophrenia as what it is, a complete separation from the capacity for rational analysis, then Communists are schizophrenic. And this includes large swathes of our academic world, and other thought leaders.

Really: how is it possible to be so stupid? My thought is that it results from a crisis of identity that attends metaphysical pessimism, which itself is a result of failing to understand reality.

It's a mystery, but it's also the problem of all right-thinking people to do what we can to keep these nuts away from our children, and away from our political and economic lives.

Global Warming

I do have readers: I checked the stats. For those unwilling to sort through what is a LOT of words, I did want to point out that I created this blog initially in frustration at the lack of a simple, logically coherent refutation of the Anthropogenic Global Warming conjecture.

This is what I came up with. My arguments have only gotten stronger in the last few years, with Phil Jones admitting he was withholding data from people he knew were on to his game; hurricanes at a 40 year low after we were told confidently that what has now become "climate change" would cause them to increase in size and intensity; and frankly weather that is not hot.

If something is heating somewhere, self evidently that just means the Earth is getting hotter. It does that, and it's a good thing too, since we have spent most of our history in ice ages.

Malthusianism

As I defined it on my other site, this is the economic doctrine which holds that the more wealth is created, the poorer we will all be. It underlies, as a quasi-moral sentiment, all variants of Leftism.

To call it pessimistic is to miss the point: it is a misanthropic anti-humanism. A great many of the exponents seem uncomfortable that humans exist at all. They seem to be quite willing to kill the human race to save the planet. This is the necessary outcome of removing notions of qualitative superiority from the table.

The reality is that I can think better than my dog. I can think much better than plants. I have a right to exist, and a duty to exist. Everything that is, endures. This principle reality necessarily reaches into an understanding of reality, and the nature of life.

People that think we are machines made out of meat have no way of differentiating us from machines made from fewer parts. As William James pointed out, all questions of action and philosophy necessarily proceed from a fundamental myth--taken in the sense of a gestalt that involves more than just your brain, and that is a whole--of reality.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Positive viruses

The vision popped into my head of a virus that helped people, that rather than debilitating them made them smarter, stronger, wiser.

What does a virus do? It has the capacity to remain motionless for long periods of time, and go into frantic motion when the conditions are right. It has the ability, in effect, to put its life on hold, and to accellerate it.

Can some sorts of ideas not do this, such that the are dormant for long periods of time, then resurrect and furiously reproduce? How much life is in an idea, that can potentially be expressed? This is a measure of its quality.

Fundamentalism

It struck me today that Fundamentalism is at root a desired relationship with the future. Obviously, it looks back, generally to a past that never was, and seeks to impose a reality on the present. But what is really desired is the ability to predict the future, which is all too uncertain in the modern age.

We all want immortality of some sort. For his part, Sade wanted his grave to disappear; but one senses he wanted his books to survive. Ho Chi Minh was buried, as I understand it, on three different unmarked hills, presumably as bones. But he wanted his vision of a socialist Vietnam to endure.

Tradition represents a continuity with the future. You do as your father did. He sees this, and assumes your grandchildren will do as his grandparents did. One can call it a circle or a line, but it is a series of points which are connected, one to the other.

In our own age, it is impossible to see what will happen because we have no--or very few--traditions. We have science, but of its nature science necessarily will always make contingent claims, not final ones. There is no other way to do it.

So we see people wanting to fetishize specific ontologies, particularly orthodox materialism of the ping-pong ball or Relativistic sort. Whatever else changes in science, they feel, this will not change.

And of course we have our genetics. However we modify life, what we really ARE will not change; nor will our perception of what we are. This is very important to people of a certain bent.

This, too, is a fundamentalism, which rather than looking to the past looks to what parts of reality can be assumed to be ineluctably real; that whatever interesting discoveries will be made in 24th century science, if we live that long, will be RELATED to them and their work.

There is so much sadness in this world, and so much pain. People need figurative walls to lean on, floors to hold them. They need, as George Jones sang, "four walls around me, to hold my life, and keep me from going stray".

Yet there is much light in this world too, and it is infinite. Einstein wanted to make it the only constant in the universe. Perhaps in its form as motion and infinite expansion, we can agree with him.

Haggadah

Right after I posted that last piece, the word "Haggadah" popped in my head. I didn't know what it was, so I looked it up.

It is a Passover ritual in which, in effect, the history and identity of the Jews is conveyed across generations.

Is ritual not in some respects a way of predicting the future? Does it not bring order from chaos?

I never get tired of watching the enormously interesting parades put on in front of me each and every day. There is so much color and beauty in this world. I hope we can keep it.

Thoughts on my "Perfection?" post

One, I fragmented it. I'm not going to fix it. There are still some interesting ideas in there.

What got me started there was the thought: say the Cultural Sadeists really do take over. What does Earth look like a 1,000 years from now? A million? A billion?

Think of your own future. Does it not look like fog 20' from your headlights? What if you could drink a potion to tell you your own future, with the proviso you could not change any decisions because of it? Would you do it? What if you could change your decisions, with consequences you were not allowed to see? What if you made things worse, inventing new mistakes? What if you lived the perfect life? It would be like a life review, but on the front end.

Is part of the art of life not learning to live with mystery, with the future a mystery second only to what is, now? Can you see the mists surrounding you at this very moment?

What if you knew there were an infinite amount of space around you, that nothing you see is solid, not even the ground around you? Could you accept that?

It often seems to me that the most important limitations on our freedom are those we set ourselves, to avoid extending our horizons to infinity.

The Masters in that post were of course the Grand Inquisitors of Dostoevsky, who set as their "burden" the enlightenment through material improvement of the human race. But what if they achieve it? What then? Their source of meaning is gone.

This is why I define the ability to live happily by oneself as an integral aspect of Goodness. If you need other people to need you, you are not free, and your need for them will lead you to control them, to the detriment, finally, of both of you.

Few thoughts.

Liberalism

I was thinking this morning about the matter of gay marriage. Two things seem clear to me: 1) that civilly they have the right to demand a legal arrangement identical to that of heterosexually married couples: 2) that the use of the word "marriage" constitutes a cultural and not a civil demand. It constitutes a demand for equality culturally and socially, and not just legally.

This led to what I will call the insight that the essence of Liberalism is the protection of culture within a system of law. What the First Amendment tells us, in effect, is that any and all statements are allowable, but that none shall be coerced. You will neither be prohibited from believing things, nor compelled to pretend to believe in them.

The Bible plainly prohibits sodomy. Self evidently, the word itself is from the Bible. Compelling the use of the word marriage is equivalent to compelling conformity to a set of values you do not share.

Yet plainly, the set of values in San Francisco or Columbus, Ohio would be perfectly congruent with allowing the word marriage.

The essence of true Liberalism is national protections from coercion, but allowing local permutations of permissions. All powers not granted to the Federal Government were to devolve to the States, many of whom banned sodomy (incidentally for heterosexuals as well, referring to the necessary non-missionary position permutations of the sex act demanded by realities of anatomy) until as recently as a decade or so ago. Logically, if you can explicitly criminalize it, you can explicitly legalize its fruition (sorry) in gay marriage.

The key point is that no heterogeneous group of people is ever going to agree on everything, so on some level of organization it has to come down to majority rule, as restricted by the foundational rights in our Bill of Rights. In principle, I would support local implementations of Sharia Law, if that's what the people wanted, but only as limited by the Bill of Rights. No cruel and unusual punishment. No punishment for blasphemy. But if they want the government to pay a Muezzin to sound the call for prayer, and the taxpayers are OK with that, then in my view that should be perfectly legal. Self evidently, sedition could not be permitted either, but in principle that is my view.

For my part, personally, I am fine with gay marriage. I'm with Dolly Parton, who said "why shouldn't they be allowed to be as miserable as the rest of us?"

It is the larger issues of principle that concern me.

Communism versus Fascism

This seems to me like comparing wolverines to badgers. Yes, there is a difference,but they are both mean tempered and very similar animals.

I see sometimes where people argue that it was the Communists who fought the Fascists. They fought in the streets in Germany. The "Republicans" fought Franco in Spain.

Yet if a wolverine kills a badger in a fight, does its nature change?

Look at our Bill of Rights. Systems which in some form or fashion respect those rights are liberal. Those which don't are tyrannical. There is no way, other than an abuse of language, to argue otherwise.

Anger

It occurred to me the other day that anger boosts self confidence. I had never thought of it that way. Framed thus, though, it becomes more clear why chronic anger has beneficial effects for some people--and to a very limited extent I am one of them--who sometimes feel unequal to some situations.

I did martial arts for a long time, and one interesting thing I learned is that anger is not only not needed to fight effectively, it is often counterproductive. I suspect the best fighters absolutely get the fight-or-flight adrenaline rush, but know how to control it, and rationally direct their actions. This is confidence, which leads to competence.

I would argue that real anger is almost always a failng of some sort, although I am not sure if practically any of us can live full lives never feeling it. I know people who never express rage, and it limits them emotionally in other areas. It leads to tension, and a lack of self confidence. Far better to use anger as a tool than to fail to accomplish some needed task.

Goodness is always crooked, as Chuang Tzu would put it.

Perfection?

The logical end of leftism is the machine. Let's run with this.

Leftists take over the world. The goal is a "perfect" society, in which there is no poverty, no wealth, no prejudice, and in which everyone is EXACTLY equal.

{Edit}: I want to add some intermediate steps I skipped in my first post.

If the goal is the creation of happiness through the eradication of the supposed impediments to happiness of inequality of wealth and status, then our overlords will be disappointed. First, they create Cuba around the world, where people lounge around as shadows waiting for the night. They then decide more wealth is needed, so they automate production, and slaughter a third of the human race so as to decrease scarcity. Everyone has enough now. But they still aren't happy. So they find someone who appears happy, map what he does all day, what he says, what his cognitive strategies are; then do brain scans on him, test his blood chemistry, then kill him, dissect him, and try to figure out what the chemical status of his brain was.

From these results they calibrate how to create happiness. This process, which involves brainwashing, genetic manipulation, and direct chemical interventions, is deployed across the human race. It works. People appear happy.

Then. . .{end edit}

First, they need to standardize behavior. This is done by developing an effective brainwashing technology, amounting to software downloads. This is done around the world, such that all people do and say the same things. At precisely 2pm every day, everyone takes a coffee break. They say the same things to one another. They talk about the weather, and the sports game in which both teams, as always, got exactly the same score. They discuss their kids, who all got exactly the same grades, play the same sports, have the same hobbies, and have the same goals: to work for the State.

Everything is perfect.

Then it is realized that there cannot be racial differences, so breeding programs are developed to eradicate them. Differences in physical capability and intelligence are also bred out. After 100 generations, everyone looks the same, has the same intelligence, and the same physical capabilities. Self evidently, Huxley's "Brave New World" consisted in an unequal caste system. Self evidently, as well, the rulers of this world exempt themselves from the need for equality. They are more equal than the rest.

Throughout this process, there is anxiety about sexual differences. Men are different than women. Efforts are made to create life asexually, but they fail, since creating life requires life force. Humans are NOT machines.

After 200 generations of perfection, it is decided that a more perfect world would be if human beings were actually machines. Machines can be made EXACTLY equal. So everyone is slaughtered and robots which look like them are deployed in the same places. They live in the same homes, watch the same TV, work the same jobs, and even drink virtual coffee, which consists in downloading the memory of drinking the coffee.

Then it is realized that there is no need to actually have robots: they can just create a software routine which plays out life around the world. So the robots are destroyed, and a vast computer instituted.

By this time, the rulers are thoroughly tired of life. During all this process, they have created genetically perfect sex slaves and servants. They want for no material comfort. They can program companions, who will say anything they want. Their food is perfect, their homes are perfect. They have no need to work, can travel anywhere they want, any time. They have even conquered biological death, such that they can live 10,000, 100,000 years. But they create nothing, and they are horrible people, so after thousands of years of relentless ennui they download their personalities to the computer as well, and commit suicide. (actually, I don't think most would last more than a decade or two).

This is a really well made computer, that lasts billions of years. But eventually the Sun begins to expand, in its preparation for death, and the computer, realizing this, has a decision to make. It has a duty to protect perfection, but its existence is in jeopardy. It is a really smart computer, though, so it realizes that it can run perfection much faster. There is no need to conform to the normal pace of life. Thus, it is able to run through a trillion more years of life for humans before it is snuffed out in the red fire.

As it flickers out, it feels satisfaction in the role it played in the perfection of the human race.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Nothing new under the sun

Look at this: http://www.amazon.com/Leftism-Revisited-Sade-Marx-Hitler/dp/0895265370/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1308751382&sr=1-1

It is funny how out of touch even most conservatives are with our own past. In many ways, we have been doing little but revising Burke's foundational analysis for over 200 years.

Me, I come to my ideas on my own, but it's funny to see that I am not even remotely the first to suggest much of what I have. I guess I should feel mortified, but for some reason it makes me happy. I have fellow travellers I didn't even know about.

Of particular interest to me, of course, is his reference of Sade. I will need to get this book and see what he does with that idea.

The police state

The essence of Constitutional Liberalism is the diffusion of power. It assumes that bad people will come and go regularly throughout the life of the nation, but that the damage they can do will be limited by all the checks on their power. All of the Bill of Rights had as their purpose putting legal checks on the usurpation of authority by either the Federal Government, or the sundry States.

The foundational problem with what I have termed Sybaritic Leftism--in addition to the softness and moral weakness it breeds--is that it makes people dependent on the government. As I believe Gerald Ford said, any government powerful enough to provide all your needs is powerful enough to take from you everything you have. All that is missing currently in most Western European nations is the will on the part of the governments. This can change. History consists mainly in tyranny, and only rarely in political freedom. Someone always either thinks they know better, or simply relishes power. Intellectuals are typically guilty of both.

Any nation that is perfectly safe is perfectly unfree. The only way to prevent "accidents" is to ban all motion. The government doesn't want us to smoke, or not wear seatbelts, or ride motorcycles without helmets (which will become a ban on ATV's and motorcycles), or eat food they don't approve of. To avoid the infinitesimal risk of a repeat of 9/11 they grab our genitalia or take pictures of us in the nude.

Life is risk, and it always ends in death. This is the reality. The role of the government is keep other people from interfering with my freedom, but not to prevent me from doing things I enjoy and which they don't approve of. If I want to eat corn flakes and feed them to my kids, that is my own damn business. If I want to smoke, that is my own damn business. In my view, the "studies" on second hand smoke are so cooked as to constitute de facto scientific fraud, along the same lines as the farcical demonization of dietary fat, that had the opposite of the intended effect, and instead made our nation fat.

I don't want a safety net. I want freedom. I would rather live under a bridge overpass and die of hunger than to let this march towards tyranny continue.

Every person on Medicare or Social Security can be told what to do. Every person on unemployment, or disability, or who works for the government can be told what to do.

Always, everywhere, the goal of leftists is to cultivate dependency. Dependency means pliancy. You can do what you want, and if they object, you cut them off. Figuratively, they want us all living in our parent's basement, with them as the parents. They want to decide who lives and dies, and how they live in the meantime. George Bernard Shaw was very, very clear about this. He knew that like one of his heroes--Adoph Hitler--he could speak very vicious things openly, and that no one would listen to him, even though he was perfectly sincere.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Il Postino Syndrome

This is what I propose we call the idea that if an idea excites emotions in you, that it is good. The background, of course, is the movie portraying the gradual indocrination of a postman by a Communist (resulting in a scene we never see in his death while participating in some act of violence).

Perhaps we could oppose theatricality to practicality. This works well, for example in contrasting Hollywood with rural Iowa. Fields don't plow themselves, and cows don't milk themselves. Neither cares about the emotional committments of the farmer, or how good his intentions are.

But for their part the actors can farm an almost infinite array of emotions resulting from the joy they feel in contemplating themselves contemplating helping people.

Thoughts can only be works of art if they work. Everything else is show, and belongs in playgrounds, not the academy or the halls of power.

America's New Racists

This is a commment I left in regard to this article, by Walter Williams. Normally I'm smart enough to realize that when there are zero comments, either they are being blocked, or the moderator is away on business, meaning it may never appear.

I will add, actually, that I have analyzed this situation many times; for the first time, here. Logically, if there are no internalized values, the values must be externalized. This makes them mutable, and ultimately eradicates the possibility of evil, by eradicating the possibility of any Good outside of conformity. The history of the 20th and 21st centuries makes this very clear. This is not theoretical: hundreds of millions of actual human beings have suffered horrific tortures as a result of these ideas. If at times the people offering them appear benign--Van Jones in his recent ad looks like he's selling a retirement plan (he's the uncle you can trust, don't you know?)--that is only a facade. Anyone who surrenders their moral sensibilities to anyone else is infinitely corruptible. All that is needed is time and opportunity for this transformation to happen openly.

The core question that Leftists are unable to answer is: why is racism wrong? The reason they have a problem with this is they want to make some forms of racism wrong, but others acceptable. More: they want to make some forms of prejudice acceptable--for example by demonizing "rich" people, most of whom made many other people rich along the way--and others unacceptable. Always, we hear in these stentorian tones what and who we are to hate,and who we are to support.

This is moral myopia. There is no larger principle in place, making conformity tne only value, and putting any and all crimes--rape, murder, torture, genocide--on the table. Practically, all have happened often in the last century, always with the blessing of those who surrendered their moral autonomy to join this vicious cult.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Donations

I have just put up a Paypal link on my other website. If you have benefited from any of my creative work, I would really appreciate if you could donate something; or better yet, point me at a foundation or other group that might be willing to offer some grant money (or employment doing what I do).

Likewise, if your firm or group would like to book me for a speech, let me know. I've done trainings on many topics, including creative thinking, structured thinking, emotional intelligence, and all aspects of Sales, which is my current career field, more or less.

Here is the link.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Schadenfreude

I was talking with some electricians the other day, and somehow we got on Arc Flashes. This is a potentially fatal, more or less explosion that can happen when working hot on high voltage panels. You can Google it.

For my part, I Googled it, and watched a few videos. Here is one example.

As I watched these videos, I did so with a simultaneous trepidation and excitement. I watched that excitement, and wondered about it. Somebody was getting ready to get zapped--fatally, for all I knew--and here I was looking forward to it, as a sort of thrill.

Don't most of us feel that when we see a car accident? Do you sometimes see people working high on buildings, and think about how it would be interesting if you saw them fall? I don't feel this often, but I do. I'm no saint. This effect is especially pronounced when I am under a lot of stress and/or very tired.

This is the basic idea of most violent movies. People want to see people hurt, but they have to be set up first as bad guys so that we can sanction our pleasure in their frequently painful demises.

This is Schadenfreude, which is a German word meaning roughly "pleasure in the misfortunes of others". We like to think it is just when people who deserve it get their comeuppance, but in reality most people are just jealous sometimes, and like to see the mighty hurt.

I heard Bono compare Ireland the United States once thus: [roughly] "In the United States, you look at the man on the hill, and think 'someday that will be me'. In Ireland they look at him and think 'someday I'm going to get that bastard'".

A truly Good person will always want what is best for those around them (and for themselves). Me, I have not achieved that. I still get angry, frustrated, and sometimes want to strike out. I know I am not alone in this. I think the cure starts with being honest about this, and proceeds with trying to open that part of yourself that is in instinctive communion with others, and which already wants what is best both for you and for them. It's already there, but it gets perverted and lost, in my view.

Signed,

Grumpy the Dwarf

The Luohan

On exhibit at the Milwaukee Art Museum is a panel featuring 16 purportedly spiritually advanced beings, called "luohan" ("arhat", in the Sanskrit). Every damn one of them looks like a caricature of an actually happy human being. I only saw one that looked even remotely pleased with his life. They were as ugly as sin. The little sign thing they have suggested that maybe the intent was to show that Enlightenment can take many faces. This may be true.

It may also be true that they were simply miserable human beings who happened to live alone in remote places, subsist on bugs, and speak in terms so vague no one could question them (What is the meaning of life, oh Arhat? That my dear one must find out for oneself; Why am I so miserable, Enlightened one? That is because you have not yet found the source of happiness.)

In short, this may have been conscious satire, that nonetheless oonformed, closely enough, to the social conventions of the age.

Was John the Baptist mentally well? Maybe, maybe not. In some times and cultures, the people who lived in radically different ways were considered enlightened, if they attached a religious exterior to their actions. In truth, they may well have been psychotic. Plainly, many, many, many psychoses manifest with religious imagery. There are probably hundreds and maybe thousands of Jesus's out there ("Two men claim they are Jesus/one of them must be wrong" Mark Knopfler).

To my mind, enlightenment that is useful is invisible. It is achieving mental health that is so robust that it can be shared. It is matching people where they live, so that the distance between you is as little as possible. It is retaining humility with kings, and dignity with "the people". Hell, dignity with kings and humility with "the people". It is conforming behavior to a fundamental desire to ease people's loads, strengthen them, and reinforce good ideas.

Lao Tzu defined a good man as the teacher of a bad man, and a bad man as a good man's charge. This is nice, in that it permits of endless contexual variations. The most advanced being will be the teacher in the most places and times. To my mind, the good teacher is standing next to the student, never in front of him. There is, in the end, nothing to give, and nothing to learn.

Hey, did you know Hank Williams wrote "I saw the light". Just popped up on my iPod.

There is some method in my madness.

Yabyab

Logically, if the connection of masculine and feminine creates a circle--and one sees this duality in almost all religious and cultural traditions, for the simple reason that women and men are inherently, physically different, morphologically and hormonally and thus socially--then the connection of the masculine and masculine, or feminine and feminine constitutes an undesirable alteration of this dynamic. It is a flat wheel, that turns in strange ways.

For homosexual men, it seems to spark either excessive femininity or excessive masculinity. Most of course are familiar with the former, but less familiar with the fact that the SS was filled with homosexuals, or that the Spartans practiced homosexuality--one might even say pedophilia--or that the group which finally beat the Spartans had as their vanguard some 100-200 pairs of homosexual lovers, who fought harder for one another, defending one another. Some of the best soldiers in world history were homosexuals.

To my point, though, both are anomalies. It is for this reason that homosexuality has often been considered abnormal and wrong. It is also unproductive in terms of creating new life.

There are many ways to live. In the end, I feel we are all asexual spirits, and that in aggreggate sexuality is more of a curse than a blessing for most. There may come a time in our spiritual development where we connect with other spirits in deeply harmonious ways, all of whom--including ourselves--can remember having been both men and women, and all of whom see it doesn't matter.

For now, though, that is the way I see it.

To be clear, I do not see homosexuality as a sin. I believe they should be offered neither fewer nor more rights than anyone else. With regard to the latter condition, it is my view that their efforts to get homosexual unions granted the status "marriage" is plainly an effort to stigmatize and denigrate religious faith. This means they want MORE rights than they are willing to grant to religious believers. This is wrong.

More importantly, I see the willful cultivation of homosexuality for the political purpose of eradicating difference as a horrible idea, and one concocted by broken and malignant spirits. I have here in mind Keynes and the Bloomsbury Group, but one could certainly add many more, including some Czars within Obama's administration. The task is not to corrupt a given reality, but to accept what is, and improve it. None of the leftists are doing that. Theirs is a purely destructive activity, and must be stopped.

Psychologizing myth

I mentioned a dream several posts ago, which could easily be interpreted as a desire to return to the womb. Or perhaps as a recreation of my birth. Whatever.

Once you have analyzed, in psychoanalytic fashion, some myth or dream, what then? For Freud, the process always devolved down to sex. Whatever elevated ideas you thought you had, were really just sex. Everything is sex. This is an extraordinarily destructive doctrine. Nothing means anything, then we die. This is what is being taught in colleges around the country.

"Life as sex" is what I term a tubaform. It is a prism through which you can break down the world. To my mind, the question is not "is it true", but "is it useful"? Plainly, we do not have, and never will have the eyes of God, but empirically we can and should ask questions like "was Freud's materialistic atheism an empirically defensible doctrine", and "are our higher sentiments not unconnected with sex in any visible way, and can we not therefore discard his experimentally unanchored dilettantish suppositions in favor of ideas we like better?"

We are told that open expression of sexuality is "honest", and pretending otherwise is "dishonest". But look at San Franscisco. Are they happy? They are all divorced, leading lives where no one trusts anyone, and they are, in the end, alone. Why is kink.com located there? Because that is where they belong. The end result of emotionally detached sex is the recognition that detachment is in fact the primary reality of the relationship. All that happens when you tie someone up and hit them is you physicalize an already existing reality. You actually make it more bearable, by diluting the emotional pain. BDSM has its place, for people living in a certain unhealthy way. It is simply preferable to the alternative, which in modern days is often suicide from the grief of unanchored solitude.

Let me return to the myth, though. Take my dream, of descending through a birth canal, a constricting space, into an open space, that progressively reveals qualitatively richness and light to me. This is also death and rebirth, is it not, that combines the physical experience of discomfort and anxiety, with a relief that is tied to long-extant cultural traditions?

Your personality is characterized by a qualitative gestalt. It is a whole, stitched together from many parts. To change in fundamental ways, you have to "power down", then power back up. You have to die, then be reborn.

If I could be said to have a "heavy", an anchor, a guru (heavy is the literal meaning of guru, and I have long seen this as symbolizing a stone at the bottom of an oceans currents, to which I can tie myself to achieve some stability) it is Jack Schwarz. I had two interesting dreams of him, in which I do believe he conveyed needed information, which in my case was modeling emotional/spiritual states which I needed the capacity to feel.

Be that as it may, he spoke often of the need to die daily, through meditation. When you really relax, you let go, you die in a sense. In Yoga, the relaxation pose is called the "corpse posture".

In our modern day, the single thing we lack most is the capacity for deep, deep relaxation. We hold on so tight to who we are, and what we do, that we actually stiffen and die in our capacity for experience.

Oi: need to go. I'm lucky to set my own hours, but I have things that need to get done.

Yabyum

In the Chicago Art Museum, I saw some Tibetan iconography where religious figures of some importance are making love, more or less obviously. Yab means "father", and yum "mother". In Hinduism generally, the male deities are normally paired with female deities [as an unrelated but interesting side note, Gods are normally also paired with their mounts: Kartikeya, the god of war, rides a peacock; and Ganesha, the elephant headed "remover of obstacles" rides a rat],but they are not always obviously locked in a coital position.

In the iconography of Siva, he is often worshipped as the lingam, which is plainly an erect phallus, and understood as such. It is paired with a Yoni, which is that empty space where the lingam goes. The lingam is often worshipped by pouring milk over it.

I would like to offer several thoughts on this. The one that appears to me most important at the moment is this insight I had the other day. There is a circularity to male-female relationships that occurs on a physical level, but which transcends that.

What a man gives a woman is hard and tangible. On a physical level, his member is hard, and he emits something physical, that can lead to new life. Generally, he will also provide physical security for the woman, and often a source of sustenance. On an emotional level, he is generally less susceptible to ups and downs, and thus acts as a steadying force. This is all clear enough.

What a woman gives a man, though, is intangible. She gives him space--literally in the case of her body--but figuratively in the sense of softening him up, helping him feel more, be more sensitive and kind. If you think of a hard substance diluted by air--say whipped cream, which is perhaps an infelicitous metaphor, but let's go with it--it is less dense. Men benefit from women in ways which I think they often cannot see. I visualized the whole relationship like this:

O
( )
!

You can visualize a man and woman in coital position, and from the bottom flows something hard, that then circulates up the woman, and reenters the man as space. It is a process of contraction and expansion, continued endlessly.

As far as that goes, consider the conception of a child. Its source is a tiny egg, and a tablespoon or two of generative substance, of which only a single microscopic bit will make any difference. From that, though, grows a baby, within the woman.

In my own terms, I would call this the quantitative/qualitative distinction. Quantity exists in space; it has extent and duration; quality exists as the form of that space, and has neither extent nor duration. This is the old li and chi distinction I talked about many posts ago.

In our own day and time, this basic mechanism has eroded. What the socialists (who I use more or less interchangeably with "those who want to destroy all cultures") want is the sexual masculinisation of women, and the pacification/feminization of men, which is to say the erosion of their protective instincts, as expressed in the principled defense of their homes and ways of living.

I was in a bar the other day, talking to a very attractive Canadian woman, and she said of some other group of Canadians that they "can suck my dick". Now, I've never heard a woman day that before, for the obvious reason that that isn't logistically possible (absent a strap-on, which may be what she had in mind; I will add that this is intended as an adult blog, dedicated to solving real problems facing real people; prudishness is not something I practice or believe in,and feel it is silly and counterproductive).

On a deeper level, though, the BJ has entered our culture as a primary sexual element, and not as an occasional treat for the man. Many men expect one on the second or third date. It has come to be a synonym, as with this woman, for domination.

This is a world purely characterized by physicality. I even once heard a man say that it really didn't matter if it was a man or woman delivering it. There is no emotional connection at all. It is purely sensation, and as such utterly devoid of quality, and of the feminine.

It is the lingam without the yoni. It negates the "father" aspect entirely, since it is not procreative, and need not involve a woman at all.

More generally, even in "normal" sex, I feel that this return of space is absent in most relationships. Men look to "sex" early in life, and rarely are able to turn to love with the ease that would be the case if sex per se were not so prominant. I have long felt this preoccupation with "getting laid" was a curse. Yes, you can do it. You can find a willing woman. I did, and so do most young men. But you have left behind the possibility of LEARNING from it, of taking away from that woman what she actually has to give you besides her body. And for her part, as I have often said, she forgets who she was over time.

We need to return to the circle. It is the path of health and fulfillment. The way to do this is for men in particular--but to a lesser extent woman as well who have been masculinized in their sexual habits--to increase their capacity for feeling, and decrease their focus purely on the physical. As I have said a number of times, I feel Kum Nye is a good means for doing this. So is consciously valuing the women in your life, and realizing that they are giving to you even when you don't consciously see it.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Art

Hit the art museums in Milwaukee and Chicago over two days. The way I do art museums, any museum, is I look at everything. I am tired when I am done. I am definitely arted out. It was useful though.

I had many thoughts, but will only share one tonight, as I am tired. Walking through the South Asian section of the Chicago museum, it hit me that "Art is that which organizes culture". It does not create it, per se, but it organizes it.

Medieval churches were artworks, as they organized culture. City planning, on this rendering, becomes a type of art, since it organizes culture.

I once dreamed of living in Tibet in an endless winter. We had a shrine (my wife and I) where we had to go down a very narrow, chimney like tunnel, then crawl through a very narrow tunnel, at which point the room appeared, underground, that was spacious. You had to have that sense of contraction to fully appreciate the release. It was dark, too, now that I remember, and only slowly lit by those already there, and of course filled with iconographic images. First time, the tunnel filled you with fear, but the whole gestalt worked at cultivating a state of mind, which is to say a state of culture. It was an artwork.

Speaking and writing, on this rendering, are also acts of art. They organize how we think about ourselves, who we are, what we believe together, and what we want to do and why.

I will offer this as an open question: what has been the organizational effect of most modern art, say since the Cubists?