Thursday, March 31, 2016

Trump and the polls

You know, when I say I'm going to stop speaking, I get there eventually.  But I was raised a Baptist, and they like to talk.

A day does not go by that Donald Trump is not subjected to multiple assaults, from every conceivable angle.  He touches some nerve within the Establishment.  It is not feigned.  They are not pretending, and this is not a big inside joke.  He may have talked to Hillary before he began his campaign, but this forest fire has burned far beyond anything anyone but Trump can control.

The latest attack is the assertion that he has "collapsed" in the polls versus both Hillary and Bernie.  But history is clear that where charismatic candidates--Truman and Reagan being the obvious examples--that means nothing until the votes are cast (if they are cast and counted honestly, which we can't count on).

Trump has already been through the ringer.  There are no zingers--qualitative ones, at any rate--which can still be thrown at him.  Lots of women.  Tackiness.  Business setbacks.  Etc.

Hillary has been attacked by no one. The press is pretending that she deserves the Oval Office and not a jail cell, and the American public, which knows nothing, assumes this is accurate.

But what happens when "At this point what difference does it make" goes on the news cycle?  What happens when the actual dirt starts flying, the secret email account that not one person in 5 knows about, the backroom deals she worked out when she was the Secretary of State.  Etc.

Hillary is a conniving dishonest bitch, who will not do well in the spotlight.  That is why she has avoided it as much as possible.  But a spotlight she will get, if Trump gets the nod, as he deserves to.

And if she does get arrested, after we finish thanking God that the rule of law still appears to operate in this country in at least some times and places, then look at Bernie.  This idiot didn't have a real job until he got elected to Congress, and that hardly counts either.  He has accomplished nothing.  He can't pay for anything he is proposing, not once actual numbers are used which make realistic projections as to the likely actual outcomes of his various tax policies.

I liked and continue to like the fact that he alone stood up to the Federal Reserve and got at least one substantive provision inserted into the Wall Street Protection bill, that of auditing the Fed in high level fashion.  This is how we know they created ex nihilo $12 TRILLION in 2008-2009 to bail out the world.

But shit, his bad hair gives even Trump competition.

Posting

I am going to try going on another posting hiatus.  I was feeling anger at the lies I see, and felt the need to confront someone directly, which I did.

But for my own spiritual growth, I need to stop these spats.  I need to focus on what is good, and working.  Evil can and will have its day.  It has done so often, and nearly always in the name of the Good. A century ago Kipling spoke of people twisting the truths good people have spoken, and making traps for fools.

This world is not an end in itself.  There is more.  Of this I am convinced.

Political Correctness

How COULD changing dialogue affect realities, in any world? Words are words, and all they are capable of affecting is perceptions.

The world we live in is very much like a home where an 800 pound invalid lives upstairs, and the solution everyone proposes is that we not talk about that person.  Nobody says to stop feeding that person, stop enabling that person.  No, the solution is to ignore the problem and shout down and bully anyone who says that that person could not maintain that weight unless fed far too much food each and every day.

I favor everything that could help poor blacks. I favor Charter Schools, which have been proven to help educational achievement.  I support throwing out the trouble makers who make it impossible for the kids who are trying to do the right thing to learn.  I support vocational training, and Enterprise Zones.

I support legalizing most drugs so that kids don't start the rotating door to the prison system early, and I would support releasing most people who are in jail solely on drug related charges.

And I support NOT legalizing 15 million new competitors for existing jobs.

But the core problem is that Chinese can come here not speaking a word of English, and within a generation or two be graduating kids out of Harvard.  Yes, the cultural bias is likely in favor of assuming the Asians work harder, but that is because that is what we SEE.

The political Left needs to ask itself if blacks actually are inferior.  If they are, then their solutions are in fact the only solution.  But if not, then what is needed is a focus on family, personal responsibility, education, and the creation of jobs.

I am very passionate about this subject, for the simple reason that I can see the suffering is real, and that NOTHING these jackasses are proposing will do ANYTHING.

Black poverty has gone up considerably under Obama for the simple reason that his economic policies are shit, and the blacks get hurt first and worst in bad economic times.

The rich have gotten much richer because Democrats have created a system to make their contributors very wealthy on the gravy train of the American government.  Wall Street WROTE the "Wall Street Reform Bill" for which Obama was praised.  Why?  It HELPS the megabanks and hurts their competition.

People need to wake the fuck up, and see with their own eyes.  Everywhere you look, someone is lying to you, and most people are too stupid to see it.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Reality testing

News anchor attacked by the politically correct for speaking obvious truth.
Smart-ass marinated in failurism and the dogma of "speech as action" takes offense:
My response, which for the moment is still up:
If blacks want to develop a culture which nourishes its young, teaches them self and other respect, and the value and purpose of hard work, THEN you will be justified being a pompous blowhard. Until then, what most of us will see is a landscape littered with failure--UNNECESSARY failure--crime, illegitimacy, whining and ignorance. 
I speak the truth, and accept that you liars and delusional fools will hate me for it. So be it. Somebody needs to speak the truth, and this isn't it.
The response:



My response, which likely will not make it out of censorship:

No. Self evidently, if Democrats are the solution to the problems blacks have, then they are looking to white people to help, since most Democrats are white. Even Barack is white, even if he drops his g's in certain speeches to certain people he assumes are inferior.
Since you are looking for white people to help, you obviously accept a certain amount of inferiority. I am simply volunteering.
One cannot look at a culture which produces the vast majority of our murders at just over a tenth of our population and call it functional. If you want to go Malcolm X and take care of your own problems and leave us out of it, have at it. But if you want us to help, as in all interventions, the truth has to be the beginning.
Nothing is working, including telling people to shut up when you simply lack the maturity to listen to the truth. You have nothing to lose.
The simple fact is that most white people live nowhere near black people, and even if they are willing to play P.C. language games, that doesn't help Jaquan, who we do know is living with his mother, and being raised by his grandmother. You may hate our cracker asses, but I should point out most of us are heavily armed, and we outnumber you 5 to 1. We are also better educated.
What is needed is a healthy black culture, one not built by this nonsense posted here in response to someone who obviously meant well. If you don't want people patronizing you, stop acting like fucking children.
Here is my commentary:

All the people trying to affect the lives of blacks in this country in a positive way seem to share several core, inaccurate assumptions.

1) Blacks are inferior.  They don't say this, obviously, but it is assumed.  It is assumed that absent hand-outs blacks cannot get ahead.  Unless they have cheer leaders, and crowds of people telling them "you can do it", they can't do it.  We are told it is asking too much for black teens to complete their free high school education.  We are told it is asking too much for them to be fathers to their children, or asking the girls not to get pregnant until at least their mid twenties.  We are told it is asking too much asking them not to shoot each other in the streets.

Frederick Douglass, certainly, and probably Martin Luther King Jr. would hold these people in contempt.  They don't want a chance any more: they want a guarantee of success before they will begin.

Not only is that not reasonable, it is actually asking for a codependent relationship in which they are the needy inferior that has to have the milk of kindness, and the succor of continuous support or else they will fail.

Anyone who wants to put them in that position holds them in contempt.  Again: they believe blacks are inferior.

2) Language matters.  We are told that somehow it affects Jonteel's life in some shitty 2 bedroom Public Housing project how some white kid at Princeton talks about black kids and black life.  This is bullshit.  It is completely, categorically wrong.  This is a mistake made by and for people who TALK for a living, and who in most cases never do SHIT in their entire lives but talk. Evan Sayet has a nice piece on this.

Language does not affect high school graduation rates.  If they were still called Negroes, as MLK, Jr called his own, that would not matter, if they had changed the MEANING of that word, what we whites and Asians associate with it.

Language matters only with respect to language.  It matters politically, in other words, principally as a weapon of deception and bullying.

3) Blacks have a worse enemy than themselves.  Look: they call themselves niggas not because they are proud, not because it is an emblem of self respect, but because they have internalized a self loathing, one which is perpetuated daily by the people who claim that they cannot make it on their own.

Here is an interesting perspective on the Black Lives Matter agitprop: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7MAO7McNKE, particularly after 1:12.

Why do YOU think--seriously, think about it--why do YOU think that the vast focus is on a handful of cases of officer involved shootings, when easily ten times that number of blacks are killed annually by their own?

Is the goal to change the LANGUAGE of the discussion, or to save actual black lives, to make meaningful interventions which make actual, living breathing human beings, happier, healthier, wiser, and more productive?

People who DO nothing focus on language, and this may seem harmless, or even farcical, but the naked reality is that how we speak does have real effects on our ability to solve actual problems.  If we cannot speak needed truths, problems escape solutions.

This is where we are at today.  I look around me, and most people don't want to know the real truth about anything, about themselves, about life, about violence, about anything.  Most people are cowards.  They shy from anything which promises pain and difficulty.

But that is where the magic, the real change, happens.

Edit: My response to the meme was deleted, so I tried again.  I posted this:

I await a more substantive response. You KNOW I am right. Who do your lies help? Your fragile ego? Why be fragile when you can be a man?

His response: Lol you await what? Thanks for the command but I'll passYou are workin under the delusion that your original post had some sort of substance to it..it did not...raise your level of intellect rather than sounding like someone who is still stuck back in the 1800s good old days...I guess your motto is make America great again huh? Foh 

I wrote something about how the unoffical motto of the Democrat is "screw black people, they are going to vote for us anyway", which is quite accurate, and it was deleted. I tried again:

That's the problem with blacks: not enough men. Lots of tough guys, but not serious people like MLK Jr. willing to roll up their sleaves, do some REAL thinking, and start actually fixing problems.
You vote Democrat because you are the same chumps Malcolm X said you were, because he was not stupid. You are.

His response:


My response: If you are one of the "bruthas" then this site is quite poorly named.Intellectually mediocre, bullying brothers. IMBB. I bet nobody has taken that yet. You should be able to get at least a .org.
But then, truth is anathema isn't it? Lying is much more congenial for the mediocre. It soothes their fragile, childlike egos. 

His response: To anyone still reading this post...this is what a white racist troll writes like...they start spewing some vitriolic none sense....if you ask them a question they continue to inject more of the same...so what do you do? Treat them as the little five year old mentally non intellect that they are..Carry on 
My response, which I do not expect to stay there [it did get deleted, but then apparently released]:

Hugh: is the black community working? Define "working" however you like.
Given that black unemployment has risen considerable in his time as President, as has poverty, help me understand how you continue to believe Obama cares about poor blacks. He was raised by white people, in a rich white neighborhood.
From what I read, the role his father played in his life was impregnating his mother, and providing context for a book. He died in a drunk driving accident after being rejected by the Kenyans for his Communist ideology.
You whine and complain, but the truth is this is the truth. Who do you think you help yelling at me for speaking it? Does anyone genuinely suffering become well? Do bills get paid? Is ignorance in any way corrected?

His response, something out of the 5th grade world of Christmas Story:


Hmmm the troll is strong with this one...so keep crying little baby

My response, currently in moderation:
I'm not the one crying. I'm pretty happy with my life.
It is little black boys crying who miss their fathers.
It is little black girls watching their mothers go on alcoholic and drug binges. I have talked to these people. I know whereof I speak and so do you.
But why would you care? You sit on the internet all day, so your life can't be too bad. And hell, maybe you can get PAID to blog someday? 

Commentary: I am posting this uncivil, unproductive dialogue as an object lesson in why problems in the United States go uncorrected.  There is no sincerity.  Yes, of course I am pushing buttons and being a bit of a dick, but I am also asking completely valid questions that would scare the shit out of this guy if he stopped attacking me long enough to ponder them.

In what respect can anyone argue that changing the dialogue changes the reality?  The situation is much more akin to an abusive, dysfunctional family where no one is allowed to speak the truth, where lies are the rule of the day, where the clarity of light is feared and reviled.

No one who focuses on language and not policy can claim to care.  Period.

Blacks who claim to speak for other blacks without worrying about jobs and crime and black CULTURE are speaking for themselves, not their alleged "brothers".

What we call racism is making blanket assumptions about blacks, and by far the worst racists are people like this, who assume that blacks can't handle the truth, can't handle their problems, and need whites people to help them, or else they are helpless children.

I assume the opposite: that if more demands--honest, doable, realistic demands--are made on blacks, they are quite capable of rising to the occasion.  Nobody but themselves is keeping them down.  Yes, shit happens, and we all have hills to climb.  The difference is that nobody makes excuses for whites.  When we are born poor and stupid, and want something different, we have to go and get it.  And when we do, we get the self respect that goes with it, and the contempt of people who lack the courage to do the same.

Edit: and to comment on that last little bit I just added, who is there caring about the CHILDREN?  When Sally Struthers used to post pictures of starving African kids (usually the result of wars started by Communists, as in Angola, or famines caused by Communists, as in Ethiopia) everybody felt sorry for them.

Where is the concern for 10 year old kids walking alone through violent neighborhoods--the same 'hoods white people won't go to, which apps are created to avoid, and which are no safer for black kids than white kids--and showing up at a home to an empty cupboard, an absent mother, and no supervision?

Who sees and cares about the tears these kids shed?  The terrors they endure daily, and which gradually make them hard, cruel, and violent?

We seem to be breeding psychopaths everywhere.  Whatever solutions I can offer require me to stop typing for a while, here at least.

This is why Trump

http://www.xojane.com/issues/stephanie-cegielski-donald-trump-campaign-defector

What is unmistakable is that this women is a liar.  She never liked or supported Trump. It's my understanding she never even worked for him.  She worked for a Super-PAC that he had his lawyer disband.  That is what I read.

That is disputable, I suppose, and I have not taken the time to verify it.

What seems beyond dispute, to my mind, is that what this is, is a tacit admission that as a Democrat, she and others thought that putting Trump in the race would screw things up, and that is what they wanted. Now that he is in the lead, they are having second thoughts, so they are saying publicly what they thought all along.  You can put good money on the fact that this piece was run through a propaganda committee--which of course went by another name--prior to getting the OK.

The only Democrat policies that work are those dedicated to lying, cheating and stealing.  When people say Democrats are "smart", this is the only possible referent which is honest.  But they are good at that.

What I love about Trump is that everyone on all sides hates him, and he keeps going.  Yes, that takes a huge ego, but he is also showing that you can stand up to the bullies and still speak truths they thought they had killed and buried long ago.  It is still possible in USSA to speak the truth.  Even if he is a  hypocrite and a flake, were there actually any other alternatives on the table?  How could he possibly be worse than Hillary, and Cruz is only in the race because Trump drove the debate to the outside. He is not a leader.  He is a poll reader just like everyone else.  He reads, then speaks.  Trump speaks, then reads.


And I will comment briefly on what I would argue is the unmistakable Democrat rhetorical style.  This piece is long on feeling, long on bandwagoning and opinions, and has this tone which, without actually discussing policy, assumes that those sorts of things are so obvious that she and the reader can share certain assumptions without subjecting them to scrutiny.

The goal, obviously, is to make Democrats feel themselves superior, again, and for weak minded Republicans, also, to buy into Democrat propaganda about Trump.  I will note that this is coming out at a time when only two Republicans are still effectively in the race, when by common consensus a brokered nomination would be devastating for the Republican Party, and when Trump is the stronger of the two candidates by far in national polling.

This is why Trump: it fucks with the rat bastards who have been trying and continue to try and drive our country into the ditch.

I am not naive.  I do not see him as a Messiah.  I simply see him as the only true qualitative outlier I have seen have a shot at national office in my lifetime. If we elect anyone but Trump, we get what we have been getting.  If we elect Trump,  we may still get that, but it is at least possible we won't.

I see many people who seemingly fail to grasp this point, which seems obvious to me.  Perhaps I am missing something, but that is not usually the case, if I am honest.


Monday, March 28, 2016

Some excerpts, from there



When our response to the killing or torturing of a fellow human being is anything other than horror and outrage; when we consider the deliberate infliction of pain as no more disturbing than standing in line for our daily food rations; when we have reached this point, we must accept that the world will not improve simply because Hitler is gone. Scanning the hall, Camus declared: “We are all of us responsible and we are duty-bound to seek the causes of the terrifying evil that still gnaws at the soul of Europe.”
This was not all that Camus now grasped. Absurdity, he saw, “teaches nothing.” Instead of taking this diagnosis as a fatality — instead of looking only at ourselves, as do Sisyphus or Meursault — we must look to others. We are, in the end, condemned to live together in a precarious, unsettling world. “The misery and greatness of this world: it offers no truths, but only objects for love,” he wrote in the journal. “Absurdity is king, but love saves us from it.” Love saves us from absurdity. 
What we fought for, Camus concluded, “was something common not just to us, but to all human beings. Namely, that man still had meaning.”
We need, he declared, “to call things by their proper names and understand that we murder millions of human beings when we allow us to think certain thoughts.”
I have always liked Camus.  That is all I will say.

What he called the absurd, I call madness.  But madness is not an ontological condition.

Ok. that is all I will say.  Until I do. 

Horror

Oh yes, I remembered the other thing I meant to say.

I think horror is the sense you are about to be eaten, or that someone close to you is.  It is a primal fear with survival value, which we share with animals.

Where we differ is in our imaginative capacity, with which we can conjure this emotion even absent actual danger.  Like animals, we can be traumatized by horror and confinement, and like animals we can stay stuck there forever.

Deshoring

The other day I felt this sense of horror in me soften.  It became something else.  It became like wax about to melt.

I thought: I have no word for this.  So I invented one.  Moving away from horror is dis-horroring, but I wanted de- and that doesn't work without an S.  Then deshoring popped in my head.  It alludes to the original word, without including it.  It also conjures an image of casting off to sea after being stuck shoreside for a very long time.

Taking a piss in the gym today it occurred to me that logically if the two biological imperatives are reproduction and energy capture, Freud erred--as he always did, after coming so close to a truth (he had an amazing intuition, but his intuition about his intuition was horrible)--in privileging the sexual instinct.  Logically, you cannot reproduce if you fail to reach maturity, and you can't do that unless you can find and consume energy sources, aka food.

This makes digestion superior to sex as a primal drive, and as a content of the  unconscious.  This, in turn, opens up a lot of interesting ideas.  What are people obsessed about?  Sex and food, but not necessarily in that order.

If you think about it, abnormal relationships with food are potentially as interesting as abnormal relationships with sex.  That kid surfing porn?  Let's find out more about what role those Cheetos play in his life.  I'm serious.

I wonder and I wander.  It's what I do.  It's perhaps my defining trait.  I like myself, all things considered.  I am not jealous of anyone, and I like my life, exactly the way it is.

I will add that I felt, too, how anger has a form.  It is the same energy which powers a sense of the magical, a sense of curiosity and open connection.  But it has a skin.  It is contained.  It is simultaneously a pushing and a resisting.

Do with that what you will.

I don't always agree with myself or even understand myself, but sometimes I do.

Competence

Being work competent is in large measure a result of being driven, and of making it a life-style.  People that are good at anything tend to like doing more of it.

I can and often am competent, but I phase shift in and out.  When I do my meditations, that is a completely different world, with different rules.  And it is a better world, too.

So many people are driven to work, to consume, to win.  But where is life in all that?  At the end of a lifetime, living in a large home, emotionally alienated at least from your true self, what is left?  I see little.

There has to be a happy medium.

When I look at history, I see that insanity expands, for the simple reason that unhappy people are forced to work, forced into conflict, and the more unhappy they are, the better they get at it.  Most large empires are built this way.  Most large fortunes are built this way.

Small wonder that Chuang Tzu extolled the useless and thus invisible.

Parenting

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3511343/Marauding-parents-Easter-Egg-hunt-rampage-control-adults-push-children-ground-steal-buckets-leave-one-four-year-old-bloody-chaotic-free-event.html

The issue here is that the adults felt the need, the competitive need, to get the eggs FOR their children.  In another time, the adults would have felt content to let the children get their own eggs.

I was thinking this morning that the parents of the children today, particularly the biologically adult children in our universities, were themselves the children of hippies.  They grew up in emotionally unstable homes, and seem to have reacted by overparenting their own children.

It does seem to me too that in a world where childhood is made so important that many parents want to extend their own by living vicariously through their children.

Let them go, people.  You are the cannon, they are the cannon shot, life is the charge.

Never do for anyone something they can and should do for themselves. This principle starts in the earliest infancy.

Conservatism is nothing more or less than common sense.  The fear and confusion of this world make it seem that compassion is offering help, but most of the time the only person helped is the codependent, emotionally unwell person offering it.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

The Buddhist path

It seems to me the path of the Bodhisattva is not to eliminate pain, but to increase it.  The path of com-passion is to know all pains from personal experience.  How else can you SEE the pain of others, how else can you know it?

Suffering plainly is real, and in this world, the pains of this world cannot be avoided.  You can be born in the lap of luxury to loving parents, and live a fulfilling life doing useful work.  You can see the world, fall deeply in love, bring up a happy family, and live in health to an old age, and then everything you built and knew will fall away.  You will have to begin again, in some way.  This cannot be avoided.

But suffering can be processed.  It can be digested, like food, like drink.  The task is to become stronger, more able to do this; to become larger and in becoming larger to become wiser, and thus more useful.

In a true spiritual path I believe you are lost most of the time.  The sense of being lost, too, is a suffering, and that, too, can be transcended.  I increasingly believe that what the modern world most needs is a recovery of the sense of the magic of time and place, of the moment, of the world.  You can live forever in every moment you truly feel flowing through.  We are surrounded by rivers, and choose to stay on the shore.

It feels to me like the authentic spirit of Buddhism passed away with the growth of the monasteries, with the growth of barriers to life, to the wilderness, to the wild beasts, randomness, and to most forms of unplanned loss.

This is what I feel today.

Some Easter tears

Read this story: http://www.ibiblio.org/eldritch/ac/roth.html

Then listen to this song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vK-5OS1WAFk

It is perhaps not sad enough--I find it comforting--but there is something of life in it.

I find myself feeling the gap between the meaning of life, and my habits.

Living is a skill, and we are all born, I think--most of us certainly--far from it.  We paper over this gap with thought.  We think: "I can think the meaning of life. It will be much easier than finding my way to it.  Yes, that is the path".  But of course, you cannot think your way there.  You must dare your way there.  You must embrace what hurts you, and in the hurting, find the healing, and the way.

Here is another nice song, also from John Harford: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VBEOjcQstUc 

You only know a small fraction of what you think you know, and if I am lucky I know even less.

Happy Easter!!!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Day's thought

Perseverance is one of my core values.  So I got to thinking about my previous post.  Am I getting soft?  No longer willing to fight the good fight?

Well, AM I fighting the good fight?  Who really gives a shit what I have to say?  Not many people.

And then I got to thinking that persuasion is a laudable and valuable goal, but it can virtually NEVER be approached from a stance of anger or judgement.  If you claim to want to persuade people, and you are yelling at them--as I have always tended to do--then you are deceiving yourself.

I need to take the anger out.  Step back.  The world clearly will end one day, perhaps one day soon, but it has no plans to ask me first, and there is no reason not to get as much sunshine and light in the meantime as I can.  You know, the jacket, the wind and rain, and the Sun.  Old story.

By chance I spent the day at a college.  I used to get excited going to colleges.  There was so much possibility, so much learning.  Now, I find them depressing.  You go there to learn how to live a better life?  Ain't gonna happen.  You read all the English authors.  Or you major in German or Spanish or Portuguese.  Latin or Greek.  Philosophy.  Psychology.  Who will provide you with a comprehensive template for personal growth?

Kids come there with all sorts of hopes and dreams.  They want to make a difference.  But the Western world has lost the capacity to respect individual moral growth.  It can't define it, because it can't differentiate good and bad outside of social contexts which are themselves based on political contexts. Is rape wrong?  Well you have to tell me who is raping whom and why.  Yes, of course, in general, but surely the bombs being dropped on ISIS are far worse than their crimes against women?  It's Western Imperialists imposing Western Imperialist values.

And I thought, as an African-appearing man walked by me (have you noticed that you can usually tell the difference between African born blacks and American born blacks by the dignity and seriousness of the former's carriage?) that in the early 1960's Britain was decolonizing.  Imperialism was still a very real thing.  But that was over 50 years ago.  Not many years before that, Japanese Zero planes were crashing into our aircraft carriers, and Jews were being turned into soap.

Virtually all the language and thought of today was formed in that period.  The professors teaching today still look back on that era as a Golden Age.  It is all they have.  And what they have is deficient and pathetic. It is based on lies, willful misunderstandings, sloppy thinking, and infantile fantasies both of power and freedom from responsibility.

We need an individual moral code.  It is possible that before Christianity all religions were intrinsically social, and thus in conformity with our ancestral, evolutionary past.  But Christianity, particularly Protestant Christianity, is individualistic.  It is about an individual's relationship with God, unmediated by society and political structures.  This is a powerful means of forming the individual conscience, and moving humankind along.  But it no longer works.  We need something new.

This continues to be a project of mine.  Progress has been slow, but shit I've only been off the bottle for a month now.

Planting seeds

I like to start my morning by doing my EmWave2, while listening to Gregorian Chants.  Then I roll myself out with a lacrosse ball and foam roller, 3 minutes or so per body part. It can be quite peaceful.

This morning I got up and read my Facebook, Lucianne, Drudge.  And I found myself linking an article describing the terrors of Brussels on my Facebook, and pointing out the obvious, that these people want Sharia Law in Europe, which means the abrogation of women's rights, racial rights, homosexual rights, the freedom of speech, and the very ability to not agree with them about anything without being physically attacked and hurt.

I posted the obvious.  Then I did my routine.  And somewhere in there--I usually find rolling my shoulders very relaxing--it hit me that the obvious is indeed obvious.  What is not obvious is why so many people have such a hard time telling and accepting the truth, or at least what appears to me to clearly be the truth.  I deleted my post.  I realized I was planting seeds which could not be received precisely by the people who most needed them.  The seeds were unnecessary for people with intact perceptual capacities, and invisible to everyone else.

A great many people in our time have a hard time just existing.  Large numbers of us are killing themselves.  If memory serves, more people now die in the United States of suicide than in car accidents.  If not, then the numbers are knocking on that door.

And I think to European history over the past century.  Even before the first World War, people were saying life was meaningless.  Even before that war the intelligentsia was repeating "God is dead".  After that war, they were filled with fatigue and horror.  Most of them turned to one Fascism or another, such as Bolshevism, although no doubt Scientism--which interacted with both--also played a role.  Nazism was "scientific" based on biological evolution.  Communism was "scientific", based on economic evolution.

Both had no use for the individual, and perhaps this is precisely why they were so valued.

I look at Brussels today, and what do the white people--the people who founded that nation, built it, and who have maintained it--have to live for?  Most of them are atheists, and most of them can be assumed to be what I call Sybaritic Leftists, which is to say people who reject the necessity of pain in life, and view a life of relative comfort and ease as the highest good.

They are decadent, in other words.  How can one speak hard truths to decadent people?  I do not see a way.

I love to preach. Preaching is my way to feel like I am making a difference.  But the truth, of course, is that I make very little difference.  You cannot make the deaf hear.

And I find a place in myself which is still capable of viewing them with kindness.  We may all be on a bus to hell, but I do not need to be so angry.  My life does not make the Pacific any larger, and my eventual passing will not diminish it.

I do of course worry about my children.  But my belief is that we choose our lives.  They chose their lives.  They chose what they would experience.  I have no control over that, and even though I will never cease from my striving, this world does not exist to meet my needs, to be kind, or even to be comprehensible.  This is still no reason to feel sorry for myself, or be less happy.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Yeah, I think I'm smart

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/03/18/why-smart-people-are-better-off-with-fewer-friends/

Here is my proposal: large segments of my emotional life are tied up in ideas which are intellectually incomprehensible to most people, and when I am seeking emotional intimacy, this is an important part of it.  Since it is beyond most people, I can't share it, and since I can't share it, I find trying to interact with people on that level frustrating and it generally makes me feel worse. I would rather be greeted with a blank stare than 50% comprehension.  That 50% just makes the failure feel worse, and it's always 50% or less.  I have emailed most of the Economics professors at most of the major universities in America and Ireland, and not received one answer I deemed intelligent.  Granted, I have not received many answers at all, but those that I did receive confirmed my suspicion as to how the thought process went for whatever percentage of recipients actually read what I had to say.

This is why I do construction for a living.  Nobody asks me any hard questions, and whatever interacting I do is on a basic level.  It is a decent modus vivendi with my particular ontological joke.

Well, that and I love working with my hands, the free time it gets me, the self employment, and the travel.  And if sitting is the new smoking, then I can do my regular smoking and feel less guilty. I'm not smoking twice.

Even when I was in my teens I fantasized about doing construction.  I just had to figure out how to make way more than the Union guys without doing my time, and without joining a Union.

Social Security

I haven't posted this in a while: http://www.goodnessmovement.com/Page11.html

The "money" piece referenced became my Econ Fix.  I moved away from a gold standard, but the ideas are otherwise the same.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Alphaville

Garp I watched a few weeks ago, and just didn't feel like commenting on.  I may have in passing.  I can't remember.

Alphaville, by Jean-Luc Godard, I watched tonight.  It was pretty bad, but the ideas were somewhat interesting. I won't comment long, as I have some Sleepy Time tea brewing and a nightly routine to perform, but I did want to say that I really feel that the computer, the reification of "reason", so-called, is really a reification of our animal, bestial, MECHANICAL instincts.

What we share with ants: this is what we share with machines. This is why machines would, in turn, want to reduce us to ants.

But what makes us human, makes us beings with souls, is precisely where we differ from machines.  Consciousness is typified by what I tend to call non-statistical coherence.  Animals are typified by statistical coherence particularly the lower you go in complexity.

There is a scene where they have managed to combine executions with water ballet, and I was struck by the continuity with actual history, with actual public executions, which were attended by and enjoyed by thousands, in plazas you can still visit in Paris, to this day.  Paris itself is marked by two exhibits dedicated to that same "revolution", the Arc De Triomphe, and the Eiffel Tower.

That time, too, was marked by the rhetorical appeal to reason, and the actual submission to violence, savagery, and anti-humanistic cruelty.

Insanity leaves markers. If you know how to read them, you see them everywhere.  Most human societies, for most of time, have been two thirds insane.  Those who did not build large cities and armies roamed the wilds largely devoid of compassion for anyone outside their tribe.

The World according to Garp

This was one of the first R-rated movies I saw, and the first major picture, if memory serves, with Robin Williams in it.  I got to thinking about it one day, then by sheer coincidence one of the women I work with told me it was her favorite movie, so I thought hell I'll watch it again.

For the early 1980's I thought it weirdly percipient.  Or, perhaps more accurately, it described those times--roughly the late Sixties to mid-Seventies--well, and we have circled back around.

You have John Lithgow as Bruce Jenner. And you have radical identity politics.

Several points I wanted to make.

Garp came in as a baby, and he left as a baby.  He came in wanting and fantasizing about his father, and he left fantasizing about his father.  Moral: he needed his father, no matter what psychological accommodations he reached with his actual life.

Glenn Close was exceptionally emotionally detached.  She had not the slightest bit of fellow feeling, or felt empathy.  Nothing fazed her. Her beliefs--her eyes, which one can readily imagine foreshadowing her much more famous role in Fatal Attaction--were abstract and purely intellectual.  She didn't bat an eye when the women who cut out their tongues in sympathy for a rape victim chose to continue their weird cult even after the actual victim explicitly told them to stop.  Everyone to her was a symbol, and no one, even her own son, was truly to her a person.  She was obsessed with her role, with her nursing outfit, but only as a role, only as an expression of inner ideology.

She also over-identified with Garp.  She moved to New York with him.  She started writing when he did.  She procured a hooker for him, after using her herself first for her own purposes.  They both wrote books that got them hate mail.  They both even died the same way.

The whole thing was extremely unhealthy, even if I got that I was supposed to get that as odd as the whole thing was, there was still love.

And the women she surrounded herself with viewed the world through the logic of collective guilt.  They did not want to allow her own son to attend her funeral, because ALL men were guilty if one was.  This is the worst sort of tribalism, but it is on display, today, on every college campus in the country (or nearly, at any rate.).

You saw, of course, the rabid hate that we see today, which was fringe then, but mainstream now.

And I could not help but see in that book John Irving wrestling with his own fatherless childhood, and perhaps allowing himself to bring out and express some of the pent up rage he felt. He killed his son, then he killed his mother, then he killed himself.

This movie is due for a come-back.  You heard it here first.

I liked this

I have read several pieces in the past few days I regarded as genuinely thoughtful.  This makes me happy, since I see it so little.  One of the traits of thoughtfulness is accepting your own limits--recognizing who you are, what you believe, and that other possibilities exist--and being willing to go outside them, to talk out loud for a while, and to settle down without a sound bite, or ideologically actionable verdict.  Sometimes the straight path can only be found by rambling.

http://chronicle.com/article/How-Safe-Spaces-Stifle-Ideas/235634

I particularly liked this paragraph:

Our educated classes regard the university chiefly as an instrument of our collective purpose and an efficient engine for transmitting anxiety about ideas felt to be dangerous or out of bounds. Bizarre that a culture officially committed to diversity and openness should be essentially conformist, and that the hostility to the clash of incommensurable ideas and even to elementary difference should be promoted with the sort of clear conscience that can belong only to people who don’t know what they’re doing.

Metaphor and propaganda

George Lakoff famously proposed that "liberals" (his word) operate more from a maternal, nurturing, caring sense of things, and conservatives from a paternal, rule-governed, obedience based model.

Jonathan Haidt provides, perhaps, more nuance, arguing

there are (at least) six innate moral foundations, upon which cultures develop their various moralities, just as there are five innate taste receptors on the tongue, which cultures have used to create many different cuisines. The six are Care/harm, Fairness (equality)/cheating, Liberty/oppression, Loyalty/betrayal, Authority/subversion, and Sanctity/degradation. The theory was developed to explain cross-cultural differences in morality, but Haidt and his collaborators at YourMorals.org[21] have found that the theory works well to explain political differences as well. Liberals (leftists) tend to endorse primarily the Care and Equality foundations, whereas conservatives (rightists) tend to endorse all six foundations more equally.
What I would suggest is that while both writers have solid points in my view, what they are REALLY referring to is what sorts of propaganda both groups respond best to.

One can be empathic and care about others, and be led to support policies which actually work to achieve the opposite of the outcome you wanted.  This is the case with most Democrats.

One can be callous and cruel, seeking ones own interest, and in the process of building up a large company--say, Microsoft--in actual fact enrich the lives of millions of people.

What I can say with some firmness is that the Left chooses to focus on the discussion, and conservatives--to the extent we actually exist any more, having been largely pushed in fact if not name from the national and international stages--choose to look at history, and particularly political and economic history, as models to predict the future.  And we are rarely wrong.  Human nature has not changed since the time of the Romans and Greeks.  Nor is it likely to any time soon.

Simply because someone says they want something, does not mean that their means are not counter-productive.  And if you criticize people who oppose those means as inherently mean-spirited and evil, then you have eradicated the capacity of that system to learn, adapt, and grow, which is where we are at today.  All of our problems have solutions, but none of the problems can be named, and thus all of the solutions look abusive and wrong.

The goal of free markets and the protection of property rights is generalized wealth and well being.  But because it LOOKS like self seeking and greed, stupid people can, have, and continue to misunderstand this, even though the data is absolutely, categorically clear, beyond any possibility of rational dispute.

An appeal to prejudice is inherently an appeal to ignorance.  There is no other way to look at it, in my view. 

The Paranoid Style in American Politics

I think it is long past time to recognize, to acknowledge, to speak the truth about, the fact that paranoia is primarily the province of the Left.  They see--or in the case of the more disingenuous claim to see--racists under every rock, Capitalistic exploiters behind every tree, injustice every time the wind blows.

What a rubber mallet is to the knee, the claim of malfeasance is to the relationship of the Left to their enemies.  If anyone disagrees with them for any reason, they are talking before they are thinking, and then doing without thinking.  This is the purpose and outcome of Agitation Propaganda: training people to react with all the nuance, poise, class, and substance of dogs salivating for their next steak.

Were Communists seeking to subvert our cultural order, and did they deploy considerable treasure, countless hours of effort, and countless agents of influence to do so?  Unquestionably.  With the fall of the Iron Curtain, we know this to be true.  Most of the North Vietnamese Generals have written memoirs.  And I think we can reasonably assume those written from exile speak the most truth.  We know the KGB spent 4x as much money influencing opinion as it did intelligence gathering.

Was it paranoid to suspect this?  No.  It was in fact what was happening, and was the logical and largely inevitable consequence of the ideology which drove--and continues to drive--the Communists.

These people lie as easily as they breathe, and so one cannot say that because most Communists do not use that word, that they have ceased with their pathological anti-Humanism.

Bill Ayers has not changed one core belief since the 1970's.  There is no reason to suppose those who surrounded and supported him have either.  Some cults are a one way trip.  Once in, you never get out.

Thus when I read a supposed conservative citing this propaganda piece, which gave us that phrase, I can conclude they are part of the problem.

Fathers, delayed gratification, and race

I am going to post this without comment.  From this link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanford_marshmallow_experiment

The experiment has its roots in an earlier one performed in Trinidad, where Mischel noticed that the different ethnic groups living on the island had contrasting stereotypes about one another, specifically the other's perceived recklessness, self-control, and ability to have fun.[6] This small (n= 53) study focused on male and female children aged 7 to 9 (35 Black and 18 East Indian) in a rural Trinidad school. The children were required to indicate a choice between receiving a 1¢ candy immediately, or having a (preferable) 10¢ candy given to them in one week's time. Mischel reported a significant ethnic difference, with Indian children showing far more ability to delay gratification as compared to African students, as well as large age differences, and that "Comparison of the "high" versus "low" socioeconomic groups on the experimental choice did not yield a significant difference".[6] Absence of the father was prevalent in the African-descent group (occurring only once in the East Indian group), and this variable showed the strongest link to delay of gratification, with children from intact families showing superior ability to delay.

Trump as the expression of political Shadow

Leftists like to style themselves as the "true" thinkers, and conservatives as ignorant political luddites, who oppose either from financial interest, or congenital intellectual deformity--typically with more than a touch of racism, homophobia (so-called), and misogyny--all the profound, brave, and beautiful ideas which they propose.

I would like to propose the opposite: given that the purpose of thinking is at some point achieving, given that the abstract, if it can be called useful, must at some point actually BE useful, and since the only possible place for usefulness is the real world, conservatives are in fact the real thinkers.

It takes a level of abstraction to grasp that one cannot always get what one wants immediately.  Most people who are going to, figure this out by age 6 or so (there is a very interesting paragraph in there I am going to make the topic of a separate post).

It takes a level of abstraction to realize that a complex order is vastly more robust and intelligent than an apparent order.  A row of trees--satisfying as it may be aesthetically--will never equal the vigor of a truly natural forest, allowed to grow by chance and time.

It takes an abstract grasp of history to see that power aggregated is always maintained and expanded.

If we are to associate a music with conservatism, I would pick something like what I am listening to at the moment.  Conservatism appears emotional on the outside, but is pure reason at its heart.

If we are to pick honest music for the true Left, for the Cultural Sadeists, this seems to me appropriate: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qbmWs6Jf5dc  They appear rational, but are pure emotion--most of it rage--at heart.

Now, I picked up a book by Herbert Marcuse last night, and perused it.  He was talking about private property, seemingly the history of it, and lack of justification for it.  His ideas were not of interest to me, so much as the feeling they gave me.  When I allowed myself, they recalled a warm feeling of safety, of insulation from reality.  They recalled the sense most highly intelligent people have had from time to time of superiority, and the pride that gave them.   They recalled being invited to this smart kids thing, and that smart young adults thing.

The words presented to me a world where I was welcome, where I could kick off my shoes and make myself comfortable, where I would never be truly contradicted among my fellow travellers, although of course we would argue just enough to make it fun, and then congratulate ourselves at our cleverness, and wonder together at the dullness of the rest of the world.

Put simply, it was a world where I was insulated from my daily life, from the "slings and arrows" of a life lived honestly, and where I had a secret password to be accepted in any group which recognized that password, along with a map on how to find them, how to live among them, how to breed among them, how to die among them.  It offered a guide to life, and a shelter from uncertainty.  I never had to feel unpleasant feelings.

When I was in graduate school one of the professors lost his wife after a long illness, and he was back to work within a day or two.  He was back where those sorts of things didn't matter, where he could counter the pain of his loss with abstraction, with effort, with a ritual order created by and maintained by people like him. I very much doubt he ever went through anything like a true mourning process. I may be wrong, but I doubt it.  You cannot fit true mourning onto a calendar, and schedule it for summer recess.

If you watch the arc of intellectual life in the 20th century, which created what we now have to live with in the 21st, you can see a retreat from an honest interaction with the world, and which culminates in the elevation of the text to a God of sorts.  These people were pushed by events into a place which was beyond assault, which was beyond honest emotional reactions to life, which was in fact perfectly safe.  These are the people teaching our kids, at least in most Humanities departments infected by this virus.

What one finds in Leftist texts--which is substantially all of them in modern universities--is a simultaneous indulgence in primal emotion, and the rejection of it. The rage which they feel as residual emergences from primitive places in their lives before they discovered books becomes solidified and reified in ideas which serve the purpose of calming them, of allowing some expression of what they feel, but which are, for all that, inhuman, destitute of genuine fellow feeling, empty of genuine compassion, caring, love.

This is Herbert Marcuse, and his extended family.

As I have said often, a thought worker is concerned with results in the actual world.  Conservatives are thought workers.  They operate at a useful and true level of abstraction, in the same sense that scientists do.  They have hypotheses, which they test by reading both ancient and contemporary history.  And they validate their hypotheses by these means.

Intellectuals are interested in the effects of their ideas and those of others on their emotions.  Ideas which they find congenial and beautiful they call good and right, and ideas--like the necessity of suffering--which they do not find congenial, they reject as ugly and flawed.  All this, with no reference to the actual world.

As a matter of FACT--such a thing does still exist, as do all the stoplights, and baseball fields in America--blacks and the poor generally have gotten more poor under Obama, and the rich, very much richer.  Yes, Republicans are blamed reflexively, but what policy has Obama proposed which would have altered any of this in the slightest?  American businesses have not wanted to invest money, and the very simple reason is they don't trust Obama, and because Obamacare has made business life vastly more complex and expensive, with no compensatory positive, even for the workers, many of whom have been let go, or lost their policies.

All this brings me to my point.  Any long term readers I may have will be familiar with my fondness for extended preambles, which often exceed in length the actual point.

Donald Trump represents the Shadow, both for the political Left, and for the complicit Right. This is the reason he evokes such powerful emotions.

The way I have come to think of the Shadow is two complementary selves, on each side of a corner, fearing the worst of what is around the corner.  de Chirico represents this beautifully here .  We do not know our own selves, and fear the Other one around the corner, which we see only fragments of.

For the Left, he represents rage, prejudice, crassness, and abusiveness.  No one who has interacted on an extended basis with these people can fail to see that their culture--and it is a culture, an insular one--is infected with all these flaws.  They are PROJECTING onto Trump.

They call him racist for wanting a wall  But Mexico has a wall.  Are they racist?  He wants to limit Islamic immigrants, but the Gulf States who would be the most obvious destinations, with their resources, oil wealth, and cultural connection, have taken precisely NONE of them.  Are they racist?  Who talks about this?

Trump represents in sum all the abhorrent practices the Left wants to hide from itself, which it is and has long been continually guilty of. He does not ACTUALLY represent them, of course, but he is the subject of their obsessive displacement of their own unowned emotions.

For the right, Trump symbolizes their long term failure to engage in a substantive way with Leftist domination of all narratives which interest them.  I see alleged conservatives calling Trump xenophobic.  Why?  Are they simultaneously condemning, as they should, Saudi Arabia and Mexico (and for that matter, every other nation which takes illegal immigration seriously, which is most of them)?

The National Review has been losing the ideological battle for 60 years.  If the goal was to "stop history", they failed.  They write their very erudite, internally consistent editorials, for other conservatives.  Nobody else gives a shit.  They are useless.  Irrelevant.  When it comes time to stand their ground, they pussy out.  They are cowards.

Trump is the first national figure in my lifetime to toe the line and tell these bastards to shut the fuck up.  And he has gotten away with it.

Here is the thing: our public life is FILLED to overflowing with blatant and inexcusable lies.  Most of us know it.  But there is so much shouting in the public domain, such a ready SA just waiting to pounce, that most have been pummeled into submission to ideas and practices they KNOW are pernicious, know are wrong.

If someone on a national stage speaks the truth too much too long, all these delusions and illusions, both on the right and the left, are threatened.  Congenial, comforting pipe dreams may all go up in smoke.  What people LIVED for, what gave them a sense of meaning and purpose, is at risk.

It is impossible to predict what Trump will do if elected, but in my view the recovery of the possibility of speaking truth in the public domain is the most likely outcome, and that alone is worth electing him.  Nobody else can do that, and of course Hillary or Bernie will make it much, much worse.

At some point ideological dissent may at some point be actually criminalized.  We are already seeing inklings of this at the highest levels, as when Loretta Lynch apparently considered treating as thought criminals people who use common sense and independence of thought in evaluating the non-existent evidence supporting the claim of Anthropogenic Global Warming.

I have wondered many times if I would end my life in prison or, worse, be subjected to the torture sick people want to inflict on all who threaten their fragile egos by disagreeing with them.

I have believed for some years that the Nazis were vastly more merciful than the Communists.  Nazis just killed or worked to death the people who disagreed with them.  They might torture them for information, but nothing more.

The Communists wanted to break people's minds, to drive them mad, to get them to confess a 6" pencil was longer than a 7" pencil, and that they had committed crimes they had not committed.  This is unique in history, with the possible exception of the Christian inquisitions.

I wonder, I will admit, if Communism would have been possible without Christianity and its radical intolerance, its evangelical zeal, and its historically radical insistence on exact conformity.  Dostoevsky was quite right in his analogy, and in his history.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Reality Testing

In order to recognize cruelty, at least when expressed with subtlety, in others, you must first own it in yourself.  We all have this capacity and there is no use lying about it.

The problem with the people I call Sybaritic Leftists--the Swedes would be an excellent example--is that they do not own or recognize their capacity for anger and rage. Normal people you invite in as house-guests who shit in your kitchen you become angry with and kick them out of your home.  The Swedes are getting angry with those who object to the shit.  This is displacement, and very unhealthy psychologically.

Donald Trump is not the Anti-Christ, he is not a fascist, and I see no signs that he is any major respect a bad person.  The rage directed at him is derived from the astonishment among many people, journalists and political watchers alike, that all the usual tactics, all the usual attacks, have not reduced him into some form of degraded silence, or at least reduced his chutzpah.

If you are someone who is used to being able to use physical force--or in this case, the concentrated use of emotional abuse--then it can be intensely frustrating not to get the outcome you want.  If you are a long term bully and abuser, when you beat your woman, you want her to shut the fuck up.  They have beat him and beat him and beat him, and he won't shut up.  This is what enrages people with major anger issues.

But none of them want to own the anger.  The same people say OM, do yoga, and post pictures of cats.

As I said, most people are liars.  Some of them I am willing to forgive, and some of them I am not. I am aware the ideal is that I should forgive everyone.  Well, one needs to set realistic goals, and forgiving these people right now, for me, is not realistic.  They should know better.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Learning to like people

I think in the first phase you take people as they seem to be.  This is naivete. In the next, you realize most people lie just about all the time without knowing they do it, although some do.  In the end, and this is what I am working on, you see the lies, and forgive most of them anyway, and understand all of them.

I've been saying for many years that seeing what is in front of you is exceptionally hard, and I was gratified to read in the NARM book that this is in fact a primary developmental challenge for most of us.

I have no use for lies, or easy truths.  The two are quite often the same.  Things quite often are what they appear to be, but what have you really understood even about that?

What passes for learning and knowledge in this country is in all too many cases sad, weak, and even sick.  I personally have invested many people with reverence, only to find I erred.

I do think we can see in many traditional cultures, in the "guru", an attempted recapitulation of a failed father-son relationship, complete with idealization.

Nobody is your superior.  Nobody is your inferior.  Be yourself, and let others be themselves.  We all bump into walls and fall down.  No use crying about it, or blaming the walls or the Earth.

Double Standards

It occurs to me that the term "double standard" is really a misnomer: it describes, in fact, a non-existent standard.  If it applies in one place, and not another, then it is not a "standard"--which must be the same everywhere by definition--at all.

The Left does not oppose rape, or rape culture.  It does not oppose sleazy men, sexual harassment, dishonesty, dishonor, or treachery.  It condones all these things in ISIS and in Hillary and Bill.

The point of a standard, of a principle, is that it mediates difference.  It allows one group to treat all other groups with the same respect and expectations that it treats its own.  Others, seeing that they are not treated differently, adapt and conform to this aspect of the culture, while feeling free to retain their own unique ideas about things.

The rejection of standards is perforce the rejection of mediated difference, and quite obviously that is what we see in our present political world.  The power elite just pick and choose what they care about and don't care about, and in clinically Orwellian fashion, feel utterly free to decry one week what they were condoning the week before.  This is only made problematic by those who remember the past, and who expect consistent, principle based behavior.  If you can get people to reject the past, and to accept inconsistency, then you have a perfectly brewed propaganda soup, which again, is what most Democrats and pretty much all college students are immersed in.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Little Guy

Conservatives, even the best of them, have always had to carry the truth of harshness: that life is sometimes hard, but we make it harder, most of the time--as seen from a public policy perspective--by trying to make it easier.

But there is not a long distance from there to "fuck the poor: it's their own damned fault".  The historical role of the Democrats has been to counter this impulse.  Within my own world, there is room for give and take, and the historical Democrats are people I could find some common ground with, even if I could never agree with the extent of their pandering.

The modern Democrat party, though, has gone full Socialist, full self loathing, full ideological detachment from the cares and struggles of actual human beings.

So where does this leave working class Americans?  With nothing.  Nobody talks about or cares about them, except to the extent they patronize them with lies and/or platitudes.

I was reading this nasty article from National Review, which has most of the classic stereotypes Democrats, with some justice, threw at conservatives, with none of the palliating deeper humanitarianism that motivated people like Barry Goldwater or Calvin Coolidge.  Consider this finale to what purports to be serious analysis, by someone who wonders how so much of the world has missed his unique insights, rare genius, and goshdarned tough ability to "tell it like it is".  He is speaking about small towns around America:


The truth about these dysfunctional, downscale communities is that they deserve to die. Economically, they are negative assets. Morally, they are indefensible. Forget all your cheap theatrical Bruce Springsteen crap. Forget your sanctimony about struggling Rust Belt factory towns and your conspiracy theories about the wily Orientals stealing our jobs. Forget your goddamned gypsum, and, if he has a problem with that, forget Ed Burke, too. The white American underclass is in thrall to a vicious, selfish culture whose main products are misery and used heroin needles. Donald Trump’s speeches make them feel good. So does OxyContin. What they need isn’t analgesics, literal or political. They need real opportunity, which means that they need real change, which means that they need U-Haul.
On the one side you have Hillary and everyone but Trump wanting to add 15 million job-seekers to a discouraged existing pool of people who have worked too little, for too little, for many years now; and on the other you have this asshole.

Why not Trump? He's used to seeing men in hard hats at work.  It's what he's always done.



Work

It seems to me many of us bring a sense of strain to work, or a sense of need.  On the one hand we are pushed into working by forces outside of us, on the other we are pushed into work by forces within us.

Work, it seems to me, is at its best an interested participation in the unfolding of ones life.  If you dial the right combination, there is glitter, light, and beauty everywhere, even when you are doing the dishes.

Nothing stays the same, so everything happens differently every time.  This is interesting, and, again, a very suitable subject for the virtue of curiosity.

I wish more people were genuinely curious.  I wish, in particular, those who claim to value diversity actually did so.  People are interesting, but not when they are made objects, not when they are reduced to known ciphers, not when they are considered in the aggregate.  Those are dull games for even duller people, and nothing but pain comes from them.

Parenting

It seems to me that I personally, as a parent, will take the most pride in how my children are NOT like me.  I have tried hard to instill curiosity in them as a principal virtue, and curiosity can go many places.  We are all exposed to different things, different people, and take different paths.  To the extent they depart from me and my path, that means they have found their own.  That is what I want for them, and what I would argue all parents should want for their children.

Such, in any event, is my own view.  You are free to differ.  I do actually value diversity.  The same logic, as I think about it, would apply to everyone you meet.

How banal, if you think about it, must be a teacher who insists on his own way, his own words, his own routines.  The task of a thinker who would be a teacher is to get to the principles which matter, then watch in wonderment at the endlessly inventive ways in which they can be expressed by open and happy people.

My children are not mine.  You are not mine.  Confusions about this account for most of the unnecessary suffering in the world, I think.

Shadows

I was contemplating today, as I do, why I do some of the stupid things I do.  Some of us more than others set out to do one thing, and find ourselves, as if a magic spell had been cast on us, doing something else.  Surfing the internet is just the latest iteration of daydreaming, or cleaning, or calling people on the phone, or going for a walk.

On a deeper level, how many excuses are there for not painting a wall which needs it, for doing our taxes, for reconnecting with an old friend, for doing that project you have dreamed about for years?

And what I saw was that I really have two parts of myself which both wish me well, but have differing myths about the world, differing felt senses about the world.

People we call evil have identified with the appetitive self, with the animal self, which states that a full belly is the same as goodness, that the world is hostile and dedicated to their destruction, and that an aggressive and cruel way of interacting with the world is the only possible response consistent with safety and survival.

Within the shadow, there is a perceived light.  And light is perceived as shadow.  And, to the point, both parts perceive themselves as furthering the interests of our self.   Both view themselves as relative paladins, fighting the good and necessary fight.

Within myself, I am saying there are two brothers within me.  Two comrades in arms, both dedicated to my well being, in their own ways, but with radically different, and outwardly opposed agendas.  This is why I cycle from one set of behaviors and affect, to another, and back.

Going "into the shadow" is another world entirely, but one which makes complete sense from its own perspective.

Put another way, a more Hindu or Buddhist way, there is no darkness: only ignorance, typically ignorance made possible by a failure of communication.  And I would go all hippy and say that all conflict is a failure of communication, but would add that where actual people are concerned, listening is not always present, and if violence is, violence is sometimes the appropriate answer in response.

Feeding the good in everyone can be the only truly humane impulse for a good person, but we always need to start where we are.

Brazil

As far as I know, there is only one country in the world with a socialist slogan--Order and Progress--on its flag.

What, I wonder, just WHAT are we to make of the fact that 19 of the world's most dangerous cities are in Brazil?  http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/nation-world/world/article24778720.html

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Pity

So I'm sitting in a wal-mart parking lot on a beautiful spring day, eating chocolate after a few hours of moderate physical labor, listening to some magnificent violin and piano music (the song of the nightingale" by Pablo de Sarasate: I looked it up) and I watch some dirt baggy looking guy walking along. He doesn't like his job, and they probably have their doubts about him.

And I go to that old song LIFE WHAT A TRAGEDY. Then I think shit I'm pitying him and feeling sorry for myself. I actually feel good and it's quite possible he does too.

And then it hit me that you cannot pity a person without denigrating them, and you cannot ask for pity without, in many if not most cases, denigrating yourself. Feeling pity is inherently a form of feeling superior. If other people do not feel sorry for themselves, then our pity is s sort of violence, of attack.

As I grow as a person I am slowly realizing that with most of us none of the emotions are where they are supposed to be. Goddammit.

It does seem to be too that the core issue with self help is that none of us are located on the map where we think we are. You can only begin at the beginning, but most us have no idea where that is.

Trump and the working man and woman

One seachange I think we are seeing is that ordinary rank and file working class, blue collar Democrats are finally beginning to realize that their Party has abandoned them.  They are not concerned with wages, with protecting jobs, and certainly not with any issues that might concern white voters, especially men.

Donald Trump gets this.  It is stupid to say that he can't win.  He has 50% of the Republican Party, and Hillary is not just personally odious on every level, she has absolutely no credibility when it comes to protecting working class jobs.  She would just as soon give them to Mexicans, as long as they vote for her.  She figures, based on past history, that everybody else is just too fucking stupid to understand the game being played on them.  She may be right, but objectively, she is clearly wrong.

I think I've said this before, but I have a sense that Trump can readily imagine himself at a Yankees or Mets game, eating a hot dog, drinking a beer, and saying "isn't this country great?"  Yes, he may have been in a private suite with an expensive hooker, but I don't think there was any coke or booze, and he probably tipped her well.

Nobody can call him a sexist pig without referencing the many transgressions--almost certainly worse transgressions, likely extending into overt rape--of Bill Clinton.  Trump is just honest about being a healthy heterosexual man.  He is a bit of a pig, but I suspect he treats his women much better than the Clintons--both of them--treated Monica Lewinsky.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Defensiveness

I am contemplating defensiveness, and it seems to me that the task of psychological growth, for most of us, is learning to defend not in the past, not in the future--which is often exactly the same thing--but in the present.  In terms of physical safety, preparing for real dangers in the future would still on the reading count as defending in the present.  Since life can be uncertain, and since human life has always been filled with violence, I personally would grant quite a wide latitude to such activities and still call them healthy.

What is not healthy, though, is obsession which takes you constantly out of the present moment.  Even if you build a huge stockpile of weapons and food, if you continue to obsess about possible dangers, you are not healthy.  Which life are you defending, if you live in continual fear?  We all die.  Your family will die.  Defending the present life consists mainly in living in peace, happily, and with contentment.  This sort of defense few talk about.

It seems to me that many people who carry psychological and more particularly developmental wounds into adulthood--which is just about everyone--feel an exaggerated need both to be protected and to protect.  It may seem paradoxical, but I think many people in dangerous professions feel more fear than the population as a whole, and are pushed into professions like the military, law enforcement, and fire fighting because in those places fear is a valid emotion, and taking aggressive precautions for ones safety are not seen as unwarranted or excessive.

But even beyond this, I think people who feel the need to "stick up" for people who have not asked for their help are enacting the same impulse.  Think of the people who feel the need to "stand up" for blacks and other minorities, and who feel not just the right but the DUTY to get angry on their behalf.  This is dysfunctional protective impulse.  We cannot save the slaves, now.  We cannot undo the wounds and horrors of history.  For that matter, we cannot resurrect the Union or Confederate dead.  We cannot undo the horrific wounds and violent deaths of the soldiers who suffered in their own ways every bit as much as any slave who was ever flogged or hung or burnt alive, and about whom no one talks.

We cannot LIVE in any place but the present, even if our imaginations may give us the illusion of life in other times and places, even if it may anoint us as guardians of some sort, even if it may soften the tensions and uncertainties of the present by presenting us what appear to be the certainties of the future or past.

It is an interesting seeming fact, presented in my NARM book, that while hypervigilence is a common and expected outcome of certain types of trauma, so too is HYPOvigilence, which is an exaggerated and unrealistic sense of ones own safety.  It seems to me this trait is on display among all those who seemingly have a compulsive need to believe the best of people, when we all know the truth is usually in the middle somewhere.

Enough is enough. The right amount is the right amount.  Since none of us are omniscient--even if the psychological defenses of some cause them to compulsively assume they know more or less than they do--we all must guess where things stand, what is appropriate.

These things can and should be discussed.  A multiplicity of views should be welcomed, not hated.  The whole point of a pluralistic society, one dedicated to the gradual improvement of human individuals, and the improvements in society which such improvement enables, is to allow ideas to compete, and the best ones to win.

One cannot speak of Socialism without speaking of the suppression of dissent.  There is a fundamental homology between the government picking winners and losers in the economic realm, and that of the ideational realm.  There is a fundamental homology between the notion that no people are better than others, and that no ideas are better than others, even if one idea--that of egalitarianism uber alles--reigns both supreme and unquestioned.

I feel cool breezes on pleasant days, and watch the clouds drift by.  I am thankful for my modest home, a pantry filled with whatever I choose to put in it, and the ability to dictate the actions of my day.  I do not blindly assume that this situation must continue forever, and I do not look at the past and assume that all of the cruelty, emotional detachment, vain attachment to ones people and ones cause, and all of the violence associated with them cannot return, and do so quickly.

It seems to me many Democrats have vivid visions of Trump supporters burning in fire, all while nourishing their own sense of their own righteousness, their own compassion, their own empathy, and their own vision for a peaceful and just world.