Log in

No account? Create an account
Thoughts Online Magazine
Collected Articles on Culture & Politics
Current Thoughts 
20th-Apr-2018 12:00 pm - My tweets
This one, however, I'm going to have to read anyway: The Dark Side of Avalon.

I know it's going to be hard.

And I know I will read it anyway, on the strength of this review, which tells me it has an inspiring upside, which I didn't expect.

Care to read with me?
19th-Apr-2018 12:00 pm - My tweets
The short answer might be "ignorant and smug about it", but this fisking of a New Yorker article does an excellent job of going into details here.


Paul Graham has a famous essay about managers vs makers. There are two ways to run your life, he says. Managers know that their day is divided up in pieces for meetings, calls, and administrative tasks. Makers, on the other hand, need to have large blocks of uninterrupted, unscheduled time to do what they do. To create and think.

When people ask how I manage to get so much writing done, my anorexia is the answer. Same goes for how I’ve managed to keep a healthy relationship and how I manage to exercise and read. I keep a maker’s schedule because I believe that anything else is anathema to deep work or creativity.
18th-Apr-2018 12:00 pm - My tweets
  • Wed, 11:33: RT @DLoesch: “ ... made as a private citizen, not as a representative of Fresno State.” Conservatives should note this standard going forwa…
  • Wed, 11:58: RT @The_Trump_Train: The annual financial burden on taxpayers for subsidizing illegal immigrants is $115 billion a year... But building a w…
15th-Apr-2018 06:49 pm - Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan
I really can't think of another book that is both religious and popular, and deserves its prominence in both categories.

There are theological works, and lightly disguised works on theology (Dante comes to mind), but they can't compete. Well, "Robinson Crusoe" by Daniel DeFoe was perhaps equally popular as I was growing up. Everyone I knew had both books, and had the stories of both down pat.

I recommend taking the time to read them.
9th-Apr-2018 09:10 am - Three dots onward
Thomas Wictor has an interesting take on the response to chemical attacks over the weekend: click here.


Exploitation of illegal aliens seen in Tennesee. Let's not kid ourselves that this is a "border state" problem any more, OK?


It's time to punish the people who enable mass killings to occur: incompetant, slipshod law enforcement.


In one of the easiest fails ever, London admits that total gun bans haven't achieved safety by trying to ban knives. Just as a side note: gentlemen not welcome in London, because they might oppose the roving gangs and rape artists using knives and acid for amusement.


Academic mismatch: if you go to a college where your credentials put you at least in the middle of your class, you are more likely to graduate with a degree. Where is this most relevant? In the more demanding STEM curricula, if you get in because your parents are rich, or alumni, watch out. And, sadly, if you are the beneficiary of affirmative action. Practical note: Collegesimply.com is a useful site to see how you fit in.


And a reminder: apprentice programs are a good way to get a job, and job offers.
Some articles I enjoy because they express so perfectly what I'm thinking. That someone else wrote them is less of a problem than you'd think, given the size of my ego.

Check it out.


One of those brief conversations: A young man accuses me of being a Nazi. I respond, "No I'm not. Nazis are Socialists: they are to my left. I'm on the right side of the spectrum, with the people who like freedom for myself and for others." Dumbfounded.


I can't pretend to be surprised that a few journalists are catching on to the fact that Trump rides on a cresting wave of their reports. Not that I expect anyone to pay attention to this.


Winning. Still Not Tired.


One of the enduring myths: "Democrats, and Liberals generally, CARE about people." This could only be believed by someone who hasn't met any recently. The rest of us note that the circle of caring mainly includes themselves.


Finally, a reason to remember and give thanks if you are in a society shaped by Christianity, rather than Confucianism or Islam: Christians know the value of life, even of life unrelated to theirs.

Play for the kids. Don't worry about them losing attention. Then ask them what they remember. Then play it again.

Simple job. Helpful to counteract the deliberate failure to teach in so many schools.
23rd-Jan-2018 07:26 pm - Popularity
This is the wrong place to look for thoughts on popularity: I'm not popular. Only an eighth of the population is less popular, going by the Livejournal rankings, and few of them post often enough to count at all.

Now, on unpopularity: it's not only survivable, but easy on the temperament, since few people will bother to argue with me on anything I post. Being uncontested, I'm unbeaten, if not unbeatable.
Today, science tells us that the essence of nature is passion.

By invocation, we believe. Nothing is impossible.

It can be difficult to know where to begin.

Our conversations with other seekers have led to an ennobling of pseudo-advanced consciousness. Reality has always been aglow with starseeds whose souls are immersed in coherence. Humankind has nothing to lose.

We are at a crossroads of synchronicity and suffering. Who are we? Where on the great story will we be aligned? We are in the midst of a spiritual blossoming of rebirth that will be a gateway to the galaxy itself.

Imagine an invocation of what could be. Parvati will amplify our connection to non-dual aspiration. The future will be an ever-present flowering of fulfillment.

Although you may not realize it, you are angelic.

Dogma is born in the gap where power has been excluded. Only a visitor of the quantum soup may create this reimagining of passion. Without life-force, one cannot believe.

Awareness is a constant. Consciousness consists of atomic ionization of quantum energy. “Quantum” means an unveiling of the eternal. We exist as electromagnetic resonance.

Are you baffled by this? Go here, and re-ionize.
This time, a study from the Wharton School which points out that people who accuse others of being unethical get points from people who see them do this because they assume that the accusation is correct ("no smoke without fire") and that the accuser has a high standard of ethics ("they must know what is ethical to accuse others").

Neither of these assumptions are correct in my experience. The first is notorious among those who have experience in seeing others accused: the facts tend to be exaggerated or falsified in a way ordinarily requiring a journalist. The Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect applies in spades.

The second has a fun example from my experience: the mayor of Las Vegas in 2004 was accused of violating the ethics laws of his office by the state commission in charge of its enforcement. He won the court battle on the subject in 2006, since he had actually read the law applicable, and the accusers had not. Self-righteousness is, as it turns out, not the law.

The new strategy, pointed out by Vox Day, is to urge the adoption of an ethics code sufficiently vague to condemn anything you want to condemn. The result? A number of coders will not contribute to projects with a code of conduct, simply to avoid the people who want one.

Actually resisting the code of conduct has occurred, but it caused a lot of trouble for its valiant proponent from the dust bunny involved, to the point he had to protect his Twitter feed from SJW interference. Replacements designed to avoid the problem, like the "code of merit" or the "no code", have not gained a wide following simply because of the flood of "but can we amend this" responses from non-contributors.
1st-Dec-2017 06:11 pm - New English: The Missing Consonant
I've written before about the changes in the meaning of words from the time I grew up to the present. I'm about to turn 62, and those had the ring of "You Kids Get Off My Lawn!" to a couple of friends.

This one is just puzzlement.

When I was growing up, there was a consonant used to begin certain words by all classes of people: "WHat WHen WHere WHy WHether WHerefore WHet WHip WHey" -- got the pattern? at those WH places, there was a strong breath through narrowed lips, good enough to put out a candle or blow a paper. It showed up on WHy with added emphasis for many people when they didn't understand how they could possibly have deserved the disaster they were facing.

For my daughter, on the other hand, those words have no "H", and no breath. "Wut, Wen, Were, Wy, Wether, Werefore, Wut does Wet mean, Dad? Wip, Wut does Wey mean, Dad?"

If it began with WH in the dictionary, it had this sound. But doesn't now, and causes its own occasional confusion as a spelling problem.

Are there any other consonants disappearing that I should have noticed?
“Did you really think we want those laws observed?" said Dr. Ferris. "We want them to be broken. You'd better get it straight that it's not a bunch of boy scouts you're up against... We're after power and we mean it... There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What's there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced or objectively interpreted – and you create a nation of law-breakers – and then you cash in on guilt. Now that's the system, Mr. Reardon, that's the game, and once you understand it, you'll be much easier to deal with.”
For a lawyer in the US, this is surprisingly salient.
"We live in the age of books. They pour out for us from the press in an ever-increasing multitude. And we are always reading manuals, textbooks, articles, books of devotion, books of criticism, books about the Bible, books about the Gospels, all are devoured with avidity. But what amount of time and labor do we give to the consideration of the Gospels themselves? We're constantly tempted to imagine that we get good more quickly by reading some modern statement of truth which we find comparatively easy to appropriate because it is presented to us in a shape, and from a standpoint, with which our education, or it may be partly association, has made us familiar. But the good we acquire readily is that that which enters most deeply into our being and becomes an abiding possession. It would be well if we could realize quite simply that nothing worth the having is to be gained without the winning. The great truths of nature are not offered to us in such a form as to make it easy to grasp them. The treasures of grace must be sought with all the skill and energy which are characteristic of the man who is searching for goodly pearls."

In a nutshell, why I will always prefer the KJV to the modern translations, other than the obvious criticism, which is that modern translators don't have good texts, don't pay attention to cross-references, and apparently don't understand either the original languages or English well enough to do a good job.
20th-Aug-2017 07:34 am - The Automatic Censorship Machine

As noted in this article in PJ Media, Google is teaming up with the ADL and the notoriously vicious Southern Poverty Law Center's hate list to create a new weapon of censorship, based on harassing supporters and advertisers. It's an act of aggression by the goody-goody types to keep everyone else in their lane. The contagion of goody-goody thought is noted here, where assault on people who advocate free speech is the goal.

Deciding to attack based on a list of the unrighteous is, of course, bad theology: we are saved by God individually, not because we are members of a righteous group of some sort. Bad theology of this sort can be found on the right (in various nationalist movements) and on the left (in various identity movements). The sad part of the movements on the left has been how well they train their enemies, as
pointed out by O'Neill:

"You are a white man. Check your privilege. Stay in your lane. You will never understand black people's lives or experiences. You're all about whiteness, that's how you're conditioned." -- SJWs

"I am a white man. What a privilege. I'm going to stay in my lane. I will never understand black people. I'm all about whiteness, it's how I'm conditioned." -- White Nationalists

It's hard to imagine a bigger contrast with Western Culture, and the proud declaration, "I am a man. Nothing human is alien to me." (Homo sum, humani nil a me alienum puto -- Terence), which opens the universe of humanity to exploration and understanding, and opposes the foolish "cultural appropriation" and "identity" movements that fail, again and again, to deal with the world as it is.

Music and literature both exist to explore the universe of human action, how we are who we are. Both are universal (most of the classical music I listen to has brilliant recordings by Japanese musicians -- cultural purists will note that Europe and Japan do not share most of their culture, but it is possible, and when possible, brilliant.) And that universality means that the shocking, and deeply moving, story in Genesis 22 communicates to us directly its puzzles, difficulties, and resolutions. Culture can be a source, but is not a barrier. Languages can be learned, and are not property, either: and sometimes the original language is not the best reflection of the author (Herman Hesse wrote in German, but is brilliant in English: Edgar Allen Poe wrote in English, but is brilliant in French).

The result of censorship is to impoverish this dialogue, and to remove from civilization the most important human civilizing influence: other people hearing, and reacting to what is written. In a famous example, the British National Party, which had echoed the nationalist aspirations of the continental fascists, slowly regained membership after WWII, to the point where the BBC finally had a leader present the position of the party on television (note that this is exactly what the SJWs are afraid of). The result of that speech, where everyone finally heard what they believed from the horse's mouth, was a sudden decrease in party membership, and a response of revulsion and disgust from most of the electorate (the opposite of the SJW prediction). People are fairly good at bringing others back into the dialogue, but only if they are free to talk without goody-goodies stepping into the conversation and insisting on their own moral condemnations.

This new plan is just another attempt by the goody-goodies to take over the dialogue. Confucius pointed out that goody-goodies are the thieves of virtue, "to try to be wholly righteous is to go beyond humanity and to be something that isn't human" in Alan Watts' paraphrase. It is they who need to be brought into the dialogue, too, because their attempt at censorship and condemnation should also be part of the discussion. Remember the BNP.

1st-Jul-2017 07:04 am - Blind Auditions
In symphony orchestras, auditions are conducted behind a sheet, so that the listeners react only to the virtuosity of the player, not their gender or looks. In music, this has led to more women playing.

What a wonderful idea, right?

What happens if we apply it more broadly?

Well, in Australia, which tried this out, it meant that more men were hired than women in Australian Public Service. Which, of course, was tragic, and means that it will be abandoned. We can't let equality upset the quotas for diversity, after all.

You might get more men. And, as a warning, if you don't get the mix you want in the orchestra, that might change back, too.
1st-Jul-2017 05:59 am - Rephrasing.
In my terms, this is a simple question.

So let's rephrase it as an ethics question, to disguise the truth.

Your child has come down with a terrible disease. Your local government has come to the end of its capacity to help your child survive with this disease, but you have come to understand that in another country, a treatment is being developed that might help.

You would like to take the child to that other country. Hope, even a slim one, looks better than despair.

The hospital has become aware of your wishes. They refuse to release the baby to you. They tell you that they want to cut off life support.

You apply to the courts. They also refuse. You appeal. Denied. You are told that you are interfering with your child's right to die with dignity.

They are not interested in doing anything further. The baby's life is to be sacrificed so that they can quit bothering about it. Actually doing something successful would be humiliating for the hospital at this point, and the doctors would feel sad. You wouldn't want doctors to feel sad, would you?

Discuss the parents' options at this point. Those who dismiss this as an "unreal possibility" may read the genesis of this problem here, with more details.

Those who say that moving to another country for surgery is unprecedented. Even dogs have more of a chance.

And those who say, in the face of this, that opposing state-run health care is somehow immoral, I would join with a friend to say that Giving the State the power over medical treatment decisions is not morally superior in any way whatsoever.

As a final, ironic note: the lawyer representing the guardian appointed by the state to supercede the parents' wishes prefers that the baby be put down like a dog. Not that ethical people have a problem with advocating for positions they do not support, right?

And we come to the end of the process: the people in power get their way, and the baby dies. The people in power usually get their way, and, make no mistake, they usually choose the evil choice if they can. After all, if you choose good all time, you're discriminating by definition, and discrimination is bad, right? You wouldn't want to be bad. You want to cooperate with the god of this world. Who could blame you for that?

And for those who think that we have dedicated doctors who ignore the wacked-out opinions of these "medical ethicists" let's just recall how it used to be before this category of professional pest was invented.
29th-Jun-2017 07:42 pm - Ethics, a Plague on Society
Part of a continuing series into the follies that go with people who want "ethical" behavior, but who don't seem very concerned that it be "good".

This time, someone from Bridgeport, Connecticut's Ethics Commission (charged with the kind of oversight and responsibilities sharp-eyed readers of the prior post would have expected) shows the kind of behavior that he asserts should be expected of an Ethics Commissioner.

There may be other opinions. But those are from the pearl-clutchers, who can be expected to be scandalized and to point and shriek.

Just so you're caught up, the article is here.

Ethics commissioner Dr. Noel Kayo has an ethics dilemma of his own after police said they arrested him outside a hotel here for mistaking a local woman for the prostitute he had ordered online.
“I will not resign,” the 39-year-old cardiovascular researcher and member of the Bridgeport Ethics Commission, proclaimed Tuesday after it became public Monday he was charged with patronizing a prostitute.
This has been known, and discussed for some time: see Moldbug's notes on Richard Dawkins, in which he discusses Unitarian Universalism, Dawkins' religious orientation, and its history. The whole series was collected into a Kindle book, but the quotes I'm looking for were summed up in the conclusion here:

Everyone knows that Western thought today, even in its most fashionable incarnations, has Christian roots. But somehow, most of us think it's possible to escape the implications of this connection by simply denying the Christian label, and adopting a metaphysical doctrine - atheism - which is repugnant to the unwashed who have not made this great leap. The result is that we land in "No Logo" nirvana. We are the enlightened ones. Hail us!

Imagine if I tried the same with Nazism. I could march around in a brown leather uniform all day, waving a swastika banner and condemning the filthy Zionist-Bolshevik hordes. When questioned by the usual voices of decency, I could respond that:

I'm not a Nazi. In fact, I oppose Nazism. So I'm not a Nazi.
I'm half-Jewish. The Nazis would never have me. So I'm not a Nazi.
Nazis believe in the leadership of Adolf Hitler. I don't. So I'm not a Nazi.
My inverted swastika is actually a Hindu fertility symbol. So I'm not a Nazi.
Etc, etc, etc.

How much ice do you think this would cut with the diversity committee? But somehow, when the creed is Christianity rather than Nazism, it can be ditched as easily as a Muslim's wife. Just say: "I'm an atheist, I'm an atheist, I'm an atheist." And no one will ever be able to accuse you of being a religious fanatic, at least not without substantial preparatory explanation. What more perfect cover story for an actual religious fanatic?

Another, shorter, version of this discussion comes from a different author, the Zman. Quote here:

One of the themes here is that the American Left is a different thing from the European Left in that it was not born out of the French Revolution. It was born out of the English Civil War and the religious radicalism of the prior century. American Progressives are the spiritual children of the Puritans and Public Protestantism. Their primary motivation is communal salvation. To that end, their focus is on rooting out sin and naming the sinner, rather than the material egalitarianism we associate with the European Left.

American liberals, even though they don’t always articulate it, operate from the assumption that the community is judged as a whole. It is why they obsessively use the word “community” whenever they are talking about public issues. For the Prog, the ideal for man is the community where members are in harmony, living fulfilled lives. It’s why they are endlessly going on about “building communities.” The community has agency and the members work together toward a common goal, that goal being a state of grace.

Once you understand the communal salvation motive, suddenly it becomes apparent why "point and shriek" is the default reaction, and why no apologies are accepted. The first alerts the community, and the second is a confession of fault in this theology. Vox Day has an extensive treatment of how do deal with this in SJWs Always Lie, but the basis of the confusion in bad theology is better laid out by Mencius Moldbug and by the Zman, references above.

I note with some interest that I'm not alone in this: Pax Dickinson echoed this I view leftism as mainline Puritanism, mainline Protestantism. It's a holiness spiral to the point where they start saying they are holier than God, so then they get rid of God. It's still a religion, it just doesn't have God anymore. There is something utterly hilarious about listening to atheists question God's ethics.

The article continues to reverberate through the nets. Strangest thing.
23rd-Jun-2017 07:12 am - Early Endorsements
Professor C. J. Pascoe, of the University of Oregon, endorses Trump for re-election.

Full-throated citation here: Laughter
In the second edition of The Dictionary of Modern English Usage by H. W. Fowler, improved by Ernest Gowers in 1965 we find:

gender, n., is a grammatical term only. To talk of persons or creatures of the masculine or feminine g., meaning of the male or female sex, is either a jocularity (permissible or not according to context) or a blunder.

The Concise Oxford Dictionary of 1911 says:

gender, n. Grammatical classification (or one of the two, or three, classes) of objects roughly corresponding the the two sexes and sexlessness (masculine, feminine, & neuter) (of nouns & pronouns) property of belonging to such class (of adjj.) appropriate form for accompanying a noun of any such class; (joc.) sex.

This was the state of things for most of my life, and the kind of definition offered by the American College Dictionary, Webster's Seventh Collegiate Dictionary, Webster's New World Dictionary, and by the huge 2002 Mirriam-Webster Third New Unabridged Dictionary.

When we get to the 2011 Concise Oxford English Dictionary, something has happened:

gender n. 1. The state of being male or female (chiefly in cultural or social contexts) •the members of one or other sex: differences between the genders. 2. Grammar. a class (usually masculine, feminine, common, or neuter) into which nouns and pronouns are placed in some languages, distinguished by a particular class of inflection. •the property of belonging to such a class.

The revolution continues with a helpful "usage note"

USAGE Although the words gender and sex both have the sense 'the state of being male or female', they are typically used in different ways: sex tends to refer to biological differences, while gender tends to refer to cultural or social ones.

This is followed by helpful definitions of gender bender and gender dysphoria. You can look them up.

The first dictionary heading toward the leap in my collection is the 1992 Third Edition American Heritage Dictionary, followed by the 1993 American Heritage Dictionary: the definition is unchanged, but the usage note brings in the social category explanation, attributing it to anthropologists.

And we are on our way to Facebook, with its dizzying variety of possible "genders" you can opt for. As Jordan Peterson notes, this is an invitation to take something public and create a purely personal description, a surrogate name, your own personal pronoun. In the United States, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has already decreed that employers in the United States must use these pronouns or face sanctions and liability. What's worse is that transsexuals, in my experience, don't want any of these other pronouns: they just want the one belonging to the opposite of their biological sex.

I think it was a mistake. The Woodpile Report, #474, agrees, though I'm sure someone is thinking of trying to sue them. And then there are the people who want to dictate what I am allowed to say, like the EEOC, mentioned above. They're after you, too, ladies and gentlemen, they're after you, too. Fortunately, Altadena is a nice community, and hasn't yet been taken over by the mental midgets.

I see there is more to account for: Social Justice is Language Pollution.

Finally, an appropriate comment from Of Anointed and Laymen:

So an anointed can believe, simultaneously, in an extreme example of doublethink, that evolution must be true, and evangelical Christians are stupid for believing in Creationism (and thus must be accounted as science deniers), while trying to tell us that biological gender doesn’t even exist. The fact that kindergartners can tell the difference, but Yale grads can’t, is telling. So much for the Party of Science, eh?

When a layman tries to point out the obvious logical holes, he is shouted down by accusations of stupidity, and told to go “educate yourself.” The assumption is that the layman can’t understand the subtleties of the argument. For instance, in the gender example, an “educated” man might reply with “well, we are talking about gender as separate from biological sex. Gender is a social construct. Since you don’t know that, you must be dumb.”

Granted, this is what they teach in schools these days. But it’s also a ridiculous argument. A casual observation of animal species in the wild is sufficient to prove the whole thing to be utter rubbish. We don’t have genderqueer dogs, after all. Insofar as gender can be a social construct, it is in direct and conscious contravention to nature.

The argument they make is along similar lines of the feminist view of the patriarchy, as some kind of all-powerful system of privilege holding back (or oppressing) certain classifications of people because of biases, both unconscious and conscious. If the patriarchy is holding you back from being a tri-gender fartkin, then logically it must be that your nature was to be a tri-gender fartkin, you were meant to be one, and the social pressure (gender as a social construct) prevented you from it. But this can’t be true. Tri-gender fartkins observably do not exist in nature. So someone made it up, and then demanded the fantasy be accounted as true, and when resistance to the idea was presented, said the fantasy proves gender is a social construct.

It’s all circular rationalization. It doesn’t actually go anywhere.

The layman doesn’t necessarily go through all of the rationalization hoops to arrive at a similar conclusion, he just looks at the person claiming to be a tri-gender fartkin, and thinks the guy is a loony. That’s what we used to call “common sense.”
This page was loaded Apr 21st 2018, 12:25 am GMT.