Brett Stevens

Brett Stevens' Blog
Traditional scientific conservative view through forward-looking religion.

Columns | Contact

Hypocrite Nation on Holiday

You might look at the top of this page, where our tagline says "Conservation and Conservatism," and wonder where the conservation went. After all, the entire media has been having a field day with this BP oil spill in the gulf, and you are literally as saturated with pictures of oil-soaked creatures as the creatures are saturated in oil.

In fact, every Tom, Dick and Harriet is trying to show you how Environmentally Conscious(tm) he or she is. There are innumerable stories covering this spill: how BP screwed it up, how they have a record of screwups, how the boycott is affecting BP, how the animals are dying, how one in ten can be saved, how volunteers are misplaced, how there's a coverup, how Louisiana shrimping is dead, and how the oil spill affects New Orleans nightlife. Every angle is cover, and dramatically enough to make a movie out of it, too!

And that there is the problem. The problem with the rest of you is that you're acting like this is news. The problem is that you need it made into a movie, and you need some pivotal event, in order to take note.

For me, this spill happened long ago. In fact, I assume one is going on at roughly the pace that they happen, one every couple of years. Not all are this big, but then again, ten little spills are as destructive as a big one in that they afflict more terrain. For me, this spill is to be expected, because it's the cost of being oil-dependent in a time when we, as a species are barely competent, and our method of governing ourselves is so juvenile that not only is corruption and corner-cutting rife, but our only solution to it is regulation by bureaucrats of below average intelligence.

Have you ever seen regulation in action? Probably not: if you're reading this, your job is located far from such rough 'n' tumble blue collar places. Regulators are people who couldn't make it through regular college. They're usually community college graduates, and lifers with government, who've "risen" to the position of being head paper-checker. They don't get paid all that much, although they are very handsomely paid for what they do. Their personal lives are usually disasters. Sometimes, their best chance for socialization comes through the people they are supposed to be regulating.

Are you getting the picture yet? Regulation isn't a solution. It may be part of a solution, but it isn't The solution. Yet we as a nation have handed off our future to bureaucrats time and again, preferring to believe that regulation is yet another magic modern bullet. Put penicillin on it! Get democracy in there and everything will turn out OK! The free market will solve it! Any time there is a tragedy, we demand more laws, which basically hire more regulators who are even less efficient than the previous regulators.

This oil spill was inevitable from day one. You set up a market that rewards the cheapest and fastest, then you conveniently sell all of these idiots on an unsustainable lifestyle, and you have the perfect setting for corruption and corner-cutting. Then you appoint people too incompetent to get hired outside of government to oversee this -- these are the same low self-esteem, high anger, high failure cases who make the most abusive cops -- and you are surprised when they fail it?

In fact, the big story about the BP spill is the story that will not get told: our entire approach to how we harvest and use oil is broken, and because it is broken, it's amazing spills like this don't happen more often. In fact, my feeling is that the only reason they don't is the high number of people who work in the oil fields who like nature. They probably at some personal risk intervene and try to avoid the worst potential accidents.

Look at your news media. For them, this is a giant holiday. What sells newspapers? Uplifting stories, tragedies, fears, or collective hate/cry-ins like this spill. No one except a sociopath doesn't feel upset for the oil-covered birds. So it sells newspapers. We all get sad together, then get outraged and demand things from our legislators, then talk about how oil spills make us "feel."

And then what?

And then back to business as usual. It ws a holiday for us. We got to feel bad about something, and then we let it drop out of our collective nitwit mind. Somewhere, there are well-meaning and celibate college students and volunteers trying to fix this for us. Onward to the next thing. Anything to distract ourselves from the big story, which is that we can't govern ourselves, and the biggest human failings aren't government or corporations, but the masses of asses who complacently live unsustainable lives, breed like crazy, and then demand more, more, more and if we have to overlook some incompetence that will inevitably lead to oil spills, so be it!

We're all beholden to them. They're the ones buying the newspapers. They're the ones casting the votes. They're the ones who will get outraged and revolt if they can't fill up the $50,000 full-size pickup trucks they bought on a $30,000/year salary. They might go on the television, express outrage, and cause a wave out of outrage to rise up among the other proles, which could cause lost elections. Possibly worse, it could inconvenience us all.

The real demon of the BP spill is not BP, this spill, or oil. It's that we've structured a society based on the wants of the individual, and what the individual wants to do is (a) ignore problems (b) cry/rage over distant problems and (c) buy things to make themselves comfortable and ignore the consequences. This applies to rich as well as poor nations, but not equally to all people. Some come pre-configured to make sense of this all, and the rest of the masses really hate them. In fact, our entire political system is designed so that what is in unpopular can be denied, voted out of existence, ignored and considered taboo or illegal.

As with all things human, we like to pretend that a single external actor did this. BP rose from hell, and with a Hitlerian will of pure evil, smote the gulf into ruin. The fact is that it's the incompetence of individuals and their desire for oblivion that creates "evil" not through action, but inaction. Sins of omission. And on some level we know this, and that's why we're ignoring the big story in order to make a holiday over weeping for the ten thousand non-stories that sell newspapers.

Have a Green Tea Party

The Tea Party is a chance for conservatism to return to its roots: preservationism. If we want to end the nightmare of modern government and protect our environment, this is the correct guiding principle for our future, and only the right wing can deliver it.

The Tea Parties in America and Europe present the most baffling political landscape ever. Ostensibly united around reducing government and preserving freedom, these movements seem to have another agenda. This agenda doesn't fit into sound bites and cannot be easily explained. But in a nutshell, it's that they are preservationist movements. They want to preserve indigenous European culture and European-American culture through the middle classes.

Those of us who are "crunchy" conservatives, or granola-eating tree-hugging conservatives, will have two responses to the Tea Parties. We like them; we think they don't go far enough. We should use this outrage and confusion as a chance to gain clarity and instead return to the root of conservatism, which is preservation of our culture, heritage, values and natural environment.

Conservation has always been a conservative value. We are, after all, the people who value getting the heck away from these big cities and walking in the woods where no one is going to tell us what we can't do -- or try to save us from the bears, snakes and our own errors. There are no warning signs or Nanny States in the woods. If you pick up that coral snake and scare it, your bones warn others.

The conservative origins of conservation are twofold. First, conservatism is preservationist by nature. Second, we are the side of the political spectrum that's willing to tell people there's a hard standard for behavior, and we'll hold them to it. Conservatives are the only people who can stop the growing environmental crisis, and it ain't gonna be by forcing you to buy mercury-laden CFL light bulbs or jailing you for driving a Hummer.

With the rise of the Tea Parties, we can see a sense that government has wandered off course and is now acting in its own interests. It's trying to replace the middle class with imported voters, welfare dependents, government bureaucrats and others who do not share our values. We've seen they're trying to destroy us so they can remain in power. In the process, they'll also continue bungling environmental policy.

Those who oppose us want to bury you in reams of laws and regulations. Our solution is simple: remove the overactive government, make clear and simple rules, and set aside as much land as we can. Stop swelling our population with welfare dependents, illegal immigrants and people so useless that only government will hire them. Let nature take her course and keep the productive, hard-work, constructive and intelligent on top.

Of course, this is totally taboo. The people who hate the Tea Party don't want us to have any hard standards. They want "anything goes," except if you buy incandescent light bulbs or forget to recycle your nose hairs. They want everyone to share in the wealth just for showing up, and to let in everyone. What kind of effect do you think that will have on the environment?

As our mainstream media winds up to whip us into a fury of hatred at the Tea Parties, think about the practical side of this political development. It's a wide open chance for us to demand our society reverse its direction, and to start off on the right foot with a practical approach to our problems. Make your Tea Party a Green Tea Party by forcing a return to preservationism.

Greenism contra democracy

Democracy is based on the idea of the individual doing whatever they want. So what do we do when what we need to do is unpopular, and so we can't get our society to uniformly adopt it because few want to do it?

In a time when most people are looking in the wrong direction, momentous events can pass without many noticing. In particular, if we're used to outrageous public statements as publicity stunts, we assume any statement outside the safe is just another stunt.

James Lovelock, who knows a good many things, made such a momentous statement this week. He said:

"Even the best democracies agree that when a major war approaches, democracy must be put on hold for the time being. I have a feeling that climate change may be an issue as severe as a war. It may be necessary to put democracy on hold for a while." - The Guardian

His point is that democracies are not going to respond well to disasters because the nature of democracies is empowering the individual to do whatever they want to do. And who wants to sacrifice their own comfort or possibly reproduction in order to do what's right for the distant future? No one believes the great environmentocalypse is going to occur during their lifetime.

It's like telling a class of sixth-graders that they can spend class however they really wish to, and there are no consequences, but they really should do their homework. Two goody-two-shoes kids do the homework, and then everybody else gets busy with the goofing off. If that class is a group project, everyone fails.

This makes a reversal for environmentalists. People have been telling us for over a century that, eventually, our reckless breeding, use of land and industrial pollution will wreck something. They've even told us that it's wrecking our souls. Literature is full of such stuff, and if they find a way to make a video game out of it, the average voter might consider it.

Environmentalists recognized that this message went unheeded, so they followed the path of all things in a democracy or other individual/consumer-oriented society: they tried to make it appealing and at the same time threatening so people would pay attention.

First, they bundled environmentalism with off-the-shelf leftism, including the usual commitments to peace, diversity, the disadvantaged and so on. Then, they found a symbol for the sum total of our environmental damage and super-simplified that, coming up with global warming.

Of course, that bit them in the ass because when you offer a symbol as reality and your opposition -- both the "screw the left" right and the "don't make me get up off this couch" average voter -- has the wherewithal to research it and debunk you or even hack your emails, you'll lose. And they did.

So if you can imagine environmentalism like a great big board meeting, with a few known experts at one end of the room, the word went back up the table: that didn't work. What next?

They realized at that point that their sexing up of their message had assimilated the message. Global warming failed as a meme because it was paired with typical leftist issues that end up penalizing the people most likely to care about the environment, namely Western middle-class moderates.

Instead of the save-the-poor clause bringing more people into the debate, it took over the debate, and alienated plenty of people from the global warming jihad.

Now they're trying another tactic. While the little people are freaking out about local transgressions against the environmental spirit, those who know the problem well are worried about pollution and overpopulation.

Pollution comes from people demanding products they don't need, and the poor do it as much as the rich; overpopulation comes from people, most notably the poor, breeding whenever is convenient at higher than replacement levels.

You cannot fix these things without telling someone no. No you cannot have that SUV; no, you cannot have more than two (or one) children. No, you cannot have fast food in your nation. No, we won't help you get public transport or industry. No to all new growth; no to all new humans; no to all new things that will help make more humans, or end disease or war so humans can grow.

You have to say no. And democracies, being based in the idea of individual equality, can't say no. Who decides? the voices cry. Someone will be left out! Someone will be the winner, and someone the loser, and the whole point of equality is not to have winners and losers.

As the environmentalists mull over this dilemma, they're back in 1930 when they first started trying to get governments to limit population growth and the export of technology that would help the rest of the world reach first-world lifestyles. Are you sure this is a good idea? they said. I don't know, the answer came back, but these people want to buy this stuff and I want to put my kids through college and maybe get an SUV.

Here at CORRUPT, we've never candy-coated reality. Democracy only works when all the participants are actually roughly equal, meaning equal in ability and discernment and depth of vision. Although we hide it well in democracies, we have our absolutes and our taboos, and we punish people just as much as any totalitarian regime. But we can't admit that, because we have to keep the illusion alive -- because it's popular, you know.

However, as multiple problems -- pollution, overpopulation, warfare, unstable Ponzi economies -- converge on us brave modern humans, we're going to have to make a choice. Do we stick to what's popular, or try to face the unpopular truth?

If we want to hide in a human world where we replace reality with the judgments of others, clearly we go with the former. But as James Lovelock points out, if we want to actually fix our biggest problems, we're going to have to think outside of that box.

The first victims of ecocide: fish

The first victims of imminent ecocide will be our fish. This will have consequences that rock the human world. However, the solution is both harder than we think -- and much, much easier.

Postmodernists like to blame our use of language for our limited truth capacity. Their reasoning goes that if we use "x=y" sentential, linear logic we are doomed to see false truths.

As someone with experience in the area of communicating complex ideas, I think the postmodern analysis of truth is only partially true. Our sentential logic means we can only express one detail or idea at a time. But what limits our truth capacity is something different.

Despite much media hype over global warming, the population is backing down from supporting it. From their perspective, the issue got hyped to a fever pitch, then got corrupted and used as a justification for other agendas, and finally got debunked when it came out that scientists were faking the data.

In the "out of sight, out of mind" world of modern media, where information overload is so great that a story two weeks ago is 100% forgotten, this means that ecocide has slipped again from the public eye. This is not a repeat from 1974, 1981 or any other time this issue has gained mass momentum.

Yet ecocide, like a slow cancer, keeps coming closer even when we're not watching. As a species, we're like toddlers hiding under a blanket thinking that if we can't see the parent, maybe they can't see us. The truth is that much like mortality is always there, our errors and their ongoing consequences are there even when we're not looking. A tree falling in a forest DOES make a sound, after all.

The first tier of ecocide is going to hit us in an ugly place. There are some food supplies we take for granted, because nature provides them and we just take them. The one we rely on most but think about the least is our fish supply.

Worldwide, we eat 14kg of fish per person per year. Although we use fish farms to produce much of our intake, they are expensive and so limited to the first world, and also environmentally destructive because we must feed farmed fish some source of cheap protein, usually wild-caught fish. We're talking about a large part of our protein intake as a species, especially in the developing world.

But as the data points out, our fish supplies worldwide are declining possibly to as low as 10% of their strength at the beginning of the last century. Even more, the fish that are left may be poisoned with heavy metals, which cause cancers, mutations and sterility.

We're of course freaked out by this because there seem to be no solutions. So, we say a sad platitude and move on. After all, how are we going to stop people from eating fish? Outright commercial fishing regulation as Obama proposes will only stop one country from fishing, and others will continue the mania.

Populations disappear -- ecocided -- when they are unable to successfully breed. This means that below a certain number, the species is unable to breed healthy individuals and some epidemic wipes it out. We won't get a warning call from God (or for you secular humanists, Government) when we're approaching this number. The fish supply will just slow to a trickle, and then we'll notice some species missing.

Slow death is hardest for us to face. We can handle events before they happen, and after they've happened. But what really limits our truth capacity is our perspective as individuals. We are thinking "but what will happen to me?" and if we don't see an immediate threat to us personally, it's out of sight and out of mind. Fixing that is the only first step to a solution.

The new morality

Our 20th century morality is obsolete. We can talk about compassion for other individuals, or grow up and get real, and talk about compassion for the whole of our world, including nature and our own common sense.

No one lacks a morality. Each of us has a moral interpretation and if we mapped them all out, we'd find there's only a handful of structurally different ones, but many nuanced interpretations that add up to those same few ideas.

As the 20th century wore down on us, more of this kind of stuff started appearing:

Imagining what it is like to be someone other than oneself is at the core of our humanity. It is the essence of compassion, and it is the beginning of morality. - Ian McEwan

Descended from Christianity, and convenient for commerce, this is humanism at its core. We must not be selfish as individuals; we must see it from the other guy's view, and as a result acquiesce to his demands.

Never mind that this becomes a race to the lowest common denominator, because whoever comes up with a new demand now wields the power of making others yield to them.

But as the 21st century warms up, we're seeing a new struggle. Actually, it's the old struggle hybridized with the 20th century struggle. Instead of human against human, we're looking at human against nature, with the human against human struggle being necessary to determine that outcome.

  • Environment. Do we keep growing and take up all the space on earth, committing ecocide in the process? Our problems are twofold: third world overpopulation and first world economics, which reward constant growth.
  • Economics. Putting the cart before the horse, we approve of things if they earn money. The problem is that this outlook is addictive. Command economies under socialism do not thrive, but under capitalism, they may thrive too much.
  • Biology. The quality of the average human being is declining. They have lower IQs, less physical health, less moral alertness and tend to be rather short-sighted as a result. Do we become supermen, or recede into being apes again?
  • Unity. Politics, values, religion, and ethnicity divide us, yet they're also what defines us -- and one of the few forces that can resist the "everything goes" mentality of commerce and mob rule. Do we agree to disagree, or agree to separate?

Compassion for other individuals will not solve the problems above. In fact, it's a non-sequitur. We need compassion for the whole. The process of nature, the natural selection we impose upon ourselves, and even compassion for economics and politics so we can understand them and master them.

For too long, intellectuals in the West have declared the world a cinder and backed away from having a practical plan. Instead, they tell us we should have compassion. Unfortunately, that's the most easily-coopted view, and the radical strides of the hippies and progressives are now standard fodder in advertising and big media entertainment.

A new way must be found. Having compassion for individual humans, or humanity itself, is a subset of the actual question, which is how we adapt to life on earth, improve ourselves in morality and abilities, and find a balance with nature so we don't commit ecocide on our way to self-destruction. Compassion that, tweebs.

The right kind of green

For any environmental protection to work, it must be unimpeachably honest, effective, and streamlined into the already-existing activities of human beings. The green industry however is dead-set against this because they thrive by making people feel exceptional.

Politics can kill us through memory. Once an issue is set forth in the press, we start reacting to that issue and we stop thinking about the situation it refers to. In the case of green politics, the politicization of the green idea quickly replaces the concept of protecting our environment.

When we talk about our environment, then, we should cast aside our expectations of left and right and the issues they've raised -- issues that are largely symbolic and don't address the problem itself. Instead, let's just look at the problem: our world has finite capacity and we need to share that with the natural flora, fauna and ecosystems they together create.

It's hard for us to do that in public however because whether socialist or communist, our societies operate by getting lots of people excited about an idea through self-interest. In the case of minority politics, that has conventionally happened by convincing people they are enlightened or should be self-righteous about a certain issue.

And it's hard to argue with that. It brings in the bucks. It gets the issue in the press because there are a lot of people out there who feel better about life if they are the ones to bring it up in conversation, media or at a vote. However, because they are motivated by self-aggrandizement, they ignore any parts of it that will not be popular to a group.

In turn, they also end up creating the curse of the modern time, which is "make-work" activity. These actions occur when you look out there and find a news item or chore to fit a need to be seen doing something, or having something new on your front page. It's the exact opposite of common sense, which is to find an activity that fits the goal.

As a result, we get "green" products that are ineffective but big moneymakers, and even people inventing hype so they can advance their own careers, culminating in blatant corruption as people with something to hide start highly visible public activity to make them seem like "the good guys" instead of the bad. Pretty soon we're all just cheering for our team at the expense of truth, and because our proposals are flawed by dishonesty, are distancing ourselves from any chance of being effective.

But in the short term, that doesn't matter, because most people are involved with these issues for a simple reason: to make themselves look good. Your friends think you're smarter, your consumers think you're safe to buy from, your constituents think you're looking out for them, and your advertisers feel good to be part of a hot new trend. However, the problem of getting things done remains elusive.

Even worse, because the point of the activity is to be seen as addressing the problem, the best "solutions" are those which are highly visible but not effective. Back-breaking labor, throwing out everything you own for paltry substitutes, and creating awkward governmental process to certify some activity as "green" -- these are the modern self-flagellation. Just as you wouldn't argue with a man of God who whips himself twice daily, it's hard to argue with someone buried under paperwork, green products and new expenses.

As we continue our green coverage here on CORRUPT, it's important that we all think about the real bottom line -- not dollars and sense, not whether it's popular, but whether our proposed ideas solve the damn problem. If we want to overcome bipartisan chaos, we need to first and foremost have effective suggestions that fit into modern life as it is, making them easy to adopt and effective once adopted.

The conservationist case against "green" action

Greenism requires we panic for a trend. Conservation requires that we do one thing consistently.

Across the West, people are turning against politics as usual. Over time our politics went from being solution-oriented to being justification-oriented.

Justification politics work backward. Instead of working toward a goal, we set up symbols like freedom, equality and diversity. We then do whatever we want to, and claim that we're working toward those abstract and emotional symbols. The result is corruption, because instead of intending to fix problems, we pick something that looks good and then charge it to the account of freedom, equality and diversity.

Underconfident or corrupt individuals use these symbols as much as government agencies do. If anyone proposes an inconvenient idea, they claim it violates one of those sacred goals. It's like an insane cult religion or the kind of dogma we saw in the Soviet Union. We must uphold the dogma, but it doesn't work, and the only solution we accept is to keep trying these failed solutions.

Unlike truly goal-oriented politics, symbolic goals are never reached. This makes us to deconstruct politics into issues, which we can fight over instead of fixing the problem of which the issue is the symptom. However, issues make work for politicians, bureaucrats, media workers and others who benefit from controversy -- and like corrupt doctors, they get paid to operate, not to make people well.

"Green" politics are part of our justification frenzy. Our environmental ideals become justifications for the usual goals -- freedom, equality and diversity. This means that green politics target the wealthier nations and individuals among us, blame them for our environmental problems, and as a solution suggest we take wealth from the rich and spread it around a bit.

Justification politics always end up at this point -- the ideological wealth redistribution. That is because unlike goal-oriented politics, justification politics work backward. There is no goal. There are only these symbols that conveniently hide our real motivations. As a result, those motivations become selfish. Take from those that did succeed, and give it to the rest of us, so we can be equal.

The end result of green politics is fighting over carbon caps and energy use, which translates into a quest for wealthy nations to destroy their economies while non-industrialized nations will grow. This view of our environmental crisis assumes that the problem is issue-based, and not a consequence of having too many humans. Let's look at the problems we have made for our environment:

  • Pollution. Carbon isn't the only thing we're dumping into our environment. Heavy metals, pharmaceuticals, pesticides, road salt, plastics and airborne toxins are impregnating the parts of the environment that get distributed around the world -- water and air.
  • Nutrient imbalance. While most view this as a type of pollution, and it is, it deserves a separate category because it's too much of a good thing in the wrong place. Our fertilizers and even hot water from industry can cause some species to spike in population, resulting in overgrowth and then kill-offs.
  • Species extinction. First they come for the butterflies, then they come for the amphibians and finally, mammals including ourselves. We've taken over their habitats and changed their sources of fresh water, air and food species. Even worse are those naturally-occurring animals we depend on for food.
  • Habitat loss. As a direct consequence of both excessive human population growth, and our tendency to allow individuals the freedom to settle wherever they want and start businesses of undetermined use and families, we expand like poured cement and take over continents. Whether this is roads that divide habitats and kill animals crossing them, or slash and burn agriculture, or the relentless growth of cities into suburbs as crime consumes their centers, humans take over all available land and this eliminates the space animals need to breed, hunt, and move.

Global warming may be a problem, but like issues politics in general, it's a stand-in for the bigger problem. That problem doesn't boil down to a convenient but corrupt symbol or dubious product you can buy. It's not a trend. It's a reality: we are in command of our environment now. And if we don't limit our population, we will grow like a cancer. Even more, if we don't limit the destructive ideas of individuals -- putting a fast food franchise in a pristine forest for personal profit -- we will consume everything in our path.

The only solution is to reject environmentalism and replace it with conservationism.

Conservation is solution-oriented, not justification-oriented. It is not an issue, but an attribute of everything we do. It's like having roads and putting criminals in jail. It's part of a healthy outlook on life. Unlike issues politics, which sends you running from one panic to the next, conservation is slow and steady. It's always there. We should always do it. We can ramp it up or down, but it never changes.

From a conservative perspective, life is fundamentally good. For this reason, we don't like revolutions and crusades. We like however to conserve -- to save what nature has done that is great from human greed, stupidity, overgrowth and selfishness. Conservative environmentalism is called conservationism, and it is a belief in setting aside land for nature to do its thing.

Ideally, every society would set aside 2/3 of the natural land and not cut it up with fences or roads. Just leave it be. It's like nature's farm, and it produces oxygen, absorbs CO2, and gives plants and animals space not just to exist but to carry out the necessities of life. Among other things, it guarantees animal populations do not fall below safe breeding levels and become horribly inbred.

Environmentalism wants to treat the environment like a budget deficit or war. We get together, come up with some laws to manage it, and hope the problem magically goes away. But since we dominate nature, we need to always be stewards of our environment. This means that we need an unvarying and perpetual solution. Setting aside land for nature and not humans accomplishes this with little displacement of ourselves.

There are bonuses for humans as well. If we cannot recklessly expand, we have to finally fix the problems in our cities like crime and decay. Land gets more valuable so that so-so home you're hanging on to might become your retirement fund. Businesses that cater to thoughtless people will become less valuable, and responsible businesses more valuable. And you'll always have fresh air and water.

Like conservative politics itself, conservationism is just common sense, but cannot exist alone. It is not a revolutionary thought, but an evolutionary one: we constantly do better at what we do without having to micromanage it. If you like me are tired of the manic neurosis of the environmental movement, conservation is an idea you cannot afford to miss.

The tea partiers have it right: government is a parasite

A new revolution is gripping America, and un-doing the revolution of 1968. Instead of radical humanists rebelling against materialists, it's pragmatic people rebelling against a calcified liberal government that has become parasitic and corrupt.

Back in the 1960s, we had a revolution in the West. It was a peaceful one, arising from a groundswell of discontent. Its basic message was that our society had gotten sidetracked by materialism, and forgotten the human.

Now we've got another revolution -- one that says whether we pick humanism or materialism, the dogma replaces the reality, and our society drifts into complacent oblivion. Where in the 1950s a rising corporate culture emphasized a vapid pursuit of material comfort, in the 2000s a rising humanist culture has created a haven for selfishness of another kind.

The modern West has become a willing host to any parasite willing to show up, repeat our official dogma of equality, diversity and freedom, and then take whatever we hand out. In our zeal to escape the stodgy 1950s cash culture, we have created another cash culture -- one that supports people just for being human. In just 42 years we have reversed direction and found ourselves facing the exact same problem.

As a result, our government has become a parasite. In addition to throwing trillions of dollars into welfare programs that do not consider whether the individuals they subsidize are contributing at all to the common good, government itself has grown to an immense size.

Let's look at what government means to the average person:

  • More paperwork than ever before. To get a house built, a business established, or even deal with the death of a family member, we must navigate a vast bureaucracy. Inevitably this means paying experts and lawyers.
  • Government views us as a cash cow. Fees have gone up, and practices like the creation of de facto speed traps have continued to drain citizens, without any regard for whether these people are contributing members of society who need a break, or repeat lawbreakers.
  • In addition to hiring legions of consultants and contractors, most of whom get placed at the front of the line for being minority- or female-owned, government has surged in size and pay for bureaucrats, even as efficiency has declined.
  • The rise in bureaucracy and tendency to hand it over to people without considering their competence has created a culture of corruption that "threatens the fabric of the US", according to the FBI. It even reaches the White House.
  • Government now operates in "moral" humanistic mode, which means that it supports any idea no matter how impractical which endorses our holy trinity of secular humanity -- equality, diversity and freedom -- while ignoring the consequences. As a result, we now have legions of diversity consultants, counselors, educators, presenters and other nonsense "make-work" bureaucrats.
  • Having this many relatively incompetent but highly paid people causes them to seek to justify their position by publicly enforcing laws rabidly, and starting all sorts of new and pointless programs. The origin of the Nanny State is not an Orwellian desire for control by the state, but a desire by incompetent individuals to justify their salaries.

No matter how we cut it, this means government has become a parasite. It takes from the productive, and gives to the unproductive. Even if we object to measuring life through money, we have to recognize that rewarding the good means that they have an incentive to outperform others. It's that incentive that is the foundation of evolution and natural selection as well as any healthy society.

I'll spare you the comparisons to Communism and instead make a comparison to 1776 and 1968. In 1776, bureaucrats from England were taking money from the productive colonies and using it to prop up their failing empire. In 1968, fat dumb guys in suits were in such a mania to profit from the post-war boom that they forgot their souls.

And now in 2010, the same pattern is repeated. We thought humanism was an antidote to soullessness just like we thought revolution was an antidote to bad leadership. Once we slayed the dragon, we thought we could blow off the problem for the interim. But now we see that the dragon regenerates, because wherever we stop paying attention, parasitism grows.

If anything is going to drive the Tea Partiers -- and they now have similar movements in the USA, UK and mainland Europe -- to success, it's going to be that the average functional citizen recognizes that government is sabotaging what he or she is doing. That sabotage then pays for the dysfunctional, who cause more than their share of social problems.

The left has rebelled with their same-old slogans and objections. They are trying to prove that the Tea Party goes against the values of 1968 -- that's the blind equality, diversity and freedom dogma -- so that they can debunk the Tea Party. But the problem is that Tea Partiers are objecting on a pragmatic ground, which is that in the name of fairness and anti-materialism, we have become cancerous and self-consumptive.

When the left was rebelling against a calcified culture of materialism, they at least had some degree of accuracy -- even if their methods were bad. Now that what the left created has become just as calcified, the right has taken over and adopted their methods. In the middle, the citizens who have been ignoring politics in order to have careers and raise families have started to notice, and they're siding with the Tea Partiers.

The psychology of liberalism

Liberalism arises from human self-pity, and causes us to think backward, so that instead of working toward a goal and liking ourselves for the attempt, we consider ourselves superior for reasons unrelated to reality, and this makes us neurotic.

The basic idea behind liberalism is that life is bad. Nature is bad, and life is bad, because they are scary. We the individuals could die at any minute. Even worse, we could screw up.

If you are hanging with your homeys, and you suddenly say "watch this" and try the coolest stunt ever and screw up, you look like an idiot. One of your homeys is going to make fun of you and he'll then look cooler than you. He will gain social power over you.

That's a big loss. How did you screw it up? The vision in your head of how reality works did not match up to the, ah, reality of the situation. You thought you could vault three speeding cop cars with your crotch on fire, but instead of a graceful result, here you are in the body cast. Idiot. Joe told us you'd screw it up and he was right, so he gets your share of the beer.

Liberalism is a counterattack by human beings against the cruel, cold, evil world. Since we have these big brains, and in them we keep track of the world in our holographic mind-maps, we can choose to edit the map instead of acting on reality. Why strive, when we can just say we did and go home?

The oldest form of this attitude is a kind of social non-aggression pact. It says that we all accept each other and ignore our deficiencies so we can keep the peace. It may be essential in really bad situations to have this type of social order; if all of your friends are morons, and you are one too, it's best not to compete for least moron status. You'll all end up in body casts.

Liberalism takes this attitude to a new level. Instead of waiting for results, we assume that results prove we as individuals are good, and then whatever happens becomes officially Not Our Fault. You tried to vault a cop car on a motorbike and ended up in a coma? Probably a faulty bike wheel made by a large corporation with ties to Israel or worse, the Church.

Most of our human activity consists in establishing this Not Our Fault level. We do this by not talking about results, but how nice, moral and friendly we are. This leads us to idolize pacifism over all else, and culturally agree to like nerdy, insecure people who make us feel happy because they're harmless.

This creates a large mob of people committed to denying reality and being useless because they pity themselves. They feel horrible about how evil life is, and how cute little bunnies get ripped apart by fast mean eagles. They start to idolize being useless and nice, instead of possibly mean -- but also smart. Because their thinking is already inverted, they quickly turn this into hating the smart because they could be evil.

When this hits a culture, it invents for itself a further justification -- it's progress, liberal thinking, big-mindedness, open-mindedness, whatever. That's all just advertising and is as sincere as the words of a prostitute or used-car salesperson. People of this mentality like to sabotage any order, authority or consensus as to what reality is, because that way they can hide behind the chaos. Anarchy, libertarianism, atheism, weird sex, postmodernism... these are all justifications, not positive and constructive reasons for living.

Check out the latest self-congratulatory stroking:

Generations, like people, have personalities, and Millennials -- the American teens and twenty-somethings who are making the passage into adulthood at the start of a new millennium -- have begun to forge theirs: confident, self-expressive, liberal, upbeat and open to change.

They are more ethnically and racially diverse than older adults. They're less religious, less likely to have served in the military, and are on track to become the most educated generation in American history.

Nearly four-in-ten have a tattoo (and for most who do, one is not enough: about half of those with tattoos have two to five and 18% have six or more).

But at the moment, fully 37% of 18- to 29-year-olds are unemployed or out of the workforce, the highest share among this age group in more than three decades. Research shows that young people who graduate from college in a bad economy typically suffer long-term consequences -- with effects on their careers and earnings that linger as long as 15 years. - Pew Social Trends

What a positive article! "Millennials: Confident. Connected. Open to Change."

But when read beneath the skin, you see that all of these traits are social traits. These have zero relevance to whether these people are, say, effective or intelligent. They like to think they're intelligent, but they use symbols of intelligence -- liberalism, open to change,diversity -- instead of actual intelligence. Does anyone else think this sounds like a marketing scam?

Buy the new Zipradical 3000 lawn mower! It's open to change, well-educated, under-employed and positive. Who knows if it cuts your grass? Your neighbors will think you're cool. Buy today!

If you were wondering how this backward logic -- using the symbol of being intelligent instead of being intelligent -- comes to play, check out this amusing anecdote from more trend-watchers. First, there's the positive spin:

Evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa at the the London School of Economics and Political Science correlated data on these behaviors with IQ from a large national U.S. sample and found that, on average, people who identified as liberal and atheist had higher IQs. This applied also to sexual exclusivity in men, but not in women. - CNN

These people are forward moving, man. They pitched out God, are good pious liberals and are more intelligent -- so says the sample group anyway -- and even more, they're unique precious snowflakes because, as the article windily elaborates, "sexual exclusivity in men, liberalism and atheism all go against what would be expected given humans' evolutionary past." Whoah, dude, they've transcended evolution itself!

But later on you get the skinny:

Bailey also said that these preferences may stem from a desire to show superiority or elitism, which also has to do with IQ. In fact, aligning oneself with "unconventional" philosophies such as liberalism or atheism may be "ways to communicate to everyone that you're pretty smart," he said.

In other words, if you want to look smart act like smart people you see on television. The article doesn't tell us where these IQ ranges fall, so it may be they're looking at a bunch of 118s who graduated community college, got themselves Volkswagens and now are busy telling the rest of us how dumb we are. No word on what the 130+ folks who can read and understand Schopenhauer are thinking.

As part of this whacked-out backward logic, it's important to always champion the underdog. The underdog after all has suffered, and so knows things those of us in comfy homes with stable lives cannot. We didn't die on the cross -- they did. But all of that is the tail end of the backward thinking, with the real goal being this: if we accept the most screwed up people on earth, and with pity make them equal to us, then no matter how screwed-up we are, we should accept and like ourselves.

There are plenty more ideas to be discovered in the squatter cities of the developing world, the conurbations made up of people who do not legally occupy the land they live on—more commonly known as slums. One billion people live in these cities and, according to the UN, this number will double in the next 25 years. There are thousands of them and their mainly young populations test out new ideas unfettered by law or tradition. Alleyways in squatter cities, for example, are a dense interplay of retail and services—one-chair barbershops and three-seat bars interspersed with the clothes racks and fruit tables. One proposal is to use these as a model for shopping areas. “Allow the informal sector to take over downtown areas after 6pm,” suggests Jaime Lerner, the former mayor of Curitiba, Brazil. “That will inject life into the city.” - Prospect Magazine

Chant it with me now: who's going to save us? The slums are going to save us! The sharecroppers will save us! The dropouts, the addicts and the insane! Let's accept everyone, so we can accept ourselves.

This is the psychology of liberalism, leftism, progressivism -- whatever you call it, the origin is crowdism, or the will of the mob to have it be Not Our Fault. Instead of simply fixing themselves, they're seeking external scapegoats and self-esteem builders. The scapegoats are the powerful (God, Kings, corporations, Nature) and the self-esteem builders consist of lifting up the underdogs, praising the neurotic, and of course liking themselves. Backward thinking means you start by liking yourself; you don't like yourself because of anything you've done, learned, conquered or achieved. It's the loser table at high school appointing themselves Fuehrer.

It takes a long time for the nerdy self-conscious low-self-esteem dropouts of the world to unite and overthrow their betters, but they've had many centuries to do so, and they finally started to really pick up steam around 1945 or so. Ever since then, being strong and doing what's right has had that nasty sting of "well, you could be the new Hitlerstalin" to it, and so smart people have backed off from changing anything beyond their own matching paint tones at home. The result has been a chaotic society spiraling out of control, and the only real winners are the profiteers who pander to parasites and idiots with moronic products like hip-hop, Snuggies, Big Macs, glow-in-the-dark dildos and movies like Goonies or Save the Last Dance where a band of misfits comes together to take down the successful, attractive and intelligent ruling caste.

And what's the end result of all this liberalism? Well, since people are irresponsible scapegoaters who are obsessed with finding "uplifting" reasons to like themselves, the ship of state has veered out of control and tried to promise everything to everybody, with a net result being that we've squandered our wealth and replaced it with a giant angry mob of incompetents.

The 20th century Bismarckian welfare state has run out of people to stick it to. In America, the feckless insatiable boobs in Washington, Sacramento, Albany and elsewhere are screwing over our kids and grandkids. In Europe, they've reached the next stage in social democratic evolution: There are no kids or grandkids to screw over. The United States has a fertility rate of around 2.1 – or just over two kids per couple. Greece has a fertility rate of about 1.3: 10 grandparents have six kids have four grandkids – i.e., the family tree is upside down. Demographers call 1.3 "lowest-low" fertility – the point from which no society has ever recovered. And, compared with Spain and Italy, Greece has the least-worst fertility rate in Mediterranean Europe.

So you can't borrow against the future because, in the most basic sense, you don't have one. Greeks in the public sector retire at 58, which sounds great. But, when 10 grandparents have four grandchildren, who pays for you to spend the last third of your adult life loafing around?

By the way, you don't have to go to Greece to experience Greek-style retirement: The Athenian "public service" of California has been metaphorically face down in the ouzo for a generation. Still, America as a whole is not yet Greece. - Orange Country Register

I don't want to boil it all down to money, but money reflects the degree of organization in our society. A sensible society thinks forward: it looks at reality, tries to understand it, and then sets reasonable goals and charges forward to accomplish them. A sick society thinks backward: it congratulates itself on being brilliant, and finds a reason why it is owed money by government or some other large scapegoat. The healthy society thrives and gets more organized; the sick society lapses into greater degrees of disorganization until its population breeds itself back into gibbons and flings poo at the camera.

At this point, I wonder if what I'm expressing is actually an opinion. It's a prediction and an analysis. I don't even know if I like it. After all, I think I'd like being a liberal more -- but it's hard to turn my mind off to the consequences of my actions. Because, if you can get over the fact that life ain't fair and we all suffer, you can see this world as a mostly blank canvas in which great things can be constructed. But the liberal psychology turns its back on that, and from fear of it, hopes to destroy it.

Looking for a new paradigm

Modern society searches for a new paradigm that is both ideologically forward-looking, and pragmatic. China may get there first.

When all your efforts fail, stop and think. You probably have gotten hold of a bad assumption and it's sabotaging you each time you try to act. Because the assumption is part of your personality, it influences everything you do and so it all fails.

If you've ever searched the house for your glasses only to find them on your head, or gone looking for your keys only to find them in your pocket or hand, you know how frustrating it is to carry the cause of your failure with you.

When we talk about civilization change, we're talking about changing such an assumption -- and in doing so, changing society at its most fundamental pivot point. If we're insisting up is down, to insist up is up becomes a radical act, and one that most people will violently oppose.

Then twenty years later, it becomes the norm, and we wonder how people could have been "so ignorant" as to oppose it.

Since the 1500s, when our liberal revolution started, the world has been moving on two fronts. The first is technology, which would have expanded with time anyway; the second is toward a liberal democratic view of the universe, which we recognize as modern liberalism.

We can envision liberalism as a fundamental assumption underlying modern civilization. Here's a good summary from John Kekes:

The view of human nature at the core of the liberal faith is thus that human beings are by their nature free, equal, rational, and morally good.

The assumption of liberalism is that we needed a justification for throwing out the kings and idea of God, so we created a new notion: equality. In it we're all the same, or at least should be, so we'll act that way. In order to assume equality, we have to assume that we're all good, intelligent, and capable of making the right decision if only we're given the right opportunities, education, and information.

We've been working on this assumption since the pompously titled "The Enlightenment," which was essentially a scam. People wanted to get rid of kings and the assumption that there was a divine right, or even single right way, to do anything -- even if it was based on reality and the gods were a symbol for how reality worked, much like science is a symbolic representation of reality.

All of our bloviation about "equality" and "morality" is not the reason for our actions, but the justification for them. Kind of like when you accidentally buy an extra quart of ice cream, and then guiltily shrug it off with "well, we'll use it anyway eventually" even though you're planning to take it off to the TV room and eat the whole thing.

China, as the nation that has accelerated the fastest into modern times, coming about 500 years in the sixty-year postwar period, is starting to re-think its fundamental assumption that guides its civilization. Instead of picking ideologies that react to material or demographic changes, it is picking a positive ideal -- the opposite of a reaction, this is a goal toward which society shapes itself, instead of the other way around:

Communism has lost the capacity to inspire the Chinese, and there is growing recognition that its replacement needs to be grounded at least partly in China’s own traditions. As the dominant political tradition in China, Confucianism is the obvious alternative.

The party has yet to relabel itself the Chinese Confucian Party, but it has moved closer to an official embrace of Confucianism. The 2008 Olympics highlighted Confucian themes, quoting “The Analects” of Confucius at the opening ceremonies, and playing down any references to China’s experiment with communism. - Christian Science Monitor

This type of ideological mutation is going to be mated to another change which is both ideological and practical -- namely, the change from doing things electively "because they're right" to doing things practically "because they work." Liberal logic works backward: we act as we want to as individuals, then find a justification through a universal, abstract and absolute good like equality, altruism, justice, etc.

Conservative logic works differently. We study the world, find what is possible, and then work toward it. Instead of using backward logic where we justify ex post facto our actions, we set a goal and strive toward it, recognizing that a pure result -- an emotionally and personally satisfying one -- is unlikely. But we do what is right nonetheless.

With China's actions, we see a shift away from justifications like economics and demographics, and a shift toward positive preferences, which create a goal toward which we strive. In the USA, we can see the other half of this equation in the shift toward the pragmatic from the emotional. This is the precursor to a massive shift from liberal logic to conservative logic, as you can see in the strong words of Detroit's new Mayor:

In his strongest statements about shrinking the city since taking office, Bing told WJR-760 AM the city is using internal and external data to decide "winners and losers." The city plans to save some neighborhoods and encourage residents to move from others, he said.

"If we don't do it, you know this whole city is going to go down. I'm hopeful people will understand that," Bing said. "If we can incentivize some of those folks that are in those desolate areas, they can get a better situation." - Detroit News

In turn, this makes us re-consider evidence that happy people make exploratory decisions, and sad people make painful but repetitive decisions. This part of human nature means that 99% of the people active at any given time are repeating a failed idea, as if waiting for a tiny awakened minority to start exploring a better path. Not necessarily a new path; just a less obsolete one.

Reading that knowledge into history, we can see that our worldwide flirtation with liberalism has continued because we are miserable, and so keep repeating the sad logic of the last 500 years while not re-checking our assumptions. As multiple problems with our environment and social instability cannot be checked any longer, look for a sea change away from the liberal ideal toward a pragmatic, conservative one.

Corruption's many faces

We know corruption to mean when elected leaders take bribes to use their power for the briber. We fear corruption because it means instead of doing their jobs, they are using their jobs and their power as a means to an end, which is personal profit.

And the collateral damage is staggering. A politician votes for a new law to protect powerful friends, and they get the equivalent a big power boost -- they're untouchable. A cop takes a bribe to let a drunk driver go home, and that drunk driver then plows through a bus of orphans. A teacher fakes a grade for a new laptop, putting a dumb student ahead of a smart one. The root of injustice is corruption, because we all basically agree on what justice is.

There's another form of corruption, and this occurs at a more basic level. If instead of using ourselves to perceive reality, we change reality to make ourselves look good, this is a kind of corruption. Denying reality and logic is a corrupt practice. When we fake reality to make ourselves appear good, we cause two problems: (a) we get ahead of someone more competent and (b) we start a practice of denying reality.

This virus of denying reality is what undoes societies. First, it is a gateway to corruption. If appearance matters more than reality, which it does if you can use appearance to get ahead of someone who insists on doing things the right way, people stop doing things the right way -- it's uncompetitive. Second, it makes a society of sick lies and an inability to fix them, because the minute you speak up with the truth, some liar who "appears" to be good will come in and claim you're a Stalin Hitler and have you killed.

For this reason, when societies start to decay, it's like a ball rolling downhill, gathering speed. The end comes without announcement but quicker than anyone thinks it will. Even so, it takes centuries or millennia for the first lie to bring about the last lie.

There are people around us who want to get ahead, and don't really care whether their means are honest or not. The active ones are criminals; the passive ones are parasites. The most passive form of parasites are people trying to get ahead of you on the basis of appearance. They invent a fantasy world that's equal parts advertising, politeness, moral judgment and wishful thinking. They tell you this fantasy world is real because you cannot "prove" reality but we can prove that most people would rather interact with this simpler, easier world.

They come up with helpful ideas like the following:

  • Even though buying green appliances doesn't fix our environmental problem, the idea of limiting the breeding or home purchases of individuals is bad: definitely classist, probably elitist and sexist, possibly racist. So instead we'll focus on the ineffective activity of buying green products.
  • That guy who is trying to rape and kill your sister -- well, you know man, it's most important to be moral. So shout stop, warn him twice, and then subdue him without hurting him. Never mind that you get killed in the process, and your sister anally sodomized and murdered -- you did the right thing. WAT
  • Yep, it's true: the cars they sell are garbage. They're garbage because they can get away with it. For every one guy who both knows mechanics and has enough critical thinking skills to discern an oblivious design from a clueful one, there are over ten thousand people who can't tell the difference, don't care, and are buying the vehicle on layaway so to them it's free money anyway.
  • Time to vote. We're trying to pick a candidate. On side A is a guy with lots of practical experience who promises no sudden change, but is going to be very workmanlike about slowly improving what exists. On side B is some guy who promises a revolution and that everything will be better right now. For every person who understands history and realizes guy B is most likely to be a shyster tyrant, there are ten thousand people who just want everything fixed now and hey this guy says he'll do it ok.

These dilemmas all arise from a corruption of reality in our own minds. There's multiple factors here: we're using reality as a means rather than an end, we're using ourselves as an end rather than a means, we're going inside our minds to describe the outside, and as a result, we're manipulating ourselves and others with tokens, symbols, gestures and illusions.

But all of them add up to ignoring reality as a whole in favor of "the human reality" that people like to believe in because it's easier and simpler than reality itself. We make our human reality from human feelings, from promises made to others, from personalities and morality, cash flow and social status. We like our reality because it allows us to stay in our own heads, and not test ourselves against the world, where we could end up losing!

This corruption of reality is a bigger threat than political corruption. Political corruption subverts government; corruption of reality subverts everything we do, from religion to science to how you and I think about how we're going to plan our day. Ignoring reality and receding into ourselves makes us blind the consequences of our actions, and fills our heads with insane babbling produced by the neurotic social mind.

Right now the FBI says that corruption threatens the fabric of American life. They mean political corruption, and they're correct. However, if they could get away with it, they would point out that the root of all corruption is something so basic we can't see it, any more than we can see our own contact lenses: a corruption of reality within our own minds.

Freedom: root of conservatism? (Part one in a series)

We use the same words to mean different things, which can send us straight to hell. Shout "fire" in a crowded theatre, or change an exit sign to point into a wood-chipper, and you've used words as a weapon. In politics, the biggest words are these:

  • Freedom
  • Justice
  • Liberty
  • Equality

These are magic words because they suggest positive outcomes that the person hearing the word doesn't have to lift a finger to make happen. Here are their equivalents in product advertising:

  • Free
  • Guarantee
  • No obligation
  • New low price

Just buy this and it's all taken care of. Did you have a problem? Our product cures it -- guaranteed! New low price to make everyone happy. There's one for the whole family.

As our mainstream conservatives, or neocons, struggle to find a reason to exist, the Tea Party in USA and New Right in Europe is going to slam them hard. They will claim they offer more freedom, liberty and justice. Then the liberal parties will chime in. Whoah, total surprise! -- they're claiming the same thing.

In the midst of it all, the talking heads on the right are going to talk about how the essence of Conservatism is Freedom. Ron Paul will talk about Freedom. Then someone will pipe up that Marx, Engels, Mao, Clinton, etc. promised freedom too.

And this whole time, no one will have bothered to give a working definition of "freedom"!

One reason for this is that freedom is impossible to define without an object. Freedom from -- mosquitoes? exhaustion? bad smells? jobs? -- well, we don't know. If you're free you just know you are, I guess. Freedom requires an oppressor to be freed from, otherwise you weren't unfree in the first place. Who's trying to stop you from doing what? No one is going to open that can of worms.

Even more, freedom is a vernacular term for feeling like you could do anything. I feel free to do what the heck ever. But because all terms decay to the lowest common denominator through use, the most common meaning of the word freedom is this: no one telling me what to do. Of course, since those telling you what to do could be in some cases right, what we mean when we say "freedom" is "no oversight."

What's your definition of freedom?

The West faces its discontent, but not the source

Our news media barons love bad news with an almost sexual intensity. We can ignore good news, if we want, but bad news shocks the part of us that is still a primitive mammal living among giant dinosaurs. Our inner rodent freaks out, and we just have to read it or watch it. If you're trying to sell newspapers, proof of the apocalypse is your best friend. Even if you die in fire, you'll die in fire with a fat investment portfolio.

Even better than bad news is vague bad news. Like the threat of an ancient deity punishing us for not leaving crossed chicken bones on the graves of our adversaries, vague and chronologically indeterminate bad news captures our consciousness like nothing else. This is why our newspapers drool, giggle and fart whenever stories like this come out:

Nearly three fifths of voters say that they hardly recognise the country they are living in, while 42 per cent say they would emigrate if they could.

It suggests that 70 per cent believe that society is now broken, echoing a Conservative campaign theme of the past two years, while 68 per cent say people who play by the rules get a raw deal and 82 per cent think it is time for a change.

Overall, 64 per cent think that Britain is going in the wrong direction and just 31 per cent believe it is on the right track.

This is a widely used measure of mood in the United States where 57 per cent of people think America is going wrong and 37 per cent believe it is on the right track.

Notice how this article gets your blood boiling. The people in office -- they're screwing it up! We the people noticed the screwup and we want change! Everything's going to hell in a handbasket, which is really convenient for writing it off and heading down to the pub. A divisive and vague article like this cannot fail to force you to take a side and want to cudgel massage the brains of the opposition.

The Americans have their own version of reading the tea leaves, which involves getting on the phones at 10 AM on a Tuesday and calling all the drunks, shut-ins, sociopaths, bored divorcees and welfare cheats and asking them what they think of the direction of the nation. Surprisingly, it's still fairly accurate, in the same way crashing your car into the grocery store counts as "driving there." Here's some patriotic paranoia:

Voters are madder than ever at the current policies of the federal government.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that 75% of likely voters now say they are at least somewhat angry at the government’s current policies, up four points from late November and up nine points since September. The overall figures include 45% who are Very Angry, also a nine-point increase since September.

Just 19% now say they’re not very or not at all angry at the government’s policies, down eight points from the previous survey and down 11 from September. That 19% includes only eight percent (8%) who say they’re not angry at all and 11% who are not very angry.

Unless you have three copies of your 21st chromosome, you probably think asking voters if they're Happy, Angry or "Very Angry" is a really dumb way to assess a logical question like political outlook. Even more, you've got to wonder how many of the winos they called thought they were asking how drunk they were instead of a political quantification. Nonetheless, this worsening mood suggests to us that we in the West are self-hating bastards who can't seem to fix any problems, even if we're always claiming victory and going home.

You don't get this kind of negativity without extreme frustration. This frustration comes of recognizing problems we can't solve, at least with the assumptions we use to approach them. Unsolved problems are like tumors and they grow faster the longer we leave them around. This is nature's way of killing off that which is on its way out, and rewarding those who can quickly snap to consciousness and address their problems. In politics, tumors are pairs: issues we can't fix, and the reasons we cannot fix them.

For the category of reasons we cannot fix our problems, there is really only one leader: we threw out God, culture, religion, aristocracy and common sense so that each one of us could be an autonomous king. We hate the thought that someone might know better and tell us what to do. We hate even more that people might be rising above us.

In a crafty revenge, we as a species have created a prison for ourselves: we demand autonomy of the individual, or equality, and an end to hierarchy so we have as few authorities above us as possible. Since most people then pick what is convenient for them, and fight back against what inconveniences them, we have a problem. Any change we want to make is going to inconvenience or otherwise offend someone, and someone might lose, which is a sure sign of fascism.

Our frustration grows because we cannot fix our problems because we've tied one hand behind our backs. We did it with good intentions, so we hope in our stupor that the world will see we're nice guys and try to help us out. But as anyone who has struggled to get a fire going on a cold night camping can tell you, nature doesn't care whether we're nice democratic friendly guys, or vicious bastards. Nature just cares what works. And since we're paying attention to being nice guys and ignoring what works, nature has a world of frustration to serve us.

Tags:

How Do You Pursue A Career Without Going Nuts?

Sent in to one of our staff workers via a MySpace account:

I'm already a junior in college, and I'm starting to fear for my future. I don't want to have a job in corporate America. I took a semester off and did an internship at a financial firm in New York, and though I could tolerate doing it for a few years, there's no way I could work there for the rest of my life.

What do you do for a living? Is your life generally stable? I don't understand how any of the Corrupt people can do it.

I apologize for the short letter; I would write more if it were necessary.

You need a certain amount of money to live a good life; you'll want this to hit about $140,000 or more during your 40s.

There are any number of ways to get this. The two most basic are: work for yourself, or work for someone else. On top of this, you can also augment your income by, for example, owning property or stock.

So back up a minute: you don't have to go back to a financial firm. You also don't need to go back to _that_ financial firm. You have many options.

You should also realize that while it may suck somewhat to be an intern, things get better over time. As you
move up, the job gets less hectic and you have more power. You may end up living closer to the firm and having an easier time of things.

No one is going to tell you that jobs are not tedium; they are. But some tedium is going to occur in life anyway. If a rich relative handed you $20 million to retire on tomorrow, you'd end up inventing something you'd work at just as hard as a job to keep yourself from going insane.

Over time, as your career builds, it gets easier.

My advice is to consider all options and try them out. Did you check out medicine? Real estate? Law? The military? Remember, all you need is to at some point have enough money and a relatively comfortable life --
multiple options exist, and those can be augmented by the methods I describe above.

When I faced this issue for the first time, adults described it in terms of paths because they were trying to describe effects and not causes. Get on this path, and you'll figure it out, and end up having x or y or z. It's not that easy and it's also not that bad.

Find something you're good at, and explore it to see if you can like doing it. It will not be your whole life. It will take up a lot of your time. If finance isn't it, pick something else. Aggressively, violently, obsessively pursue your options until you find one you like.

There's no easy answer for this. I found a career that I like because I can do it well, and have augmented it with other forms of income. This means that I live well but not opulently, but my family and I are not concerned with luxury as much as the services that are necessary in a nation descending into third world status: private health insurance, private schools, life in a gated community, organic food, a rifle and friends/family nearby who are not dragged down into the abyss of stupidity like everyone else.

State your objective clearly, and the career becomes a means to an end, instead of the end in itself. This will relax your approach and make it easier to accept either having to go back to that financial firm, conquer and get powerful, and then enjoy an easier life, or finding another career you can dig.

This like all things in life is a project which requires research and effort to make happen. If you do that, you win. If you blow it off, life kicks you around and you end up a disillusioned underachiever who uses political dissent as an excuse for a disorganized life -- and that's the ground from which all hipsters, liberals, neurotics and dropped out burnouts spring.

Reality is far away

[ These are the big stories the talking heads did not notice: ]

Faith is blossoming, not just in Third World countries with poor levels of education and in Islamic theocracies, but also in industrialized nations. The US magazine American Spectator, writing about the "myth of the secular West," calls it a "complete mystery" that so many scholars and journalists believe the people of the West are, for the most part, adherents to Darwin's theory. Opinion polls have painted an unchanging picture for years -- that religions have managed to fend off all assaults by natural science. Even now.

According to a survey completed by the European Commission in early 2005, 52 percent of the citizens in the European Union believe in God. About one in four Europeans stated that while not believing in a personal God, they did believe in "a sort of spirit or life force," and only 18 percent outed themselves as non-believers. Germany ranked in the middle of countries surveyed, with 47 percent of respondents declaring a belief in God. According to the 2005 study, 25 percent of Germans said they believed in a higher power other than God, while another 25 percent believed in neither.

In an international comparison, these numbers still place Germany and the EU among the world's most secular regions. In the United States, the Gallup Organization regularly polls people on questions of God and science. According to the most recent result only 14 percent believe Homo sapiens arrived in the world as a sole result of evolution. Thirty-six percent believe evolution did take place, but under the guidance of God. The largest group, comprising 44 percent, believes the Almighty himself created man in his current form -- and that this occurred no more than 10,000 years ago.

http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,602644,00.html

[ Science explains linear, unrelated factors; religion explains a holistic view. Since we've ejected philosophy for being too truthful, we must depend on partial truths or lies. ]

A groundbreaking film, Demographic Winter: Decline of the Human Family, reveals in chilling soberness how societies with diminished family influence are now grimly seen as being in social and economic jeopardy. Demographic Winter draws upon experts from all around the world - demographers, economists, sociologists, psychologists, civic and religious leaders, parliamentarians and diplomats. Together, they reveal the dangers facing society and the world’s economies, dangers far more imminent than global warming and at least as severe. It may be too late to avoid some very severe consequences, but with effort we may be able to preclude calamity. Demographic Winter lays out a forthright province of discussion. The warning voices in this film need to be heard before a silent, portentous fall turns into a long, hard winter.

http://bestdocumentaries.blogspot.com/2008/08/demographic-winter-decline...

[ The smart people are being replaced by the disorganized people because the latter, given access to society, continue behaving as they organically have: destructively. ]

After being trained to distinguish between similar black male faces, Caucasian test subjects showed greater racial tolerance on a test designed to to measure unconscious bias.

"It's remarkable that our brain is so flexible that 10 hours of training will affect something that is the product of your whole life experience," said Tarr, who hopes his work will lead to race training for people working in potentially race-sensitive situations, such as police officers, social workers and immigration officials.

http://blog.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/01/racetraining.html

[ We shocked him, then hit him with a hose, and then he repeated our dogma back to us. Training is training and does not reflect reality, but we all want it to so it keeps the peace and we can keep flattering each other that we're each Jesus, giver of things to those who cannot achieve them on their own. ]

Fidel Castro watched the U.S. inauguration on television and said Wednesday that Barack Obama seems "like a man who is absolutely sincere," Argentina's president said after meeting with the ailing Cuban icon.

"Fidel believes in Obama," Cristina Fernandez said.

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2009/01/21/world/AP-LT-Cuba-FidelCastro....

[ Leftists worldwide like seeing the disease spread to the USA. ]

A 73-year-old angler was reeling after a tackle shop refused to sell him a toy catapult - unless he produced ID proving he was over 18.

Great-grandfather John Payne, who suffers arthritis and walks with a limp, was told the £1.50 toy could only be sold to adults with valid identification.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1126592/Shopkeeper-refuses-serve...

[ We try so hard to be fair with our insane rules that we cannot acknowledge reality. ]

Nutrition experts predict that most Americans may be slightly more concerned with the economy than, say, their antioxidant consumption in the months ahead.

If that's the case, the quest for a healthful and cost-conscious diet suggests Americans will be eating more meals cooked at home, upping their produce and whole-grain intake and eschewing sodium. "It's the back-to-basics bailout diet," says Shelley McGuire, professor of nutrition at Washington State University in Pullman.

http://www.latimes.com/features/health/la-he-nutrition19-2009jan19,0,754...

[ Poverty is salvation. When we have the option, we do the stupid. ]

Obama’s team have removed a whole load of pages from whitehouse.gov without bothering to redirect them to newer versions of the pages. This is extremely bad practice, as those pages will just disappear from the search engines entirely, and the new versions will probably never get to the same position that they were under Bush. People with bookmarks or links to those old pages will now just be presented with an error page.

http://www.jamiedigi.com/2009/01/bbc-gets-it-completely-wrong-about-whit...

[ So much for tech-savvy: they're on a mission to erase history. ]

A headteacher has come under fire from parents and pupils after banning two 16-year-olds from school for being 'too blonde'.

The girls are being forced to adhere to the school's strict dress code in order to sit a GCSE exam, but Raegan remains adamant that her hair is a natural shade of blonde.

"We are just trying to be consistent and apply the rules across the board. This code of conduct has been in place for a long time." said the headmaster.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1126582/Schoolgirls-banned-lesso...

[ We must be fair, we must be fair, we must be fair... even if we must burn all reality to do it. ]

"Hitmen cut off commander Martin Castro's head and left it in an ice cooler in front of the local police station," said a statement issued by the state justice authorities.

Six bodies in police uniforms bearing signs of torture and gunshot wounds were found on Monday in a street in the state capital, Chihuahua, officials said.

Mexican police and soldiers are battling a wave of drug-related violence across the country, particularly in northern areas bordering the US, with more than 5,300 people killed last year.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/centralamericaandthecaribbean/...

[ How societies come apart. ]

Reductions in particulate air pollution during the 1980s and 1990s led to an average five-month increase in life expectancy in 51 U.S. metropolitan areas, with some of the initially more polluted cities such as Buffalo, N.Y., and Pittsburgh showing a 10-month increase, researchers said Wednesday.

The reductions in pollution accounted for about 15% of a nearly three-year increase in life expectancy during the two decades, said epidemiologist C. Arden Pope III of Brigham Young University, lead author of the study appearing today in the New England Journal of Medicine.

It is well known that particulate air pollution reduces life expectancy, said environmental epidemiologist Joel Schwartz of the Harvard School of Public Health, who was not involved in the study. But public policy makers "are interested in the question of, 'If I spend the money to reduce pollution, what really happens?' " he said.

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-sci-air22-2009jan22,0,...

[ Now we know in numbers. Cool. I'll invest. ]

One of the researchers, she says, was an epidemiologist who, in the process of trying to quantify his hunch, initiated a study in which social workers and police very, very intensively interviewed and background checked a long string of crib deaths that had been explained away as unexplained random respiratory failure. It turns out that his equation was able to predict, with high (but not absolute) reliability, which infants had actually been the victims of homicide or malign neglect. If the infant was a boy when the mother wanted a girl or vice versa, if the infant was born weighing less than 8 pounds, or if the mother was in any kind of economic or physical danger if this child survived, then the baby was doomed. His final estimate, from that initial study, was that seventy five percent of all SIDS cases are actually homicides. But, he admitted, just acknowledging this possibility puts us in an awful dilemma. To catch the 3 out of 4 women whose babies suddenly die that were actually murderers, we have to treat all SIDS cases as potential homicides, therefore piling yet more heartbreak and tragedy on the 1 out of 4 who just randomly went through the worst tragedy any family can know, the sudden and unexpected death of a beloved child.

http://bradhicks.livejournal.com/328184.html

[ Nature triumphs over nurture. Parents know what they want, and, like mice, they kill the kids who don't fit the model. ]

Local police have found at least 3,000 automobiles -- sedans, SUVs, regulars -- abandoned outside Dubai International Airport in the last four months. Police say most of the vehicles had keys in the ignition, a clear sign they were left behind by owners in a hurry to take flight.

The global economic crisis has brought Dubai's economic progress, mirrored by its soaring towers and luxurious resorts, to a stuttering halt. Several people have been laid off in the past months after the realty boom started unraveling.

Another such victim of the meltdown said he bid goodbye to his car in a small bylane near the airport and hailed a cab. "I was scared because a number of us were doing the same and did not want to be questioned by the police. There was no way I could afford to pay the EMI of 1100 Dhirams for my Ford Focus," he told DNA on condition of anonymity.

http://www.daijiworld.com/news/news_disp.asp?n_id=55704&n_tit=Indians+Fl...

[ Illusions unravel in unsightly ways. ]

The American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota filed suit Wednesday against a publicly funded charter school alleging that it is promoting the Muslim religion and is leasing school space from a religious organization without following state law.

“TIZA has received millions of dollars of taxpayer money to support what is, in essence, a private religious school,” said Charles Samuelson, state ACLU executive director.

The suit also alleges that there are prayers on the walls of the school entry and that teachers have participated in student prayer activities. Samuelson said the school has used its website to seek volunteers to lead prayers, and that it requires students and staff to dress in attire that conform to Islamic religion. He also said the school has issued a handbook instructing staff to not discuss what goes on at the school. “You cannot have a broad secrecy oath” in a school funded with public dollars, Samuelson said.

http://www.startribune.com/local/north/38034459.html?elr=KArksDyycyUtyyc...

[ Wait, I thought they had "freedom" to believe whatever they wanted? Oh wait, they can't do it as a group. That might end our freedom to believe in nothing and be lonely together. ]

Your pet has 72 hours to find a new family from the moment you drop it off. Sometimes a little longer if the shelter isn't full and your dog manages to stay completely healthy. If it sniffles, it dies. Your pet will be confined to a small run/kennel in a room with about 25 other barking or crying animals. It will have to relieve itself where it eats and sleeps. It will be depressed and it will cry constantly for the family that abandoned it. If your pet is lucky, I will have enough volunteers in that day to take him/her for a walk. If I don't, your pet won't get any attention besides having a bowl of food slid under the kennel door and the waste sprayed out of its pen with a high-powered hose. If your dog is big, black or any of the "Bully" breeds (pit bull, rottie, mastiff, etc) it was pretty much dead when you walked it through the front door.

Those dogs just don't get adopted. It doesn't matter how 'sweet' or 'well behaved' they are.

If your dog doesn't get adopted within its 72 hours and the shelter is full, it will be destroyed. If the shelter isn't full and your dog is good enough, and of a desirable enough breed it may get a stay of execution, but not for long . Most dogs get very kennel protective after about a week and are destroyed for showing aggression. Even the sweetest dogs will turn in this environment. If your pet makes it over all of those hurdles chances are it will get kennel cough or an upper respiratory infection and will be destroyed because shelters just don't have the funds to pay for even a $100 treatment.

http://www.craigslist.org/about/best/aus/960931196.html

[ When the only requirement is having $25 to buy a pet, the disaster of humanity's lack of judgment prevails. ]

For this incognito performance, Bell had only one condition for participating. The event had been described to him as a test of whether, in an incongruous context, ordinary people would recognize genius. His condition: "I'm not comfortable if you call this genius." "Genius" is an overused word, he said: It can be applied to some of the composers whose work he plays, but not to him. His skills are largely interpretive, he said, and to imply otherwise would be unseemly and inaccurate.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/04/AR200704...

[ People throw the g-word around too much, but what they don't want to face is that very few are geniuses, while most of us are just highly trained monkeys working in the steps of masters. But that doesn't promote equality, justice, tolerance and the notion that we can be whatever we wish or describe ourselves to be. ]

Sweden, when Andrew Brown arrived there in the 1970s, was as near as any country has ever come to a socialist paradise. Its people were, he found, bonded by a firm sense of civic duty and shared values. Everyone knew what it was acceptable to think. Society, it was agreed, would benefit more from co-operation than from selfishness. Affluence was bad for people. Failure to want social equality was regarded as a handicap to be pitied and, if possible, cured. Armed conflict was seen as wasteful and to be avoided. Sweden had avoided it for 150 years, remaining neutral in the second world war. Drunkenness was an obvious evil, so teetotalism was encouraged. Alcohol could be bought only at government stores, which were ringed with health warnings and made as unalluring as possible. It was assumed that, as time went on, the world would become more peaceful, more egalitarian and more like Sweden. That was what progress meant.

Much later he went back to Sweden and found it had changed beyond recognition. When the Social Democrats lost power their ideals had been speedily abandoned and their welfare system dismantled, to be replaced by a dogmatic distrust of state control. The railways and postal service had been privatised and private schooling encouraged. By the end of the 1990s, Sweden was no longer the safe, prosperous, tolerant country he had known. Violent crime had increased by 40%, rape by 80%. Obesity and drunkenness were common. Heroin smuggling and organised crime had created a new breed of super-rich gangsters. A large immigrant population, with a crime rate at least double that among native Swedes, was fomenting resentment and racial hatred.

http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/books/...

[ Unrealistic people create ideas that sound good but are unrealistic, and then as a result, society decays. Ta-da! This is why you must always be vigilant against people who are unrealistic, even if they have no power yet. ]

Genetic maps: using DNA, we can tell what race and ethnicity you are

Check out the genetic map of East Asia and the genetic map of Europe.

You can see in each of these that the DNA of these populations not only separates them by race, but by ethnicity, including showing clinal overlaps at the geographic edges of these populations.

Most people breed with people like them, and our genetic history bears this out. The next time someone tells you that race or ethnicity is a social construct and not solid biology, point them to this page.

People think they think what the majority thinks

Decades of research show people tend to go along with the majority view, even if that view is objectively incorrect. Now, scientists are supporting those theories with brain images.

A new study in the journal Neuron shows when people hold an opinion differing from others in a group, their brains produce an error signal. A zone of the brain popularly called the "oops area" becomes extra active, while the "reward area" slows down, making us think we are too different.

"We show that a deviation from the group opinion is regarded by the brain as a punishment," said Vasily Klucharev, postdoctoral fellow at the F.C. Donders Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging at Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands and lead author of the study.

http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/01/15/social.conformity.brain/index.html

Yet another reason we're doomed to be sheep: our inner monkey wants to make peace(tm) before it wants to make realistic.

Science reveals that sexual selection is essential

A new study shows prolonging the mating courtship and refusing to sleep with a partner on the first date could be one of the keys to making a successful match.

Researchers used a mathematical model to show that more reliable men were willing to wait longer before having sex for the first time.

By contrast, less suitable men were not as likely to continue dating.

Professor Robert Seymour, from University College London (UCL), who created the model, said: "Longer courtship is a way for the female to acquire information about the male.

"By delaying mating, the female is able to reduce the chance that she will mate with a bad male.

"A male's willingness to court for a long time is a signal that he is likely to be a good male.

"Long courtship is a price paid for increasing the chance that mating, if it occurs, will be a harmonious match which benefits both sexes. This may help to explain the commonly held belief that a woman is best advised not to sleep with a man on a first date."

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/4271944/Women-wh...

Traditional thinking is always correct because unlike modern thinking which is based on human preferences in the short-term, it is based on the long-term observations that have been proven through the centuries.

Related:
http://penetrate.blogspot.com/2008/11/are-you-third-world-or-first-world...

The politics of making the ego look good on the internet

Keith Kahn-Harris really hits the nail on the head:

The democratising possibilities of the internet are in the process of speeding the degeneration of the public sphere into a proliferation of insular nodes, each fighting a war that can never be won. Battles cannot be won on the net nor can they be lost. What remains is a solipsistic politics of ME, ME, ME: my views, my truths, my facts, my pain, my anger. Convincing others and changing the world is forgotten in favour of the perpetuation of one's own perspective.

It would be a mistake to look back at politics before the internet age as a prelapsarian idyll. But new realities create new problems as well as solving old ones. What is needed is a political model that can beging to redress the rise of solipsistic micropolitics; one that emphasises connection, self-critique and cool, considered analysis. What is needed is a different kind of technology that retains the internet's openness to participation but without the tendency to push activists and driven individuals towards self-righteous isolation.

http://www.opendemocracy.net/article/the-politics-of-me-me-me

He ends up calling for new tools, which is where I leave off from his thesis: what we need are not external tools, but internal self-discipline and possibly, a level of edited discourse where only sane comments are allowed.

Introduction to Traditionalist thought: Plato, Schuon, Evola and The Prince of Wales

I am fascinated by cultural revolutions that oppose modern society. The best ones are not in favor of another material revolution, or redistribution of wealth and power, but a re-structuring. It's like re-designing a bad product. By changing the abstract design, you make a product that functions better.

To that end, I've posted An Introduction to Traditionalist Thought which is mostly a reading list but also a quick summary of this re-structuring cultural movement.

Egalitarian education slights gifted students

Gifted students -- they're our best hope for the future, the inventors and leaders and artists -- how does education treat them?

Though not often recognized as "special needs" students, gifted children require just as much attention and educational resources to thrive in school as do other students whose physical, behavioral, emotional or learning needs require special accommodations. So says a Florida State University professor who has studied gifted students for years.

"There is a view occasionally expressed by those outside of the gifted field that we don't need programs devoted specifically to gifted students," Pfeiffer said. "'Oh, they're smart, they'll do fine on their own' is what we often hear. And because of this anti-elitist attitude, it's often difficult to get funding for programs and services that help us to develop some of our brightest, most advanced kids -- America's most valuable resource.

"However, as a generally agreed-upon definition, gifted children are those who are in the upper 3 percent to 5 percent compared to their peers in one or more of the following domains: general intellectual ability, specific academic competence, the visual or performing arts, leadership and creativity."

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090113123714.htm

In a race for "one size fits all" education, we end up norming to the bottom and to the slowest students. We then cut funding for gifted student programs, figuring that if they're so wealthy in brains, well, screw them -- they'll have to make do. The consequence is that their parents yank them out of public education so it can continue circling the drain.

As a general rule, our society is so obsessed with the negative that it focuses on those who have lost out or are failing and ignores its best hopes, which guarantees it a path to failure. An alternate view is that we can shift those for whom education is not an option into vocational training, sparing them four to eight years of wasted time, and upgrade our education so a high school and/or college degree means actual accomplishment.

The middle ages: less backward than we thought

Our self-congratulatory society likes to tell us how before it came about, we were filthy little urchins who lived under turds in a sea of disease, ignorance, and failure.

Peasants (those who worked in manual work) would have had fresh porridge and bread daily - with beer to drink. In addition, each day would have an assortment of dried or cured meats, cheeses, and fruits and vegetables from their area. Poultry, chicken, ducks, pigeons, and geese were not uncommon on the peasants dinner table. Some peasants also liked to keep bees, to provide honey for their tables. Given the choice between McDonalds and Medieval peasant food, I suspect the peasant food would be more nutritious and tasty. The rich of the time had a great choice of meats - such as cattle, and sheep. They would eat more courses for each meal than the poor, and would probably have had a number of spiced dishes - something the poor could not afford.

In the Middle Ages, most towns had bathhouses - in fact, cleanliness and hygiene was very highly regarded - so much so that bathing was incorporated into various ceremonies such as those surrounding knighthood. Some people bathed daily, others less regularly - but most people bathed. Furthermore, they used hot water - they just had to heat it up themselves, unlike us with our modern plumbed hot water. The French put it best in the following Latin statement: Venari, ludere, lavari, bibere; Hoc est vivere! (To hunt, to play, to wash, to drink, - This is to live!)

That this was true has been known to historians for some time, but popular myths live on because people love to feel witty for repeating them. "You don't like modern society? Well, go back to living under a turd near a sea of disease, then!"

The real truth is that we have innovated, through our technology and advanced learning, a superior form of brattiness. No other society in history has had this degree of expectation of entitlement and unwillingness to follow through on any action requiring more than one step, or any steps which do not involve pushing buttons. We've beaten filth, which is good because unlike people in the middle ages, our main role in life seems to be sitting around very cleanly complaining about everything and doing nothing.

Why are our society's elites liberals?

Elites love liberalism because liberalism is the one ideology that won't get you torn apart by a mob. They're trying to keep their jobs, promote their businesses, and not get destroyed by idiots with a grudge.

It's just like in Bolshevik Russia during the revolution, or France during their revolution. Anyone who appeared to side with the ancien regime was a troublemaker, and that gave the crowd license to loot their homes, rape their daughters, etc.

So the elites made a big show of being liberal. It's no different in America today. If you want people to like you, convince them you're with the new and hip, the unique, the people-powered, "The People," the tolerant, the Progressive, the nice-to-everyone, the great granter of gifts to the dispossessed, etc. They don't honestly believe these views. They use their views as a justification for their status and wealth, and in an attempt to make the crowd not tear them apart.

Of course, that will never work -- when a true revolution is in play, order is suspended, and those with the guns take whatever they want. And if you are with the struggle, comrade, you will not mind sharing your house|daughters|wealth for the cause, will you?

I identify myself as a liberal, in that I believe in justice, but I'm also a historical literate, and I view the results of history as scientific knowledge. So I am anti-liberal in that liberal methods will lead to tyranny by failing and creating third-world disorder.

I have lived in third world places and, while their are good people there, the society at large is dysfunctional and it penalizes and isolates smart people. If humanity wants to reach great heights, we need to nurture and support smart people, and beat down idiots and corrupt people. Simple truth, but it requires work, and getting off the couch -- and risking being made a fool in the eyes of others, or failing, or not having the absolute "freedom" to be obligated and beholden to nothing except your whims and your slavelike job -- is the one taboo in this society.

This give us a good view of those of us in any kind of "third way": we're not liberals or conservatives, but tend to be people who from liberal motivations adopt conservative ("proven by history") viewpoints.

We tend to go beyond what even paleoconservatives will do, and look toward types of societies that thrived in the past, and try to hybridize those with our technology.

It's about time to do this. We changed our society so it could create technology; now, we should look over our options, and pick the best way to live so that our society doesn't "wag the dog" and have us serving it.

Increasing conflict worldwide and a neurotic, divided, miserable state within our society shows us that not only would this be a good idea, but it would be fun, and could liberate us from obligation to dead and dying ideas that make no sense whatsoever but are supported because they "look good" to the masses, and we want to sell them stuff, yes we do.

However, the masses are inert, and if given a chance, will destroy society around them and end up living in third-world corruption, dysfunction and squalor all while loudly proclaiming their freedom. They're not the ones to make political decisions because just like brain surgeon is a role requiring a rare personality, so is "leader." Not everyone can do it. Not even by voting.

So as you see the bloviation of wealthy, wasteful Hollywood and East Coast elites, and see them loudly proclaim their Progressive dogma, keep in mind that they're just trying to sell products. If they believed what they said, they'd live in inner city neighborhoods and be activists first and actors/marketers/politicians second.

But they don't, and that's the proof positive that elite liberalism is a marketing ploy and not an honest, well-considered belief. Feel free to laugh at anyone who takes it seriously.

Tags:

We need a parallel society

"Rights" is such an absolute term. It implies that only 1 context exists for all things, and only 1 solution exists, and this same 1 solution should be applied to ∞ contexts.

Crazy talk, my nillas. Crazy talk.

As many who have read me here before (both of you!) know, I agree plenty with conservatives but am basically a liberal. Why: I believe we must impose a fair and rational society, and we cannot allow "free markets" or "social darwinism" exclusively to define it. It doesn't mean I'm against those things, but that I realize they alone are not a solution.

Big surprise: we need more than a single principle to rule ourselves.

One area I differ with conservatives is the idea that there is an absolute, right, moral, correct 1 way for us all to live. Liberals have the same idea, but their 1 way is many ways, which is equally dysfunctional. In fact, I laugh at both parties for their wholesale ignorance of history and philosophy. "The 1 way, man!!! It's the truth and the light!!!" -- more likely a camouflaged control mechanism. But I digress.

Many conservatives, wanting their kids to grow up with clear ideals, are not fond of homosexuality. They also cite some social problems with homosexuality, like its increased correlation with pedophilia, coprophagia, promiscuity, AIDS, et al. I don't deny any of this. All I say is that we need places for fags to be fags, and for conservatives to be conservatives, and it ain't gonna be the same places. No 1 rule for ₶ groups or places, right?

If we talk in terms of rights, fags have the right to be fags... that makes sense. Live and let them live.

But by the same token, and here's where get in trouble with absolutes (univeralism, 1 rule for all people) like "rights" --

If we talk in terms of rights, conservatives also have the right to be conservatives... which does not include fags. Live and let live, separately.

Now we've got a crisis.

Michael Moore, a fat turd of a human being who makes his money pandering to idiot leftists, has a good point here. So does Phred Phelps. That's why this story is interesting: two people with legitimate points duking it out.

But we who care about living in a nice place not constantly divided by conflict would like a resolution.

Mine is simple. Some parts of town are sodomy-friendly, and others are not. Any other solution is oppression to one or more groups.

As the West gets increasingly divided, we're going to see more of this action. One reason many conservatives retreat to religious communities is not so much that they love Jesus, but that they love the idea that their society has a consensus upon its values and those are conservative -- read: historically proven to succeed -- values.

I like the idea of anarchy zones, too. Don't make the rest of us pay for them, but let them rule themselves, and legalize whatever they want. Drugs. Sodomy. Prostitution. Murder. Pedophilia. The world always needs frontiers and bad lawless horrible places for it to filter out its out-of-control denizens.

If you live in a conservative zone, and want to do a ton of drugs and sodomize boars, you need to go to an anarchy zone. Sure, you lose some of the benefits of a conservative zone -- but other citizens gain the freedom to not have your lifestyle screw up their lives. And you can do all the drugs and boar anal you need.

Freedom for all!

Tags:

Our primitive laws don't address information as a commodity

Earlier this month, the Mini Self Storage company in Scarborough was prepared to auction off the contents of a unit rented to a mortgage brokerage that hadn't paid its bill: 60 boxes of financial records, including loan applications with personal financial information such as Social Security and bank account numbers.

In the wrong hands, sensitive information such as this can be used for identity theft. But the sale of such documents is legal.

Nothing in Maine law prevents storage facilities from selling sensitive financial, personal or medical records to the highest bidder, when their original owners do not pay their storage bills. And that is becoming a real concern, with the failure of several dozen mortgage companies in Maine since the recession began one year ago.

Our laws aren't geared toward the idea that marks on paper, or the abstractions it represents, can be unique patterns that can harm us.

You don't own your own image, if you are photographed in the street. Or even if you leave a blind down. The photographer owns that image.

You don't own your own data that companies collect from you when you visit their websites. It's perfectly legal for them to probe your leaky browser for information, and then use that to connect you to visits on their partner sites.

You don't own your own financial information that you give to mortgage companies or other financial companies. And while technically giving your social security number is voluntary, we all know it is isn't, on a practical basis.

Who's the tail and who's the dog here in our modern civilization? It's like the plot of a bad romantic comedy:

Wonderful consumer society -- which brings us admittedly some very cool technologies -- could be like a farm in which the corn just thinks it gets free room and board, until harvest time. And they're bleeding us, and each year it's harder to get what we really want: homes in safe neighborhoods with good schools, a comfortable life and enough to retire. But since we can't mention unpopular stuff in public, that remains a little secret among those who haven't yet been destroyed.

Sure, we can afford the gadgets and crap, because those are relatively small change. But who's really going to take care of us as we age? Who's going to make sure our kids don't get taught garbage and thrown out to be grist for the mill, cube-slaves instead of enlightened apes?

Big business is staffed with people who don't want to be the ones beneath the wheel. Their workers are distracted by television, drink, socialization, movies, music, anything but reality. Go to a job, and people fill your head with paranoid, useless crap information. Watch TV and it's worse. And so it grinds on. And our leaders? Our leaders are actors; in addition, they're entering their twilight years, when they stop noticing negative aspects of reality -- this is what, in nature, helped predators carry off the old and infirm:

There's a scientific reason why older people tend to see the past through rose-colored glasses, Canadian researchers suggest -- negative memories are more inclined to fade.

Study author Dr. Florin Dolcos of the University of Alberta in collaboration with colleagues at Duke University in Durham, N.C., identified brain activity that causes older adults to remember fewer negative events than their younger counterparts.

If this evidence isn't clear to you, let me make it very clear: never, ever, ever trust a Baby Boomer (anyone born 1943-1953). These people are the blight who brought us the People's Revolution of the United States, which even absent political concerns was a bad idea, as it took a divided society and fragmented it, all while legalizing and encouraging selfishness. In short, these people were dumb once; now they're dumb and blind to the consequences of their stupidity. Expect nothing from your leaders. They are checked out of reality and never to return.

The good thing about this debacle is that destruction comes to the stupid and unwary. In fact, it's coming in a tidal wave, and only those who are already prepared to keep their heads above water are going to do well. You will need to have personal discipline, family, finance and basic survival mastered, but if you do that, you'll be part of the next civilization instead of getting dragged down with the delusional.

Tags:

The internet: devolution or evolution

Science Fiction writer David Brin weighs in with a classic liberal humanist Enlightenment dogma screed. What I've done is excerpt only the nodal points:

On one side are those who think the Internet will liberate humanity, in a virtuous cycle of e-volving creativity that may culminate in new and higher forms of citizenship. Meanwhile, their diametrically gloomy critics see a kind of devolution taking hold, as millions are sucked into spirals of distraction, shallowness and homogeneity, gradually surrendering what little claim we had to the term "civilization."

{ snip }

But the very freedom that makes the Internet so attractive also undermines the influence of gatekeepers who used to sift and extol some things over others, helping people to pick gold from dross.

{ snip }

Carr and others worry how 6 billion ships will navigate when they can no longer even agree upon a north star.

{ snip }

Clay Shirky, the technology forecaster and author of "Here Comes Everybody," presents an equally impressive array of evidence showing that the ability of individuals to autonomously scan, correlate and creatively utilize vast amounts of information is rising faster, almost daily.

{ snip }

If our bodies were this inefficient -- with such an astronomical ratio of silliness to quality -- we'd explode from all the excess white blood cells before ever benefiting from the few that usefully attack an error or disease.

{ snip }

Can Shirky or Huffington point to even one stupidity that has been decisively disproved online?

{ snip }

Beyond imagination and creativity and opinion, we also need a dance of Shiva, destroying the insipid, vicious and untrue.

{ snip }

I can self-express with the best of 'em. It's how I make my living! But all by itself, it is never, ever going to bring us to a singularity -- or even a culture of relatively effective problem solvers.

{ snip }

What we need to remember is that there is nothing unique about today's quandary. Ever since the arrival of glass lenses and movable type, the amount that each person can see and know has multiplied, with new tools ranging from newspapers and lithographs to steamships and telegraphs, to radio and so on. And every time, conservative nostalgists claimed that normal people could not adapt, that such godlike powers should be reserved to an elite, or perhaps renounced.

What if both sides were correct: we're processing more information than ever before, but it's information created by our disconnection from reality?

Think of it this way. When there's a consensus as to what reality is and how to assess (judge) it and our actions toward it, relatively little information is generated. But when this isn't known, each person veers off into their own path, becoming automatic mental chaff generators before their arc converges on well-known paths and becomes normed.

Of all the blogs out there, 98% of them expressed the same six things today, just dressed up in "unique" and "important" forms.

The information we're processing -- opinions, viral videos, computer games, Wikipedia editorial drama -- has very little to do with reality. Our technology is building on the shoulders of giants but breakthroughs are not as dramatic. There is more bulk to process, and less of those rare and insightful moments when a change at the center of a structure alters its fundamental character.

Some of this is science. After you discover the digital computer, you must build a whole bunch of them to evolve the process. After you discover DNA, you begin the long process of documenting each part of it. But even that is hampered by our drama. Scientists must get funding for research that generates money; computers are products and so the fancy ones sell more than new technologies.

Maybe what Brin is looking for, as a writer, is the knowledge that the 6 billion lacking agreement about the north star are the problem -- that our civilization is in decay -- and that this process began long before technology. It happens to every society. Just like humans, if we keep our focus, we thrive; if not, we dissolve and die.

Luckily, this seemingly grim knowledge spares us from worrying about whether the internet will make us 6 billion geniuses or 6 billion fetuses: realists know that we've already arrived at 6 billion cabbage heads nodding sagely to lies and frowning at truth. Wikipedia just documents it conveniently for us.

Dying civilizations always birth a final group, a remnant who can still recognize reality despite the influx of socialized reality dogma, or the idea that humans in society can re-define reality based on human form and socialization. This parting group goes on somewhere else to found a new society. They do so on the basis of consensus about what is real, not being self-impressed by how much bloviation about nothing they can foment to convince each other of their own importance. And that's really the only singularity or net.wisdom we need look for here.

Tags:

When the Real Solutions Are Not Socially Acceptable, We Turn To Illusions

Topic: climate change.

Solution: stop human growth, reduce population, reduce unnecessary use of power -- this requires telling Joe Sixpack he can't have a giant pickup truck, Martha Upperclassuburbanwife that she can't fly to Rio, and your average dumb liberal cubicle dwelling apartment voter that social welfare programs must die so we stop breeding parasites.

That's socially unacceptable.

So instead, we get the faux solutions:

At the heart of much of the disagreement is that perennial struggle between rich and poor. Developing countries want industrialized countries – whose populations are responsible the lion’s share of greenhouse emissions – to lead the way by making the steepest reductions in emissions. They also want money and technology to help them make their own emissions cuts and adapt to the impacts of climate change.

According to the Guardian, in Britain, European Union officials have proposed making an 80 percent to 95 percent reduction in greenhouse emissions by 2050 in exchange for developing countries’ reducing their emissions by 15 percent to 30 percent over the next decade. They have not yet heard a reaction, but Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said that the developed world is unlikely to be impressed by the offer, which does not mandate any short-term cuts for rich countries.

“Unless the developed world comes up with strong, clear targets for 2020 themselves,” Dr. Pachauri told the Guardian, “I think it is unlikely the developing world will commit itself to reductions.”

First, I think we'll find when more accurate figures are available that the developing world -- a euphemism for third world countries with average IQs below 98 -- is creating as much carbon and worse pollution than the developed -- a euphemism for industrialized countries with average IQs near or above 100 -- world, through slash and burn agriculture, the burning of waste, deforestation and general disorganization.

Third world people outnumber first world people nine to one.

Second, I think they ask the impossible: the rich have spent a long time building an infrastructure and cannot simply reverse it; that's like suicide. So they propose a gradual de-escalation, but that's not enough for the third world, which wants to be under the illusion that it will be just like London and Munich tomorrow if "just given a chance" -- like every dishwasher who's an aspiring rapper, and every pasty white cubicle dwelling apartment voter who doesn't understand why CEOs get paid more than workers. It's just not fair, man!

Finally, let's look at this strategically. We're asking humanity's most productive people to slow down and let others catch up, but the others are politically unstable, greater in population, and much higher in dysfunction. Why stop? Let the best rise.

We all contribute to climate change, but none of us can individually be blamed for it. So we walk around with a free-floating sense of guilt that’s unlikely to be lifted by the purchase of wind-power credits or halogen bulbs.

Annina Rüst, a Swiss-born artist-inventor...built a translucent leg band that keeps track of your electricity consumption. When it detects, via a special power monitor, that electric current levels have exceeded a certain threshold, the wireless device slowly drives six stainless-steel thorns into the flesh of your leg. “It’s therapy for environmental guilt,” says Rüst, who modeled her “personal techno-garter” on the spiked bands worn as a means of self-mortification by a monk in Dan Brown’s novel “The Da Vinci Code.”

The 21st century equivalent of self-flagellation, but now it's for secular, not religious reasons.

Regardless, it's oblivious to the nature of the problem or its potential solutions. Cause yourself pain, feel better; is that any different than causing yourself pleasure, feel better? These are distractions.

The solutions are simple. We're just not mentally mature enough to face them.

Environmentalists who hope a slowing global economy will mean big falls in greenhouse gas emissions are likely to be disappointed.

Because despite a gloomy economic forecast for 2009, the annual growth in emissions of 3% is only likely to slow modestly, and may even rise over the long term because of the downturn's impact on global climate talks and the funding of renewable energy projects.

Shoot, we were hoping it was this easy. But it wasn't. The system won't self-regulate. We'll actually have to fix it. And that requires we come out of our comfort zones, face our fear of being judged inferior, and decide to cut ourselves back -- and accept the results as they fall.

But that's socially unacceptable, because society is filled with the underconfident, the socially retarded, the immature, the fearful, the withdrawn, the neurotic... a bumper crop of stupid. When will smarter people learn that dumber people ALWAYS oppress smarter people by blocking the path to necessary decisions?

The Sweetest Thing You'll Read All Day... And Happy Birthday, Beethoven

A long-married couple's claim that they are still as much in love as they day they wed is usually met with more than a pinch of disbelief.

Couples who are still deeply in love after more than two decades of marriage experience the same sense of euphoria as those in the first flush of love, brain scans showed.

Those newly in love also showed activity in a part of the brain associated with obsession and anxiety, whereas the long-timers were using parts linked to calmness and the suppression of pain.

Dr Fisher said: 'The difference is that in long-term love, the obsession, the mania, the anxiety, has been replaced with calm.

Other work by the same researchers has shown that the brain can differentiate between sex and love.

Love exists.

Something in this universe loves enough to create love, and to leave sweet delight there for those who can discipline themselves enough to see it.

Sex, sweat, money, symbols and tokens are NOT the things they seem to be effects of.

Love, and love for life, alone are immortal.

What about love for an idea... can that be immortal?

Ludwig van Beethoven was born into the end of an age and the birth of a new one, and striding both, was able to see by parallax motion the clarity for which both strived, but fell short. As a musical genius and not a historian, he was caught between the two in a search for an idealized beauty that he found only in music.

After his birth on December 16, 1770, Beethoven grew up in a musical family. His father, a singer in a local choir, taught him the basics but afterwards Beethoven studied with a series of composers and court musicians: Christian Gottlob Neefe, Joseph Haydn, Johann Baptist Schenk, Johann Georg Albrechtsberger and Antonio Salieri. Publishing his first music at age 12, he had a moderately successful career as a court musician until age 24, when he was able to find patrons in Vienna -- the musical center of the world at that time.

He faced challenges in his early life that left him somewhat isolated. His home life was semi-stable as a youth. His father was an alcoholic; tuberculosis killed his mother when he was 16. He raised his brothers and at one point entailed half of his father's income to provide for them. He kept driving forward, possessed by a vision of his music, and often retreating from a chaotic life into that vision.

Originally from Bonn, Beethoven moved to Vienna in his early 20s and had to adapt to the more cosmopolitan, political urban lifestyle. Known as a masterful pianist, Beethoven was able to find work and was recognized as being of quality, but this never translated into a stable living. Forced to teach students, and frequently derailed by crises in his personal life of a familial nature, he longed for great stability where he could simply write music -- and be alone, a condition he had come to accept and even enjoy.

In his early 30s, however, Beethoven faced another crisis: the gradual but inevitable loss of his hearing. What he first noticed as tinnitus, or a ringing in his ears, burgeoned into a more serious loss of hearing spurred by lesions forming in his inner ears. In a relatively short span of days, Beethoven had to face the instability of his career and a new challenge, incoming deafness. At first he contemplated suicide, but after a long darkness of the soul, composed what he called his "Heiligenstadt Testament," which was a statement of heroic idealism in that he decided to not only stand and fight, but overcome physical and political barriers so that he might realize transcendental beauty through music.

Over the next decade, he slowly decreased and eventually stopped both performing in public and most conversation, trying to shield what was left of his hearing. At the same time, he had to shield himself from disappointments as inspirations from his youth turned prosaic or destructive in his adulthood; in the transitional age between classical and Romantic music, Beethoven aspired to the new ideals of the enlightenment, including democracy and individualism. As time went on, he saw democracy lead to tyranny -- he scratched out the dedication of his third symphony to Napoleon as soon as the latter declared himself Emperor -- and saw through the bad judgments of others the triumph of individualism in a lack of discipline and consequently, error.

For Beethoven, his gift was not the effortless emanations from another world that others, notably Mozart, professed to have. It was a grueling process of organizing his thoughts, a spark of an idea, and then an even more grueling process of revision and refinement. He may have been the best composer of his day, but he may equally have been the hardest working, even as he saw rewards go to lesser talents and other discouragements. Following his realizations in the Heiligenstadt Testament, he ploughed ahead for a shimmering transcendental vision, and ignored daily privations including awkward living circumstances, worries about money, his collapsing failing and his decaying hearing.

Par for the course in the new democratic era, Beethoven was also probably the first rockstar-style composer in that he was recognized by society at large and not only a select group of nobles (for whom music was written on commission) and intellectuals. He also expressed what the crowd wanted to hear, incorporating the humanistic poem "Ode to Joy" of Friedrich Schiller into his final symphonic work; even so, he had an ambivalent relationship to these ideas, finding them too concrete for the turbulence of his soul, although he had nothing better to shove into the maw of need demanding a narrative for the future.

When Beethoven died in 1827, his funeral was that of a public artist adored although not necessarily understood by the masses, forming the basis for the crisis that faced rockstars of the future from Jim Morrison to Kurt Cobain. Over ten thousand people attended what became one of the major events of the year. During his lifetime, however, Beethoven was known as much for his feisty intolerance of the stupidity of others as for any humanistic gestures, which was fitting for someone who had to bulldoze aside confused minds in order to realize his own vision.

Like any born between identifiable cycles of history, Beethoven lived in ambiguity and struggled with it in his music and ideas. While he belonged to the new age, he sung praises of the old especially in the second half of his life, studying past composers and integrating their own styles into his own; he also while acknowledging the humanistic urge of the age, found problems with it and was disappointed by it time and again. What kept him together was his focus on creating transcendental music that could unite the ages around the abstraction of values, and all with the patience to hear his works with an open heart are richer for it.

Ludwig van Beethoven - born December 16, 1770

Other work by the same researchers has shown that the brain can differentiate between work and love.

Whether it's nature, science, God or nothingness that creates such love as 20-year-newlywedism or Ludwig van Beethoven, I will worship it in profound humility of my soul, and act according to a code that exhalts it.

Every day.

Obama Already Running DC Like Chicago

[President-elect Barack Obama's chief of staff Rahm ] Emanuel gave the governor's office a list of "candidates that would be acceptable to President-elect Barack Obama" but no "quid pro quo" or "dealmaking" is suspected.

Citing "a source familiar with the investigation," Fox says that Emanuel had "multiple conversations" with Blagojevich and his chief of staff John Harris, who was also arrested Tuesday on federal corruption charges, about the seat and that they we're "likely recorded and in FBI possession."

He isn't even in office yet, and we're having corruption scandals worse than anything during the Bush years.

I guess "hope" and "change" beg the question: hope for who? And change for who? Being a third world corrupt banana republic is a big change, and gives hope to all who hate us.

Academic Sees CORRUPT's Take On School Shootings

A more truthful (and therefore more useful) explanation of the Virginia Tech murders focuses not on Cho’s character but on the interaction between it and the situations he was in, not on his personal identity but on the interplay between who he was and how other people treated him.

In social settings, he froze. He was diagnosed at the age of 14 as having a disorder called selective mutism, the loss of ability to speak, out of fear of being laughed at. Cho found it sheer torture to speak in class.

From information that has so far come to light, Cho appears to have been the target of an uncommon but distinct and devastating social process called workplace mobbing. It is the impassioned ganging up of managers and/or peers against a targeted worker, the object being the target’s absolute humiliation and elimination from respectable company. It is a matter of turning a person who is different or troublesome into a nonperson, rubbing his or her nose in dirt.

The single main setting appears to have been Cho’s creative writing course. It was taught by Distinguished Professor Nikki Giovanni, a poet of such fame and scholarly authority that degradation by her would cut to the bone. By Giovanni’s admission, she and Cho locked horns, and the conflict between them was played out in full view of the class. Unable to understand or tolerate Cho's extreme introversion, Giovanni badgered him, asking him to remove his sunglasses, show his face, and participate in class as other students did. When he resisted, she decided he was, as she put it, a bully, an evil presence in her class. Eventually, Giovanni demanded that Cho leave the class. He refused. In a letter to her department chair, Lucinda Roy, Giovanni threatened to resign her position if Cho were not removed.

The other form of participation in a mob is action that forms part of one's job description. Lucinda Roy, as chair of English, had to do something in response to Giovanni's threat. Similarly, the police, mental-health professionals, and judge who dealt with Cho on December 13-14, 2005, were just "doing their jobs," fulfilling the duties for which they were being paid.

When social reality determines success in a society, the words of others are more than emotionally damaging -- they damage your prospects.

His teacher, an execrable poet, decided to make it morally acceptable to target him, and so he was mobbed.

When you step outside of social reality, as he had to, because of his social fear, you see the truths others are too busy being social to see.

That, plus a hatred for his insane and pompous teacher, could be a strong motivating force.

Either way, he showed us like Holden Caulfield the hollowness of this time -- with hollow points.

© 1998-2010 Corrupt.org | FAQ | Sitemap