Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Fiction Update!

I've decided to redo how I post some things to blog. Non-fiction stuff will remain on the main feed, while fiction will now be posted on separate pages (on the right, below the archive). Right now, only the page for one-offs exists, and will be updated with new storied that aren't too long. I'll link to it here and I hope that you enjoy it or at least can offer criticism.

Other works of fiction will be given their own pages. I don't know if I'll post anything serially (I'm thinking not), but I do want to try to have a short piece of fiction (at least a few hundred words) out at least once a week, if not more often.

If anyone is reading this and would prefer me to post fiction to the main feed, please let me know.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

The Jefferson Method

Much of the effectiveness of modern rhetoric rests on equivocation, which is a specious of nominalism which, no surprise, renders one incapable of thinking about reality. Take this for example. Mr. Auster is pointing out how the word "tragedy" is used equivocally in place of words like "crime", "sin", or "act-of-war".

But there's a particular style that I'd like to point out today. Over at Caldo's place I came across a comment that looks (roughly) like this:
But Jesus died for our Freedom™! Galatians 5:1 It is for freedom that Christ set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
Needless to say, my reply was not effective. But let's shift our focus to what this comment is actually doing. "Freedom" is the keyword, it is in fact one of those bound words that cannot exist by itself since it requires a context to make sense. Think words like progress, which, though it can be used grammatically in a sentence, cannot be understood without somethings to progress towards. 

The citation to scripture is a way of baptizing the keyword in two senses. In the first sense, and, depending on your audience, the most important, it is a way of giving a word authoritative approval. "St. Paul himself used the word freedom! St. Paul! Therefore, nihil obstat. Whosoever dares question this word is anathema." This will change depending on the word and audience, but you can bet your beans that if you see a word used in a comment and in a quote, this is what's going on.

The second sense is more subtle, misleading, and thereby more dangerous. It is a re-presentation of the keyword washed of its original meaning (Freedom™). The word freedom as used by St. Paul is clearly presented in the context of freedom from the Levitical code, specifically the need for Christians to be circumcised. Well, it's clear if one bothers to read through the whole verse; few do, which is why it works.

 So the Jefferson Keyword Method* is as follows:
1. Select Keyword.  It needs to be common, venerated, and vague.
2. Find a quote containing that word from somebody the audience respects.
3. Trim the fat: remove whatever constricts the meaning of the keyword.
3b. (Optional) Cite for show, nobody reads footnotes anyway.
4. Write your comment, make your point first, then seal the deal with the quote.
5. Sit back and enjoy the destruction of meaning through tacit nominalism.

There are plenty of examples on comboxes all over the blogosphere. You don't even have to work very hard. However, if you are struggling to find them focus on the keyword progress, since it has become an extremely common keyword.

*I admit I wanted to be clever with the name, which is an allusion to the "Jefferson Bible," an edit wherein Thomas Jefferson removes all the context which provides meaning to the bible in order to present the liberal approved teachings of Jesus. It's a pretty close fit.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Sorry for the Delay

I have discovered that I am terrible at following through with comments. Just today, I discovered that I had actually left a comment two months ago that received responses I never read. I only found out because I logged in into Disqus because I got a notification that someone (a spam bot) had started to follow me. I changed my mind about that comment and did not think that I had actually posted it.

Nice job me.

I was also supposed to write about the Good thief and the necessity of just punishment, but now it's no longer topical (and probably better done elsewhere). Life gets in the way sometimes, as you know.

In order to distract you, I will upload a funny comic that is a week and half out of date. My sister sent me an easter-themed one but I couldn't find it.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Pass the Buck Left

Here's a discomfiting, though provocative passage. All emphasis is mine, links are to other posts or articles I found apposite.
For the average Westerner, the will of the People is sacred, and a government that fails to represent that will is an abominable dictatorship. Each time the people speak their minds the government must go along; no other source of legitimacy exists...

Because of this mystical belief in the people's sovereignty, all dictators try to demonstrate that they are the expression of that sovereignty[1]...From this belief springs the necessity for dictators to have themselves elected by plebiscite...

This leads to two further considerations: First, compliance must be obtained, not just with the form of government, but with all its important actions... Thus the need to "inform" the people better. "That the decisions should be wise does not suffice; the reasons for them must be given. For an enterprise...to function well, it is best to take it apart in public without concealing its weaknesses, without hiding its costs...[3]"...in other words, propaganda in the deepest sense.

Second--and this is a subtler process--governmental propaganda suggests that public opinion demand this or that decision; it provokes the will of a people...once evoked, formed, and crystallized on a point, that will becomes the people's will; and whereas the government really acts on its own, it gives the impression of obeying public opinion--after first having built that public opinion. The point is to make the masses demand of the government what the government has already decided to do.
I should point out that governments which justify themselves on the sovereign will of the people must act this way. They must constantly create and solve problems, they must constantly appeal to and rile up the people, and they have to do it all while pretending not to rule.

[1] Against individualism, the Fascist conception is for the State; and it is for the individual in so far as he coincides with the State, which is the conscience and universal will of man in his historical existence. It is opposed to classical Liberalism, which arose form the necessity of reacting against absolutism, and which brought its historical purpose to an end when the State was transformed into the conscience and will of the people. Liberalism denied the State in the interests of the particular individual; Fascism reaffirms the State as the true reality of the individual. And if liberty is to be the attribute of the real man, and not of that abstract puppet envisaged by individualistic Liberalism, Fascism is for liberty. And for the only liberty which can be a real thing, the liberty of the State and of the individual within the State.
(From Doctrine of Fascism; )

[2]"Sur le Regime de la V* Republique," Le Monde, 1959.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Run Little Rat

Besides, modern man is called upon for enormous sacrifices, which probably exceed anything known in the past. First of all, work has assumed an all-pervading role in modern life. Never have men worked so much as in our society. Contrary to what is often said, man works much more nowadays than, for example, in the eighteenth century. Only the working hours have decreased. But the omnipresence of the duties of his work, the obligation and constraints, the actual working conditions, the intensity of work that never ends, make it weigh much more heavily on men today than on men in the past.

Every modern man works more than the slave of long ago; standards have been adjusted downwards. But whereas the slave worked only because he was forced to, modern man, who believes in his freedom and dignity, needs reasons and justifications to make himself work. Even the children in the modern nation do an amount of work at school which no child was asked to do before the beginning of the nineteenth century; there, too, justifications are needed.

One cannot make people live forever in the state of assiduous, intense, never-ending labor without giving them good reasons and by creating by example a virtue of Work, like that of the bourgeoisie of the nineteenth century, or a myth of liberation through Work, like that of the Nazis or Communists.

Such dedication to work does not happen by itself or spontaneously. Its creation is properly the task of propaganda, which must give the individual psychological and ideological reasons why he needs to be where he is. One cannot get good, steady work out of a man merely by pointing out the need for such work, or even to its monetary rewards. One must give him psychological satisfactions of a higher order; man wants a profound and significant reason for what he does... To furnish the collective ideological motivations driving man to action is propaganda's exact task...
There comes a time when we must look at the "rat race" and ask ourselves the sober question, "who gains from this?" When we answer that question, some of us may have to turn away from it
...bound by the contempt for wealth without which a man is less than a man...

I do not mean to suggest that we eschew all work, or even some of it. I declare to you now that, if any man will not work, neither let him eat. We must be wary of becoming slaves, of taking up yokes and burdens that, perhaps, are not as light as we were promised. One of the punishments for the sins of Adam was labor, but at least that was necessary for survival.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

About About Peterson

The Jacobite Magazine, which I don't endorse but do sometimes read, had another goodun' this time about the latest conservative homme célèbre : Jordan Peterson.

Well, not quite. It's really about an article about Jordan Peterson. This one, as a matter fact, at the Jacobin (these names are starting to blur together). The specifics aren't very interesting: SJW style rhetoric, apoplexy, red herrings, and all the rest you'd expect. It's a decent fisk sure, but that's not what struck me. As usual, the Jacobites point out social motifs which are, in retrospect, rather obvious, but new to me (I like the phrasing too).
...The subheadline makes it clear that Fluss’s language is not that of mere intellectual dispute, but of a fight-response to ideas that threaten memetic hegemony...
All emphasis mine. Ignoring terms like mimetic, they're no longer meaningful, the implicit notion is that theories are alive in a sense. Of course, only the people that hold such theories are really alive, but they act like animals threatened with extinction merely because some abstracta that they believe comes under scrutiny.

Better than this, though is the following:
 These dysphemisms are so unspecific that they don’t evoke anything except ideological emergency.
In other words, these terms are fallaciously vague. This seems a uniquely modern invention, some combination of nominalism and dada perhaps?

The fisk continues, pointing out hyper-link after hyper-link that leads to articles that have nothing to do with the sentences in which they are embedded. These are meant to overwhelm the reader with information so that they cannot think straight, as well as provide a veneer of credibility. Very few people bother to read these links; after all, how often have we seen in blog-land -- particularly places like Zippy's and the Orthosphere -- where commenter after commenter demonstrates his inability to read?
One would think the hyperlink for “fascist” would send one to some supporting facts, a citation convention to which Jacobin itself adheres. But it doesn’t. It navigates to an unrelated article titled “Capitalism and Nazism” about privatization in the 1930s. Jordan Peterson isn’t mentioned once.
Yes, Virginians, there is an assault on reason but...
It’s not useful to think of fanatics as bad people, or even as people who have been “affected” by discursive domination. They have a conscience, but its wiring has been hijacked...
Or, rather than hijacked, malformed.
Jordan Peterson is just a centrist liberal, with all the uninterestingness that that entails... [Liberal] Platitudes like “Enlightenment values are worth preserving” and “science is true* even if when produces discomforting results” now qualify as bomb-throwing. 
 *whatever the hell that's supposed to mean.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Filler Posts!

Good news! I have actually finished a short story! The result is disappointing, disjointed, boring, and sophomoric. But it is finished, which makes it my best work so far.

Fans of Dune may recall this line: "It is by will alone I set my mind in motion. It is by the juice of Sapho that thoughts acquire speed, the lips acquire stains, the stains become a warning. It is by will alone I set my mind in motion."

Wait, you say that's not in the book? Oh, good. It's a stupid line.

Here's something else  egregiously stupid. Boy, I a sure am glad I missed out on this when I was young. Shoutout to Beefy, whom I have never seen in any other context save Zippy's and the Orthosphere. I may comment why this is really stupid, and possibler even evil (yes I went there), but probably not.

Finally, something not dumb, "jubilare" has a short series on the Dwarfs in LoTR. Part one is here. Interesting food for thought, but the most interesting part is the the comment section. It's fascinating to see what things people bring whenever they read something. If there was any definitive proof that texts don't interpret themselves that is it.

One last thing, I have no idea how I found this blog, but "afalstein" has a great writeup on why the Marvel Cinemaverse is actually terrifying for us normal folk here.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Madam, You Should See the Size of My Wallet!

The strength of the Male/female polarity has been emaciated. It's gotten to the point that people believe that men and women are commensurable, if it can even be said that men or women are still people.

Unsurprisingly, sex now is merely mutual masturbation. Commercials for "medicine" designed to make sex possible feature couples lying in separate tubs, a symbol of modern pair-bonding. Vive la similarité, after all, so why bother having it at all? When we do have it, make sure it avoids the possibility of connection, even if some of us don't like it.

There are plenty of theories for why this is happening, and everyone knows it's happening, though only some have the gumption to come out and say it. Here's one of the stranger theories found in an excerpt from the madman's magazine, The Jacobite:
With that unsettling conclusion in focus–of capital poised to completely circumscribe female agency in the story of humanity — an examination of recent history reveals a certain continuity in the back-story.

The evolved traits of openness to experience & out-group cooperation that greased the skids for the scientific & industrial revolutions in NW Europe also produced sentiments that liberated women from traditional roles. Some thinkers, such as anthropologist Alan MacFarlane, even attribute the normalization of English spinsterhood a causal role in the industrial revolution via its relaxing effect on Malthusian pressures.

Liberated from older modes of domestic production, female productive capacity has been leveraged on an industrial scale, from Yorkshire mills to Bangalore cube farms. What women sacrificed in time and fertility, they gained in disposable income used for purchasing consumer goods. Indeed the female dopaminergic system, responding to the consumption urge, became the turbo-charger of capitalism. When mass-advertising entered the mix, the engine got a boost of nitrious oxide.

Disentangling the chicken-and-egg causal nature of female social liberation, economic production, and consumption is less important than understanding that each node in the circuit reinforces the others. Every year that passes strengthens the female-capital pair bond at the expense of the male-female pair bond.

Think that's much too outré? Think again.

Social Pathologist's post on divorce risk is somewhat related.
Donal Grame also has a post on the subject, as does Dalrock.

Well, pretty much everyone, in one way or another.

Apologies for the somewhat filler content.