Don’t miss this epic Pat Condell blast against the Thought Police of Silicon Valley….
Don’t miss this epic Pat Condell blast against the Thought Police of Silicon Valley….
President-elect Bolsonaro hasn’t even been sworn in yet, and he’s pledged to allow all Brazilians without criminal records to own firearms; to move the Brazilian Embassy to Jerusalem, and, to not sign the insane UN Migration Pact.
Wow, three home runs before the game starts. Will he out-Trump Trump?
No doubt come January 1st, many feminist knickers will be twisted into Gordian knots, screams of outrage will emanate from the hordes of thingies with dubious and unclassifiable libidos, and the MSM will beclown themselves with MAD magazine-type lies about the new Brazil.
We could use a guy like that in Canada.
I sift through lots of global warming stuff pro and con. I think this guy comes closest to my current position. Geologists, in my opinion, are much more cognizant of the long record of the planet, and way less hysterical than the “climate” scientists. Still, his view of rising oceans within the next century is alarming enough. Britt’s view is that we have stopped the Milankovich cycle in its tracks and that we are not heading into an ice age, as we ought to be by this time, but are heading to significantly greater warmth.
As he points out, the biggest friend of a colder earth was Mao Tse-tung, who kept China in poverty. And that, my friends, is the only way I know to prevent further global warming.
Whatever your reaction to Dan Britt’s science, I find his presentation to be cheerful and gloomy at the same time. Geologists are like that, because the planet has gone through so much more change than most people are aware of.
Can Socialists be Happy? is the title of an amusing little essay by George Orwell, which touches on the subjects of Christmas and socialist Utopias. The short answer is, —No. The sterile socialist utopias of Wells’s Men Like Gods and William Morris’s News from Nowhere elicit no joy in Orwell’s heart.
Christmas, of course, from A Christmas Carol, Dickens’ timeless Victorian parable of the redemption of an old miser, Ebenezer Scrooge. [Every Christmas Eve, I watch the 1951 movie with Alistair Sim playing Scrooge—the definitive version]. And despite Orwell’s critiques of Dickens, elaborated extensively in his essay on Dickens, he cannot help but express a liking for him.
I must confess a grudging admiration for Dickens, ever since as a very young boy, reading Oliver Twist and A Christmas Carol from my grandfather’s beautiful leather-bound Dickens collection, complete in that old thin paper and sinister illustrations. Although he can be overly verbose, and sentimentality oozes from his every pore, he has a knack for creating characters with real feelings and emotions, real joys and sorrows, rather than fabricated professions of goodwill. I can still feel the cold of English houses and almost feel Bob Cratchit shivering on Christmas Eve as he toils for Scrooge. But,
…however thick Dickens may lay on the paint, however disgusting the ‘pathos’ of Tiny Tim may be, the Cratchit family give the impression of enjoying themselves. They sound happy as, for instance, the citizens of William Morris’s News From Nowhere don’t sound happy. Moreover and Dickens’s understanding of this is one of the secrets of his power their happiness derives mainly from contrast. They are in high spirits because for once in a way they have enough to eat. The wolf is at the door, but he is wagging his tail. The steam of the Christmas pudding drifts across a background of pawnshops and sweated labour, and in a double sense the ghost of Scrooge stands beside the dinner table. Bob Cratchit even wants to drink to Scrooge’s health, which Mrs Cratchit rightly refuses. The Cratchits are able to enjoy Christmas precisely because it only comes once a year. Their happiness is convincing just because Christmas only comes once a year. Their happiness is convincing just because it is described as incomplete.
…As all happiness is; incomplete and never a thing in itself.
All the imagined socialist utopias never get beyond seeing happiness as a kind of maudlin cleanliness, populated by nice, but drab and boring, people, much like the decaffeinated personalities of the progressives of today. Imagine waking up in that kind of world…
It is a world whose keynotes are enlightened hedonism and scientific curiosity. All the evils and miseries we now suffer from have vanished. Ignorance, war, poverty, dirt, disease, frustration, hunger, fear, overwork, superstition all vanished. So expressed, it is impossible to deny that that is the kind of world we all hope for. We all want to abolish the things Wells wants to abolish. But is there anyone who actually wants to live in a Wellsian Utopia? On the contrary, not to live in a world like that, not to wake up in a hygenic garden suburb infested by naked schoolmarms, has actually become a conscious political motive.
Orwell had a horror of the joyless, antiseptic, hectoring feminism that contaminates so much of our civil discourse today. Nowadays, the infestation of “naked schoolmarms” would be replaced by a tyrannical collective of ham planets with blue armpit hair beating young boys until they do have periods.
On the question of utopias…
All ‘favourable’ Utopias seem to be alike in postulating perfection while being unable to suggest happiness. News From Nowhere is a sort of goody-goody version of the Wellsian Utopia. Everyone is kindly and reasonable, all the upholstery comes from Liberty’s, but the impression left behind is of a sort of watery melancholy. But it is more impressive that Jonathan Swift, one of the greatest imaginative writers who have ever lived, is no more successful in constructing a ‘favourable’ Utopia than the others.
Because utopia is planned, and boring, only dull and boring people can inhabit it.
Dickens can describe a poverty-stricken family tucking into a roast goose, and can make them appear happy; on the other hand, the inhabitants of perfect universes seem to have no spontaneous gaiety and are usually somewhat repulsive into the bargain.
…which, in a nutshell, describes the drab personalities that inhabit the tedium of progressive politics today.
Dickens could portray happiness because he was a free man, and a decent man, much in the way Orwell was himself. And this is one of the many reasons Orwell (and, no doubt, Dickens) is hated by the Left and doctrinaire socialists in general. That the Cratchits may be poor is one thing, but that they should be happy, if only occasionally, is something that infuriates the legions of the perpetually morose. Orwell imagined Dickens thus …
Well, in the case of Dickens I see a face that is not quite the face of Dickens’s photographs, though it resembles it. It is the face of a man of about forty, with a small beard and a high colour. He is laughing, with a touch of anger in his laughter, but no triumph, no malignity. It is the face of a man who is always fighting against something, but who fights in the open and is not frightened, the face of a man who is generously angry — in other words, of a nineteenth-century liberal, a free intelligence, a type hated with equal hatred by all the smelly little orthodoxies which are now contending for our souls.
The smelly little orthodoxies are now almost suffocating us.
One of my favourite writer-bloggers is Fred Reed. A deplorable before the term was invented, Reed was in the US army as a journalist. He is descended of literate professional Presbyterian stock from the upper South. He lives with a Mexican wife in Guadalajara, raises his children, and sends reports from strange parts of the globe. This one was from Washington DC:
A wag once described DC as “a federal enclave surrounded on all four sides by reality.” Just so. It is one thing to think Trump a terrible President–I do–but quite another for the national media to have no idea why he was elected. So far as I can tell, none of PC Washington has the slightest idea. This certainly includes the media. Their thinking, if it quite is, comes down to, “They’re stupid. They’re ignorant. They’re racist. They’re sexist. They’re fascist.They’re…evil.”
The issue that Reed gets to is the complete cluelessness of our social betters in their professed ignorance of why Trump beat Clinton. As an example, Reed writes about the media reaction to Trump’s lewd talk about women in a locker room decades ago, at which the media frothed at the mouth. Not so the electorate.
Here we have another example of the gap between the Bubble and the country. The talking heads exultantly said that because of the groping comments the Donald had just lost any hope of election by insulting women. Which he only barely did, if at all. Yet fifty-three percent of white women voted for Trump. How could this be, wonder the Bubblists?
Easy. White women (outside the Bubble) are intelligent and independent agents who vote according to their politics, circumstances, needs, and beliefs. They did. Apparently they thought immigration, the economy, jobs, education and so on more important than a couple of lines of dirty talk. Washington, huge on identity politics and political correctness, expected them to be herdable ninnies. Which it expects of most of the country. Well, they weren’t.
And a word from our sponsor, the Internet”
Finally, methinks the Byzantine Kindergarten has badly underestimated the influence of internet. Among the many intelligent people I know (a fair few, eeeeeek! supporters of trump) the Net has become primary, the media secondary. When the New York Times says something nauseatingly PC, well-informed rebuttals surge across the Web. People on the Net, not constrained by political correctness, can speak of the many topics forbidden in Washington. Sites like the Unz Review, however idiosyncratic and whatever their leanings, attract writers of high intelligence and great expertise, and appeal to similar readers. (In a bid for a place in the Hall of Fame of Linguistic Vandalism, I call this “distributed cognitive stratification.” Is that embarrassing or what?)
A propos thinking Trump a bad president:
“It is one thing to think Trump a terrible President–I do–but quite another for the national media to have no idea why he was elected.”
I have not yet reached the conclusion that Trump is a terrible President, though I fear that this may be my final judgment. I reserve any condemnation for the time being, because the results, in terms of international peace or economic recovery, have been superb. But the Mexican wrestling costumed-avenger aspect of Trump is grating. I hope you Trumpians will feel safe enough to admit to yourself your own ambivalence.
Then you turn your attention back to the media and the establishment opinions, and you go: “Yay Trump!! Go get ’em, Donald”.
The great thing about Christmas, Garrison Keillor once said, is that it is not about you.
See Ann Althouse if you want to be annoyed at some prat who feels rejected and lonely when people wish her a merry Christmas.
I have retired to the country for a week of quiet, book reading, listening to the fire in the stove hiss and pop, listening to big music, and messing with tractors.
A Merry Christmas to you all, heathens and Christians alike. Be well. Blogging will continue as the spirit moves me.
Everyone knows that the “news” is mostly fake, especially that from state propaganda organizations like the BBC, CBC and from their shriek sheets and fish wrap like Time and Newsweak. However, sometimes we are treated to a story that not only confirms our worst thoughts about the media, but shows us that “It’s worse that we thought!”—complete with climate alarmist horror.
Der Spiegel, a sort-of Time magazine of Angela Merkel’s Islamo-Reich, recently had to fire one of its reporters for malpractice. It appears that he was exposed as a fraud who simply made up stories, aka lies, and passed it all off as news. Naturally, it was all “news” that supported the liberal-left program and portrayed all conservatives and right-wingers as uneducated and stupid.
Claas Relotius, the journalist in question, had been to the US to do some “investigative journalism”, aka produce more lies, on rural America (Fergus Falls, Minn.), Trumpland, just after the 2016 election. Breitbart has all the gory details.
But the real thing is this: Relotius had, for nearly ten years, been supplying his concoctions to all and sundry as “news”. Of course, how many “investigative journalists” actually checked what he said? None, of course, because modern journalism is just left-wing propaganda—it has nothing to do with reporting news.
What broke the case was two eagle-eyed and diligent Fergus Falls residents who actually read what Relotius has written about their home town and saw that it was all lies. Their exposure was a work of actual journalism, and beautifully done at that. I won’t repeat it, you should read the whole thing [here].
Der Spiegel’s management whined:
Claas Relotius committed his deception intentionally, methodically and with criminal intent. For example, he included individuals in his stories who he had never met or spoken to, telling their stories or quoting them. Instead, he would reveal, he based the depictions on other media or video recordings. By doing so, he created composite characters of people who actually did exist but whose stories Relotius had fabricated. He also made up dialogue and quotes.
Further, the Grauniad reported:
Earlier this month, he won Germany’s Reporterpreis (Reporter of the Year) for his story about a young Syrian boy, which the jurors praised for its “lightness, poetry and relevance”. It has since emerged that all the sources for his reportage were at best hazy, and much of what he wrote was made up.
And guess who awarded this clown the “Journalist of the Year 2014”? None other than America’s premier Fake News Network—CNN!
One would call them all the “gutter press”, but that would be insulting to gutters that actually provide a useful service in this world.
Malcolm Nance is a former chief petty officer (senior NCO) in the US Navy. Watch as Tucker Carlson eviscerates the nonsense spouted by Nance, and which was swallowed devotedly by NBC anchor Brian Williams. “This is why we ask you all the time to come on this broadcast” said Williams.
You have to listen to Nance’s concatenation of tropes and babble: “mainstreamed”, “weaponized”, “Bannon”, “John Birch Society”, “fake news”, ” these tropes and memes became the cruise missiles of fake news and disinformation designed .. to take one third of the US population and may have resulted in’ -you guessed it -Trump.
I have seen the same anti-Russian obsession in authors as erudite as Timothy Snyder, author of Bloodlands, a book you must read, by the way. He has gone completely bonkers on the subject of Russian influence in the last election. I link these two articles because it shows that Tucker Carlson’s calling out of Malcolm Nance and Brian Williams is only a part of the story.
“Somehow they got to choose our president” says Snyder about the Russians (at minute 28:30). I am not disputing that Snyder is right in his suspicions of Russian intentions, actions, and strategies.
The Russians are like a bunch of bears in one’s garbage bins. They raid them, they twist off tops, wreck them, and turn into a garbage -addicted problem. Sometimes you have to chase them off, with guns, if necessary. But the capacity of Russians to undermine democratic institutions abroad is grossly exaggerated. Yes they are a real problem. Yes we have to be vigilant. But Russians are not The Problem. The left has had a major brain seizure on the subject of Trump because it was the event that ought not to have happened.
The average age of death in the United States is declining. The American working class has been devastated by the transfer of jobs overseas and to Mexico. They have been impoverished by the mortgage meltdown of 2008. The opioid crisis is killing dozens of people a day, if not hundreds.
Americans do not need a “disinformation frame” to perceive these events, they need one to prevent them from seeing it.
The curious thing about Snyder is that, for all his erudition, and fancy talk of themes propagated by Facebook, he is only saner version of Malcolm Nance. It is not the American Trump supporters who are in “a total denial of reality”, but rather the Democrats who are in total denial that there is any legitimacy whatever to the people who thought Trump was the better candidate than Clinton.
Globalism is both an ideology and a culture of behavior. The creed is that the Western world, given its colonial and imperialist past, has a duty both to make amends to the former third world through magnanimously lending the global community elite Western expertise—whether through Kyoto- or Paris-like climate accords, foreign interventions guided by Western humanitarian principles, asymmetrical trade agreements, open borders, or U.N. mandates.
The globalist alone knows how global warming threatens us and how the ignorant masses must sacrifice to cool things down, how nationalism supposedly causes world wars, how sexism, racism, and homophobia have warped Western, but non-necessarily non-Western, society, and how human nature can be modified to avoid these pathologies through greater coercion, more relevant social education, improved material conditions, and greater secular ecumenicalism—a far better religion than calcified Christendom. The Western consumer—fat, “lazy,” played out—surely does not need any more affluence or income. His nation, therefore, can afford to subsidize, through his superfluous lifestyle, far nobler international crusades for mankind.
The nation-state then is passé. Transnational organizations, the larger and more powerful the better, tame mindless Western chauvinism, while enhancing and making invaluable alternative post-Western paradigms. The Secretary-General of the United Nations, the chief executive officer of the World Bank, the Secretary-General of NATO, the Director-General of the World Trade Organization, a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, the President of the Council of Foreign Relations, the president of CNN Worldwide, all these are certainly to be listened to in a way an elected senator from Kansas, the nuts who stirred up the gilets jaunes, the unhinged Poles and Bulgarians who wanted to build fences on their borders, or renegade British MPs pushing for Brexit should not be.
Nothing scares the Identity Politics Left quite like an actual working class uprising. Witnessing the furious unwashed masses operating out there on their own, with no decent human restraint whatsoever, Identity Politics Leftists feel a sudden overwhelming urge to analyze, categorize, organize, sanitize, and otherwise correct and control them. They can’t accept the fact that the actual, living, breathing working classes are messy, multiplicitous, inconsistent, and irreducible to any one ideology. Some of them are racists. Some are fascists. Others are communists, socialists, and anarchists. Many have no idea what they are, and don’t particularly care for any of these labels. This is what the actual working classes are … a big, contradictory collection of people who, in spite of all their differences, share one thing in common, that they are being screwed over by the ruling classes. I don’t know about you, but I consider myself one of them.
And porn is unplugged from Tumblr. Poof! Imagine what they could do to you, what you read, and what you publish?
Set aside, for just a moment, however you feel about porn, its purveyors, and its connoisseurs. What Tumblr is doing here is really quite incredible. It is purging from its rolls one of its most defining and popular aspects—the ability to post porn.
There are hundreds of thousands, if not more, of loyal Tumblr users who have been running porn-centric blogs for years—some for more than a decade. They have built up voluminous archives to their liking, and in many cases amassed huge followings of folks with similar, shall we say, “tastes.”
Then, one day, Tumblr announced that in fourteen days it will all be gone. It is not just that users will no longer be able to post porn, it is that all porn that has been posted will be deleted—and the WayBack Machine preserves precious few Tumblrs, and in general is bad at preserving photos and videos anyway. Archive.org volunteers are trying: see The frantic, unprecedented race to save 700,000 NSFW Tumblrs for posterity |Volunteers are scrambling to download up to 800 terabytes of content from Tumblr’s adult-themed community before it disappears from view on December 17,By Sean Captain, Fast Company, December 12, 2018.
I think porn is as necessary to human well-being and happiness as toilet paper and flush toilets: they are all so much better than anything that went before. Masturbation is as necessary to human well being as blowing one’s nose or washing. The attack on porn is just the beginning. They always start with porn and the private possession of weapons. They do not stop once they get going.
That is why I am saying that we are in a pre-revolutionary situation. There are days when I can just feel it. And no, I do not have murderous intentions towards our social betters. Superficially I can blend in with upper class twits quite easily, until I spout my opinions. But listening to a few raging anti-Trump snobs, liberal élitists, Davos men and women, I can see some major political disturbances ahead. In fact they are with us now. we have just have to open our eyes. That is why, en passant, I think that Maxime Bernier may (just possibly) have a future in Canadian politics.
I got fed up with Harari after reading Sapiens and my impatience with his doctrines has been clarified by a reading of 21 Lessons for the 21st century.
Basically Harari insists we do not have free will. More importantly, he asserts that all human stories – myths, religions, creeds – are wrong answers. He uses the words “wrong answers” in the same sense as someone who dials the wrong number, or answers “42” to the question, “what is the meaning of life?”. Instead of political correctness, it is philosophical correctness.
Harari is a gay vegetarian who practices meditation for two hours a day. He is a Buddhist. In that sense, his views are the expression of what I think is orthodox Buddhism.
The core of his argument is contained in the chapter ‘Meaning’ in 21 Lessons, at page 285.
“While a good story must give me a role and must extend beyond my horizons, it need not be true. A story can be pure fiction, yet provide me with an identity and make me feel that my life has meaning. To the nest of our scientific understanding, none of the thousands of stories different cultures religions, and tribes have invented throughout history is true. They are all just human inventions. If you ask for the true meaning of life and get a story in reply, you know this is the wrong answer. The exact details don’t really matter. Any story is wrong, simply for being a story. The universe just doesn’t work that way.”
Any Christian, Jew or Muslim will tell you, if they have thought about truth and story deeply enough, that the Story they live by is the criterion of truth, that meaning in the world is given by the story, not the story given the meaning by forces extraneous to it. They have different stories and hence constitute different religions, because they link back to different ideas of what story the adherents shall be guided by.
Each religion contains disparate elements, and thus allows for different stories to be told. Try reconciling the Gospel of John with those of Mathew, Mark and Luke, if you need evidence for differing elements in the sacred texts of a major world religion. Religions spring up as new stories are told: think of Islam, Mormonism, Communism, Christianity, and so forth, without end.
Truth is not therefore a proposition, such as 2+2=4, or e=mc², though both are truthful equations.
Harari also disputes the liberal version of storytelling, that it is I who gives meaning to the world. The world has no need of meaning, he says, following the Buddha.
We do not govern our brain, our feelings, or our reactions to our feelings, he says. With that I agree, but he nowhere seems able to get beyond a truly presumptuous arrogance that, because our “truths” are embedded in stories, there is no truth, no meaning, nor need to create a meaning. This may be orthodox Buddhism. I do not know enough about Buddhism to be sure.
If I have no control over my desires, or my urges, I see no way in which to educate myself, my feelings, or my behaviours. Nor can we expect anyone else to effectively influence my behaviours. This idea is immediately refuted by the experience of every child growing up under the influence of parents and educators.
Harari constantly emphasizes our inability to tell the difference between fiction and reality, as if “reality” were itself not a fiction we have invented. I have bad news for Harari: it is all fiction. We change by having new metaphors, and guiding ourselves by them. Reality does not exist outside of our fictions. Our sufferings take place inside our maps of meaning. Some people just have different maps of meaning, but no one, not even Harari, is without his fictions. He thinks his Buddhism has brought him to the place of no fictions. Suffering without a fiction to explain its meaning: that is his remedy for dependence on stories.
Just as you cannot pick up the gross national product with a set of tongs, because they belong to two different orders of being, so you cannot pick up meaning without having the metaphorical instrument by which to apprehend it, which is a story. That is all we have had so far, and even if the stories are illusory in some sense, they are also our proven ways of getting as far as we have, from wandering the Serengeti devouring dead food to running the planet.
He concludes his book with:
“So if you want to know the truth about the universe, about the meaning of life, and about your own identity, the best place to start is by observing suffering and exploring what it is. The answer isn’t a story”.
That is as unprovable an assertion as that God manifested himself in Jesus, and it is, inevitably, just another story that Harari is peddling. Truth is found in fictions, it is such stuff as we are made of. I doubt we can do better than to try to live in better fictions and, as I have already related, our fictions are often the criteria by which we are obliged to judge the fictions, the world and its inhabitants. We need fictions by which to live as birds need feathers to fly. Some of those fictions we hold to be true, and others we hold to be self evident, even as they are the results of previous iterations of our governing fictions. If this seems circular, it is, in part, but there is a crack in everything, and that is how the light gets in. As that is yet another story, I rest my case.