Archive for July, 2016
It’s election season so a lot of gullible people have developed very strong opinions about which of the two indistinguishable presidential candidates must win in order to stave off the downfall of civilization. These opinions are manifesting online as ridiculous comments that would be considered hyperbole if the commenters didn’t actually appear to believe what they’re posting. I’ve seen comments by a gay woman claiming that anybody who doesn’t vote for Clinton is literally trying to murder her. On the other side of the aisle I’ve seen comments by a well-to-do white man claiming that anybody who doesn’t vote for Trump will be responsible for the downfall of the United States because evil terrorists from the Middle East will flood through its unprotect borders.
How can such ridiculous comments be taken seriously by anybody? Because logic isn’t a play. We’ve devolved debate into an exercise of virtual signaling:
Children are largely deprived of the noble joy of discovering truths as revealed by successful action. Instead they are left with the ignoble gratification of pleasing a taskmaster by reciting an answer that is marked “correct.” And this goes far beyond academics. For the modern child, learning “good behavior” is not about discovering through trial and error what kinds of behaviors are conducive to thriving socially. Instead, it’s about winning praise and avoiding censure from authority figures.
Thanks to this conditioning, we have all become approval-junkies, always on the lookout for our next fix of external validation: for the next little rush of dopamine we get whenever we are patted on the head by others for being a “good boy” or a “good girl,” for exhibiting the right behavior, for giving the right answer, for expressing the right opinion.
This is why the mania for virtue signalling is so ubiquitous, and why orthodoxies are so impervious. Expressing political opinions is not about hammering out useful truths through the crucible of debate, but about signaling one’s own virtue by “tattling” on others for being unvirtuous: for being crypto-commies or crypto-fascists; for being closet racists or race-traitor “cucks;” for being enemies of the poor or apologists for criminals.
We live in a society that teaches children at an early age that truth doesn’t come from experimentation and discovery but from authority figures. Instead of seeking answers through reason we seek them through approval of authority figures. That requires expressing the “right” ideas and expressing them loudly in the hopes that people in authority will hear them and give an approving nod.
This is another side effect of the public indoctrination system. Instead of providing children the tools they need to learn; namely grammar, logic, and rhetoric; public schools focus on making children memorize “facts” and having them prove that they’ve memorized those “facts” by regurgitating them on tests. This focus on memorizing “facts” provided by authority figures often has lifelong ramifications. One such ramification is cognitive dissonance. Take supporters of the drug war, for example. They claim to support drug prohibitions because drugs can kill people. They ignore the fact that the solution they support, prohibition, also kills people. Heroine might kill you over time if you keep using it but an officer shooting you during a no-knock raid performed to find heroine may also kill you. The solution ends up doing the same thing as the problem but most supporters of the war on drugs will ignore you when you point that out. People in authority told them that the solution to drugs killing people is stronger laws and more rigorous law enforcement efforts so that’s what they believe.
Online debates often feel like you’re screaming at a wall because most of the other people debating you aren’t relying on logic. The only way you could get through to them is if you were able to become an authority figure in their eyes. Then they would happily regurgitate whatever you told them was factual.
Chelsea Manning did the American people a service by leaking a great deal of information concerning the government’s activities in Iraq and Afghanistan. For her efforts she was subjected to a military trail and tossed in a cage. Sadly, but not surprisingly, the prospects of being in a cage for the remainder of her life got to her and she attempted suicide. In response the State decided to do what the State does and indulge its sadism:
These new charges, which Army employees verbally informed Chelsea were related to the July 5th incident, include, “resisting the force cell move team;” “prohibited property;” and “conduct which threatens.” If convicted, Chelsea could face punishment including indefinite solitary confinement, reclassification into maximum security, and an additional nine years in medium custody. They may negate any chances of parole.
Instead of providing Manning the psychological help she needs, the State is planning on making her torment even worse but subjecting her to solitary confinement (which they did to her when she was being held while awaiting trail). This isn’t about justice, it’s about a sick desire for revenge. She disobeyed the State and now the State doesn’t merely want to punish her, it wasn’t to torture her for the rest of her life. It really is akin to the Room 101 scene from Nineteen Eighty-Four.
One of the worst characteristics of American society, which is probably common in most societies, is the popular attitude of resisting change. Many Americans resist automation because they’re afraid that it will take people’s jobs. Many Americans resist genetically modified crops because they think nature actually gives a shit about them and therefore produces pure, healthy foodstuffs. Many Americans resist wireless communications because their ignorance of how radiation works has convinced them that anything wireless causes cancer.
With such a history of resisting advancement I’m not at all surprised to read that most Americans are resistant to human enhancement:
Around 66 and 63 percent of the respondents even said that they don’t want to go through brain and blood enhancements (respectively) themselves. They were more receptive to the idea of genetically modifying infants, though, with 48 percent saying they’re cool with making sure newly born humans won’t ever be afflicted with cancer and other fatal illnesses. Most participants (73 percent) are also worried about biotech enhancers’ potential to exacerbate inequality. Not to mention, there are those who believe using brain implants and blood transfusions to enhance one’s capabilities isn’t morally acceptable.
The concern about exacerbating inequality really made me guffaw. Few pursuits could reduce inequality as much as biotech. Imagine a world where paralysis could be fixed with a quick spinal implant. Suddenly people who were unable to walk can become more equal with those of us who can. Imagine a world where a brain implant could help people with developmental disabilities function as an average adult. Suddenly people suffering from severe autism can function at the same level as those of us not suffering from their disability. Imagine a world where a brain implant can bypass the effects of epilepsy or narcolepsy. Suddenly people who cannot drive due to seizures or falling asleep uncontrollably can drive.
Human enhancement can do more to create equality amongst people than anything else. Physical and mental disparities can be reduced or even eliminated. Anybody who can’t see that is a fool. Likewise, any moral system that declares self-improvement immoral is absurd in my opinion. Fortunately, the future doesn’t give two shits about opinion polls and the technology will advance one way or another.
The sex offender registry, like all government registries, is bullshit. How can I say that? Do I want neighborhoods to be ignorant of the sexual predators living within them? Do I want sexual predators to be free to roam the streets and prey on the innocent? These are the kinds of questions I’m asked when I state my opposition of the registry. Obviously I don’t want any such things. But I subscribe to Blackstone’s formulation, which states “It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer.”
When people think of the sex offender registry they think of creepy middle-aged men fondling children or raping women. The reality is far different. What’s the most common age of people charged with sex offense? It’s not 40. It’s not 50. It’s 14:
But in fact, the most common age that people are charged with a sex offense is 14. That’s according to the U.S. Bureau of Justice. Why so young? I explain:
Because people tend to have sex with people around their own age, which means young people tend to have sex with other young people. And much under-age sex is illegal.
So we keep throwing kids on the registry and labeling them sex offenders, as if they’re incorrigible monsters. But in Britain, a study recently commissioned by Parliament has recommended a totally different course: Trying to understand, treat and refrain from labeling the kids, since children often “make mistakes as they start to understand their sexuality and experiment with it.”
If a teenager takes a picture of their junk and consensually sends it to another teenager then both are in possession of child pornography and therefore fall under the criteria of the sex offender registry. The sex offender registry is ruining the lives of people who have done nothing wrong and aren’t even old enough to buy a cigarette or even face trail as an adult. In other words, we have a lot of innocent people suffering.
Nobody should be surprised by this. This is how government registries always work. They’re sold as a mechanism to keep track of the bad people in society but they end up filled with innocent people. I’m sure many of the teenagers who are listed as sex offenders got on the list because some judge decided that teenagers having sex is immoral and that putting them on the list would make an example of them.
John Hinckley Jr., the man who tried to assassinate Ronald Regan, was just released. With an impending Trump or Clinton presidency I can’t help but think that the judge who released him had ulterior motives.
How dangerous are small children? Most rational adults would say that small children are’t very dangerous. The State, however, thinks that every child is a potential terrorist. Because of its irrational paranoia it often uses its
public indoctrination camps schools to monitor children for wrongthink:
Are these the tell-tale signs of kids at risk of committing violence: An 8-year-old who wore a t-shirt saying he wanted to be like a seventh-century Muslim leader? A 17-year-old who sought to draw attention to the water shortage in Gaza by handing out leaflets? A 4-year-old who drew a picture of his dad slicing a vegetable?
Teachers and school officials in the United Kingdom thought so, and they referred these children for investigation as potential terrorists. They were interrogated by U.K. law enforcement. They’re likely subject to ongoing monitoring, with details of their childhoods maintained in secret government files potentially indefinitely.
Why should any of this concern Americans? Because the FBI wants to do something a little bit too close for comfort in U.S. schools, and American schoolchildren may come under similar suspicion and scrutiny.
While there’s no similar government-imposed duty on American schools, U.S. CVE initiatives are based on the Prevent model. Due to this, a core component of the U.S. CVE plan tasks teachers, social workers, and school administrators with monitoring and reporting to law enforcement on children in their care. An FBI document released earlier this year tells teachers to spy on their students’ thoughts and suggests that administrators essentially turn schools into mini-FBI offices. Rights Watch’s report shows what might happen if American schools actually follow the FBI’s proposals.
I wonder if teachers who turn in students receive a reward like people who call one of those crime tip lines?
When I express hatred for public schools I’m usually accused of wanting a world where only wealthy children can afford an education. It’s a straw man argument because I’ve never expressed an interest in restricting education to wealthy children. In fact, I’ve pointed out that education today is cheaper than ever before. My problem with public schools, besides the fact that they suck at providing education, is that they’re used as government indoctrination centers.
I remember a lot of my time in school was wasted with mindless flag worshipping. Until I entered middle school we were required to say the Pledge of Allegiance in the morning. It was our mandatory morning prayer to the religion of statism. History was almost always focused on the United States and it wasn’t viewed with any critical thinking. The United States was almost always in the right and always the greatest country in human history. Geography wasn’t much different. We spent a tremendous amount of time learning the geography of the United States. Beyond that we covered a few European countries here and there and maybe one or two South American countries. What little economics education we received was, of course, nonsense Keynesian bullshit. You know the usual. A gold-based currency cannot work, inflation is good and deflation is terrible, only governments have the right to create money, etc. And there was D.A.R.E. Supposedly a program to keep kids off of drugs, D.A.R.E. was really a program to trick children into trusting the police. I still remember several police officers coming to the school under D.A.R.E. to tell us that the police are our friends (yet anything you say to them can and will be used against you).
More concerning than the indoctrination though was the pursuit of wrongthinkers. I was one of those wrongthinkers and was therefore specifically targeted. Were I going through high school today I’m sure my principal would have reported me to the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) instead of the local police department and my entire existence would have been surveilled for the remainder of my life.
If you put your children into the public education system the State is going to do its damnedest to turn them into unthinking patriotic boot lickers. If your children fail to take to the programming they will be labeled wrongthinkers and may get themselves an FBI record before they’re old enough to buy a beer. Keep your kids out of the fucking public indoctrination camps if at all possible. They won’t get an education there but they will come to the attention of Big Brother.
Are you gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT)? Do you also like guns? Do you often find that your LGBT friends aren’t very enthusiastic about your interest in firearms? Do you often find that your gun friends aren’t very enthusiastic about your sexual orientation or identity? You can finally enjoy the best of both worlds because the Twin Cities has its own Pink Pistols chapter:
If you’re gay, it sometimes can be difficult to tell friends that you’re also a gun owner.
Mark Steiger describes it as “coming out of the gun safe.”
If you’re for both gay rights and gun rights, Steiger runs an organization you might want to join.
He’s head of the Twin Cities chapter of the Pink Pistols, a shooting group open to people of any sexual orientation that encourages gun ownership among the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.
It’s part social group, part gun-safety education provider and part advocacy organization devoted to preserving the rights of gays to protect themselves with firearms if necessary.
Making the gun owner community more inclusive is something I’ve touched on before. At one point the gun owner community was stereotyped as being a bunch of middle aged overweight white guys. That image is changing, especially as many of the old curmudgeon social conservatives die off. I greatly appreciate groups such as the Pink Pistols. They’re expanding the ranks of gun owners, which is always good in my book. More specifically they’re bringing people into the community that face higher than average rates of violence because there are still a lot of bigoted assholes out there who want to hurt them, which means they absolutely need a means of self-defense.
If you’re a member of the LGBT community, or just a friend, join them for one of their events.
The Republicans are selling a world where tall concrete walls topped with barbed wire surround the good God fearing white people of American so they can have sex in the missionary position without worrying about getting their throats slit by the evil barbarians they’re bombing killing.
The Democrats are selling a world where the disarmed populace is entirely at the mercy of the lawless but remain safe from unapproved, dangerous speech and any potential transgression against Mother Gaia, real or imaginary, is punished via summary execution.
The libertarians are selling a world where everybody has the right to snort cocaine off of a hooker’s ass in the middle of a private road while both individuals are wearing nothing but gun belts with automatic Glock pistols in their holsters.
How the fuck are libertarians the ones having a hard time selling people on their ideas?
This year’s Democratic National Convention (DNC) may be the greatest public display of cognitive dissonance in history. Through leaked e-mails we’ve learned that the Democratic Party primaries were being manipulated by the DNC to favor Hillary. I was hoping that Bernie’s supporters were going to react by flipping every table at the DNC and storming out. Instead many of them are latching onto the suspicion that the e-mails were acquired by Russia as fact and using that to sweep the entire affair under the rug. Apparently factual information ceases being factual if Russia acquired it.
Political corruption is nothing new. Politics itself is an exercise in corruption. But the e-mails give us an interesting insight into the payoffs. Take the DNC’s former chair, Debbie Wasserman Schultz. The leaked e-mails revealed that she used her position to rig the election in Hillary’s favor. Although this revelation forced her to resign, she was immediately snapped up by the Hillary campaign:
Ms. Wasserman Schultz was widely criticized during the Democratic primary by supporters of Bernie Sanders of using her position at the DNC to tip the race toward Mrs. Clinton. At least some of that was confirmed at the weekend by the release by Wikileaks of internal DNC emails, which forced her to announce her resignation Sunday.
But in a reaction statement to reporters Sunday, Mrs. Clinton gave Ms. Wasserman Schultz a soft landing by announcing that she would join the Clinton campaign.
Corruption is becoming more blatant now than ever before. It used to be that a scandal like this would require somebody like Wasserman Schultz to stay out of the public limelight for at least a few weeks before joining another political organization. Now corrupt politicos can jump right into the next political organization and nobody gives a damn.
Wasserman Schultz is just one example of the corruption going on in the DNC. Another example revealed by the leaked e-mails is how the DNC planned to give large donors federal appointments:
Democratic National Committee documents recently released by WikiLeaks include spreadsheets and emails that appear to show party officials planning which donors and prominent fundraisers to provide with appointments to federal boards and commissions.
The records, which WikiLeaks released along with nearly 20,000 hacked DNC emails and other documents on Friday, also expose one of the Beltway’s worst kept secrets: that wealthy politicos can often buy their way to presidential appointments.
Worst kept secret is right. Like most corrupt activity that occurs in the political realm, the fact that big donors received special privileges was well known. What these e-mails provided was proof. Writing off accusations of such payoffs can no longer be relegated to the realm of conspiracy theories.
What’s the lesson from these leaked e-mails? The same lesson we always learn about democratic systems: your vote doesn’t matter. Every dollar and hour donated to Bernie’s campaign was wasted. Not only did Bernie sell out in the end by endorsing Hillary, but he had no chance of winning anyways because the DNC itself was manipulating things behind the scenes to ensure Hillary received the nomination. Bernie, effectively, only existed to create the illusion that there was a choice for the Democratic Party presidential nominee. But the DNC had already decided on its candidate and from there on it was predestined that Hillary would win by hook or by crook.