Monday, February 28, 2011

A Pride of Nitwits

I don't believe in Satan as some guy out there with horns and goat legs. That version is based on the mythological Greek god, Pan, and he doesn't exist, either. But if I did believe in him, I'd likely think of him as a mediocrity, a goofus who can't stand to be mocked and ridiculed.

If he's a human, he's likely to be some bumbler that no one takes seriously until he gains political power and starts World War III. He'd be a self-deluded, incompetent, self-proclaimed (but false) messiah, out to remake the world in his image. He'd think he was one of the Good Guys, and, most probably, a lot of the public would, too.

But whatever version he takes, whether Satan Version 1.0 or 1.1, I agree with John Milton, when he wrote in “Paradise Lost,” that Satan's main sin is Pride. And when you have a bunch of people afflicted with that kind of pride, who have enormous political power, then you have, instead of a pride of lions, is a pride of nitwits. Dangerous nitwits, to be sure, but nitwits nonetheless.

Thomas Aquinas defined Pride as "inordinate self-love [as] the cause of every sin...the root of pride is found to consist in man not being, in some way, subject to God and His rule."

There is an amusing little book by Dana Facaros and Michael Pauls called “The Traveler’s Guide to Hell: Don't Leave This World Without It.” It defines pride as "the mother of all sins... the thin line between righteousness and self-righteousness."

There is also a website, "Seven Deadly Sins", which defines pride as "excessive belief in one's own abilities that interferes with the individual's recognition of the grace of God. It has been called the sin from which all others arise. Pride is also known as Vanity."

The sin "from which all others arise," the site says. I believe that's true. Here's another way of putting it: hubris is the only true crime that exists, because it is the basis for all other sins, all other crimes.

Those other sins, of which pride is supposed to be the basis? Envy, gluttony, lust, anger (wraith), greed (avarice or covetousness), sloth. These faults are not only inherent in every human being, they appear to be the main traits of the State. If that's true, political power is one of the worst powers there is, the one that is most easily abused.

Charles Panati, in his book, “Sacred Origin of Profound Things,” claimed the Greek theologian Evagrius of Pontus was the first to draw up a list of the eight worst offenses. From least to worst they were: gluttony, lust, avarice, sadness, anger, sloth, vainglory, and pride. He considered all these sins to be fixations on the self, with pride the worst.

My own self, my own ego, as the center of the world! Russell Kirk, not only an influential conservative thinker but also a fine horror writer, in one of those horror stories, "The Peculiar Demesne," correctly described this "monstrous ego," with its blind, false pride, as the "source of all evil."

Late in the Sixth Century, Pope Gregory reduced the list to seven, combining vainglory with pride, sadness with sloth, and adding envy (Aquinas later denied that sins could be ranked this way). Like Evagrius, Pope Gregory ranked the sins from least to worst: lust, gluttony, avarice, sadness, anger, envy, pride. Again, pride was the worst. In the 17 Century the church replaced "sadness" with sloth.

At one time nearly all people knew the list of the Seven Deadly Sins, along with the Heavenly Virtues: faith, hope, charity, fortitude, justice, temperance, prudence. I suspect more laypeople today are familiar with these lists than our leaders, who appear to unwittingly be crypto-pagans who believe in Might Makes Right.

There are also the Seven Contrary Virtues, first listed by Prudentius in his poem "Psychomachia" ("Battle for the Soul") in 410. These virtues are: humility, kindness, abstinence, chastity (which does not mean celibacy), patience, liberality, and diligence.

The Seven Contrary Virtues stand opposed to the Seven Deadly Sins: humility against pride, kindness against envy, abstinence against gluttony, chastity against lust, patience against anger, liberality against greed, and diligence against sloth.

The Greeks called pride by the name "hubris," which the dictionary defines as "excessive pride, wanton violence." Are excessive pride and wanton violence related? Surely. History confirms it almost without exception. They certainly are related today.

The Greeks personified hubris as a god, one who lacked restraint and dwelled among mortal men. Imagine that. Right here among all of us. The Greeks saw hubris as followed by nemesis: destruction, retribution and vengeance.

The story of pride, of hubris, is clear: it's always followed by some sort of nemesis. What kind? Who knows, specifically? But hubris is always followed by nemesis, as pride is always followed by a fall. One only needs to have one eye half-opened to see this.

The Purpose of the State is to Turn You Into a Machine

A few months before I turned 12, I read H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine. I was never the same. Since at that age I was very susceptible to science-fiction, the novel had a profound effect on my 11-year-old sensibilities (you should have seen what Edgar Rice Burroughs’ A Fighting Man of Mars did to me – I read it at least 20 times within two years).

It wasn’t until college that I was taught about one of the main themes in the novel – the Machine State versus the Natural State. The Morlocks represented the Machine State and the Eloi the Natural State. You can see the same theme in “Star Wars,” where Darth Vader (who is half machine) and the Storm Troopers (who are identical interchangeable cogs) represent the Machine State and the Ewoks represent the Natural State.

The Machine State is supposed to represent evil and got its start during the Industrial Revolution, mostly because of the horrid conditions imposed on factory workers in England by law by the owners (the government even took the workers’ land from them in the Clearances, to force them into the cities to work in the factories). The ghastly conditions in these places are why William Blake referred to them as “dark Satanic mills.”

There is nothing inherently wrong with machines. They’re amoral, neither good nor bad, and can be used for both. All they do is amplify our natural abilities, which is why there exists Cooper’s Law: “All machines are amplifiers.”

However, since machines can be used for horrendous evil – depleted uranium, cluster bombs – writers often concentrate on the bad instead of the good. These days, writers have gone beyond seeing the use of machines as bad things and are now concentrating on people being turned into machines, i.e., Darth Vader and the Borg.

It wasn’t until that particular English class in college that I was also taught the Wells portrayed the Morlocks as what the English working classes would evolve into, and the Eloi, what the English upper classes would turn into. In other words, what the poor and the rich would evolve into.

If you apply some free market political and economic theory to Wells’ contention, you’ll find the Morlocks and the Eloi are what happens to those who use what Albert Jay Nock in Our Enemy the State called the Political Means of force and fraud instead of the Economic Means of persuasion and political and economic liberty.

The Political Means are what produces the Morlocks and the Eloi. Or, to use some of the terms of the more Machiavellian of political scientists, the Masses and the Elites. Or, to use some older definitions, the Sheep and the Wolves. Only now, you might call them, paraphrasing James Burnham, the Machines and the Managers.

The evolution Wells wrote about will never happen, but I certainly understand his point, and like all good artists he was, as Ezra Pound wrote, an antenna of the human race. He looked at what he saw in his time and extrapolated into the future. For that matter, if you want to understand the future, look to the past. The farther you can see into the past, the farther you can see into the future.

History is in fact the same old tired story over and over – the Machine keeps growing and growing, just like the Borg, until it takes over everything. Why? “Why do you resist us?” complains the Borg Queen. “We only want to improve the quality of your lives.”

As both Aesop and Jesus noticed, all tyrants call themselves benefactors.

Since Wells’ time, the idea of the Machine State has evolved. The most famous archetype of the Machine State is Darth Vader. Later it was the Borg from “Star Trek.” Vader was a fun villain at first (the first time I saw “Star Wars,” everyone hissed at him) but the Borg were never fun. And they were far more frightening than Vader or anything else in “Star Wars.”

In all the cases above, what we’re dealing with is the idea of the State trying to turn everyone into a machine. It’s not as outlandish as it sounds.

“G.I.” means “government issue” and soldiers are expendable cogs. The military tries to turn them into – what else? – “killing machines.” They even use drugs to achieve this goal. The perfect soldier would be what the Greeks called Myrmidons – ant-soldiers.

Soldiers aren’t even supposed to be conscious. Smedley Butler, author of War Is a Racket, said that when he was a Marine, he never had a thought in his head.

And, not surprisingly, the members of the Borg (all of whom were kidnapped) have little self-consciousness – it’s why they make such good warrior-ants.

Parenthetically, in the movie “Starship Troopers,” I couldn’t figure out whose side I was on. The Bugs represented a very regimented Machine State, but then, so did the humans with their “soft fascism” (some of the people in the theater were yelling, “Kill Doogie Howser!”). It was the same as wondering if you should support the Nazis or Communists in World War II.

Leftists of whatever kind see the public merely as checkers to be moved around as they see fit. The public isn’t exactly human to them, and if you’re not human then you can certainly be considered a machine.

And isn’t the purpose of public schools to turn graduates into working and consuming machines? John Taylor Gatto has documented that extensively in his book, The Underground History of American Education.

Under political and economic liberty, people fall into their natural roles. Under the heel of the State, they are things, cogs in a machine, and are expendable. This is why in the 20th Century up to 200 million people died in State-created wars.

One of the things leftism is dedicated to – indeed one of its main characteristics – is to make people exactly equal. Of course, if people are exactly equal – an impossibility – then they are as interchangeable as parts in a machine.

The human race has only two alternatives: the State, or liberty. The Political Means or the Economic Means. Force and fraud or persuasion. Checkers or people.

As Alfred North Whitehead wrote in his book, Adventures of Ideas, about the difference between persuasion and force: "The creation of the world -- said Plato -- is the victory of persuasion over force . . . . Civilization is the maintenance of social order, by its own inherent persuasiveness as embodying the nobler alternative. The recourse to force, however unavoidable, is a disclosure of the failure of civilization, either in the general society or in a remnant of individuals . . . .

"Now the intercourse between individuals and between social groups takes one of these two forms: force or persuasion. Commerce is the great example of intercourse by way of persuasion. War, slavery, and governmental compulsion exemplify the reign of force."

As things stand now in the United States, one percent of the people own 40% of the wealth. This did not happen through the free market. It happened by that one percent using the power of the State to appropriate the wealth of the other 99 percent.

You might consider that one percent to be the Eloi and the other 99 percent to be the Morlocks. At least that’s the way things are headed. If the Elites (I use that term neutrally) had their way, the Masses would be working ten to twelve hours a day and be living in North Korean cinderblock apartments and living on oatmeal and potatoes.

In Wells’ novel, the Morlocks turned the tables and used the Eloi as food, just as hundreds of thousands of years before the English upper classes had used the power of the State to feed off of the working classes.

Poetic justice, you might say.

States never last. They self-destruct. As I write this, local and state governments are going bankrupt. No wonder, either.

When things start to collapse, I expect to see some revenge from the proto-Morlocks against their oppressors. Wells certainly predicted that.

Revenge against oppressors is, after all, a natural thing.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

I'm Okay; You're Not So Hot

The title of this piece refers to the the attitude of every person, country, ethnic group and tribe that has ever been toward Outsiders. This belief -- which is really, "We're human, but you're not quite -- or not even close," has been one of the pre-eminent causes of war and genocide throughout history. Technically, it's called narcissism.

One of the few decent contributions that Freud made to psychology was his study of narcissism. Wacky he certainly was, but he made up for it by being a superb diagnostician. He was the first that I know of who wrote about "infantile grandiosity." Adult grandiosity has been noticed for thousands of years. The Greeks called it Hubris, always followed by Nemesis. The Bible speaks of "pride going before a fall" (the correct translation of "pride" is the same as "Hubris"). Satan's catastrophic flaw was that of pride, or a completely unrealistic and self-deluded grandiosity that led him to believe he could be God. But Freud was the first to locate this grandiosity as starting in our infancy (Thomas Hobbes came close when he noticed, "The evil man is the child grown strong").

Psychologists of the Object Relations School believe that every infant goes through a period of splitting their selves--and the world outside -- into "all-good" and "all-bad." In a sentence, the "all-good" is grandiose; the "all-bad" is envious, rageful, and hating. Those who don't outgrow this, when they grow up, are afflicted with (among other things) Narcissistic Personality Disorder or, much worse, Anti-Social Personality Disorder (those with Anti-Social Personality Disorder used to be called psychopaths or sociopaths). Hitler is a prime example of a psychopath; so is Clinton, but he is a much lesser danger, although I don't have the same conviction about his evil Marxist wife. Satan, too, is the story of a psychopath--grandiose, rageful, hating, envious. Psychopaths have no conscience, leading them to believe people are things to be exploited and manipulated for their benefit. They are almost always quite charming, as Clinton is ("con man" means confidence man, since they are very good at gaining your trust).

I am familiar with only one fiction writer who has consciously written about our tendency to split things into all-good and all-bad, and that is the humorist Tom Bodett, who, in his book "The End of the Road," writes about a liberal vegetarian bubble-headed woman who cannot stand the fact her true love has joined the Army. And she cannot forgive him. "Tamara's personal iron gates were guarded by a demon that painted everything black or white," writes Bodett. "Black or white. And she was the only cold judge of which was what. This was black, and her demon would not let her see the light even as it burned inside her." The result? She leaves him, forever. "And Tamara Dupree, soldier of conscience, paragon of wholeness, went out to her bus, looked at the lit, empty windows of a Holiday Inn, and fell apart." Hubris, followed by Nemesis.

Probably the most well-known writer who unconsciously portrayed everything as black or white was the narcissist Ayn Rand, who tried to elevate her mental illness to the status of something divine (she grandiosely called herself "the perfect woman" and the "second- greatest philosopher ever," and denigrated her opponents as "sub- humans" living in "a hell"). Her long-time friend, the psychologist Alan Blumenthal, diagnosed her as suffering from Narcissistic, Paranoid, and Schizoid Personality Disorders. If you know what to look for, all three of these disorders are easily discernable in Atlas Shrugged.

Unfortunately, all of us are prone, in greater or lesser degree, to splitting the world into "all-good" and "all-bad." Tragically, it is part of our nature, and we especially engage in it when under great stress. One of the problems is that we don't know we do it. Since we can't stand the rage, hate and envy in ourselves we cast it onto others. This is scapegoating. We blame the other person. They're the ones responsible for my life, my problems, and my bad feelings! The perceptive and wise story of the Garden of Eden explains it well: Adam scapegoats Eve ("It's her fault!") and Eve scapegoats the serpent ("It's his fault!") The serpent, not at all surprisingly, is a symbol of envy, meaning envy is the basic cause of narcissism and scapegoating (this is exactly what Object Relation theorists have concluded, a few thousand years later). This is also why one of the Ten Commandments reads, "You will not envy." Envy oftentimes leads to murder and theft -- two of the other main prohibitions in the Commandments.

The worst eruptions of rage and hate I have ever witnessed came from envious people. And it was directed at people who weren't much better off than they were. It was then I realized the envious are truly greedy -- no matter how much they're given, it's never enough. What they really want is to drag everyone down to their level. No matter how much taxes are raised on the rich, it will never be enough for the envious.

Rage may be hot, but hate is ice-cold. Only that kind of complete cold-heartedness could allow people to pilot planes into buildings, knowing that children and babies would die.

Every tribe that has ever existed has grandiosely called itself "the Humans" or "the People," devaluing outsiders to the status of sub- or non-humans. Group narcissism, Erich Fromm called it, in such books as Escape From Freedom. Group narcissism explains why tribes could do such bizarre things as treating their own with great kindness and spitting outsiders' babies on spears. Every religion has tried to overcome this Original Sin of ours with such commandments as "Love your neighbor as yourself" or "Do to others as you would have them do to you." The Golden Rule, as C.S. Lewis has pointed out in The Abolition of Man, exists in every religion.

I find it curious, and somehow significant, that the word Jesus used -- "Gehenna" (mistranslated as "Hell" in some Bibles)--is a valley in which infants were sacrificed to the idol Moloch. Much as the "Palestinians" are doing today with their children, and in the same area. Human sacrifice is a form of scapegoating; it's also based on our narcissism. Little noticed is that when Jesus drove the money-changers from the Temple he also drove out those selling pigeons and doves for sacrifice to God.

Nations are just tribes writ large. They grandiosely call themselves "the Fatherland," "the Motherland," or speak of "God and Country." I've come to the conclusion it is possible for the citizens in nations to be hypnotized into a mass psychopathology. If they couldn't be then all those millions of soldiers would not have marched off to be slaughtered in WWI and WWII (I've had this fantasy for years that when governments try to start wars everyone in all the countries involved says, "Naw, I don't think so...I'm just fine in my recliner here. Beer?")

Propaganda works by appealing to our narcissism. Propaganda dehumanizes, then demonizes and scapegoats "the enemy," then calls for their destruction, supposedly leading to peace. Steven Spielberg, for a good example, did a despicable thing in his pro-war propaganda film, Saving Private Ryan. He did not portray one of the Germans as a human being. All are cowardly, murderous, shaven-headed thugs (and being shaven-headed they are as interchangeable as cogs. And cogs are things, not humans). I wonder if he's familiar with All Quiet on the Western Front or the movie, The Boat?

The U.S. government, sadly, is no different than any other government in the history of the world. We were founded as something truly different, but now it has gotten to the point where our government has relegated many other nations -- outsiders -- as Not Quite Human. It has meddled for decades in the internal affairs of other countries, supporting murderous tyrants who have slaughtered and abused their citizens. Is it surprisingly the US government is absolutely hated by so many people in the world? That it is called "the Great Satan"? The USG is engaging in a type of human sacrifice: "We have to sacrifice them to save ourselves."

I honestly thought after the collapse of the Soviet Union we were looking at new era of peace. I did not believe the American Empire, without the Cold War to restrain it, would just simply explode across the world, interfering and meddling in nearly every country's business. We have troops in 140-145 countries, and some of the lunatics in the administration believe we should have troops in every country. If other countries had troops here, how would we feel about that?

When you apply the concept of narcissism to politics, it explains many things. Let's take Osama bin Laden (who I now believe is dead). Here was a guy with grandiose, unrealistic fantasies covering up the humiliating fact his religion had its Golden Age 1000 years ago and has been left behind by the West. The Islamic countries are so weak we can conquer all of them, although I'm sure it would be a Pyrrhic victory because of guerilla warfare and the loss of domestic liberty. I'm sure bin Laden was eaten alive by envy, hate, and the desire for revenge. I'm also sure he scapegoated the West and blamed all problems on it (I think one of the reasons the WTC was targeted because the essence of envy is to "bring down" the envied. I'm sure most of the Third World envies us and wishes to bring us down, even if they go down with us).

Yet, for all his delusions, bin Laden was right about the US government committing genocide in Iraq. After all, we had to sacrifice them to save ourselves. And it certainly was "worth it," as the oozy Madeleine Albright put it (whenever I see her on TV, I close my eyes and see Jabba the Hutt).

While everyone else was narcissistically idealizing bin Laden as some sort of satanic genius, I instead saw him as a deluded, envious nut, who covered up his humiliation and feelings of inferiority with grandiosity, and who had no idea of what the United States military could do to anyone who got in its way. Stupidity is envy's retarded little brother.

Much of the Islamic world scapegoats Israel ("That country is the cause of all our problems"). If Israel ceased to exist would the Islamic Golden Age bloom again? Nope. What would happen is the standard of living of everyone in the area would collapse. Then someone else would be found to fix the blame upon. And you would find people saying, "We need another 60 years to overcome the fact Israel was here for 60 years," just they way I've heard Americans say, "We need another 300 years to overcome the fact we were slaves for 300 years." It's denying self-responsibility, the bane of humanity.

The United States scapegoated alcohol and tried to get rid of it with Prohibition. What we ended up with is organized crime, which still plagues us. Currently the State is scapegoating drugs, which is why we have that catastrophic failure known as the "War on Drugs."

The essence of narcissism is abuse. In a sense, all countries, politically, are psychopathic in their dealings with other countries. They try to exploit, abuse and manipulate them. This is why I consider the State to be a satanic entity. It's chaos intruding into order.

Narcissists also can't take a joke. They are completely lacking in a self-depreciating sense of humor. That's also of the main characteristics of the State. And most politicians, too (when I think of the typical politician, I think of C.S. Lewis' description of Hell: "a state where everyone is perpetually concerned about his dignity and advancement, where everyone has a grievance, and where everyone lives the deadly serious passions of envy, self-importance and resentment").

The U.S. government has been narcissistically abusing the citizens of other countries, treating them as expendable things, while seeing itself as "good" (This is why Dubya said, "They hate us because we're good"). Foreigners returned the favor and flew planes into our buildings, treating us as things. So we returned the favor again, speaking of "the axis of evil" and "the evil ones" while bombing the rubble in Afghanistan into even smaller rubble. It sounds like children hurling insults at each other--"You're the Great Satan!" "No, I'm not, but you're the Evil Ones!"

Right now the US government is trying to scapegoat Saddam Hussein, who, like Manuel Noriega, used to be a "friend" of the US (Henry Kissinger once made the comment that as dangerous as it was to be an enemy of the US, it was fatal to be a friend). Whether or not this is going to lead to an unnecessary war I am still not sure.

Because governments are consistently psychopathic in their dealings with each other, and because they are consistently trying to scapegoat each other, the best thing countries can do is have as little political dealings with others as possible. They should engage in little more than free trade.

Around and around and around we go, and when everyone learns their lesson no one knows.

Sucking Your Thumb

Years ago I owned a taxi. I noticed something interesting about many of the five-year-olds girls I took to and from kindergarten: many of them sucked their thumb.

What surprised me about it is that every time they did, they calmed down. Some of them got very rowdy in the car. But, as soon as the thumb went in the mouth, they were calm and quiet.

I remember one little girl in particular. My taxi had a bench seat, so I stretched my right arm across it. She would lay her head on my arm, turn her head so she could see me, put her thumb in her mouth, and be completely calm. Not a word out of them or any of the other thumb-suckers.

I know that sucking your thumb goes back to an infant’s feeding behavior. And everyone knows about pacifiers, which today are apparently called “binkies.”

I have seen adults suck their thumbs or binkies. I saw an obese woman in a motorized scooter, who had binkie in her mouth. When I mentioned it to my girlfriend, she said she had heard of adults using them to try and stop smoking.

Maybe, or maybe the woman was just nuts, just as the woman I saw in an elevator sucking her thumb was nuts. In her case she was coming out of a public mental-health center.

I once asked my mother if I sucked my thumb. She said no, I sucked my little finger and the ring finger on my right hand. Incidentally, I know a woman who once, when about 11, took a picture of her 12-year-old sister, asleep in bed, sucking her thumb. I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of adults still do it in private.

I’ve read that kissing runs back to an infant’s feeding behavior, too. Sounds about right. If you think about it, it can be considered odd for adults to press their mouths together (I wonder what aliens might think the first time they run across this behavior in humans?).

Since many women babble way too much. I have an idea: all men should carry binkies. When a woman won’t shut up, just stick it in her mouth. It should even be a law.

It would be a much more pleasant world.

Friday, February 25, 2011

School-girl Tasered for Playing 'Scissors, Paper, Rock'

A six-year-old school-girl was recently Tasered by police, then cuffed, taken to the police station, and placed in a cell for playing 'scissors, paper, rock' at school.

"We have a zero-tolerance policy for violent acts," said the principal, Richard "Dick" Less. "We found her playing 'scissors, paper, rock' and immediately called the police. They stormed the school with a SWAT team, asked her what she was doing, and when she made a fist, then scissors, they Tazered her. We can't tolerate this kind of behavior among children. It leads to a lifetime of violence and drug addiction."

"She was putting my officers' life in danger," said Police Chief Richard Cranium. "She threatened them with her fist, then used her index and middle finger to make scissors. She could have killed one of the officers, or all of them. We can't be too careful, even with a first-grader. Generally, we just kill people who do stuff like this, but we give her a break because she was six years old."

Both Less and Cranium said they were following state law, and had done nothing wrong. "We were just following orders," both said.

The mother of the six year old girl, whose name is being withheld, said the whole thing was ridiculous. "What in the world is this country coming to when principals and the police lie with a straight face and say a six-year-old girl could kill people with two of her fingers? Are they on some kind of power trip, or what?"

"It was awful," said one of the girl's classmates, who saw the incident. "The police smashed the windows and threw in these things that made a lot of smoke. Then they jumped in screaming and yelling and pointing guns. They were dressed in these helmets and boots. When she showed them 'scissors, paper, rock' they screamed and shot her with this thing. She fell over and started twitching. I was really scared."

"They put these cuffs on her and dragged her on the floor to outside the school," said another student. "Then I saw them throw her in the back of a car and drive away. They were calling her names like 'perp' and 'terrorist.' Then they were giving each other high-fives and saying stuff like, "So you think we'll be on 'Cops" for this one?'."

The six-year-old girl, who was in a cell for four hours before she was released, was hosptialized briefly. Doctors said she was okay, and there would be no lasting effects. "Not physically, at least," said a doctor who wished to be anonymous. "She's a little banged-up from being dragged on the ground by her hair, but otherwise she's fine. Psychologically, we don't know. I don't think she'll be playing 'scissors, paper, rock' ever again, though."

Police said felony charges are pending, and hope the little girl gets the maximum sentence of 20 years. "We have to nip it in the bud," said SWAT team member Barney Fife.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Snake in the Grass

When I was in college my girlfriend mentioned to me a guy she knew had told her about me, "You can do better than that." I had met him once and had a short but pleasant conversation with him. Why, I wondered, would he say such a thing about me?

The answer was immediate: he would have liked to take her away from me. He envied me. She was a cute one, it was true. Cute and smart, the kind he wanted but apparently couldn't get. So he wanted what I had. He was, to use a common expression, a snake in the grass. He was talking behind my back.

We use the term "snake" to refer to someone who is a backstabber. Apparently, this particular meaning has been used for thousands of years. Think of one of the best-known myths in the Western world, that of the serpent in the Garden of Eden.

Traditionally, the serpent in the Garden is a symbol of envy, because he wants to bring Adam and Eve down because they are the favorites of God. The word it's translated from is "nachash," which is a very interesting word indeed.

It doesn't literally mean "serpent." It has several interrelated meanings: to hiss or whisper like a snake, enchanter, prognosticator.

The word "enchant" means "to chant," as in hypnotize. Same thing as a "spell," meaning "tale," or "the use of words." The serpent used words in an attempt to cast a "spell" on Eve, to get her to do what he wanted so he could bring her and Adam down.

That's what the envious do. They don't come out and say, "I envy you." Usually they can't even admit it to themselves. Of all the Seven Deadly Sins, envy is the only one that isn't any fun. It is, in fact, one of the most corrosive feelings in the world.

Helmut Schoeck, in his magisterial work, Envy, described envy as "a drive which lies at the core of man's life as a social being…[an] urge to compare oneself invidiously with others." He considered it inborn. Perhaps it is, although the intensity varies in the person, from intense to almost non-existent.

Schoeck came to some surprising conclusions. After showing the ubiqitiousness of envy in primitive cultures, including the superstitious terror of arousing the envy of their gods, and that it was a crippling barrier to progress, Schoeck argued that one of Christianity's greatest achievements was in freeing people to progess, for it "provided man for the first time with supernatural beings who, he knew, could neither envy nor ridicule him," and who offered strong moral condemnation of envy.

Of all the myths I am familiar with, only that of the Garden of Eden condemns envy as a truly bad thing, because it sees it is essentially the cause of the overwhelming majority of evil in the world.

Private property, Schoeck claimed, emerged not as the cause of envy, as egalitarians assert, but as a defense against it -- "a necessary protective screen between people," deflecting envy that would otherwise be directed at people onto material goods.

The envious are subtle about their envy, they backstab, they whisper, as Iago whispered to Othello. They attempt to tell the future, to prognosticate. Essentially what my envious backstabbing acquaintance was telling my girlfriend was, "If you leave him for me, it will be better for you." He was attempting to cast a spell on her, to get her away from me. He just wasn't very good at it. Actually, he was terrible, because he was so obvious. But as Aesop noticed, envy always shows. Whenever you see someone trying to pull someone else down, it is almost always caused by envy.

In the myth, when God catches Adam and Eve, Adam blames Eve, and Eve blames the serpent. Blaming other people for our problems is the first defense everyone engages in, and is, as M. Scott Peck has noticed, the genesis of evil in the world. He called it scapegoating. The myth tells us most scapegoating --blaming others for our problems -- is caused by envy. Perhaps not all of it is caused by envy, but probably almost all of it.

That myth, thousands of years old, is a wise and perceptive one. It tells us envious people whisper behind our backs in an attempt to bring us down. They are never upfront. They attempt to cast a spell on the intended, to tell them how wonderful their future will be if they listen. After all, the serpent did tell Eve, "surely you will not die."

The clearest example of envy in a movie I'm familiar with is Amadeus. Salieri is eaten alive with his envy of Mozart. So what does he do? He devotes his life to ruining Mozart, and doing it in such a subtle, devious way that Mozart always thinks Salieri is his friend. Salieri does it behind Mozart's back, he whispers to people, he attempts to cast a spell on them. He is a snake. Of course, he blames Mozart for his failures as a musician. And he ends his life in an insane asylum.

Of all the political systems in the world, the one that has been the most destructive, that has caused the most deaths, is socialism. The heart of it, that which it's based on, is envy. That's why socialists are egalitarians. If everyone is the same, they think, and has the same, then there will no envy. Instead, this attempt to bring Heaven to earth instead bought the worst Hell the human race has ever experienced.

The one political system that is the least conducive to envy is the free market. As the ancient Greek philosophers noticed, the benign form of envy is admiration. At least under the free market, people have a chance to be upwardly mobile. They can attain the same heights, or close to the same heights, as those they envy. They can admire them instead of envying them.

The problem with the human race is not that people are stupid or evil. They're half asleep, hynotized. I am reminded of Kaa, the snake in Kipling's The Jungle Book. In the movie Kaa enchanted his victims by singing to them (and the word "nachash," can also mean "singing"). Kipling also wrote that "words are the most powerful drug ever invented." He was right.

Envy will never be gotten rid of entirely, as long as people are half-awake. It is, as the serpent tells us, part of our animal nature, and will be until our animal nature is overcome, if such a thing is possible. But if not possible, envy can at least be minimized.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Collecting Stray Puppies

I used to collect stray puppies, and by stray puppies I don’t mean dogs: I mean people. I’ve quit doing it, although I still collect stray dogs, specifically pugs.

One stray puppy I collected was a guy named Ray. He had been a drug addict for about 25 years, until he died in his late 40s from a self-inflicted drug overdose. He was living with me at the time he went into the forest with a six-pack of Pepsi and handful of Seconals.

That’s one reason I no longer collect stray puppies. There’s another.

I put Ray in the back room, which had been screened-in porch at one time. He ended up with some goofy drug addict girlfriend whom he brought over to my apartment quite a lot.

One day, while in the apartment, with Ray and his girlfriend in his room, I heard her say, “Go ahead, do it, do it.”

I knew exactly what was going on: Ray had his pistol against her head.

I got up and walked out of the apartment. Somehow, I intuitively knew it was the best thing to do. If I did, I knew things would end peaceably.

I came back 15 minutes and it was all over.

Ray later told me his girlfriend had told him he had held his pistol against her head. He did not remember it, being so high. She told me about it later on and decided perhaps Ray shouldn’t be her boyfriend anymore.

I did not know a person could be so high as to hold a pistol against someone’s head and not remember it.

A few months later Ray took his last trip into the forest.

Hikers found his bones six months later. I had to deal with the police, the first one of which had the attitude I had killed Ray. Did he think we were homosexual lovers and I offed him in a fit of jealous rage?

The second one was a detective, who at least had a brain. But both wanted into apartment, which was not going to happen without a search warrant.

Ray was the last stray puppy I collected. These days, I stick to pugs.

The Perverted Imagination and Evil

“The Origin of Vice,” wrote Mark Akenside hundreds of years ago, is “from false representations of the fancy, producing false opinions of good and evil.” “Fancy” was the word he used for what we now call “imagination.”

He suggested there were two causes: instead of working with reason, imagination can completely dominate the powers of belief. Thus, we soon believe what we imagine, even though it does not conform to reality. And as Goethe and Yeats were so intensely aware, imagination intensifies feelings -- good ones, and not-so-good ones..

Second, given the nature of man, Akenside believed a powerful imagination, if given to illusions, can encourage the passions of self-interest, such as envy and revenge. Animals, for example, having no self-consciousness and therefore no imagination, have no desire for revenge, or envy, or ambition.

Notice that Akenside wrote “false opinions of good and evil.” That would mean there are facts about good and evil. And there’s the rub. How do you tell the false from the true when it comes to defining good and evil?

In my view the worst of false and imaginary opinions about good and evil consists in believing in a pure good and a pure evil. In reality no one is either all good or all bad. This concept of good and evil is imaginary. It doesn’t exist.

People who believe in Pure Good and Pure Evil have disordered imaginations. Not surprisingly, they are also not rational, i.e., their reason is as distorted as their imagination.

It’s not, as Akenside suggested, that imagination is not working with reason. Instead, both reason and imagination are working together, but both are distorted. The result, as Goya said, is the sleep of reason that breeds monsters.

Those who believe in this imaginary view of good and evil always project it onto other people, although none of them appear to be conscious of what they are doing.

Samuel Johnson understood what the disordered imagination can do: “All power of fancy over reason is a degree of insanity…it is not pronounced madness but when it comes ungovernable, and apparently influences speech and action.”

How to Recognize Villains

This is what I have learned from cartoons, myths, fairy tales and fables about
politics and human nature.

Villains always attempt to conquer the world. They always fail. They almost
never learn their lesson, unfortunately.

Villains rarely change their villainous ways, even if their villainy is pointed
out to them many, many times. They're not only ignorant of goodness; they're
ignorant of their ignorance. This double ignorance is the worst ignorance of all.

When the King appears to be dense, it is not a ruse to cover the fact he is in
reality quite clever. That only happens in bad stories and good parodies of bad
stories. When the King appears to be dense he really is dense.

After a Kingdom has been around long enough the royal family de-evolves to
the point that the King looks like an inbred if good-natured mutant, one who
looks as if he should be playing a banjo.

If the King is dense it is always the Villains who are advising him and really
running the show. This means the Kingdom is being run by Monsters. This is
not a good thing.

When all of the above happen it is time to reboot the Kingdom and start
Version 2.0.

The Villains are never that bright themselves, although they are bright enough
to fool a dim-witted King and many of the peasants, which certainly doesn't
say much for the smarts of many Kings or the peasants.

The not-so-bright King and the Villains who advise him invariably think that
a powerful Kingdom means a great big army with more catapults and
crossbows and implements of war than the Kingdom knows what to do with.

Most of the peasants are too busy watching the ox-races to pay attention to
what is going on with the King and his Villainous advisors and what they are
doing to the Kingdom.

The peasants always whine about why there are no jobs but never can quite
make the connection to the great big army with more catapults and crossbows
and implements of war than the Kingdom knows what to do with.

The Villains always tell the peasants the Villains are patriots, but in reality
they are scoundrels. Patriotism is not the last refuge of a scoundrel -- it's the

The Villains are loyal only to their evil selves and their evil causes, and
certainly not to the King or the Kingdom or the peasants, all of whom they
would sacrifice in a heartbeat to further their evil ends.

The King never figures out the Villains and their nefarious schemes until it is
almost too late. The peasants also never figure it out until it is almost too late,

The peasants almost always figure it out before the King, after many of them
come back dead and maimed from the Kingdom's military adventures in
foreign lands.

The Villains have no problems whatsoever sacrificing the peasants for
whatever wars they con the King into starting. In the minds of the Villains
"peasant" equals "cannon fodder."

The Villains believe it is their right to rule because they are so much smarter
and wiser than the dim-witted peasantry, who they believe couldn't cut soft
butter with their foreheads.

The clueless peasants are always shocked when the Villains snatch them away
from the ox-races, enslave them to the military, stick a sword in their hands
and march them to battle in foreign Kingdoms. None of the Villains, however,
know which end of a sword to grasp.

Some of the peasants are so dumb they actually believe the King is smart and
the Villains aren't evil and really do support the good of the Kingdom. These
Really Dumb Peasants are the biggest supporters of war, as long as other
peasants fight it. Like the Villains, they don't know which end of the sword
goes where.

The loudest of the Really Dumb peasants often become PR shills for the
Villains. This generally involves yelling at the peasants through a megaphone
that they should be grateful the Villains are really protecting the Kingdom
because they are so smart and really do know what they're doing.

Wars supported by the Villains are never in defense of the Kingdom, although
the Villains always claim they are. Villains, being villainous, are always
two-faced fibbers with ulterior motives, which they always deny if anyone has
enough of a brain to see through them.

The Villains always make out like bandits on taxes extracted from the
peasants and booty from conquered Kingdoms, since the Villains believe
money and power are their just dues.

The peasants doing the fighting never get any of the swag.

The Villains always claim the Kingdom is under attack, and criticisms of
them or their actions are traitorous. They smear and try to silence those who
see through them as being anti-Villain. Minus the tragedy, this is really quite
funny since Villains are always traitors.

The wars of the Villains never go as planned. The Villains will then claim they
never supported them in the first place and it is the King's fault.

Occasionally the peasants get fed up enough to chase the Villains out of he Kingdom with pitchforks and flaming torches. Unfortunately this is pretty rare and is used as
a last resort instead of the first.

Villains will always be with us. So will Stupid Peasants.

Heroes and Villains

I like to think I am a genius. I also like to think I look like Sean Connery. But since I am not the first (and can only be the second if someone gives me several hundred thousand dollars for plastic surgery), I've decided it's a good thing if I pay some attention to wisdom that's been around for a few thousand years This is because I don't have the brains to figure everything out from scratch, all by myself.

Unfortunately, my innate intellectual abilities don't extend much beyond analyzing cartoons. Now with them I am a genius. Which, I guess, really isn't saying that much. But then, someone's gotta do it.

Cartoons (the good ones) are just old myths in modern dress. It's ancient wisdom, spinning at a modern 24 frames a second. Some people (who generally aren't familiar with the myths themselves) whine that kids today don't know, for example, the old Greek ones, but I suggest if they want to teach them, just compare the old myths to the modern ones. I tell kids that Brain (of Pinky fame) is an updated version of Ares, the Greek God of War. So now they know who Ares is.

And, heck, if you don't want to read about Beowulf and Grendel, you can always read or watch Lord of the Rings. Beowulf's fight with Grendel is pretty much the same story as the Hobbits' fight with Gollum.

Cartoons and comics generally have a Hero and a Villain. Superman is a Hero and Lex Luther is a Villain. Dudley Dooright is a Hero and Snidely Whiplash, a Villain.

Villains almost always suffer from the same problem: they want to conquer the world. Why? Because they are afflicted with the sin of Hubris, of thinking they are gods. They lie, murder and steal. They are greedy, ambitious and vengeful people who want power over the lives of others, who exist for them only as a means to their ends.

This archetype of the Villain, of the would-be world conqueror, wouldn't exist unless it was based on a certain type of unpleasant and troublesome human, one who appeared in the earliest literature. Think of the Bible, in which one of the trouble-makers went by the name of Herod. The Romans wrote about him as Caligula, and a few thousand years later he went by such names as Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot.

All were the same; they wanted attention, to rule, and to destroy. All Villains, in essence, follow an inversion of the Ten Commandments. All of them worship that Strangest of Gods, their own monstrous ego.

The Hero, on the other hand, doesn't want to conquer the world. He knows it cannot be done, unlike the deluded Villains. Even if it could, he wouldn't do it, knowing that liberty is moral while slavery is not. Instead of being afflicted with Hubris, he tries to be modest, because he understands he is not a god, and instead as a human, is imperfect and limited. (Underdog, who made his living as Humble and Lovable Shoeshine Boy, comes to mind.)

The Hero does not murder, or steal, or tell lies against his neighbor. He believes, like Superman, in Truth and Justice (and what used to be the American Way). He is not greedy, ambitious or vengeful. He does not see people as instruments for his use.

So if Villains are liars, murderers and thieves who see others as means to their end of conquering the world, who, today, could be these people? It's pretty clear. In the U.S. it is the neocons, people like David Frum, William Kristol, John Podhoretz and Douglas Feith.

For the most part things are a lot simpler than they appear. People often confuse and deceive themselves with the delusions of realpolitik. They pride themselves on their non-existent worldliness and sophistication, which blinds them to their foolishness and vanity. I'm certain the simple wisdom of a cartoon is far beyond their intellects.

There is an old saying: "the road to Hell is paved with good intentions." When the achievement of those "good intentions" is attempted through murder and theft (say in an unjustified, undeclared and unconstitutional "war"), the road to Hell is wide open.
Villains understand only violence. Heroes believe in reason, although they understand it doesn't work on the Villains. (Incidentally, the word "villain" comes from "villein," which was "a member of a class of persons who were serfs with respect to the lord but had the rights and privileges of freemen with respect to others." In other words, they wanted to rule, but couldn't, so were cruel to those under them. They also sucked up to those above them.)

Who today are the Heroes? Anyone who believes in liberty, who sees people as individuals and not as means to an end, and who does not murder, steal or tell lies against his neighbors. It's just about everyone who opposes the Villains.

Profound wisdom is embodied in myths, fairy tales and fables. And their modern equivalents. They show us, unfortunately that Villains will always be with us. They also tell us how easy it is to recognize them.

Broken Windows, Hotdogs, and the Social Order

It was James Q. Wilson who championed what has become known as "the Broken Window theory." He, along with the police and social psychologists, noticed that a broken window in a building, unless repaired, led to the rest of the windows being broken. It's verification of the old saying, "Give them an inch and they'll take a mile."

When police began to use the Broken Window theory – taking care of small crimes like begging and drunkenness – the major crimes started dropping.

I first noticed this when I was a teenager in my hometown, which has about 40,000 people. The police at that time were not hampered by a lot of PC laws. They also did a lot of "informal" policing, like pulling us over and dumping out our beer and wine in front of us. Anything else they found they dumped out of the baggies and scattered to the four winds. That was a lot of money lost when you worked at McDonald's or a bowling alley. Then they told us, "First warning. Next time, we take you home and tell your parents."

That did it; we realized there are things you do in public – and things you do in private. All of us grew up to be chemists and lawyers and newspaper editors.

We found consequences were immediate. No arrests, no being taken in, no going to trial three months later. However, the third time always resulted in an arrest. These were very, very rare, and always the dumb kids who usually ended up being criminals anyway. And in high school, didn't everyone know who the bad kids were without anyone telling them?

At that time the streets in my hometown were safe to walk at any time of night. Even today, they still are. And the cops haven't changed, except now most of them (including the police chief) are ones I went to high school with.

Once, several years ago, as I was getting into my car, some gangbanger wannabe, who had obviously wandered in from out of town and had no idea whatsoever what town he was in, tried to strongarm me in a parking lot. I chased him around the lot for 15 to 20 seconds in my Caprice. It was pretty amusing to watch him jump out of the way. Then I got the cops, who couldn't find him. They did have me look at mugshots. He wasn't among them, which meant he had never been arrested in my town. If I had identified him, he would have been taken in, knocked around, and told, "If we ever catch you in this town again, next time we won't be so nice."

The cop who I found was one I have known since kindergarten. He doesn't remember that I and another kid launched a wooden block across the room and bloodied his forehead. For the best, probably.

When I told him I had chased this guy around the lot with my car, he didn't even blink an eye. He did comment, "If I had been you, I would have beat the fuck out of him." Which was a way of saying, "If you had hurt him, and claimed self-defense, nothing would have happened to you."

He, and the police chief, and all the rest of the cops, were raised
in my hometown, and still live there. The citizens know who they are, and they know the citizens. It was the same in high school. The police used to give me rides when they saw me hitchhiking.

Yet, years later, when I moved seven miles away, to a city with
half-a-million people, it was as if I had moved to a different world. The police force was ten times bigger, but not even one-quarter as good.

The cops didn't know the citizens. They didn't walk foot-patrols. They were more interested in running speed-traps, conning themselves they were doing real police work, and filling city coffers. And worst of all, they ignored minor crimes.

I used to live in an apartment a few years ago. One morning, as I was leaving for work, I heard a screeching sound from across the street. When I looked in the direction of the sound, I saw a car make a U-turn, go up on the curb, and crash headfirst into a tree.

So, of course, I stopped to watch, wondering what was going on. And
out of this car pops a 250-pound bronto-sapien of a woman, who starts shrieking in my direction and heading towards me. Hey, lady, what did I do to you?

Then I noticed she was heading toward some guy on the sidewalk, whom I had not noticed at first. He weighed about 125 pounds, and was so skinny I wondered how his pants stayed up because he had no butt. He was into that pants-half-way-down-the-butt thing.

Since she was obviously going to smush this guy, he runs up by my door, with her in hot pursuit. "Hey, look," I tell both of them, "This is private property, so get off or I'm going to call the police."

It was like I wasn't even there. I might as well have been talking to two cats fighting. Then, right in front of me, they start swapping punches! Only they were missing each other by two feet. It reminded me of the scene in the movie, It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World where Terry Thomas and Milton Berle get into a ten-minute fight and can't damage each other. In one scene Berle is swinging mightily at Thomas and missing him by a foot. Step-swing-oof! Step-swing-oof!

I was looking at Antwon and LaShonda imitating Milton Berle and Terry Thomas! That's when I began to get The Twilight Zone feeling.

Since they weren't listening to me, my next thought was to run upstairs, get my bat and smack 'em. It's aluminum, which makes a pleasant melodious bonging sound on the head. Wood makes an unpleasant cracking sound and has a tendency to fracture. I'm sure this would have amused an elderly couple driving by. ("Oh look, Herm, that guy is beating that fat negro lady and that skinny negro man with a baseball bat." "Maybe we should call the police, Mabel." Both look at each other for a second and burst into, "HAHAHAHA!")

Then, before I have a chance to do anything else, this guy runs inside the front door of my apartment building and locks it. He's locked me out of my own apartment building. By this time I'm starting to get a little angry.

What does he do next? Through the glass in the door I see him throw up a bunch of half-digested hotdogs. Who eats hotdogs for breakfast?

That's it; now I'm mad. "I'm calling the police!" I yell at them. I
unlock the door, and the hell if she spins this guy around like a
cheerleader's baton! I don't care!

He darts out and around the building with Buffalo Girl after him.
Apparently he hops the fence into my back yard, because several seconds later here she comes around to the front again, unable to get up enough speed to plow the fence down.

Chug-chug-chug she goes by me and around the other side to where the entrance to my backyard is. Then upstairs I go to dial 911. "Do they live there?" the retard on the other end asks me. "No," I tell her, "she crashed her car into a tree, they're fighting in my front yard, and he PUKED HOTDOGS ALL OVER MY LANDING!!"

"We'll send somebody there," she tells me. Oh, really, is that so? Thank you so very much. I head out my door and run into my neighbor across the hall. "I called 911," I tell her. "So did I," she tells me.

Then I'm out in the front yard, and here comes twigboy with his bisonic girlfriend across the front yard again and then into the neighbor's yard, then back into mine, all the while yelling and screaming at each other. I have no idea what they shrieking. It's
all in Ebonics.

"GET OUT OF HERE!!!" I yell again. No response; I've moved from The Twilight Zone straight into Outer Limits. "The Zanti Misfits," that's it! They're aliens sent here to torture me to madness!

Then they're in the front yard swapping punches again! And still
missing each other!

Where's that cop? Back upstairs I go – avoiding the hotdogs
- and I dial 911 again. "Please send some cops out here," I beg. "They're on their way," the double-plus retard promises me. Back in the hall I run across my neighbor again. "I called 911 again," I tell her. "So did I," she responds. Four calls!

Out in the front yard I find both these heinous beasts are gone. But
when I look down the street, I see the Blob From Hell sitting in her
car around the corner, probably waiting for a chance to mow down her scrawny boyfriend's nonexistent butt.

Then a police car rolls up. No lights, no siren, nothing. Just kind
of casually rolls up. And who gets out? Some fat female cop! She blobs her way up to me. By this time my neighbor is in the front yard.

"…and...and then...crash...puke...fight...fat...ugly...stupid," I babble, then point to the car, as does my neighbor. What does the car do? It starts and pulls away! "Go get 'em!" I yell.

The cop looks at the car like a dog watching a yo-yo. "That's a good
girl!" I think. "Car! Chase!"

"Well, it looks like it's all over now," this got-in-on-lowered-standards oinker tells us. And people wonder why I hate Political Correctness! I gape at her. I look at my neighbor. She's also gaping at the cop.

Damaging city property, fighting, creating a nuisance, disorderly
conduct, leaving the scene of a wreck, trespassing, PUKING UP HOTDOGS...and who knows what else! And what does this brainless cop tell us? "Well, it looks like it's all over now."

Then she gets in her police car and leaves. If someone had taken a picture of me, it would have been a classic: shoulders slumped, mouth hanging open in disbelief, one hand pointing limply at the now-disappeared perp in the car.

Then I think about the hotdogs. "I have to go to work," I tell my neighbor. "I'll clean it up," she tells me.

This is an example of horrible policing. It's not putting a stop to these kinds of crimes that lead to bigger, and worse, crimes. And guess what? In that neighborhood it wasn't particularly safe to walk
around at night. Who woulda thunk it?

Myths as Power over Evil

I’ve forgotten how many stories I’ve read that stated naming something gave you power over it. I never paid much attention to this contention, because I never really understood it. Then years ago, it dawned on me what it meant.

This “naming of names” gives an identity to evil. And if you don’t know what evil is, how can you combat it? Naming something, does then, give you some power over it.

Let’s use the Greek god of war, Ares, as an example. Ares is a lover of war, but incompetent and a coward. All the stories involving Ares say the same thing: all wars are always waged incompetently, and are generally started by cowards.

Ares would have never been created if the Greeks hadn’t noticed people and events that generated the internal presentation of “Ares” in their minds. The myths about Ares, then, are just short stories that entertain and educate people about the universal truths of life.

Americans have experienced the same people and events that generate “Ares” in their minds, too. Only the name that some people have given him these days is “Chickenhawk.” Our modern-day Chickenhawks are the war-loving, cowardly incompetents who have generated “Chickenhawk” in Americans’ minds just as Ares was generated in the minds of the Greeks.

Same monster, just a different name. By naming the monster, people – at least some people – know who the monster is. Imagine what is would be like not to be able to identify your enemies!

Ares was married to Aphrodite, the goddess of love. Now what is up with that? Love and war?

There are people who love war. They don’t feel totally alive unless they are in a war zone. These are the kinds who become mercenaries, and fortunately there aren’t many of them.

Mercenaries aren’t the problem, though. Those who love war from a distance, and get their thrills from it, are a bit more of a problem. At their worst they are the nationalists who prattle about our “best-trained, best-equipped” military that is “the greatest force for good in the world today.”

The real problem, however, are the Chickenhawks who rabidly support wars, start them, but have no intention whatsoever of making their way to the front. Or even the rear, to peel potatoes.

Some of these people have been so incensed about being called Chickenhawks they have claimed the word should be banned. This only shows how powerful the naming of names – identifying your enemies – really is.

These Chickenhawks show why Ares is married to Aphrodite – they love war. Chris Hedges, in his book, “War is a Force that Gives Us Meaning,” identified this as what the Bible warns against as “the lust of the eye.”

I think, more accurately, that Ares should be married to Lust, not Aphrodite. Chickenhawks are wedded to Lust. That’s a pretty good fit. Chickenhawks are wedded to the lust to start wars.

Standing against Ares is Athena, who is the goddess not only of wisdom, but war. In that way she overlaps with Ares, which is one of the reasons they were always at odds.

Ares and Athena show there are at least two ways to wage war – the mindless slaughter of Ares, or the wise way of Athena. That is, if you are going to go to war, it should be done wisely.

However, I can think of no time in the history of the world in which Athena was followed instead of Ares. We’re lucky enough if one combatant is tipped slightly more toward Athena than Ares.

Now here’s the rub: Americans have identified Ares and renamed him the Chickenhawk. But we still have not identified Aphrodite and Athena, and having not yet named them, our enemies still have power over us, because we have no defense, in the form of entertaining and educating stories, against them.

I’m going to repeat that in a different way: because we have not identified wisdom and love – again, more accurately, lust -- we have no defense against war-mongers, since they always portray themselves as patriots, even though they are the exact opposite.

During the Bush administration these traitorous Chickenhawks were known as neocons, who were, and are, as gung-ho as possible about starting Holy World War I in the Middle East. Again, none of them had, and has, no intention whatsoever of risking their own miserable hides in combat.

Americans have fortunately identified another mythological archetype – that of the Sheeple, those sleep-walking, brain-dead zombies who follow leaders to their destruction in meaningless wars.

The easiest way to identify the Sheeple is that they follow Ares instead of Athena, and the fact they don’t recognize Ares as Ares, and instead think he’s Athena. Not that they know who Ares and Athena are.

It’s a good thing Americans have identified the Chickenhawk and the Sheeple. But it’s a bad thing we otherwise have not generated our own concise short stories – mythology -- as a defense against the Vladimir Harkonnens (who worshipped Ares) in our own nation.

At one time the Greek myths were taught in schools, since they had so greatly influenced Christianity. Those days are over and I doubt they ever come back.

Until we come up with some way to represent Athena and Aphrodite in our modern world, Ares is always going to work his way to the top of political heap.

A Very Fractured Fairy Tale

Here's a story with which everyone is familiar, even unto a four-year-old child: a village is menaced by a dragon, so the hero rides out, slays it and saves the village.

True, it's a simple story, but, in different versions, it's the basis of many stories all over the world. Look at the great Japanese film, The Seven Samurai: the village is menaced by bandits, so the villagers hire samurai to slay the attackers. Village, Dragon, Hero.

Now imagine what people would think of this story: the kingdom is under attack by what the inhabitants think is a dragon. None understand the reason the dragon is attacking them is because the king, his advisors and their soldiers have been kicking the dragon for 60 years.

So the king sends his soldiers out to kill the dragon. What they find is not a dragon, but some tiny and mostly harmless lizards. Still, the king uses up his soldiers and the kingdom's wealth chasing the lizards all over the world so they can kill them or convert them to being democrats.

At the same time, the king and his advisors throw open the borders of the kingdom so tens of millions of lizards can move into the kingdom and eat up the kingdom's wealth. The lizards want to kill or expel the people in the kingdom, so they can take over the land, somehow thinking the wealth will still be there even after they've devoured every last scrap of it.

Could not even the youngest of children see though this? Of course they could.

The moral: the real attacks in any kingdom come from the inside, from the king and his advisors, not from the tiny little lizards outside, that everyone has magnified into being a dragon.

Feeling, Emotion and…?

I’ve seen this distinction drawn between feeling and emotion: feeling is inside; emotion is what you show. I think it’s a valid distinction: “emote” means “from the inside out.” Actors “emote.”

You don’t necessarily show your feelings. What you feel and what you show may be two different things. Generally, though, they are pretty close.

There is one thing missing from this equation: from the outside in. I am familiar with no word to describe this. I think “intromotion” might be a good one. “Inmotion” would never be understood.

I have a dog, a pug. He’s a rescue pug, taken away from his original owners because they abused and starved him. He was one-third underweight.

For the first six months he was food crazy. If I went anywhere near him when he was eating he’d growl and even snap at me. He bit me for various reasons at least six times. He would not roll over on his back, which is a sign of submission in dogs.

For six months I petted him and scratched him and fed him lots of food, as much as he wanted. Now, he’s a good dog. He no longer bites, he will even let me take food from him, and he willingly rolls on his back. Why?

Because what I did to him was from the outside in. If you want to tame a dog it has to be from the outside in. You have to “handle” them, and it’s best to start when they’re puppies.

The same thing applies to people. It’s best to start when they’re babies. You have to treat them correctly from the outside in. “Intromotion,” for what of a better word.

Society spends enormous sums of money trying to fix broken adults. Usually it doesn’t work. Lots of them end up in prison.

It’s clear because of “intromotion” people have influence, indeed some control, over other people. And, most especially, over children. What we do to other people “goes inside” of them and affects their feelings, and, after that, their behavior. The study of this is what some psychology is about.

Or, for that matter, some economics and political science. If the public is abused by the government – which seems to always happen – what is the end result? Humiliated people seek revenge. I consider that a law, whether it’s in personal relationships or group ones.

Why has a word to describe “from the outside in” never existed as far as I can tell? Everyone knows about it. I am mystified

Sunday, February 20, 2011

An Encounter With a Crazy Woman

A few years ago I walked out to my van and noticed the door was ajar. That puzzled me since I was positive I shut it firmly.

Then I noticed off to my left side, about 12 feet away, a fortyish woman wearing wraparound sunglasses (which I dislike on anyone) appearing to give me a hostile look. She had a cellphone in her left hand.

By this time I had alarm bells going off. Something was going on but I didn’t know what.

When I opened the door to my van she asked me, “Is this your van?” What a dumb question.

“Yes,” I said.

“I called the police because you left your dog in this heat.”

She had opened the door to my van.

The dog in question was Mickey, my second pug and the first of my rescue ones. Mickey was blind in one eye and had been abused. I got him for free because no one else wanted him.

It was hot out, about 95 degrees. I had very cold AC in my van, had shaved Mickey’s fur to within a millimeter of his skin, kept a gallon jug of ice water in the van and a bowl to give him water, and when I got out I poured cold water on him, parked in the shade, and kept the windows down. I was never gone more than eight minutes.

Any dog can handle that kind of heat, with what I had done for him, for eight minutes without any problems. How do people think dogs in the wild survive? It’s not as if all they die when it gets hot. They hide in the shade or dig dens.

I immediately knew what this woman’s problem was because of the hostile look on her face and her attack on me without knowing the slightest thing about me and my dog.


I knew her husband had left her, or none of her relationships had worked out, so she was one of those women who blamed all her problems on men. The dog was just an excuse to make her feel self-righteous.

I told her, “The police aren’t going to do anything. They get these calls all the time and they take their time getting here because they want me to leave. You don’t know anything about me or my dog, so mind your own business and take care of your own problems?”

“You wait until the police get here!” she told me. What did she think they were going to do? Arrest me? Take my dog? Even if they had shown up they would have looked at the situation and left. The dog was fine, just panting a bit because I found out ten minutes later, he had to pee.

I decided to escalate things, which I do a lot. When people get angry they blurt out the truth.

“You haven't been laid in three years,” I told her. "You know why? Because you're a stupid, unpleasant bitch."


Her eyebrows shot up and she jerked backward. Then she unwittingly said something they proved my intuitions about her. She yelled, “You’re no gentleman! You’re not married!”

Just as I thought: men problems. The first words out of her mouth were about men (gentlemen, that is, men being nice) and marriage.

“Your husband left you, didn't he?” I said (she twitched again), got in my van and left, with her still screaming, “You want until the police get here!”

She was right about one thing: I’m no gentleman, at least not when dealing with people who get involved in my life and don’t know a thing about me.

And I’ll bet she took my license plate number down and told the police the whole story about what a horrid man I was.

That is, if they ever showed up.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Intuition and Seeing Patterns

On the Myers-Briggs personality test I am listed as an INTJ – introverted, intuitive, thinking, judging. I have never varied every time I take the test.

One of the things that I do, and all INTJS do, is perceive patterns. I don’t even try. It’s as if I see them unconsciously, and then the answer pops into the head – that’s the intuitive part.

It’s not always such a pleasant thing.

I used to be the editor of a small weekly newspaper. At that time I didn’t know anything about the Myers-Briggs, which is based on Carl Jung’s work.

One day a young woman disappeared. Witnesses had seen her withdrawing money from her bank account after dark. That’s the last anyone saw of her.

I looked at the map on my left side, on the wall. I looked at the spot where she was last seen, and where her home was. The connecting line was a two-lane country highway.

Bam, just like that, I knew she was dead. I even knew where she was – on the right side of the highway, leading toward her house.

I mentioned this to the assistant editor, and told him if we drove along that highway we’d find her. I also told him it’d be a bad idea, because the police would have suspected us. So we didn’t go.

A few days later she was found exactly where I predicted.

It turned out a serial killer had murdered her. Bizarrely, he had graduated from the same university I graduated from, but had graduated about four years before I moved there. He had also killed perhaps four women before the one tossed on the side of the highway.

He was caught after he killed a reporter who worked for the daily newspaper which owned the weekly of which I was editor.

At that time I didn’t know enough about serial killers to know what was going on. I do now. Had I known at that time what I know now, I would have caught him before he murdered the reporter – and also a pregnant woman.

Sometimes the intuition is more pleasant. There have been times I’ve walked into people’s homes and could immediately feel the warmth and feeling of home in the place. How could I do that? I have no idea.

Herding the Sheeple

There are some stories so small they can be held in the palm of your hand, yet so powerful they have changed the world. I speak of the Gospels.

I am not, however, speaking of them in a religious sense. I speak of them as the most vivid expressions of the political psychology of the Mob, the Leaders, the Exaggerated Threat, the Scapegoat, and the Human Sacrifice that I have encountered.

Those five archetypes exist in every society that believes itself to be under threat. All are "hidden" in the Gospels, yet easily found if you look for them. And as far as I know, the Gospels are the first time in literature that kind of psychology and politics was shown to the world.

The psychiatrist M. Scott Peck made the comment that "scapegoating is the genesis of human evil." He's right, but he didn't go far enough. Scapegoating is the middle of the equation. There are things before and after it. What comes after scapegoating, what is always leads to, is human sacrifice.

Scapegoating is defined as when we take the "badness" in ourselves and project it on others. It sounds too simple to be profound, but it explains the vast majority of evil in the world.

Scapegoating is what both the Nazis and socialists did during the 20th Century. The death toll might be up to 200 million people. The Nazis did it not only to Jews but to Christians. They planned to eradicate both groups. The socialists did it to "capitalists," the proletariat, and whatever group they considered a threat. Each said, "Once we get rid of these people, our problems will cease." Each scapegoated other humans and sacrificed them.

That same psychology of scapegoating to human sacrifice exists among serial killers, who are microcosms of what societies do at large. They blame their problem on others, then sacrifice them, hoping the murders solve their problems. What they do doesn't work for them, or for societies. It never has, and never will, although both futilely keep trying over and over.

In order for scapegoating to lead to human sacrifice, the threat, if it exists at all, has to be exaggerated. The threat has to be considered mortal. It has to be made into a threat that can conquer or destroy. Who would take seriously a threat if it could not damage you?

Here we come to the Mob and the Leaders. Unfortunately, the Mob is Mass Man, and can usually be led around by his collective nose by the Leaders. If the Mob considers itself under threat or is attacked, it will unite. It doesn't matter if the Mob is a tribe or a nation. Then, the Leaders can herd them as so many sheep.

Hermann Goering put it this way:

"Why of course the people don't want war. Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood.

"But it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along to fight a war...voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy.

"All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."

Goering was right. If the leaders tell the mob they are being attacked, the mob will unite. The mob, which has no sense, cannot tell if the threat is real or exaggerated. Both the leaders and the mob have to make the threat mortal. Then, once the threat is identified, it has to be scapegoated and destroyed.

The above story exists in the Gospels. The leaders exaggerated the threat of Jesus to the mob, which united and called for his death. He was then scapegoated and sacrificed.

A Mob is always a monstrous self writ large.

These are the elements involved in his death: the Mob, the Leaders, the Exaggerated Danger, the Scapegoat and the Human Sacrifice. None of this is exclusive to his death; it appears in all societies that believe they are under attack.

The Gospels tell us that the leaders of Jesus' time saw him as a threat, one who would bring the Romans to destroy their nation. They incited and united the mob against him by exaggerating his danger to them. He was then turned into a scapegoat and sacrificed.

Actually, there is a sixth archetype involved: the Hero. Ortega y Gasset divided people into two groups: Mass Man, who are essentially self-satisfied sheep, and the Hero, who are the creative minority who advance society. The mythologist Joseph Campbell also wrote often of the Hero, and indeed his most famous book is “The Hero with a Thousand Faces.”

Jesus fit the archetype of the Hero. Unfortunately, the Hero often gets scapegoated and sacrificed, as Prometheus did.

What does all this mean? Heroes are always opposed to the Leaders, as Jesus was opposed to the religious and religious leaders of his time. Heroes cannot trust the Mob, the sheeple. If the Hero does not watch it, he will end up being an Exaggerated Threat, a Scapegoat and a Human Sacrifice, at the hands of the Leaders, to placate the Mob.

Post-Traumatic School Disorder

I have only one recurring nightmare, which I have about once a year, and have had since I graduated high school.

It is the last day of my senior year, and I suddenly realize there is a required class that I have not been to all year. Unless I take the final and pass it, I will have to go another year, while all my friends are away at college. I will be 18 years old, stuck for another year with a class of 17-year-olds. It gives me the exact same feeling as being a high school senior and being returned to first grade. "You have to repeat everything from first grade to high'll be 30 when you finally graduate high school." It's like being an adult and forced to sit at the kiddie table all you life during Thanksgiving.

Usually, I can't find the class. Space and time are distorted. New hallways appear; when I turn around the ones behind me are gone. I feel like some of Lovecraft's Elder Gods are in charge of the universe, and have especially targeted me for torment. I'm in a panic. The layout of the school is different. I'm disoriented, and spend what feels like hour after strange hour looking for the class. Sometimes I do find it. I don't recognize the teacher or any of the students. They look at me like I have waving antennae sprouting from my head. The test makes no sense. The teacher is usually a pudgy spinster with a faded sack-like dress and cat's-eye glasses. She looks just like Miss Wormwood in the comic strip, “Calvin and Hobbes,” or any of the women in “The Far Side.” The test appears to be Corfu, or worse, math (and I can’t even make out the numbers). I always end up failing and am condemned to another year in high school.

Someday, I'm sure I'll see the name on the building, and it will read, "HORROR HIGH" (it did not surprise me at all when I discovered there is a satirical movie called “Return to Horror High”). My teacher will probably ultimately be dressed like the Devil – horns and a red suit, like John Candy in “Planes, Trains and Automobiles,” (probably with the
cat’s-eye glasses) and when I beg desperately for help he will give me an evil BWAHAHAHAHA! I fully expect to turn around and find there is no exit from the classroom – the door will be bricked up, like what happened in “The Matrix.”

Occasionally, I wake up, and am so disoriented I've gone to the front door, opened it and stuck my head outside, because I feel like I'm suffocating. I tell people I have Post-Traumatic School Disorder. I should sue someone.

Some of my friends have the almost the exact same nightmare. How can that be? Is there a Nightmare Factory somewhere cranking out the same nightmares, and parceling them out when we're asleep? I don't have nightmares about college, or any job I've had. It's always the last day of high school. I'll bet I could write a book, call it “The Last Day of High School,” and many people would buy it for the title alone.

That's what public high school did to me and some of my friends. It has given us permanent nightmares – literally, a mild version of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Old soldiers may twitch when they hear firecrackers; I cringe whenever I hear a fire alarm bell.

I did have some great times in high school, but it was always on weekends. School itself was a sentence to be served – sit, march, sit, march, sit, march, walk on the right side of the staircase. We even had an Up staircase, and a Down one, just like in Bel Kaufman's book about school, “Up the Down Staircase.” I was bored silly and sometimes fell asleep in class. It's a feat to fall asleep sitting up, but I managed it. Some other kids managed it, too. Some couldn't quite pull it off with panache, and instead looked like the almost-passed-out kids in “Ferris Bueller's Day Off,” when Mr. Monotone himself (Ben Stein) was unwittingly torturing them with his lecture.

If I had the power (or a magic wand), I would close down every public school today, within the next nanosecond, refund all the tax money to the parents, and let them educate their children any way they wanted. (I can hear the dimbulb socialist NEA types now: "Oh no! They'll teach them religion!") I tell people I would tear the schools down and salt the ground, then pepper the teachers because so many of them are bland, but I'm joking. Really, I am. Honest.

From what I've been able to gather, the sit-march-sit structure of the public schools was originally to train students into being obedient little automatons for corporate business. A three-month summer vacation was intended for students to help with the harvest.

Talk about being over 100 years behind the times. Three months off for harvest? When's the last time that was necessary? 1930? Training students as automatons for corporate America? That certainly is the way to create a nation of polymaths, I'll guarantee you.

John Taylor Gatto , author of “The Underground History of American Education,” claims that modern public schools were inventions of people like Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, Henry Ford and J.P. Morgan. Along with the help of "efficiency expert" Frederick W. Taylor, they designed the schools to create standardized employees and customers. The boredom and alienation was intentional, in order to produce good consumers. Learning and character were secondary. The purpose of the public schools, according to Gatto, was to serve the unholy marriage of corporations (what these days call Cosmodemonic Transnational Megacorporations) and the State.

I don't believe the structure to the schools these men wanted was any kind of evil conspiracy. I'm more of a believer in what Napoleon said, "Never attribute to malice that which can be explained by stupidity." These corporate businessmen apparently believed they were doing good. I'm sure they thought, "After all, we are trying to produce good workers and consumers. What is wrong with that?"

What is wrong with "that" is the schools are supposed to develop critical thinking skills, and create knowledgeable students with good characters. Not "good workers" and "good consumers." Being a good worker automatically comes from having a good character. It's not like you can have the first without the second.

Public schools have become so boring that kids are now drugged with Ritalin so they can sit still and pay attention. When I was in high school many of the kids used marijuana, which calmed them down. They didn't use booze, which often makes people combative.

I suppose Ritalin, an unnatural drug related to cocaine, is okay to place within children's brains because the State approves of it and has made it legal. Would parents approve if doctors prescribed coca leaves, which South American Indians have used for thousands of years with no ill effects? What's the difference, except one is legal and the other is not? Or that coca leaves are safer than Ritalin?

I'm sure that Rockefeller, et al didn't realize that the boredom and drudgery of public schools would ultimately lead to drug use – legal and illegal – so the kids could combat the ill effects of sitting and marching all day. There is also a massive drug problem in similar institutions, such as prisons and the military. Why can't the "experts" see these similarities? Maybe that old joke is true – "ex" means "has-been" and "spurt" means "drip." Most "experts" are a bunch of has-been drips.

I tell people I never learned a thing in between fourth grade and graduation day. I didn't, either. I think I may have brain damage. I could do math in the first grade. The ability disappeared soon after.

I blame most educational problems on the State's interference in schools. When the State gets involved, competition ceases. Without competition, the quality goes down. You can believe in that as a law of nature, just as you can believe the sun will always rise in the east.

I'm as free-market as they come, and as "capitalist" as can be, which means I believe in schools completely free of the State and corporations. Corporations are themselves creations of the State, since they have the legal status of persons. Remove that protection, and I suspect many of these gigantic multinationals would disappear. The free market would set the size of a business, not the State.

As tragic as it is, all of the school shootings have occurred in public schools. They haven't occurred in voluntary private schools. When's the last time a kid opened up in a Montessori school? Like never, that's when.

The public schools shove kids together who in life would have nothing to do with each other. The kids get around this by forming cliques. Sometimes the whole school turns into pool of piranhas. It wasn't for nothing that Stephen King's first novel, “Carrie,” was a best-seller, and turned into a hit movie. And what was it about? Public high school. And what did the survivors end up with? PTSD, that's what.

The tragic victim of King's novel, Carrie White, was a scapegoat and an outcast, just like most of the school shooters. Carrie not only destroyed the school and many of the students, she destroyed the town. "The artist is the antenna of the race," wrote Ezra Pound. All the "experts" pontificating and scratching their brains about the school shootings would be better off paying attention to a horror writer instead of a bunch of Ph.D.s in Psychology.

Want to see another movie about the boredom and alienation in public schools? Try the aforementioned “Ferris Bueller's Day Off.” It's about a kid who has outsmarted the system and is free of it. And what does his nemesis – the high school principal – want more than anything else? To make sure Ferris doesn't graduate so he has to spend another year in school. My nightmare on film.

Ferris isn't the archetype of the scapegoat and an outcast, like Carrie. Instead, he is the Free Man, free from the public schools, which, like corporations, are creations of the State.

Unfortunately, for a lot of kids – especially the smarter ones – high school is about having your brains permanently warped. If it isn't true, why so many nightmares for so many people? Nightmares that have even made it into blockbuster movies? The saddest part is that the nightmares – inside our heads and outside – can be avoided by removing the State from education.

On Being a Baby Magnet

For a long time I have been a Baby Magnet. It took a while to figure out why. It's because these babies don't have fathers around them.

I walked through a door one time, and a little kid in a stroller pointed at me and exclaimed, "That's a man!" I pointed back and said, "That's a little kid!" In that case, I don’t know if the kid had a father in his life or not, but that kid was one of many in a daycare center located in a hospital, so the kid was there while the mother was at work.

Was the father in the child’s life? I don’t know. Were the parents still married? I don’t know. But I did find it odd that as soon as this boy saw me, he immediately said something about my being male.

I was in a bookstore one time, and looked down to find a little girl holding my hand. "Sorry," says the mom, who has no ring. "Forget it," I answer. "It's my lot in life."

Once, at my sister's house, I had to sit on the floor near the door because the living room was full of teenage girls. A little boy, who could walk but not talk, spied me from across the room, made a bee-line for me, and threw his arm around my neck. (He had a snotty nose. When I told him to get some toilet paper - which he understood - he grabbed a handful and brought it to me in the living room without detaching it from the roll in the bathroom.)

I later asked my sister if he had a father. "No," she told me, "he doesn't." The mother was young, overweight, unmarried, lived in a trailer, and was on welfare. My sister said she got pregnant “somehow” and thought it was acceptable for a single woman to raise a child by herself.

This is never-ending for me. Kids wave at me on the streets, try to hold my hand, and want me to watch them while they show off jumping rope or singing or dancing. When I got out of my car one Friday evening, the little girl next door was waiting for me. "Do you want to see me do my cheer?" she asked. So she did it, while I smiled and applauded.

She has no father. None of these kids do. Since they don't, they want male attention. Why they choose me I don't know. It must be the way I look, even though I certainly don't understand what That Look is.

Since the Sixties, feminists have claimed fathers aren't really necessary. What's unnecessary are these kinds of socialist feminists, most of who are feminists because they're aren't very feminine. Crewcuts and tattoos doth not a true woman make. They barely make a woman, and the kind they make I'm not interested in. Maybe Janet "Yikes! A Monster!" Reno might be, but certainly not me.

The history of the world has shown that fathers are necessary, even more necessary than mothers, since men are the ones who invented civilization.

Without fathers, bad things happen to boys. The word "bastard" means "a fatherless boy" and "a cruel, heartless man." The first often turns into the second, no matter how much the blind pretend it doesn't. What we have in society currently are the blind leading the blind. Oops! There's the ditch!

Until the early 20th Century, in a divorce, the children were almost always given to the father. And until the Fifties, an unmarried pregnant girl was sent away to have the baby, and it was given to an orphanage. The reason for these things is because an unmarried single woman with children is an economic and social catastrophe when it comes to raising kids. Not always, but enough to make the word “bastard” have a double meaning.

I once found a little fatherless boy torturing a cat. I yelled at him and took the cat away. It was wheezing blood through its nose. I thought it was going to die, but it lived. I gave it to my sister and her kids, who took care of it until it disappeared.

When children are raised without fathers the boys become teenagers and form predatory gangs. The girls get pregnant and have children who are raised without fathers. The girls live on welfare, essentially marrying the government. The cycle repeats itself.

Women are responsible for two-thirds of all child abuse. Boys are twice as likely to be abused by women as girls. A father at home is the best way to prevent this, not a social worker.

Some years ago I walked out of a friend's house late at night. I ran into a gang of teenage boys on the sidewalk. "You got a cigarette?" the leader asked. "No, I don't," I said. "Why don't you give me the one in your mouth?" He grinned. I put my hand in my pocket and stared at him. "You got a gun?" he asked. His grin was gone. I said nothing. They decided to not take the chance and faded away.

Later, I contacted the police. A bunch of fatherless boys living on welfare, they told me. They just moved into the neighborhood. The cops quickly ran all of them out of the neighborhood. Ah, the wonders of the liberal welfare society. It breaks up families, or else prevents them from forming.

Coupled with the catastrophic failure of the public schools and the fact that high-paying have been run out of the country because of massive taxation and regulation, we have now lost entire generations of children, who have essentially become psychopaths.

You can blame a lot of the problems children have on women who purposely have babies without fathers, truly believing the kids will turn out fine. Then they end up with a hostile teenage boy and suddenly realized they made a very big mistake. You can blame it on fathers who desert their families, like the creep Phil Donahue, who traded his wife and family for a much-younger trophy wife.

I, however, mostly blame it on the State, for interfering in family life. The more the State expands, the more Civilization recedes. It's a Law of the Universe. And the family is the foundation of Civilization.

In the past, we had answers to incompetent parents. They were called orphanages. I was an undergraduate at a university that used to have an orphanage. It was closed down before I started school. I used to study at it because it was so quiet and peaceful.

I once read an article in the paper about the kids who lived there. They grew up to be good citizens. They became doctors and lawyers, cabdrivers and carpenters. All honest jobs.

Very, very few became criminals.

If you want generation after generation of screwed-up kids, just let the State continue to devastate families. When I cease to be Baby Magnet, then I’ll know things are back to normal.

That’s not going to happen anytime soon.