Wednesday, February 29, 2012
the most common result when one tribe runs into another."
-- Gary Brecher, the War Nerd
So the Mommy-State wants to force all the boys and girls to share and get along. Now that may sorta work with five-year-olds, although not very well, as any parent will attest, but it doesn't work at all with adults, until someone, somehow, comes up with a really cheap operation in which the public's brains are not only washed but dry-cleaned, or else comes up with some kind of soma-like drug that will permanently shrink adults to being kids again. Except, of course, for those in charge of the Mommy-State, who have to keep whatever deluded wits and withered morals they have about them, so they can order all the dopified kids around. Boy, that sure sounds a lot like Brave New World, doesn't it?
These days, forcing the boys and girls to "share" and "get along" is called "multiculturalism." It has never worked in the past, anywhere. It doesn't work now, anywhere, and it won't in the future, ever. There are many reasons why it doesn't work, but I think the simplest is what I will call the Tribe and the Outsider.
Human nature is such that people instinctively gather into tribes. Every living creature, from ants to elephants, do it; why should people be any different?
This tribalism is a problem that will never go away, so there is no way around its existence. People want community, and that community usually involves being with people like them, or who they like. This has to be dealt with, which is something libertarians rarely do because of their obsession with "the individual."
Now "tribes" may be a primitive term, but it was applicable not only in the past but also certainly today. You might want to call them "ethnic groups" or "nations" instead. It doesn't matter. They're still tribes, whether they're big or little, powerful or weak.
Where one problem arises is that every tribe in the past has, with monotonous regularity, grandiosely called themselves "the People" or "the Humans." Anyone outside the tribe was, obviously, devalued into being non-People and non-Human. That gives a foot in the door to murdering them.
All tribes today still consider themselves "the Humans," even though they use different words. No country today is going to call itself "the United States of All Humans" or "The Union of All People, and Everyone Outside Isn't," but all countries will say God has chosen them and is on their side, which logically means the Other Guy is on the Other Side. That's pretty much saying the same thing as "We're human, and you ain't."
During World War II, for example, the Russians spoke of "Holy Mother Russia," which implied that God had chosen Russia. Their opponents, necessarily, had to have the Devil on theirs. We're the People; you're the Unpeople!
But their opponents, the Germans, did the same thing the Russians did, when they said, "Gott mit uns." German soldiers even had that saying inscribed on their belt buckles when in combat. To stop bullets, I suppose. The question is: on whose side was God during the battle of Stalingrad, where both sides lost, combined, more soldiers than America has lost in all of its wars? The answer: neither.
It's painfully obvious that a grandiose certainty that God is on your side does not equal God being on your side, even if Jerry Falwell or George Bush believed it. Neither does it mean your tribe is human and the other is not, even if you think God told you that. A movie example that comes to mind: I remember watching a Japanese officer, in The Last Emperor, exclaim, "The Japanese are the only divine race!" Later, when Russian soldiers closed in on him, he scrambled his brains with a pistol bullet. Self-proclaimed divinity always has a price, never a good one.
People in the U.S., cultural differences aside, are in some essential ways no different than people anywhere else. All people have a shared human nature.
People ask, "God bless America." It's never, God bless another country; it's always, God bless America. God should keep America's soldiers safe, but never any other country's. Our soldiers should be saved by God; their soldiers should die. Is that any different than those German soldiers with their talismans? Why should God bless America if America does not follow God's laws? It should be so simply because we, in our magical thinking, believe it should be so?
It's all pretty grandiose. It's assuming Americans are the Chosen, just as every tribe in the past has thought it was the Chosen. They weren't, and neither are we. And other tribes are full of humans, even if we pretend they aren't and act as if their deaths mean nothing and are just the "collateral damage" that always happens in war.
The biggest problem, though, is that every tribe projects its problems onto the outsider. There are, not surprisingly, two archetypes in literature called the Scapegoat and the Outsider. Often -- in fact, maybe always -- they are the one and the same.
The most famous, or maybe infamous, story about the Outsider and the Scapegoat is Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery," which everyone in the recent past had to read in middle school. Every year, someone was chosen as a scapegoat, which made them an outsider, then bashed with rocks until they were dead. It was an example of scapegoating always leading to human sacrifice, of projecting "badness" on someone and then killing them, in order to "save" the tribe.
Since every tribe grandiosely considers itself "good," all "evil" must be projected elsewhere. If one tribe considers itself human, and good, and chosen by God, then the other tribe, the outsider, must necessarily be evil, sub-human, and of the Devil. Maybe we don't consciously believe this, but emotionally we do. It why most people don't care--indeed sometimes even cheer--if foreigners die in wars. Then we act shocked when foreigners cheer when we die, the way some cheered about 9-11. How dare they act like us! Since we are good, they must be evil! It was horrible that nearly 3000 innocent people were murdered on 9-11 (and, yes, it was), but it was a good thing the federal gubmint murdered all those people in Vietnam, Panama, Serbia, Afghanistan and Iraq? But since they were outside our tribe, they don't really count, and sacrificing and killing them doesn't matter because it was to "liberate" them.
Today in the U.S. you can see our tribe projecting certain of its problems on the outsider. The U.S. attacked Iraq years ago when it didn't attack us, then blockaded the country and killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people, then placed troops in Saudi Arabia, and supported Israel uncritically no matter what it did. We did this because we are "good," at least in our tribe's collective group-think mind, if not in the mind of other tribes.
So, when resentment, envy, anger and hate sent blowback our way on 9-11, we denied the bad things we had done to others, and instead claimed our attackers had to be "evil," and attacked us because we are "good." Now maybe things are that simple in the childish, black-and-white fantasy of Bizarro World, but certainly not in reality.
It's bad enough to have different tribes in different countries get into wars, but when tribes in the same country war, that is a prescription for national suicide. And multiculturalism, if it is anything, is several tribes fighting over the same land, and for political power, which is power over others. Therefore, it is national suicide. Each tribe is going to grandiosely call itself "the Humans" in some form, then deny its problems and instead project them onto the devalued other, which it will want to remove or murder.
Every empire in the past has fallen not because of attacks from the outside, but because of attacks from the inside. Once the barbarians are inside the gate it's harder to remove them. They may claim they're not barbarians, but apparently the Greek story of the Trojan Horse isn't taught to Americans in school anymore.
Some examples of tribal warfare? How about "Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan," whose motto is "Por La Raza todo. Fuera de La Raza nada." It translates as, "Everything for the race. Everything outside the race, nothing." That's pretty grandiose, and fits exactly the idea of one tribe denying its flaws and projecting them onto a devalued other. It is projection/scapegoating leading to human sacrifice. They're the cause of our problems, not us! Remove them or rub them out!
Another example in the U.S.? In the original teachings of the Nation of Islam (related to Islam in name only) blacks are gods, the original men, and whites are devils. Guess who's completely to blame for the problems of the former? That's right; you've got it! It's just another example of "Since we are good, you must be evil and the cause of our problems, so we must eradicate you." Denial and projection. Lies (to oneself and others) followed by scapegoating and human sacrifice.
A true conservative, a true Rightist (which hardly exist today), understand that human nature is imperfect. They know people will always define themselves not just as individuals, but as part of family, nation, religion. They know if large enough different groups of people try to share the same land, and vie for political power, each is going to define itself as good, the others as bad, then deny its own flaws and instead project their problems on those defined as outsiders. It is the Left, believers in the Mommy-State, which doesn't merely misunderstand human nature but doesn't understand it at all, and which believes several large tribes can co-exist peacefully on the same land.
The only way that different tribes can occupy the same land is if one is tribe is 95% of the population, and the other tribe is five percent. But three tribes that are each one-third of the population? There has never been a society in the history of the world that has survived such an attempt.
The problem is made far worse when the State gets involved, because each group will fight for political power to protect itself and hurt the other. Each group will try to capture the State to use for its own purposes, which involves removing the others, or, ultimately, killing them. State-sponsored "multiculturalism," a misguided attempt to force different tribes to get along on the same land, will, as it always does when the State gets involved, have the exact opposite effect: it will make them fight even more, to the detriment of those involved, and, ultimately, the nation. So, not only are the boys and girls not going to share and get along, they're going to get into constant bloody brawls.
According to the 1990 movie, Spaced Invaders, you insert Tab A into Slot B. If that doesn't work, you can look at the archetypes in the movie. They give instructions that, in the Western world, run back to the Bible, and before that, the Greeks.
People used to educate children with classical myths, fables and fairy tales. They still do, but not as much as they should. If they did, everyone in boot camp would know what a Myrmidon is.
Today, what has for the most part taken the place of the aforementioned trio are movies, books, cartoons and comics. The same archetypes, themes, plots and wisdom that existed thousands of years ago in an oral tradition still exist today in cartoons, comic books and other entertainments. This is why I rarely say anything bad about them. A few thousand years ago he was called Ulysses; today he's called Luke Skywalker. Both are the archetype of the Hero on a Quest.
For an example of ancient wisdom that has made its way into cartoons, the Greeks noticed the sequence of koros (stability) to hubris (grandiosity) to ate (madness) to nemesis (destruction). Hubris, the god of arrogance, lack of restraint, and insolence, was followed by Nemesis, the goddess of vengeance. The Hebrews wrote something similar: "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall." Then we have the comment Jesus made in Luke: "For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled..." (He also made a telling comment about "the narrow path to life" and "the broad path to destruction.") Later, foolish pride became one of the Seven Deadly Sins.
Pride, or more correctly, hubris, was the sin of Satan. He started out as an angel (stability), then became afflicted with hubris (thought he could be God), then became insane (wished to destroy everyone). The story should ultimately end with either nemesis or metanoia (to change the heart; to turn around and go the other way).
In real life, the archetype of Satan is illustrated by people like Mao Tse-Tung, Stalin and Hitler. In Shakespeare, it would be someone like Richard III. In movies, it would be (as humor) Dr. Evil, or any number of James Bond's villains – say, Goldfinger, or Dr. No. In comic books, it would be Lex Luthor. In cartoons, it would be Brain (of Pinky fame) or Simon bar Sinister.
All of these villains are the same – grandiose, hubristic, satanic. And ultimately, incompetent. Looked at this way, those who created Pinky and the Brain are just as wise as the ancient Greeks and Shakespeare. What was in Shakespeare then (who in his day was pop culture, as movies are today) is now in cartoons today. Brain, for example, started out as a lab mouse (stability), was afflicted with hubris (thinks he can conquer the world), becomes insane (keeps trying to conquer the world), then is whacked by nemesis (conks his head). This sequence also applies to all the villains mentioned above, which is why SPECTRE (or for that matter, KAOS) never Took Over the World.
I've had teachers tell me children should be forced to read "classic" literature. I tell them the kids should watch Pinky and the Brain and then have it explained to them how it relates to ancient Greek myths. They don't believe me, which is why I would tear down the public schools, then salt the ground. Then I'd pepper the teachers, since a lot of them are pretty bland.
How does all of this relate to the movie, Spaced Invaderers? In this comedy, we have five loony dwarf Martians, soldiers for the aggressive and expansive Martian empire, who land in the idyllic, Ray Bradburyesque town of Big Bean, Illinois. (And being originally from Illinois – as is Bradbury – I had to smile at the small-town life portrayed in this movie.)
Our intrepid but goofy warriors believe they are joining an invasion force of Martians. In reality, they are responding to a Halloween night broadcast of "War of the Worlds." They don't have a clue. Actually, neither does anyone in the town. And that's before the Martians show up.
Our Martian friends turn out to be soldiers who really don't want to fight. To make sure they do, all Martian ships have an enforcer drone, a very sinister spiderish-looking thing, that appears to be wearing a shower cap, and which can skeletonize those who might take exception to poorly-thought-out invasion plans.
Predictably, all sorts of comedic mayhem breaks loose. The children think the Martians are in costume, and take them trick-or-treating. The farmer, Old Man Wrenchmuller, along with his trusty and remarkably intelligent dog Jim (who can change the film in a camera – offscreen, of course) attacks the Martians in his barn with the time-tested cartoon tools of dynamite and mousetraps. Now that I think about, the dog was the brains of the duo.
One trick-or-treater, Brian, is not only dressed like a duck, but sounds exactly like Daffy when he talks. Then we have Vern "Zorro" Pillsbury, who ends up with a Martian brain-zapper stuck on his head. Oddly, this is not such a bad thing for him.
Fortunately, in the end, everything turns out well for everyone. It's a zany and unbelievable movie, full of silly quotes such as, "How can they not know we're Martians? We're little green men with antennae!" and "Prepare to die, earth scum!" There is a also a lot of fancy advanced Martian technology, never seen but often referred to, such as "doughnuts of destruction."
This lunatic movie also contains wisdom that is thousands of years old.
The first universal truth it teaches is that people are imperfect. Martians, definitely so. If there is life on other planets, they're not aliens billions of years advanced over us, as Carl Sagan postulated in Contact. They'd be boneheads, just like us. Lovable boneheads, to be sure, but boneheads nonetheless. Everyone in the town is imperfect, from the idiot sheriff who catches the alien craft doing 3000 mph and tells them "you might get the chair for this" to Wrenchmuller having a dog smarter than he is.
The second truth is that some people, however imperfect, are smarter and wiser than others. Only one Martian has any sense, and that is Blaznee, who wears a bomber jacket, aviator glasses, and sounds like a Barsoomian version of Jack Nicholson.
As always, the State is no one's friend. An example:
Martian Political Officer:
"I have assumed command. This battlegroup has consistently suffered the greatest casualties of any attack force in the fleet. For this reason, His Majesty has sent me to take direct control of our attack on the Arcturus system. To ensure our complete success, all ships throughout the galaxy have been equipped with enforcer drones, to remove any weak links in the command chain. Any deviation from the Master Invasion Plan will result in immediate disciplinary review. "
Martian Fleet Commander 3:
"This is outrageous! The tide of battle can change in seconds, making battle plans useless. I'll not sent my boys out to Arcturus with an Enforcer Drone breathing down my neck."
[Enforcer Drone vaporizes Martian Fleet Commander 3.]
Martian Fleet Commander 2:
Martian Fleet Commander 1:
"Me too, no problem."
All States are not only based on the threat of violence and violence itself, they are also always handicapped by bureaucracy.
The eternal archetype of the horror story is Order invaded by Chaos. That's what exists in this movie. Big Bean, for all its wacky inhabitants, is essentially a civilized town. The Martians, however accidentally, initially bring mayhem to the place. The humor, however, transforms the horror into something funny. Still, the archetype is there: civilized society is just a thin veneer, easily damaged by war and destruction.
Some more wisdom from the movie: empires are not good things. The Martian empire is sinister. Ultimately, all are.
I am not familiar with any old story, no matter what the shape it takes, that has anything good to say about empires, Martian or otherwise. The old poem that springs to mind about this is Shelley's "Ozymandias":
I met a traveler from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read,
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed,
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look upon my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
How does this movie teach us to assemble a World Domination Kit? First, gain control of the State. Second, threaten everyone with death, and rub out some people as an example. Third, start wars and become an empire. Dang, that sounds just like Hitler, Stalin and Mao Tse-Tung!
Unfortunately, one eternal truth that doesn't exist in this movie is that all empires fall. They all withdraw.
What am I supposed to make of all of this? How about: true artists are wiser than Ph.Ds from Yale and Harvard? It was those "the Brightest and Best" retards from such colleges who started the Vietnam War. Now, they're doing it again, only this time a lot worse. Now they've started World War III, and plan on turning the United States into an empire!
Good Lord, have these morons no understanding of history? They certainly have no understanding of wisdom. Maybe I should send all of them a copy of Spaced Invaders, along with a detailed explanation of what it means. I'd even use small words, so they can understand it.
Nah, I'd be wasting my time. To quote Oscar Wilde, "The truth cannot be told so as to be understood but not believed." They'll never understand, so they'll never believe.
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
All human evil in the world is explained by the myth of Adam and Eve and their sons Cain and Abel – the archetypical dysfunctional family. I consider it the most important story in Western culture. Since it’s Biblical in origin, even though it’s as much mythology as the Iliad and the Odyssey, you’ll never see it taught in public schools.
While the story of the Garden of Eden is not literally true, it is part of the oral tradition of mythology – a story, refined through hundreds if not thousands of years, that entertained and educated at the same time. It is unfortunate that at one time it was perverted into placing the blame entirely on women for bringing evil into the world…completely ignoring the fact that Adam was just as infantile and irresponsible.
Scapegoating is what Adam did to Eve, what Eve did to the serpent, and what Cain did to Abel. Adam said, “She made me do it,” Eve said, “The serpent made me do it,” and Cain demonstrated in deed if not in words, “Abel made me kill him, and he deserved it, the jerk.” Each was saying, “It’s not my fault…you made it do it…look what you made me do.”
Adam and Eve get kicked out of the Garden of Eden, thereby bringing evil into the world. In some versions, their refusal to take responsibility for their actions is what gets them expelled (the story should be updated, which certainly would bring outrage and attacks by fundamentalist idolaters of the written word).
The late psychiatrist M. Scott Peck wrote, “Scapegoating is the genesis of human evil,” and he is exactly correct. Scapegoating is when you project all of your problems onto other people and believe if you can get rid of them, then your problems will depart this world.
He wrote of scapegoating “as the exercise of political power – that is, the imposition of one’s will upon others by overt or covert coercion…they must perceive others as bad…[t]hey project their own evil onto the world.” And political power, as Hannah Arendt wrote, is the power to turn a person into a corpse.
Scapegoating – or projection – as Melanie Klein wrote in her magnum opus, Envy and Gratitude, is the first and most primitive of our defenses. What parent has not encountered a child exclaiming, “He/she/they/you made me do it!” Unfortunately, it’s also the first defense of adults, and especially of ethnic tribes – as I see it, it’s their only defense.
Klein’s colleague Joan Riviere wrote, “The first and the most fundamental of our insurances or safety measures against feelings of pain, of being attacked, or of helplessness—one from which so many others spring—is that device we call projection. All painful and unpleasant sensations and feelings in the mind are by this device automatically relegated outside oneself... [W]e blame them on someone else. [Insofar] as such destructive forces are recognized in ourselves we claim that they have come there arbitrarily and by some external agency....[P]rojection is the…first reaction to pain and it probably remains the most spontaneous reaction in all of us to any painful feeling throughout our lives.”
Perpetually blaming your problems on others is technically known as a character disorder. They fall into several categories: Anti-social Personality Disorder, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder.
I have met several of these people in my life and the havoc they wreak is astonishing. Bizarrely, they don’t even know they’re doing it – they’re as unconscious of their antics as a two-year-old. Being self-centered and inconsiderate, they are clueless about the effect they have on others.
The easiest way to identify them: it’s never their fault, always someone else’s. Someone else is always responsible for their problems. And while they have no idea what they do to others, they are hypersensitive to what others do to them – even to the point of imaging it.
I am reminded of a scene in the movie Jaws, in which two boys are caught pretending to be sharks. One immediately points at the other and says, “He made me do it!” For a not so humorous example, there was the case of a woman who murdered her husband by running him over with her car, then exclaimed, “Look what you made me do!”
The serpent, as Milton pointed out in Paradise Lost, is the symbol of “envy and revenge” (because, as the author suggests, his pride is hurt – he writes of Satan’s “obdurate pride and steadfast hate”). Envy and revenge are inextricably linked; you might as well call them envy/revenge. Or better yet, envy/hate/revenge.
The story of the Garden of Eden illustrates that evil comes into the world because of scapegoating, almost all of which is based on envy. And with envy comes the desire for revenge, to “bring down” the other, the way the serpent wanted to bring down Adam and Eve.
The serpent feels humiliated because Adam and Eve are God’s favorites instead of him. So here is the dynamic: feeling humiliated leads to envy and hate and the desire for revenge.
“Serpent,” though, isn’t necessarily the correct word. The word it’s translated from is “nachash,” which is a very interesting word indeed.
“Nachash” has several interrelated meanings: to hiss or whisper like a snake, enchanter, prognosticator. Think of the lying Iago manipulating Othello into murdering his innocent wife, or Salieri’s hate-fueled backstabbing envy of Mozart in Amadeus. In each case each villain used words, and as Rudyard Kipling noticed, “words are the most powerful drug ever invented.” And in each case they desired to predict -- indeed cause—the future of their “enemies”: destruction, ruin, death.
The word “enchant” means “to chant,” as in hypnotize (it can also mean “to sing,” as Kaa the serpent did in the movie version of The Jungle Books when he sang, “Trust in me…”). Essentially it’s the same 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 down her and Adam.
You might even consider what the nachash did the first known use of the basic techniques of propaganda: convince (I like the word “ensorcel”) people into believing their problems are caused by someone else.
The envious never say, “I envy you.” It’s too excruciatingly painful for them to even admit it to themselves—they call it something else, such as misnaming it as “justice” or “fairness.” Of all the Seven Deadly Sins, envy is the only one that isn’t any fun. It is one of the most corrosive feelings in the world. Instead, the envious almost always whisper, lie, and go behind people’s backs, the way Salieri got Mozart to believe he was Mozart’s friend. They are subtle about their envy, the way the nachash was “the most subtle.”
There is no murder in the story of Adam and Eve. That escalation happens with their children, Cain and Abel. Cain’s sacrifice is rejected by God while Abel’s is accepted.
Convinced he’s humiliated, and envious of Abel, Cain seeks his revenge by murdering his brother. Cain blames his problems on Abel; he scapegoats him and takes it a step further than their parents. If someone had asked Cain why he killed Abel, I believe he would have answered, “It’s his fault…he made me do it...look at what he made me do” – an O.J. Simpson excuse thousands of years ago.
The psychiatrist James Gilligan, who spent 35 years interviewing prisoners, said he always heard the same story as to why they murdered or brutally assaulted people. What he heard, every time, was “He dissed me” or else mocked, insulted and ridiculed the prisoner’s children, wife, parents, friends.
Gilligan one day realized what he was hearing, over and over, was the story of Cain and Abel: the feeling of humiliation followed by revenge manifesting itself as murder.
John Douglas, the retired FBI profiler of serial killers, and the author of several best-selling books, stated that every serial murderer he encountered was an “inadequate” type (i.e., he felt humiliated) who covered it up with grandiosity (i.e., an immense Satanic pride) and sought revenge on anyone who reminded him of those who believed caused his problems in the first place. Again, humiliation leading to murder.
Wrote Douglas in The Anatomy of Motive about one mass murder: “…this crime…[was] a kind of revenge…it was retaliation for some perceived wrong – real or imagined – perpetrated against the killer” (in another case, a teenage school shooter said, “The world has wronged me, and I could take it no more”—his pride was hurt).
The desire for revenge, as much of the world’s literature attests, even enters into our most intimate relationships (the influential The Count of Monte Cristo is about little else but revenge – I’ve seen its influence in mysteries, science-fiction, westerns and hard-boiled detective fiction).
Barbara Dafoe Whitehead, in her article, “How We Mate,” laments the destruction of romance and courtship leading to long-term marriage (all of which are Western institutions). Instead, what we have now are temporary relationships; “hookup-breakup.” This destruction, not surprisingly, leads to humiliated partners seeking revenge.
“Women content themselves with revenge fantasies to exorcise their jealousy and anger,” she writes, then goes on to list what happens when it goes beyond fantasy, such as cutting the crotch out of every pair of pants the man owned. “If this…sounds like junior high,” she continues, “it should. The pattern of hookup-breakup is adolescent, and perpetually so.”
The men in these relationships, Whitehead pointed out, have a tendency to become violent, and for the same reasons: feelings of humiliation leading to envy/hate, to revenge.
Revenge is a misguided attempt to replace shame with pride. It’s doomed because instead of increasing pride – self-image – it instead increases reciprocal violence.
People who believe they have been victimized may not necessarily been shamed or humiliated; sometimes they think they have when they haven’t. They believe they’ve suffered some unjust loss or injury. As a result they feel rage, hate, anger, shame, jealousy or envy – and want find someone responsible for it, and to make them “pay for it.”
I’ve seen people from shame-based cultures, such as ones in Asia, who in America have accused people of trying to humiliate them in public when the people were doing no such thing. This flawed perception, conditioned by a foreign culture, is what caused the problem.
The stories of Adam and Even and Cain and Abel explain much of the political trouble in the world these days.
Osama bin Laden said the attacks on 9-11 were “a copy” of what the U.S. had been doing to the Islamic world. The attacks on the WTC and the Pentagon were revenge and vengeance, caused by the Hubris-afflicted U.S. empire humiliating and shaming the countries in the Middle East, if not most of the world. This is why so many people in the world hate the United States government.
Incidentally, Hubris – the goddess of arrogance, moral blindness, insolence and wanton violence – is followed by Nemesis, who is the goddess of fate and retribution. Thousands of years ago the Greeks noticed insolence and violence against others is fated to breed revenge. The same observation is found in the Bible: “Prides goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit leads to a fall.”
9-11 wasn’t, as Bush in his invincible confusion believed, because the attackers were the Evil Ones who “attacked us for our goodness.” It was revenge, pure and simple. And revenge, the old saying warns us, is a dish best served cold – served after about 50 years of the U.S. supporting dictators and repressive regimes in the Middle East. But then, there’s this warning: if you’re going to seek revenge, dig two graves.
The U.S. was attacked by those seeking revenge; we attacked them seeking revenge on them. I call it the Cycle of Murder and Revenge; it is, again, the misguided attempt to replace shame with pride. Many have died on both sides because of this cycle, necessitating far more than two graves.
Very few people can do as Francis Bacon suggested in his “Of Revenge”: “In taking revenge, a man is but even with his enemy but is passing it over, he is superior.”
I had mentioned I believe the only defense of ethnic tribes is to blame their problems on someone else. If this is true, then it is impossible for different ethic groups to share the same land without each tribe blaming its problems on the others, leading to attempts at expulsion and genocide. The misnamed “multiculturalism” leads inexorably to bloody tribal warfare. Each tribe is outraged and resentful that another tribe is on “their” land.
I use the hypothetical example of the same land shared by one-third Wahabi Muslims (the ones who perpetrated 9-11), one-third Ultra Orthodox Jews, and one-third Christian fundamentalists. How well would they get along? They wouldn’t. Not at all.
Some have claimed the “free market” (which has never existed in its pure form) would unite them peaceably with an assumed love of SUVs, DVD players, and Nikes. This is pretending the free market trumps all, including religion and family and tribe.
Anybody who believes that material consumption will trump everything else is as naïve as can be. The history of the world without exception has been that all “multicultural” societies have collapsed.
If the United States ever ends up one-fourth white, one-fourth black, one-fourth “Hispanic” (whatever they are) and one-fourth Asian, it too would collapse in death and destruction – once the totalitarian government that kept the lid on the simmering hostilities first collapsed. Try “Yugoslavia” (a non-country if there ever was one) for an example.
Even now, in the U.S., Hispanics and blacks are murdering each other, each trying to expel the other from their “territory.” When each group moves into areas where whites live, the whites move out. Liberal platitudes fall on deaf ears (what Erik von Kuehelt-Leddihn said about leftists is true: they don’t merely misunderstand human nature; they don’t understand it at all). These tribal problems were predicted a long time ago by the more perceptive and prophetic of critics, and the problems are only going to get worse before they get better.
Or, to quote Gary Brecher (“The War Nerd”): “The fact is, genocide is, historically, the most common result when one tribe runs into another.”
This problem with humiliation – whether it’s real or imaged - leading to the desire for revenge is something we’re never going to rid ourselves of, being that the human race is decidedly imperfect.
We’re certainly not going to get rid of it when it comes to personal relationships. I’d be satisfied, though, if more political scientists and economists (sorry, got to laugh about the typically inept “economist”) understood more about the concepts and if the government put them into effect in its dealings with our own country and with other countries. It’d be a much more peaceful world -- both here and abroad.
Saturday, February 25, 2012
They were the best shoes I ever had. Unfortunately I didn't take particularly good care of them. I wore them every day, I once dried them on the heat register (the toes curled straight up), and I didn't moisturize them enough. Still, they lasted ten years.
Had I take proper care of them, and have the company rebuild them, I'd still have them. Maybe they wouldn't look so great, but I'd still have them (I wish I still had my '67 Pontiac Tempest slant-4).
Then I bought another pair of Malverns. By then they were up to $150. They lasted about 13 years. I still didn't take very good care of them, specifically wearing them every day, which is a big no-no for shoes.
A week for so ago I checked on the price of Malverns.
I blame this almost exclusively on the Federal Reserve Bank, which is not federal, has no reserves, and is not a bank. It is in fact a legal counterfeiter which has 100% control over our money supply.
Of course, the Fed is thoroughly unconstitutional. The Constitution forbids anything but gold or silver being money On top of that, it also forbids Bills of Credit, i.e., paper money.
Central banks were tried in the U.S. in the past. Andrew Jackson, for one, swore eternal enmity against them.
"The bold effort the present (central) bank had made to control the government ... are but premonitions of the fate that await the American people should they be deluded into a perpetuation of this institution or the establishment of another like it," he once said. "You are a den of vipers and thieves. I intend to rout you out, and by the grace of the Eternal God, will rout you out."
Jackson engaged in a lot of duels. Perhaps we need dueling to be legal today, especially for traitors.
Since the creation of the Fed in 1917, the dollar has lost 99% of its value. That means what cost one penny is 1916 costs one dollar today. In 1890, for example, one silver dime would get you a seven-course meal at a fancy hotel. Today, a quarter will get you a piece of bubble-gum out of a machine.
Perhaps without the Feds Malverns today would cost..maybe a quarter? Fifty cents?
This acceleration of this loss of value really took off in 1973, two years after Richard Nixon went completely off the gold standard in 1971.
Not surprisingly, wages stopped going up in 1973, and have been flat or declining ever since. Except for course, for the one percent whose income has been skyrocketing -- and they accomplished this by using the State to enrich themselves at everyone else's expense.
Fortunately, Allen Edmonds is still an American company. And thank God for that. They haven't fled to China, where the workers make a dollar day, work 12 hour shifts, and live in dormitories.
Lots of American workers appear to make good money -- in nominal wages. If the Fed had never existed, the average wage might be $10,000 a year -- and houses might cost $10,000 (my parents told me they rented a two-story farmhouse in '67 for $60 a month, and they paid $141 a month for a 30-year mortgage).
American companies wouldn't be hemorrhaging jobs to foreign companies if it wasn't for this huge disparity in wages.
Sooner or later, the Fed will go. The first two American central banks had 20-year charters, and then they were gone. The current one needs to go. Sooner or later, it will go.
Unfortunately, I expect pretty much a complete collapse of the economy before the Fed is eliminated.
Friday, February 24, 2012
Envy might be the worst “missing the mark” that exists; the serpent in the myth of the Garden of Eden is a symbol of envy, and it was that envy that bought evil into the world. That’s really missing the target.
What, then, is the opposite of envy? Perhaps gratitude. Or maybe if you feel envy it’s impossible for you to feel gratitude. It’s an opposite, although not necessarily “the” opposite.
"The test of all happiness is gratitude."-- G.K. Chesterton.
I have written many articles how hubris is the worst of sins. And perhaps it is. What the Greeks called “hubris” the Bible calls pride. Underneath that pride and hubris, there is a lot of shame. And a lot of envy, too.
Perhaps we envy and hate those who have shamed and humiliated us, because of the power they have over us. Sometimes we kill them. We almost always want revenge on them.
Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others. –Cicero
I’m not sure to what extent you can separate one unpleasant feeling from another. Hubris, shame, envy, greed, hate, the desire for revenge; all of them are interrelated, interconnected. It’s possible to tell one of those feeling from the other, but can one exist in a person without any of the others? I doubt it.
I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder. – Chesterton
The psychiatrist Melanie Klein condensed her life’s work into one book: “Envy and Gratitude.” With a life of envy, and greed, and the rest of the Seven Deadly Sins, there can be no gratitude, and no happiness.
Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow. -- Melody Beattie
And yet where in the Four Cardinal Virtues and Three Theological Virtues is gratitude? How many times is it mentioned in the Bible, one of the foundations of Western culture?
Jesus did, however (depending on the translation) speak of “your joy being complete.” And in that joy, that happiness, gratitude would have to be an inherent component.
O Lord, who lends me life, lend me a heart replete with thankfulness. --William Shakespeare
The word “virtue” means “strengths” or “powers.” It also comes from the word “man.” It means the “strengths or powers of Mankind.” If “virtues” are a strength, then “sins” are a weakness. With the first you are on target; with the second you’ve missed it.
The greatest of virtues is supposed to be prudence, which is not prudence as generally defined. It means the opposite of a small, mean, calculating attitude to life – one that is instead clear-eyed and magnanimous in its appreciation of reality. And appreciation is another word for gratitude.
You have no cause for anything but gratitude and joy. -- the Buddha
Jesus spoke of joy and the Buddha spoke of joy. Happiness. The Buddha did mention gratitude. It’s too bad the word never made it into any of Jesus’ sayings. But then, you never know about those translations. All translators are liars, as the old saying tells us.
If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough. --Meister Eckhart
I can’t say I see much gratitude in people. I do see a lot of envy, though. There is an entire political philosophy based on it. Leftism. It’s killed a lot of human beings.
Gratitude and greed do not go together -- Aesop
Every one of the Seven Deadly Sins has in common self-centeredness, self-absorption, selfishness, inconsideration, a lack of empathy. Seeing others as not quite human, as existing only to serve you. That cannot be conducive to gratitude.
Every one of the Seven Cardinal Virtues has in common seeing others as humans and not as things.
"Gratitude is twin sister to humility; Pride is foe to both."
~ James E. Talmage
People who are truly grateful are humble -- in the real, not stereotyped sense of the word -- because of their appreciation of how much wonder there can be in life.
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
While there does exist the occasional psycho lunatic who really does drink people’s blood, these people are so rare it’d take several lifetimes to meet one, unless you go out of your way by becoming an FBI profiler.
What are much more common are what I’ve heard described as “emotional vampires,” and I’ve met several of these. They’re known as Personality or Character Disorders, and fall under various headings such as Antisocial, Borderline, Narcissistic and Histrionic Personality Disorder.
They all have certain traits in common. The main one is: it’s always someone else’s fault. It’s never their fault. This trait has been noticed for thousands of years, which is why in the story of the Garden of Eden Adam says, “The woman made me do it,” and Eve says, “The serpent made me do it.” It wasn’t their fault. It was someone else’s.
Because it’s always someone else’s fault, they always portray themselves as victims, even if they don’t realize it. In fact, they can be quite good at convincing people they ARE victims. Because of this, if you first meet someone and they try to pluck at your heartstrings with stories of the awful things done to them, immediately put your guard up.
Think about it this way: what kind of person would immediately tell you such intimate details of their life? And if they do it to you, don’t you think they do it to everyone?
They lie. Oftentimes they don’t even know they’re lying, because to successfully lie to someone else you first have to successfully lie to yourself.
They can be quite charming and manipulative, to the point you don’t even know you’re being manipulated. If they’re telling you stories about the awful things that happened to them, the first impulse of many men is to protect them and fix them.
Ha ha! Suckers! You’re being manipulated! They don’t want to be fixed! They want attention and to suck your innards dry, then cast away the empty husk that used to be your life!
They can make you feel special. You’re not. You’re interchangeable with the rest of the suckers. Again I’m going to repeat: if they’re telling you intimate details of their lives, why wouldn’t they be telling them to everyone?
They are deficient in gratitude, not to mention guilt, not to mention empathy. Since to them it’s someone else’s fault, why should they feel guilty or grateful or empathic? That’s why they never say, “Thank you.”
The worst emotional vampire (she appeared to be Borderline/Histrionic) I ran across some years ago told me, in the first hour I talked to her:
“Men are responsible for all the problems in the world.”
“Some of my relatives tried to molest me when I was in my teens.”
“None of my relationships work out because all the men have baggage from past relationships.”
“None of them will accept my career.”
The best one of all was…”This is about me, not you!”
Nothing was her fault. It was always men’s fault. And if it’s someone else’s fault, then it’s okay to emotionally abuse them. And sooner or later (and usually it’s sooner) they start to emotionally abuse people. Sometimes it becomes physical abuse.
If you meet someone who immediately becomes intimate (by telling you intimate details of his or her life), who immediately treats you as if you are special, who makes you want to immediately protect or fix them, and blames their problems on other people, STAY AWAY!
I’m going to repeat this, too: for many men their first impulse is to fix, protect and save a woman like this. You can’t do any of those things for her. She’s not so easy as a flat tire.
Some people unfortunately fall in love with these people, ignoring the warning signs – which are always bad feelings about them; anxiety, tenseness, and guilt (wondering if YOU have the problem and not them). The reason you’re having those bad feelings is because your soul is being sucked out!
These people are relatively common and wreak in the lives of every person they come into contact with.
This is a free warning, courtesy of UncleBob!
Saturday, February 18, 2012
"All machines are amplifiers" ~ Cooper's Law
That's a true saying: Machines are amplifiers, amplifiers of our inherent abilities. Machines are not moral or immoral; they're amoral. They can be used for good or bad.
So the big question is: How can you tell if they are being used for good or bad purposes? To answer this, I look to mythology. Not the old mythologies, but the new ones. Although, to be fair, the new mythologies are just the same old stories retold for modern sensibilities.
One old story, told in a new way, burst on the modern world in the '70s. Everyone knows his name: Darth Vader.
Vader is a modern retelling of the story of Satan, in that his greatest sin is Pride, and he wants to be God and have absolute power over everything, but he's something that Satan or any incarnation of him isn't: he's half man, half machine, a monster who is, as Obi-Wan said, "twisted and evil."
Vader was a representative of the Empire, and everything about the Empire was a soulless machine: the Death Star; the identical Myrmidons known as the stormtroopers, Vader himself. There existed not the slightest evidence of any warmth, or love, or community. Just the will to power. And as Carl Jung noted, you can have either love or power (meaning political power, which is the power to turn a live human into a corpse), but not both.
Joseph Campbell said something just as perceptive as Jung but funnier: he called Darth Vader "a bureaucrat," living under a system imposed on him. Vader could strangle people by pointing his finger at them, but he was nonetheless a bureaucrat of the State just as much as a nonentity at the DMV.
On the other side, in the second movie, opposing the Empire, the Ewoks were added. They didn't really use many machines, and advanced ones not at all, but they had community. Compare them to the Empire, and it's easy to see the difference between them.
Lucas did this split between the Ewoks and the Empire on purpose. He was using an old theme in literature known as the Machine State versus the Natural State. The Empire is a machine, a monster, really; the Ewoks live a natural, organic life. You can see this same thing in H.G. Wells' The Time Machine, in which the Eloi symbolize the Natural State and the Morlocks (who eat the Eloi) the Machine State.
What Lucas was saying is that when technology is appropriated by the State, it will sooner or later turn into a monster that conquers and destroys and murders, that uses up people and eats their lives. The obverse is that when not used by the State, it will almost always be used for good purposes. In other words, when used by the free market, good will come from machines.
You need look no farther than modern State militaries, eternally searching for ways to drug soldiers, to remake them so they look and fight like the Borg (also half human, half machine) -- and to what end? To kill, to conquer. (Of course this is rationalized as "bringing freedom" to the benighted of the world.)
The Borg are also representations of the Machine State, people turned into machines, to be used by the State to destroy and conquer. And not surprisingly at all, the Borg Queen complained, "Why do you resist us? We only wish to improve the quality of your lives."
This "improving the quality of your lives" entailed turning people into automatons who had no free will, who never question their leaders because they cannot, not with all those machines screwed into their brains. For all practical purposes, they had no self-consciousness. This unquestioning
unconsciousness is, ultimately, what the State wants from nearly everyone. To be sheep who never question, and follow all orders. Since the State does not (yet) have the technology or drugs to pervert us into their desired, obedient machines, right now it has to use propaganda in its attempt to brainwash us into turning into their sacrificial little lambs.
Or, I should say, sacrificial Borg, who never question. Or sacrificial stormtroopers, who never question.
The Borg, in my opinion, are a more accurate representation than the Empire of Star Wars. The Borg Cube is a gigantic womb, and the "people" in it are taken care of womb-to-tomb. Isn't this what the average hypnotized sheeple wants from the State? To never think, to avoid all anxiety, to be taken care of like a baby? They certainly have never heard what Frederick the Great said: "If my soldiers were to begin to think, not one of them would remain in the ranks."
What these people never realize is that the downside of welfare is warfare. Welfare/warfare are opposite sides of the same coin. You won't find one without the other.
You can see this warfare/welfare theme today in the U.S., which unfortunately has turned into an empire. The State is trying to turn the U.S. into Nerfworld while slaughtering foreigners across the globe, in an attempt to turn them into us, i.e., the proto-Borg.
Or, as the Borg broadcast to everyone, "Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated." This will never happen, of course, since people will fight to the death against us. Also, of course, as the old saying tells us, one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter.
People also never realize that States try to make everyone the same, so that being equal and identical one can easily be replaced by another, just like a cog in a machine. The loss of an individual life doesn't mean anything. Notice how soldiers came to be called "G.I.s," which means "Government Issue." It's also why all stormtroopers looked exactly alike, and the loss of one Borg meant nil.
When the State uses machines to destroy and kill, it turns into a monster, the way Vader was a monster, or the Borg. And monsters, even in the simplest of children’s fairy tales, are things that always menace good.
I read a fair amount of science fiction, which is the only truly visionary genre. Originally technology was portrayed as not having much of a downside -- a lot of it was like Heinlein's Starship Troopers, although there were exceptions, such as Fred Saberhagen’s Berserkers. But starting pretty much with cyberpunk, suddenly writers were looking very closely at the dark side -- or maybe I should say, the Dark Side -- of technology, until we ended up with The Matrix. But Star Wars preceded all of them.
And in nearly every story in cyberpunk, the State was in some way almost always involved in the badness.
Ezra Pound once called artists "the antenna of the race." You might say the same about schizophrenics, since the paranoid ones often believe machines are controlling them, machines usually operated by agents of the State.
And what these antennae have been saying for the last few decades is: Be very, very careful of what the State does with its machines, because, contrary to the cheers of its deluded supporters, that monster will always use them to squash you like a bug.
But one watershed moment was in 1943, when Americans started having taxes withheld from their paychecks. Before then, Americans paid on tax day. But when they started having money withheld from their checks . . . the effect was great for the State and bad for the citizens.
Income tax withholding raised revenues from $686 million in 1943 to $7.8 billion in 1944. This meant the State got richer and all the citizens got poorer. Withholding was supposed to be a temporary wartime measure, but that’s not what happened. When it comes to the State, “temporary” not only means “permanent” but is also means “ratcheted up every year.”
People thought the shortages and deprivations were caused by World War II. Some were. But how many were caused by the government taking over eleven times as much money from citizens in 1944 as 1943?
Another watershed moment was in 1971 when Nixon went off of the gold standard, allowing the Federal Reserve Bank (which is not federal, has no reserves, and is not a bank) to merrily inflate to its heart’s content, thereby allowing the quick destruction of the dollar.
The result of these two devastating things (there were other causes, of course)? Wages stopped going up in 1973, and have been flat, and in many cases declining, ever since.
If the State at the minimum had not withheld taxes from citizens, and not gone off of the gold standard, allowing to Fed to run the U.S over a cliff, I suspect the average salary today would be about $70,000 a year (a professional economist estimated it would be over $90,000 a year).
How did these things affect families? When you factor in the immense destructiveness of radical left-wing feminism, oppressive taxation, Affirmative Action, and crushing economic regulations, what has happened now is that is takes both a husband and wife working to have even a middle-class existence. One with a few children.
Had the State stayed out of the economy, it would have been possible for a man and woman to both work part time and have a decent existence. Instead, these days, often both of them have to work more than full-time, which means giving their children to be raised by public schools. Very often this also means putting them in preschool so the parents can work.
Had both been able to work part time, they could spend much more time with their children and properly educate them, instead of having to scrub the dirt out of their brains that had been ground into them by the public schools.
It just astonishes me that some people still think the U.S. is a free country. Parents working more than full-time just to make ends meet, giving their children at several months old to be raised by strangers, then putting them in public schools from five to 17 (what does it take 12 years to learn anyway?) to have them taught things they don’t want them taught, having their lifeblood sucked out by the State and then being lied to by whackjob liberals that they are “undertaxed compared to Europe” (AKA “nations of eternal warfare”) . . . and this is the way things are supposed to be?
People have claimed that married women work to buy all the goodies the couple could do without. That’s not true. These days, most of the time, if the wife quits working and they try to live on the husband’s salary, they end up living in a used mobile home. But a nice middle-class house? Get a time machine.
The U.S. is no longer at replacement rate. “Scholars,” puzzled, scratch what passes for their brains. Some do understand the destructive effect of the State on families and the economy, but not enough. How often do you see the truth in the mainstream media? Almost never.
None of these bad things can last. It never has in the past, it won’t now, and it won’t in the future. No one can predict when. But I’ll say this: It seems to be getting pretty close.
The Left, whether libertarian or not, doesn't really believe humans are limited, even if they don't know they believe it. That's the worst kind of ignorance there is. As Plato pointed out, you can be ignorant and know it. Then there is what he called "double ignorance": you're ignorant but don't know it.
Leftists refuse to believe mankind has an animal nature that most people cannot truly overcome, and they also believe people have complete free will, which they do not.
I make the distinction between "will" and "behavior." "Will" is what is inside you. If people had complete free will, then they could make themselves into anything they want, and be happy with it. Serial killer, rapist, murderer, mugger -- if we had complete free will, we could be any of them (or all) and be perfectly happy. But we can't.
If we had complete free will, then any socio-political-economic system would work, because people could make themselves into whatever they please. But we can't, because we don't have that kind of power over ourselves. We never will.
People, although they are lot more than animals, do share certain traits with them. We are social beings who group ourselves into family and tribes, just the way all social animals forms packs. Those libertarians who think we are merely individual atoms disconnected from everyone else are showing a profound lack of understanding of human nature. Perhaps, they are showing a complete lack of understanding of it, which is probably the main characteristic of the Left.
These days, most tribes have grouped themselves into huge units known as nations. There is no way around it. If people weren't like that, then they wouldn't do it.
Since we form ourselves into tribes (nations), any one nation is going to view with great suspicion when large amounts of the members of another nation moves onto the first nation's land. This is something that anyone of the Right understands.
The Left, including left-libertarians, do not understand this, because they unconsciously believe everyone has complete free will. They believe that all tribes can share the same land and get along, because they naively think everyone can change themselves on the inside (in the snap of a finger!) and get along with everyone else.
Toss into a huge salad every religion and ethnic group, and the open-borders crowd truly believes hundreds of millions -- if not billions -- of people will respect everyone else as an individual and not judge them as members of their tribe. The open-borders crowd, including left-libertarians, believes in multi-culturalism.
Unfortunately, multi-culturalism is the wrong name for what it really is -- multi-tribalism. And tribes, when they are large enough and trying to share the same land, fight in an attempt expel other tribes. Anyone who does not believe this, just look around the world. Every war there is, is one tribe against another, one religion against another, one ethnic group against another.
If we were truly individuals, and nothing else, we would not need families, fathers, mothers, and friends. We would have no desire to gather together at theaters, stadiums, clubs. We would be as independent as cats.
It is the Left that has always believed human nature either doesn't exist or is infinitely plastic. It is for that reason they have consistently tried to social-engineer people into being what they cannot be. The open-borders crowd, including left-libertarians, are trying to social-engineer people being what they want them to be. Under the veneer of their "libertarianism," do they do not a lot in common with leftist totalitarians? Don't they in fact hate their society, and wish to see it destroyed, thinking that somehow, magically, all the inherent "goodness" of human nature will shine through?
Let's do a thought experiment. Imagine there were no borders whatsoever in the world? What would happen?
In the fantasies inhabiting the left-libertarian mind, people would freely move around to where the jobs are, and everyone would get along almost perfectly, united by their love of SUVS and DVD players that the free market produces. Abracadabra, people would give up ages-old tribal, religious and racial hatreds. In the real world, however, one tribe would attempt to impose its will on another, and murder and expel the members of it. That's why open borders equals tribal warfare. That old saying, "Good fences make good neighbors," is true.
There is another aspect to human nature to which I have given a great deal of thought for the last few years: hubris. All tribes have, almost without exception, considered themselves to the Chosen of God; almost all have called themselves "The People" or "The Humans." This means anyone outside the tribe is non-people and non-human.
Hubris is part of our limited and imperfect nature. It's why humility -- which is founded on a self-awareness of our imperfections -- has always been considered a virtue.
But, only individuals can be humble, not tribes. How many nations in the world have admitted the horrible slaughter they have visited on others? Or if they admit it, justify it? Almost all of them.
What answer does the left-libertarian open-borders crowd have to the problem of fighting tribes, with each considering themselves the Chosen? They have no answer, other than that the free market will make everyone get along. They wish to destroy the nations of the world, even if they don't know it.
The ultimate problem of the open-borders crowd is the hubris of which I just wrote. Anyone who thinks they can destroy nation, state, and neighborhood, and replace it with their vague understanding of the free market, is showing the arrogance and ignorance that has almost exclusively been the province of the Left.
Because the left-libertarian open-borders crowd doesn't believe in human nature, and believes people have complete free will, they also believe in Utopia, or Heaven on earth, which all religions have considered blasphemy, and for good reason. You need look no farther that the 20th century, in which perhaps up to 200 million people lost their lives in the attempt to bring this Heaven to earth.
There is no surer way to guarantee a Hell on Earth than to to shovel people around like lumps of concrete.
In the case of the open-borders crowd they believe the free market -- which they misunderstand -- will bring this Utopia. We only need to destroy all the nations of the world. And exactly how will this destruction bring peace?
But the open-borders crowd doesn't know any of this, and won't believe it, being, of course, afflicted with that double ignorance of which Plato so wisely wrote.
Friday, February 17, 2012
In the story there had been a nuclear war, and the only man left alive was Miller, a pacifist and a college professor whose main interests were art, literature and music.
Miller stumbles across what are apparently the only women left alive, several naïve teenage school girls under the domination of what Sheckley describes as a stocky, square-jawed, man-hating lesbian.
This woman, claiming men were the cause of every problem in the world, drives Miller away with a spear and stones, saying she will learn to reproduce without men and found a better world.
Miller, realizing he can no longer be a pacifist or civilized, picks up a club and heads toward the camp to brain the dyke who tried to kill him. The girls, the last line of the story tells us, are then in for a big surprise.
Apparently the idea that “men are the cause of all the problems in the world” is not a current one, but it has now become the dominant paradigm in the United States.
Not just men, but white men, are supposedly the cause of all the evil in the world. The corollary to this belief is that women are good. You can see this portray in the media all the time, in which men are bumblers and women competent.
This simplistic men bad/women good viewpoint ignores the fact that men are responsible for both a great deal of good and evil in the world – and so are women.
The only feminist I am familiar with who understands all this is Camille Paglia, who although a lesbian, is not a man-hating one and apparently has no axes to grind, unlike the leftist ones who are essentially the founders of modern feminism.
That idea that women and not just men are responsible for good and evil is illustrated in the Hindu myth of Kali, who is both creator and destroyer, just as women are. The closest to a modern version of this myth in the West is the Borg Queen from “Star Trek.”
Also throughout history nature and the earth have always been considered feminine (“Mother Earth”). The corollary to that is the sky is masculine.
My view is that nature is female and civilization is male (all fetuses are originally female until hormones turn some into males). Indeed, without men there would be no civilization. As the humorist P.J. O’Rourke noted, without men civilization would last until the next oil change, and Paglia derided women who denied what men have done as “grass hut feminists” – without men, such women would be living in grass huts.
These days, unfortunately, we are living in a country which is too lopsided toward women – specifically, the bad things women do. Examples: if a pregnant woman wants the baby, it is a human being; if she does not want it, it is not human and can be aborted. Whether or not it is human is based on what she feels. This is lunacy.
Another example: the father has no say in whether or not the baby can be aborted. He has no legal rights. Still another: a woman can have a baby and raise it by herself, even though this is not economically viable and she has to be supported by everyone else (even if she deludes herself she is a “independent woman”).
Society is in fact, in some ways, heading back towards the feminine and nature, and away from the male and civilization. Both men and women are in some ways starting to act more like animals than civilized human beings, i.e., married, monogamous, forming families, gainfully employed.
These destructive things are in many ways the result of leftist feminism, which, like all leftism, wants to destroy, believing all the non-existent Rosseauian goodness of human nature will just pop up. The exact opposite will happen: civilization is a thin skin on top of a bad of unpleasant human nature, and without it all the bestiality of humans will explode. You only need to read the Marquis de Sade to understand this. Or else look at the whole of history.
There has never been a matriarchy in history, but lets imagine if there was one today. We can see the beginnings of it. Many women are unfortunately more concerned with safety than liberty, so they try to remake the entire world so it’s made out of Nerf.
A modern-day matriarchy would be one in which there is no liberty, only safety and security; the attempt would be made to turn little boys into little girls through Ritalin and the repression of typical boy-play; and women would have total control over their reproduction, including the lunacies I outlined above.
Marriage would collapse. Many women would not understand why, but blame their problems on men and become bitter, hateful and vengeful. Does this sound familiar?
All of this is happening right now, and it’s clearly not a viable world. In fact, it’s a world going backwards nature and Paglia’s grass huts. Under a matriarchy, civilization would not go forward, but backward, contrary to the hallucinations of Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan.
Many women, of course, don’t want to believe this. It hurts their feelings, as if feelings are the arbiter of reality.
Our society has a lot of problems, and they are going to get worse before they get better. But they will get better. In the meantime, there is going to be a lot of pain and heartbreak.
For one thing, mos of the letters are garbled, sometimes incomprehensible. Most contained misspelled words. They're rants, not arguments. The conclusion I draw is these hatemails are an expression of the writers' minds. Apparently their thoughts are garbled, otherwise they wouldn't write like they do.
But the ranting isn't the main point. The fact they consider me an evil person is. I've been called every name that exists. I've been told to leave the country. I've been called a leftist, and a rightist. Sometimes the hysteria make me chuckle: "You....you...fatherless person...leftist traiter [yes, "traiter"]....right-wing facist [yep, "facist"]...you...you...leave!!!"
One concept that I grabbed onto a long time ago, and have never let go -- and never will -- is that people are born with the tendency to see things as either Good or Bad. The phrase psychologists use is "idealized" or "devalued."
Those traits are opposite sides of the same coin. If the writers of hatemail see me as bad, they must see themselves as good. As they devalue me, they idealize themselves. Probably more accurately, they idealize what they believe in, and devalue not only me, but my beliefs.
I am reminded of one of those sayings I stored away until I could figure it out, because it made no sense. Now, it does. Here it is:
"But I tell you, that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be in danger of the judgment; and whoever shall say to his brother, 'Raca!' shall be in danger of the council; and whoever shall say, 'You fool!' shall be in danger of the fire of Gehenna."
That's one translation. There are many others, but they're all essentially the same.
It's a hard saying, and at first reading makes no sense. It almost reads as if it's okay to call people any names you want, as long as it's not "fool" or "raca" (which means, in one translation, as "good-for-nothing moron," and in another, "shallow, empty-headed, brainless, stupid").
What all my hatemails have in common is that I'm being called, in essence, a fool or a good-for-nothing moron ("idiot" is a popular one they use). Looks like human nature doesn't change, even after several thousand years.
But why would someone be in danger of an awful judgment just for calling people names? Perhaps it's because of the reason behind the name-calling? What counts is the motive behind the act?
To call someone a name jokingly means nothing. To say it as a true insult is a different thing. Not so much because of the effect it has on those whom it's aimed at, but because of what it says about the insulter. What it says about their motives.
A true insult is meant to not only devalue that person it's aimed at, but to idealize the person who deals it to make them feel self-righteous. When people write me that I'm "anti-American," it means they think they are the true Americans. They're good; I'm bad. They're patriots; I'm a "traiter."
If people are devalued enough, it's becomes easier to murder them. That's the main purpose of propaganda, to devalue and dehumanize the enemy, so they can be more easily killed. That's why governments have always claimed the enemy spits babies on bayonets or feeds people into wood chippers feet first.
That's the "devaluation" side of the coin. What about the "idealization" side? People usually don't idealize themselves all that much, but they certainly idealize their country, or the military, or the President (speaking of the last, it seems to me the person who says, "my President" isn't all that different from people who said, "Mein Fuhrer".) And since such people are part of their country, by exalting and idealizing the country, they exalt and idealize themselves. Hence, they're patriots, I'm a traitor.
There's not much difference between the two words, "idealize" and "idolize." For all practical purposes, maybe there isn't any. An idol, of course, is something that all religions warn against, be it a stone one...or a country.
When people idolize and idealize their country, they believe it can do no wrong. No matter what wrong it does, they will either ignore it or rationalize it. In other words, they avoid the truth and lie to themselves.
Perhaps that's why the name Satan means "the liar." To believe in an idol is to lie to yourself. When a person truly, viciously and with hate attacks and devalues someone, they believe in some idol, one they believe they are defending.
These days, because of the war, the idols defended are country and government. That's why I get the hatemails. The writers believe they are defending our good, pure country and government from Evil Me. I'm being devalued into someone evil, and they are exalting themselves, the country and the government into an idol...ones they generally see as being supported by God.
One of the things I find interesting in the comment of Jesus is there is a graduation in it, from least to worst: anger to rage to hate. The more people hate, they more they see themselves as right, and the more they see those hated as wrong. Again, what is left is just a short step to murdering those who are hated.
The hatemails are a devaluation, character assassination done in the same spirit as murder. It's just not as intense of a spirit. It's still the same one, though. In a sense, the writers are trying to feed me to Moloch. I'm a bad person they want to sacrifice. It's why they tell me to leave the country. They're murdering me in their minds.
What is the end result of worshiping idols? History is our guide, and what it tells us is not good. Worshiping false gods always leads to bad things, so, worshiping the idols of country and government will lead to catastrophes. It looks as if we're heading to one right now, in the name of spreading "democracy" and "freedom" throughout the world. By using murder and destruction.
Apparently, those who worship idols always believe in murder. Maybe that's what all idols, everywhere, throughout history have always required: murder.
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
One of the reasons for this "rebirth" is to pull away from the mother, who at her worst is represented by the motherly/destructive/seductive mythic goddess Kali (today, she's the Borg Queen), and these days by society-destroying radical feminism. This pulling away is necessary for boys to be introduced to the world of men, otherwise, under the influence under the worst aspect of the feminine, they can end up as gang members...or maybe even far, far worse.
To a much lesser extent, there have been rites of passages for girls. In both cases, it happens right at puberty, when the body and brain are changing rapidly and profoundly.
Nowadays, we're lost these rites, at least the good ones. Did we ever have good ones? I'm sure we did, but offhand, I can't think of what they were. Currently, we're got some bad ones, and the kids and society pay for it. And pay and pay and pay. The lack of them is damaging to individuals and to the culture. "Culture is the public expression of group continuity," commented one wag, and I couldn't agree more.
Many people either don't know, or don't want to admit, how fragile society is, and that one of its purposes is to repress all the badness inherent in human nature. When societies lose those myths, rituals and rites that help repress or transform the badness, worse rites will take their place. That's how we end up with kids wearing tribal tattos and acting like whiggers.
Here's an example, and it's about a woman I knew: when I was about 23, and in college, I was sitting in the room of this woman, who was about 21 years old. We were just passing time listening to her records. I even remember one of the songs -- Ten Years After's "I'd Love to Change the World." Years later I realized how appropriate that song was for our conversation.
I was casual friends with her, but had noticed she was a bit more intelligent, sensitive and creative than the other girls who lived in her house, almost all of whom, in my opinion, was callow and not-very-bright college students. The one I was talking to was an art major, the only one in her house of 11 girls. Most of the others were studying to be grade-school teachers, urp.
To this day, I have no idea why she told me the things she did. She starting telling me about her time in 7th grade, when she was pudgy and wore those kind of horn-rimmed glasses that always sit crooked on your face. She showed me a picture; personally, I thought she was rather cute.
She was certainly cute at 21, certainly much better-looking than the other girls in the house. I always wanted to jump her, but never did.
She told me that because of the way she looked, she was ostracized by the other 7th-graders. Twelve years old and an outsider and a scapegoat. Just great. No wonder Stephen King's novel Carrie was such a big hit. Public schools, blech.
Over the summer, she told me, she grew up, lost the baby fat, filled out, and got contacts. Ugly duckling to swan in less than three months. When she came back for the 8th-grade all the kids who ostracised her now wanted to be her friends. She ignored them. I thought, "Good for you."
The way she was treated in the 7th-grade affected her for the rest of her life. She told me she was never attracted to what most people would consider "good-looking" men and was instead attracted to what she called "unusual-looking guys." (It occurred to me: was why I was in her room, unlike the other guys who hung out in the house, and why was she telling me these things? Uh oh.)
I got a big laugh out of this one: she told me she liked guys who looked like Peter Noone. Peter Noone? Who's that? You know, Herman of "Herman and the Hermits." They were popular about the time she was being born!
I saw her a few years later, after we had graduated, and sure enough, she had married a guy who looked like him.
She turned out just fine, but her initiation rites in 7th-grade consisted of a bright, creative, sensitive girl being ostracised and humiliated in public school. And they were unwitting initiation rites, ones that, I repeat, affected her for the rest of her life.
She was lucky enough to make it through them, even without wise elders, just teachers instead, although in a sense she was scarred for the rest of her life. She symbolically died and was reborn courtesy of being treated like crap by a bunch of dim-witted, immature 12-year-olds tossed together helter-skelter in public schools (which I think should be burned down and the ground salted). Those were good rites of passage for her? That's a rhetorical question, by the way.
As bad as it was for her, I think this lack of initiation rites is a lot worse for boys. A lot worse, and I can't emphasize just how bad I think this lack is. We still have them, to a degree, although they're exactly the same as my friend went through: being tossed into the mish-mash that is public-school 7th-grade. It ain't working.
The fact we don't have any initiation affects us politically, I'm convinced. Politically, the leftist nanny-state is Mommy. Why do men fall for it? Because, even though raised with two parents, they're still stuck in mommy-mode, due to the lack of initiation rites that pull them away from mommy and toward daddy.
This away-from-dominating-mommy/searching-for-daddy can be seen in gangs, most of whom were raised without fathers. They found all-male gangs, ones that denigrate women. Their initiation rites and lives are all in the bad-male mode.
Teenagers have a vague, inchoate, instinctive understanding of their need for initiation rites. That's why they act and dress as they do. I did it when I was a teenager. Almost all of us did. Almost all of us used drugs, although in those days it was booze and marijuana. Today it's Ecstasy and raves. I understand completely.
Looking back on it, I realize my friends and I were rather wild, at least compared to the other kids. There were a lot of us, creating our own initiation rites of drugs and booze and parties. We had no mentors, be it parents or teachers. There was no ritualistic adjustment from childhood to adulthood. Nothing. These days, we'd be given Ritalin.
The way I see it, in American society, the skyrocketing rise of gangs and reckless behavior dramatizes how youth seek some sort of initiation rites, made worse in the absence of anything provided by the culture (read "learned elders" for "culture"). Unfortunately, old geezers fear young people, not realizing their wildness and energy are really just an unending longing for initiation into the adult world.
Adolescents hunger for real tests, somewhat risky ordeals by which they can turn into adults, ones with a purpose in life. What ceremonies and rituals and rites do we have? High school graduation? College graduation? Meaningless. They're not tests. Nearly everyone wants to feel like the Hero on a Quest. Luke Skywalker, you know. Why do you think those movies are so popular?
True rites involve some risk, some pain, and self- discipline and self-sacrifice. Look how many boys want to join the Marines. When those things are offered, then there is community. It doesn't matter what it is -- it can be anything from gangs to religion.
That lack of serious rites is one of the reasons Christianity is in the trouble it is in. It's too soft; it doesn't challenge. Make it harder, make it challenging, make it involve self-discipline and self-sacrifice, and the softness that plagues it will disappear.
We don't have, and we certainly need, adolescent initiations that meet the needs of kids today, ones that draw on tribal rites, ones that are feasible in a modern, urban culture. Since we live in a highly technological society, we need new rituals appropriate to urban teenagers. Then, of course, the other essential ingredients are elders and mentors willing to devise and perform such rituals and a supportive community -- that "group continuity" -- into which the initiated teens are brought.
The way things are now, we're turning into a society without fathers, and in some cases without mothers. The law has, foolishly and destructively, decided fathers are optional, and when they aren't, when a couple has to work to make ends meet and give their six-week-old baby to a pre-school, that's just another way of saying we no longer have elders. The government is no substitute, pace Hillary Clinton.
When you're looking at young gang members, you're looking at people with no elders. So we either develop elders, or the amount of violence will increase year by year. This is not something that can be replaced by government programs.
Sooner or later, we'll have to figure it out. We have to. But until we do, all the Ph.D.s and government studies and programs, are in vain, just chaff flying in the whirlwind.
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
I define intelligence as being able to tolerate ambiguity. These people don't see everything as either/or.
The example I use is that of the theory of evolution. I was surprised to find many believers in it were close-minded fanatics. Everything was either/or to them. They were in fact religious fanatics. They couldn't handle the fact the evidence for one species turning into another is non-existent (I'm not saying it didn't happen; no one has any idea how it happened, and there is no evidence it did).
I was amazed at the rationalization and indeed frothing at the mouth. On the other hand, the more intelligent people said, "Well, if it did happen, evidence will be found. In the meantime, I'm not going to lose any sleep over it, and I'm certainly not going to scream and rant." In other words, they could tolerate ambiguity, and didn't see things as either/or ("Either evolution exists, or you're a close-minded religious fanatic who is blind to the facts").
These people are ideologues, as Russel Kirk defined them: "Ideology means political fanaticism...[they] maintain that human nature and society may be perfected by mundane, secular means..."
I'd say, if anything, more intelligent people believe in both/and, rather than either or. And idealogues always believe in either/or, whether they believe in Communism or fascism or anarchism.
People who are smart understand just how little they know. There is some humility involved. People who aren't that smart -- even if they have high IQs and a pocketful of advanced degrees -- are the dumb ones, because they think they know the answers. They suffer from the opposite of humility -- hubris.
People who are dumb, even if they have high IQs, politicize everything, including things that shouldn't be politicized. And when things are politicized, things are always black or white, with no shades of grey.
When people politicize everything, they become so close-minded they lack the ability to consider someone's viewpoint. In other words, they have no imagination. And without imagination, there is a decided lack of empathy -- the ability to consider another's viewpoint without necessarily agreeing with it.
Stupidity and blindness, to paraphrase Jacob Burckhardt, are "made worse by our vulgar hatred of anything that is different...by our identification of the moral with the precise and our incapacity to understand the multivarious.."
And when the dumb ones get some kind of political power and can impose their views on people, that's when the trouble really starts.
Monday, February 6, 2012
One of my favorite novels is the Robin Buss translation of Alexandre Dumas' The Count of Monte Cristo. This novel, utterly absorbing even though it's over 1000 pages, has everything: revenge, false imprisonment, escape, buried treasure, hate, envy, lies, love, forgiveness, atonement, murder, rape, hideous executions, politics, bandits, sex, drugs, rock 'n' roll! If I was marooned on a desert island, forget a beach ball with a face on it -- give me this novel!
There are other writers who have everything: Shakespeare and Doestoevsky, for two examples. But who reads them, anymore? What was it that Mark Twain said? "A classic is something that everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read." I understand his point. Shakespeare, superb stylist that he is, is incomprehensible for most people. Doestoevky is much too dark and depressing.
But Dumas! Now that's another story! The Count of Monte Cristo has probably been the most influential novel, ever. Name a popular writer, and that book has probably influenced him: Zane Grey, Alfred Bester, John D. MacDonald, H. Rider Haggard, C.S. Forrester, Louis L'Amour, Mickey Spillane, Ian Fleming, Tom Clancy, John Grisham.
It doesn't surprise me at all the whole novel pretty much hinges on political machinations. After all, in this world of ours, so much does, and it's almost never for the good.
The hero (no, that's not true: he's the anti-hero) is Edmond Dantes', who ends up at the age of 18 being falsely imprisoned for life on the basis of false and envious accusations of a political nature. He doesn't escape until he's over 30, and spends his life wreaking havoc on those who have wronged him. Hmm, satisfying! Who can not sympathize, just as most can sympathize with Dantes' modern descendent: Batman. Then there's my favorite: the Clint Eastwood movie, The Outlaw Josey Wales.
Every once in a while Dumas' will have a character toss off a gem that sticks in your mind. One of those gems is so vivid to me I even remember the page it's on: 92.
The character, M. Noirtier, says this: "I thought him enough of a philosopher to realize that there is no such thing as murder in politics. You know as well as I do, dear boy, that in politics there are no people, only ideas; no feelings, only interests. In politics you don't kill a man, you remove an obstacle, that's all."
Truer words have never been spoken. I have read these sentiments before, although not so succinctly put, in only three sentences. There is a world of wisdom in those 54 words.
Dumas' is cynically, completely accurate: in politics, there is no murder. People are things that represent ideas; in war (which is just an extension of politics) they have today been declared "collateral damage." Innocent men, women (even the pregnant ones), children, infants: collateral damage, not worthy of even being counted.
Not only is there no murder, there are no lies, no theft. Politics is the Ten Commandmants written by Satan and turned inside-out!
Contrary to the delusions of many people, no country is the friend of another country. They can be temporary allies; one day they can be allies; a week later, mortal enemies. For an example, the Soviet Union was our ally against Germany during World War II, but within weeks after the war they had become our mortal enemy, for some 50 years.
Countries only have interests, and often those interests are not only shifting, but utterly foolish.
One thing that Dumas' does not point out is that the interests of countries are based not on what's best for the people, but instead on what the rulers want. Today, in the U.S., the two wars we are involved in are to serve the interests of three main groups: the treasonous Zionists in the administration who have lied and distorted information to get the U.S. in wars to protect Israel; the deluded blasphemers known as Christian Zionists, who think that by the mass murder known as war they can kickstart Armageddon, end the world and get Jesus to return; and corporate Big Oil, who want to secure oil supplies for the U.S.
None of those interests are in the interests of the people of the U.S.
Vilfredo Pareto, who along with Machiavelli is one of the few essential political scientists everyone should read, understood what is always happening: he divided rulers into two kinds: Foxes, who use fraud; and Lions, who use force. The mass of people he called Sheep. Personally, I like the name, "Sheeple."
The interests of a nation are almost always determined by what the rulers want, be they Foxes or Lions. The Sheep are unfortunately often easily led by the rulers, even if they're led over a cliff. It's done by propaganda, and the mass of Sheep always fall for it.
“Voice or no voice," said Hermann Goring, during the Nuremberg trials, "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 pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”
I don't see how we can get rid of politics (oh, if only we could!) but at least the wise understand the true nature of it: citizens are mostly Sheep, to do the bidding of the Foxes and Lions. In the political realm, the Sheep are never murdered by the Foxes and Lions; they are merely bad ideas, obstacles to be removed, if they threaten the interests of the rulers.
In my life I have found I've learned more from myths, fairy tales, fables and novels such as The Count of Monte Cristo, than I have from the overweight and boring books written by Ph.D.s, who hurl them at the public from universities. It doesn't matter if they're from Harvard or Yale or Princeton; those people, the ironically-named "the Best and the Brightest," are the ones who got us into Vietnam, and are now in the process of starting World War III. The world would be better off without 90% of the "intellectuals" who spew bad ideas all over us.
Literature, at its best, is not only educating but entertaining. Sometimes the truth it tells us isn't all that tasty, but it's better to take that medicine than not take it. One of the truths it tells us is that if people are pushed too far, even if they are Sheeple, they'll rise up and seek revenge, just like Edmond Dantes'. Or Josey Wales, for that matter.
You can't ask more from a bunch of words than that.