Archive for the ‘Philosophy’ Category

I’m honestly unsure where this [new wave of censorship] will end; we’re well into uncharted territory my librarian self would’ve found unbelievable.  –  “The Book Burners

It may be difficult for my younger readers to believe that when I was a librarian, “Banned Books Week” was little more than an academic exercise.  The first few years of my blog demonstrate just how negligible a threat so-called “book banning” actually was.  In 2010, I didn’t even remember to write about the observance; in 2011 I simply noted a number of frequently-challenged books (because the number was small enough to do that), and in 2012 and 2013 I used the occasion to attack the concept of censorship from a philosophical perspective.  2014’s “Censor Chic” was the first harbinger of things to come, as I discussed the new indirect form of censorship: authoritarians both in and out of government getting risk-averse corporations to do their dirty work for them by issuing threats to either smear those companies’ reputations or attack them with increased government meddling.  The latter tactic has grown from the relatively-veiled threats issued by the Obama administration’s “Operation Choke Point” to the Biden administration’s jawboning so egregiously even federal judges couldn’t be persuaded to give it a pass.  And in the past two years, pro-censorship politicians have crafted terrible laws to empower isolated cranks to censor any books their “thought leaders” tell them are “bad”:

…School book challenges reached historic highs in America in 2021 and 2022, according to the American Library Association.  And just a handful of people are driving those records.  A Washington Post analysis of thousands of challenges nationwide found that 60 percent of all challenges in the 2021-2022 school year came from 11 adults, each of whom objected to dozens — sometimes close to 100 — of books in their districts….

2015’s “Moral Climate” pointed out that most censorship nowadays is neither top-down nor obvious nor based in pearl-clutching about “obscenity” (though in the past two years that has again become a popular excuse among censor-morons who label themselves “conservative”); rather, it is disguised lateral censorship by censor-morons who label themselves “progressive”:

…What if you read different words in your books and never even knew the original language was changed?  That’s where publishers’ growing penchant for revisionism and censorship of written works comes in — often through the use of so-called “sensitivity readers” — to eliminate “problematic” content…From Roald Dahl and Ian Fleming to R.L. Stine and Agatha Christie, this trend of editing and rewriting authors’ books…without their consent…should alarm us all…the publishers who commission it foster a chilling effect on free speech, a sanitization of art, and a corrosion of our larger cultural discourse…

Of course, some “progressive” censorship is just as blatant and top-down as that of “conservatives”:

Peel District School Board…students, parents and community members…are concerned about a [bizarre] approach to a new equity-based book weeding process implemented by the board last spring in response to a provincial directive from the Minister of Education.  They say the new process, intended to ensure library books are inclusive, appears to have led some schools to remove thousands of books solely because they were published in 2008 or earlier…neither Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce’s office, nor the Education Ministry, would comment on PDSB’s implementation of Lecce’s directive…But in a [later] statement…the education minister said he has written to the board to immediately end this practice…

By 2017, my “Banned Books Week” essays had pivoted to dealing with the new reality of “adults…not merely accepting, but demanding they be shielded from ideas they find uncomfortable for one reason or another“, and in 2018 top-down censorship enforced by violence returned with a vengeance, starting with the internet.  In 2019 I summarized developments as follows:

…in this century, the sick need to control others’ thoughts grew as the internet made it easier for those thoughts to be shared, and early last year top-down government censorship returned with a vengeance thanks to the Great Unwashed eagerly swallowing racist claims about “human trafficking” and magically baneful effects of anything to do with sex.  The US enacted FOSTA, leading to a wave of internet censorship; the UK is trying to build a massive firewall comparable to China’s; the EU has enacted law after law allowing greedy corporations and finger-pointing Prunellas alike power over others’ web-browsing; and every two-bit dictatorship has recognized that all it needs to do to justify thought control is parrot Western “hate speech” idiocy…

The pandemic gave governments a new excuse, “misinformation” (a euphemism for “disagreeing with the government”), and that year I wrote, “We are watching the advent of a new dark age, and in such times no light is entirely safe from being snuffed out by zealots, speech-cops and bureaucrats whose ideal model for human society is the anthill.”  I was, as usual, not wrong; the following year saw the arrival of a wave of censorship even the mainstream media couldn’t ignore, excuse, or hand-wave away.  My primary tag for filing items about written-word censorship is “Thought Control”; only 7 items appeared there in 2012-2020; then there were 9 in ’21 alone; 27 in ’22; and 14 so far in ’23.  And that does not include the explosion of attempts to shut down large portions of the internet because politicians, useful idiots, and other censor-morons don’t like what other people say or watch.  As I said at the top, I have no idea where this will end, but in the meantime all ethical people need to resist the book-burners and website-wreckers, loudly and defiantly, in the hopes that at least some of our fellow-humans will come back to their senses before it’s too late.


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We are living in the past of Fahrenheit 451, the early stages of a culture which values feelings above thought, the history of a world in which the solution to any troubling idea is to eradicate it.
–  “Moral Climate

Long, bright, warm days take a toll on my highly-strung nervous system and tend to make me tense and anxious, but when the external sky and landscape match the gloomy October Country inside my skull and my soul, I feel at home and at peace.  –  “Diary #326

Though lily-livered fools have been demanding they be “protected” from ideas they don’t like for several years now, it’s terrifying how quickly this terrible idea has moved from the lunatic fringe to the mainstream, and how eagerly jackbooted thugs have seized upon it as yet another way to control the thoughts of the entire population via threats of violence.  –  “Suppression

Collectivism, the foul authoritarian belief that individuals do not own their own bodies and lack the right to manage their own lives, is the single greatest threat to human growth and happiness in the modern age. – “Collectivism vs. Cannabis

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The…notion that members of the ruling class have the right to inflict violence upon everyone else “for their own good” is so useful a tool of control they’ll never let it go until it’s ripped from their cold, dead, severed hands.  –  “New and Improved

I think it’s absurd and dangerous to conflate sex with love; just because I have sex with someone doesn’t mean I love him in any way, and just because I love someone doesn’t mean I want to have sex with her.  –  “Once a Client

Many people who recognize the inherent instability of monogamy go instead for polyamory, an attempt to fix the problems inherent in ongoing committed relationships by multiplying them.  –  “Uncoupled

I feel no masochistic need to watch the noblest of animals abase itself by groveling to sociopathic control freaks who think every individual is their personal or collective property.  –  “Argument Department

I wonder how many abductions it takes to make a furniture store a “hot spot”, and how many women have been abducted from the Covina Ikea in comparison with, say, the Cost Plus in San Dimas or the Ethan Allen in Pasadena?
–  “The Widening Gyre (#869)

The only people who support women being paternalistically treated like imbecilic disease vectors who need others to make decisions about their bodies for them, are those who stand to gain power…or money from such a system.
–  “Empty Set

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Offense archeology is never going to stop while it has the desired effect, which is the Establishment ostracizing the target.  We all have skeletons in our closets, and the modern world has made it easier than ever before to exhume those skeletons and drag them out into the public square for all to see; when a person is doxxed for some unpopular view, embarassing behavior, etc, they often get fired, expelled from their social or professional groups, or even persecuted by state actors.  That is power, and the craving for power is especially strong in those who have none, such as young people who have been denied control over their own lives and even encouraged to relinquish control over their own thoughts, emotions, and opinions.  The only way this will stop is for the powerful to stop giving them what they want by instantly firing, expelling, or otherwise inflicting harsh consequences on the doxxed person.  Of course, that will merely result in the powerless finding some new avenue of power in order to reclaim the feeling of control they lack in their own lives, so in the long run, the only way around this is to allow all individuals power over their own lives, and decrease that they have over others’ lives, individually or collectively.  Power begets the lust for power, and that lust is the most dangerous of all perversions.

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Every politician, every prohibitionist, every social engineer and every naked ape with a title, uniform or badge is bound and determined to bring as many other people under his control as possible, and because this drive springs from his warped psyche you can be sure he will never relent as long as he remains above ground.  –  “Eternal Vigilance

If one is going to publish propaganda, one can’t be distracted by facts.  –  “Time Warp

When Coca-Cola, Disney, IBM, Google, Monsanto, Chase, Wal-mart or Kraft starts sending out gangs of thugs to rape, rob & murder people, then and only then will I be more concerned about them than I am about government.   –  “The Greater of Two Evils

Bluenoses and control freaks want to seal all of society, even older adults who have no dependent spawn, into a worldwide nursery where everything conforms to their idea of what is “safe” for young children.  –  “Children’s World

“The statement ‘2000 QW7 is the size of Burj Khalifa’ is not-dissimilar in accuracy to the statement ‘A 2019 Honda Accord is the size of the bag of sugar in my cupboard’.”  –  “Assume a Sphere

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You say she “let you look for a few seconds into her soul”; I’m not sure what sort of mystical or pharmaceutical process was involved there, but I can assure you that unless you are The Shadow or Dr. Strange or something, I sincerely doubt it was her soul you saw.  –  “Body and Soul

“Hi, you need to move because these two people like to shove their body parts into each other’s orifices.”  –  “The Cult of Coupling

As long as…websites allow themselves to be governed by mindless machines, this will never stop, but cheer up:  think of how exciting driving will be once this same kind of algorithm is actively operating a sizeable fraction of automobiles.  –  “Idiocracy

People…are…willing to believe in grandiose fantasies utterly divorced from all known facts about statistics, economics, psychology, sexuality, anthropology and plain common sense rather than accept that some women can have pragmatic sex, that most men are willing to pay them for it, and that many people are happy to strive for truly Pinocchian levels of dishonesty in order to make a profitseize powerget rid of people they’re bigoted against or even seek petty vengeance.  –  “Ulro

There are police budgets to be justified, prisons to be filled, minorities to be suppressed, populations to be terrorized, surveillance powers to be expanded and rights to be eroded, and if the Drug War no longer serves to allow those things the rulers will have to replace it with something else.  –  “New Excuse

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Your best strategy is to treat every encounter with [cops] as an encounter with a dangerous, unpredictable, rabid wild animal who may maul you for no reason you can adequately comprehend.  –  “Not For Any Reason Whatsoever

The existence of prostitutes required considerable cognitive gymnastics to reconcile with the Victorian view that women were intrinsically asexual.  –  “The Peril

I remember pain – whether physical or emotional – every bit as vividly as I remember facts.  Every laceration and every rejection; every broken bone, and every broken heart.  –  “The Actual Cost

Case in point one moral panic, a phenomenon in which people voluntarily relinquish their reason, their knowledge, and their consciences in pursuit of ghosts and shadows, and in doing so plunge themselves, their neighbors and those they believe they have cause to fear into a nightmarish, yet very real Twilight Zone.
–  “The Monsters Are Due

If I were a doctor, lawyer or other professional, nobody would bat an eyelash if I were to link my professional site to my blog.  But because my business involves touching people on parts of their bodies the witch doctors have deemed taboo, I am placed under restrictions that massage therapists, manicurists and hairdressers need not concern themselves with.  –  “Meeting Maggie

Prohibitionists, sophists, trolls, partisans and bootlickers can’t usually tweet me twice without being banished to the outer darkness where they can shout into their own arseholes all day long without the slightest chance of annoying me.  –  “First Impression

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Remember, kids, an actor doesn’t actually have to be skeptical or rational to play a rational, skeptical character on TV.  –  “Traffic Updates

If you get killed it’ll serve you right and teach your ghost a lesson, by golly!
–  “A Friend in Need

Prohibitionists only accuse me of dishonesty because I won’t support their ridiculous wanking fantasies of international cartels of magical ninja pimps with mind-control powers abducting screaming white girls from shopping malls and bus stops, transporting them around the country in dog crates, and serving them up to hundreds of salivating sex maniacs per week until their genitalia collapse and the diabolical monsters then dispose of them, presumably by flushing them down hotel toilets like unwanted goldfish.  –  “Cross-Examination

We all own ourselves, body and soul, and absolutely nobody else has the right to claim ownership over us, to tell us what we can and cannot do with our bodies and lives, or to determine what is best for us; the concept that the “majority”, some “authority”, or the nebulous “state” has the right to use violence to abrogate our self-determination or punish us for our free choices is a moral abomination on par with slavery, and future generations will look back upon prohibition with the same disgust as we view the idea that one human being can literally own another.  –  “The Maze of Consent

The only way to ensure that no amateurs are caught up in prostitution stings is to do away with prostitution stings.  –  “Real Sex

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