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Archive for the ‘Philosophy’ Category

The group should exist for the individual, not the other way around.  –  Remi Adekoya

Tyrants and other violent busybodies simply adore collectivism, the evil belief that individals only have value as part of groups, and that it’s good and moral to crush, process, cook, and compress individuals until they are unidentifiable parts of a homogeneous whole, like individual fruit processed into “fruit roll-up” sheets.  The reason is of course the same for the monsters as it is for the snack companies:  such amalgams are handled, stored and used more efficiently than the individuals from which they’re made.  Caligula is said to have expressed this principle of tyranny as, “Would that the Roman people had but one neck!” and China’s campaign of homogenization is the stuff of dystopian science fiction.  But if you believe such abominations could never happen in the modern West, you haven’t been paying attention:

Polarisation cements groups while pressurising the individual…the stifling atmosphere of our current race debate…submerges the individual in generalisations and elevates groupism…[we are encouraged to use] grand generalisations…[and] sweeping concepts  to interpret our world – a world in which we don’t realistically live as individuals…the desire to be treated as individuals, not nameless members of this or that group, is a pretty universal one.  I find it difficult to imagine there are people of any ethnic or racial background who do not want to be viewed primarily as individuals, including those most responsible for popularising the sweeping groupist language of our times…So why then has language obscuring our individuality taken such a strong hold in what is supposed to be an age of empathy?  After all, to empathise requires, by definition, seeing a human individual, not a group or statistic…

Yet governments are working to pound members of minority groups into uniform sheets, in part by convincing them that individuality is not only bad but characteristic of bigots; meanwhile, members of other groups are coerced and brainwashed into accepting the most odious form of collectivism, collective guilt, and forced to undergo public humiliation rituals in order to be shriven from a form of original sin imposed not on all people by a deity, but rather on only some people by virtue of their sharing some tiny amount of DNA with other deeply-flawed human beings they’ve never met:

…Australia has [adopted] America’s particularly malignant approach to sexual disharmony…Brauer College in rural Victoria [recently] forced its male pupils, some only 12 years old, to stand at a school assembly, face the girls and apologize for rape, sexual harassment and all the other facets of male wickedness…as [part of] some ghastly effort to promote gender reconciliation through gender self-incrimination…
Governments have been working on imposing conformity and groupthink since the latter half of the 19th century, with fascist and communist regimes in particular elevating the process to a science.  It has never ended well for any of those regimes, and it will not end well for the West either; the American prison industry purees and processes wholesome and vile foodstuffs together into a barely-edible mass called “nutraloaf“, and attempting to process human beings together in a similar way will accomplish nothing but turning all of society into one vast prison.

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Mass movements can rise and spread without belief in a God, but never without belief in a devil.  Usually the strength of a mass movement is proportionate to the vividness and tangibility of its devil.  –  Eric Hoffer

To paraphrase Baudelaire, the loveliest trick of religion is to convince people that the Devil exists.  Humans have never been fond of admitting blame for anything, but when someone is caught red-handed committing some evil and therefore cannot blame any other human, the truly devout buck-passer blames an invisible, intangible, supernatural force.  Authoritarians, too, love their devils; what better way to convince the Great Unwashed to render their obedience and surrender their liberty than to convince them of the existence of super-powerful evil spirits who cannot be stopped except by whatever snake oil those authoritarians are selling?  Over the past couple of centuries, belief in actual anthropomorphic deities of evil has slowly been replaced by belief in more tangible devils such as “criminals”, “terrorists”, “pimps”, and “people who vote differently than I do”, but as we head into a new dark age belief in a literal red guy with horns, hooves, a tail and a pitchfork has once again become popular in the Underdeveloped States of America.  The occult boom of the early ’70s (heralded by movies like The Exorcist and Rosemary’s Baby) paved the way for the Satanic panic of the ’80s and early ’90s, which after an implosion around 1994 soon returned as the “sex trafficking” hysteria; its roots in the older, more openly-religious hysteria are clearly visible in its QAnon branch and in persistent nonsense about the supposed magical powers of “pimps”.  And every so often, people whose entire understanding of how the universe works could be crammed into a chicken’s brain pan and still leave room for a politician’s moral compass, shit all over themselves because some musician employs “Satanic” imagery comparable in sophistication to that in a US television show from the 1950s.  Every society has throwbacks like this; the difference is that in America, we pretend they’re adults and let them decide who’s going to run things.

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I’ll fucking kill you.  –  unnamed loose-cannon cop

Reason often produces amusing videos, but few are as funny as this one which demonstrates that libertarians, unlike most political groupings these days, have not entirely lost the ability to laugh at themelves.  The links above it were provided by Cop Crisis, President Dawg, Franklin Harris, Furrygirl, and Cop Crisis again (x2), in that order.

From the Archives

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Most of my regular readers know that I stay pretty busy all the time, and that it’s difficult to get my brain to slow down.  I can’t just say “I’m going to relax and watch TV tonight” as most people can; my inner nun starts guilt-tripping me about idleness and all the stuff I need to accomplish, and if I could even get past the string of compulsions sometime before 10 PM (“I’ll relax right after I wash these clothes.  Oh wait, let me do the dishes.  Damn, I didn’t answer those emails.  I have to remember to pay my taxes too.”) I’d still be overwhelmed by feelings of guilt.  I’ve grown better at it over the past three years, but it’s still so difficult that such downtime is extremely precious to me; accordingly, like hard-earned money, I don’t want to waste it on just any old thing.  Imagine you were in a restaurant, but only had a little cash and were quite hungry; would you order something you’ve never heard of before and had no idea whether you’d like?  Or would you order a dish that you had eaten before and knew was both delicious and filling?  If you’re anything like me, the answer is obvious.  That’s why I’m not really interested in trying out new television shows unless they’re short, highly-recommended and part of a social experience with a friend or friends; even if I don’t end up liking the show, I only used a few hours and I enjoyed the social experience anyway.  No, if I really want to relax, I go with old favorites I’ve seen before, especially if I’ve never seen all the episodes or it’s been so long since I’ve seen them it’s almost like watching something new (except I know I’m going to enjoy them).  Shows like that are like old friends; since I know what to expect, I won’t be disappointed.  And in a life that has been burdened with far too many disappointments and far too little comfort, the best surprise (as the old commercial said) is no surprise.

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Last week, a New York Times reporter who apparently believes there is no actual news to cover at present took to Twitter to claim that the Looney Tunes character Pepe Le Pew “contributes to rape culture”, because obviously there was no such thing as rape prior to the appearance of theatrical cartoons in the 1930s.  Rather than merely consider this idiocy as one more part of the growing lust for censorship of basically everything and everyone not pre-approved by the Grand High Board of Puritans, let’s consider the particular nastiness of this repellent specimen of malodorous moralism.

First and foremost, this pearl-clutcher proceeds from the typical assumption (beloved of humorless scolds without even the most rudimentary knowledge of the history of the medium) that anything animated is “for children”.  The Looney Tunes were comedic theatrical shorts intended mostly for adults, shown before Warner Brothers films in theaters to fill out an evening of viewing.  When in the 1950s, the young television industry started mining Hollywood for content to fill its programming schedules, cartoons were naturally part of that, and when television became the default evening entertainment in the 1960s, theatrical cartoons were one of the casualties of Hollywood’s struggle to survive.  By the 1970s, Americans had succumbed to the collective delusion that any entertainment involving illustrations must be the sole province of children, despite many of them being old enough to remember a time when even housewives, GIs and businessmen read comic books, and most of them being old enough to remember prime-time animated shows such as The Flintstones.  Illustrated entertainment went from being a medium also appreciated by children to one abandoned almost entirely to children, and though that began to change again in the 1980s, authoritarians still cling like embedded ticks to their battle cry “THE CHILDREN™!!!” as an excuse for censorship of any and all illustrated entertainment (including comic books, anime, South Park, and yes, Looney Tunes), because their desire isn’t to “protect children”; it’s to cram all of society into a government-controlled nursery school where No Fun Shall Be Had.

As a child, I didn’t find Pepe Le Pew funny at all, because I lacked the necessary frame of reference to see the humor.  Like so many Looney Tunes characters, Pepe is a grotesquely over-the-top burlesque of a particular type of person, in this case the clueless man who, despite being repulsive to others, has convinced himself that he is the second coming of Casanova.  Pepe isn’t the hero of his cartoons; he is the butt of the joke, a person so clueless he doesn’t even realize that he literally reeks.  His creators aren’t celebrating him; they are mocking him, and only women who have endured the attentions of his real-life counterparts can fully appreciate the mockery.  Censors, on the other hand, are chronological adults burdened with a child’s view of a universe without free will, where things just happen because of malign forces from outside of themselves; they are therefore not only impervious to the humor, but see it as a source of evil magic that programs passive viewers.  Frankly, I’m sick to death of moronic tabula rasa arguments proposed by dimwits whose entire grasp of psychology amounts to thirdhand Skinneresque pseudo-intellectual rot.  Garbage people who see humans as machines to be programmed also invariably have cartoonish views about sex work, and usually support policies that allow steroidal thugs to rape women and call it “rescue”.  And it takes a truly Loony level of hypocrisy to be more concerned about the “rapey” behavior of cartoon skunks from the last century than about actual rapes of marginalized women by present-day government officials.

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I really am sick to death of the current popular childish obsession with people’s genes and genitalia.  The majority of modern Westerners appear completely fixated in a kindergarten level of ad hominem; their default criticism of anyone is to use some obvious feature of a target as an insult, just as young children resort to “fatty”, “four-eyes”, etc.  Now, of course there have always been bigots and racists and bullies; the difference is that we’re going through one of the benighted periods of history in which that kind of nonsense is accepted as adult discourse, and dressed-up versions of “cooties” and “yo mama” are presented as the serious rhetoric of serious thinkers, even in academia.  Anyone who has given more than the most cursory consideration to sociology and psychology understands that small-minded people are often upset by the mere existence of others who are different from them, and that racism, sexism, prohibitionism, anti-queer bigotry and other forms of collectivist hatred are all noxious fruit of the same poison tree rooted in a very dark, primitive part of the brain.  The neurological “us vs. them” program may have helped our distant ancestors survive in lean times, but it is now dangerous evolutionary baggage which we should be incinerating rather than enshrining in law or embracing as some kind of intellectual profundity.  Pseudo-intellectualism of this sort is hardly unusual in decadent cultures, but that doesn’t mean I need to like it or accept it.  And as anyone familiar with my work already knows, I’m sure as hell not going to tolerate it in silence.

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The Swedish model…is driven by Puritanical fantasy rather than reality.  –  Molly Simmons

To Molest and Rape

Cops lie so frequently, they can’t tell which lies are believable:

A [cop] charged with [nothing more serious than] misconduct for [rap]ing a…[drunk] woman [is trying to blame]…her…Lee Cocking…picked [up] the woman…on Christmas Eve, 2017…and…had [sex with her even though she was far too drunk to consent]…he…[claimed] the woman climbed on top of him…[and] he was left feeling violated…

Safe Position (#966)

A group of over 250 social scientists, including Ron Weitzer and Barb Brents, have sent an open letter to the new president and vice-president, calling for them to walk their talk and actually support “science-driven policy” with regard to sex work.  This will, of course, have no more effect than the similar letter sent by Ann Jordan and a dozen other researchers to the Obama Administration in 2011; Biden was one of the chief architects of mass incarceration, and the Swedish-model-supporting Harris’ long history of awfulness has been well-documented in this blog.  However, it’s another pebble in the growing pile which has made supporting sex worker rights a safe position for politicians, and that is a fine and welcome development.

The Cop Myth (#994)

If they actually punished wife-beating cops, they’d lose half of them:

On February 25, Boyce Ballinger was sentenced to 18 months probation after pleading guilty to felony “strangulation” and misdemeanor “domestic battery”.  The court even promised to allow him to expunge his criminal record if he complies with probation.  On October 17 of last year, Ballinger and his wife went to a neighbor’s party…When they came home, his wife asked him about his alcohol consumption.  He responded by attacking her [in a drunken rage]…chok[ing] her…and [slamming] her into a wall.  She ran to a bedroom.  Ballinger followed and banged violently on the door…[after] arrest…[he was] immediately released…without bail…and…ordered not to contact his wife, who filed for divorce shortly thereafter.  He violated this order in December by stalking…her…he was [then] sent to jail to await trial…[at which he was] offered…a plea bargain…

A Broker in Pillage (#1072)

Burying government in lawsuits is the only way to slow its depredations:

On March 4, 2015, police in Berkshire County, Massachusetts, stole Malinda Harris’ 2011 Infiniti G37 because [they decided to accuse] her son, Trevice…of selling drugs…the cops never alleged that he used [the car] for drug dealing or that she knew about her son’s illegal activity.  Harris heard nothing more about her purloined property until October 2020…when she was [finally] served with a civil forfeiture complaint that had been prepared the previous January…the unconscionable delay in giving her a chance to recover her car was a due process violation that by itself justifies its immediate return.  Massachusetts invites such abuse…because its civil forfeiture law “does not provide any deadline [by] which the Commonwealth is required to initiate forfeiture proceedings.”  The Phoenix-based Goldwater Institute, which represents Harris, cites several other constitutionally questionable aspects of the state’s law, which…is…”the worst…in the country”…In this case, the government[‘s]…evidence [consists entirely of] the title to the Infiniti…”occupancy papers,” two parking tickets, and a “Jiffy Lube receipt”…

Winding Down

Will Washington politicians accept progress, or demonstrate their hypocrisy?

The Washington Supreme Court effectively decriminalized simple drug possession in that state…by overturning a law that made possession a felony without any evidence of intent or knowledge…Washington was the only state that criminalized innocent, unknowing possession of illegal drugs.  The Washington Supreme Court has repeatedly held that the statute…[is] a strict liability crime…[which] the court ha[s at long last recognized]…violates the due process clause of the state and federal constitutions…The state legislature can—and probably will—recriminalize simple possession by amending the statute to include a mens rea element.  A bill [already] introduced…would [do that, but a competing]…bill…would eliminate criminal penalties for possessing “personal use amounts” of drugs…

Social Distancing (#1094)

So many “enlightened” countries still pretend that disease is caused by “sin”:

Baltimore strip venue The Penthouse Club announced…that it has reached a settlement with the city which would allow it to reopen, only days after the club sued…over COVID regulations that…discriminated against adult entertainment…other indoor entertainment venues like bowling alleys and skating rinks were able to reopen…except…strip clubs…

The Course of a Disease (#1109)

One can never have too many anti-Swedish criminalization articles:

…carceral feminists operate under the misguided ideas that all sex work is inherently exploitative; that any sex in exchange for money or goods is rape; and that sex workers are safer in prison than on the streets.  The…legislation…backed by [New York politician] Liz Krueger …is a US adaptation of…Swedish…criminalization…Decades of research have shown that, by targeting and driving underground…participants in the industry, such models increase stigma…discrimination…violence and coercion…They lead to harsher working conditions, higher rates of financial instability and less agency and freedom in our daily lives.  When such a model was enacted in Northern Ireland, 56 percent of sex workers said their work had become more dangerous…[this form of]…criminalization…fails in the same way abstinence-only sex education fails: It centers ​“morality” over material needs…sex worker[s are]…not interested in debate about whether or not the sex industry is a ​“good” thing or whether it ​“should” exist or not…and…the moralizing in [such] legislation…infantilizes sex workers in a deeply patriarchal way…

To Molest and Rape (#1110)

Notice how often predatory cops’ victims are underage?

A [typical and representative] Brisbane [cop was found guilty]…of sending “sexual and suggestive” messages to a teenage girl he met…[via his] work…in the Inala Child Protection and Investigation Unit…[Matthew Paul Hockley] interviewed the 15-year-old girl in 2019 in relation to a…[sexting] incident…the[n badgered her for weeks with]…a series of [Snapchat] messages that escalated from inoffensive to sexual and inappropriate, which made the girl “increasingly uncomfortable”…[because] the application…automatically delete[s] conversations…the teenager [had to record some of the harassment] with another device…to…show…the court…[Hockley’s] defence lawyer argued h[e] had no sexual interest in the girl, but was in[stead trying to get in] her mother[‘s pants, presumably via a reverse Lolita scheme]…

Child protection unit“.

Quiet Genocide (#1111)

Disgusting men never get tired of blaming women for their own rapes:

China, under growing global pressure over its [atrocities against]…Uighurs in…Xinjiang, is mounting an unprecedented and aggressive campaign [of propaganda], including explicit attacks on women who [reported being raped by guards and Communist Party officials]…a growing number of Western [politicians are finally admitting that]…China [is conducting a] genocide…[so] Beijing is focusing on…accus[ing] some of [its female victims of] having affairs and…sexually transmitted disease…as evidence of bad character…the…meticulous and wide-reaching campaign…hints at China’s fears that it is losing control of the Xinjiang narrative…in…[which it refers to mass surveillance, torture, rape, and brainwashing as] “liv[ing] and work[ing] in peace and contentment”…

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Diary #558

Saturday was a sad day at Sunset. Orville didn’t respond when I called him for dinner, so I went to the barn to see if he might not be incapacitated again, as happened in mid-January; I found him in his usual nest, but unfortunately quite dead.  He was cold but not stiff, so it had apparently happened sometime late morning or early afternoon, and there were no indications of what might’ve happened except a little bloody discharge from his snout.  He hasn’t shown any kind of symptoms; the picture below was taken only a week ago today, and he appeared perfectly normal.  I haven’t noticed anything unusual about his stools (eg parasites or blood), and other than the incident in January and a chronic limp which seems to have been caused by the rough hog-tying his previous owners inflicted on him when they dumped him, he’s always been an apparently healthy animal.  I even asked our helpful neighbor (who keeps pigs himself) if had any clue, and he had none; he was as surprised as I was.  The internet seems to point toward a respiratory infection called actinobacillus pleuropneumonia (APP) which can “cause sudden death in all ages of swine…it is common to see pigs that have recently died with blood coming from the nose“.  Grace did not take the news well; she loves animals in general and was quite attached to her “little piggy”.  The only consolation is that he was a happy pig, and any suffering must have been very short-lived because he was in good spirits and had a healthy appetite just the day before.  And in the end, for pigs as well as people, the important thing is not when we die, but how we live.

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In the late Oughts, while we were building our house in Oklahoma, I received a phone call from a scientist who worked in wildlife conservation for the state.  He explained that a gas pipeline was going through our neighbors’ land; I already knew this because I had previously rejected the company’s offer to put it through mine, because the amount of compensation was inadequate to make up for having a 12-meter-wide path of destruction cut through my property.  The size of the right-of-way was the reason for the call; it seems our part of the state was one of the most important habitats for an endangered species of giant burying beetle, and this scientists’ job was to put out bait to draw the beetles out of the construction zone.  What he wanted was permission to come onto my land to throw out chicken leg quarters so as to attract the beetles, which bury small carrion (such as dead birds and squirrels) to lay their eggs in so the larvae have a food source.  I readily agreed, not merely because it was interesting, but also because I figured the more endangered species on my property, the more protection I’d have against gas companies trying to force their way in.  He didn’t have much luck with the bait, but mere hours after his final visit I happened to look down into the hollow where our water cutoff valve lay and saw a dozen of the critters, apparently unable to crawl or fly out of the piece of PVC pipe that kept the sides of the hole from collapsing.  So I dutifully called him to report them; I told him I wasn’t afraid to touch them, and could take them out one by one if he wanted.  He explained that since they were endangered, it was illegal for me to even touch them, and he asked me to put in a small slat of wood so they could crawl out (which they quickly did, each spreading its wings and flying off when it reached the top of the stick).

I thought about this last week because I saw a conversation on Twitter about the Fermi Paradox, with the participants expressing their opinions for why we’ve never seen any evidence of extraterrestrial civilizations.  One not-unusual suggestion is that some authority (a galactic empire or whatever) has declared us off-limits to contact, but that generally raises the objection that it’s egotistical for us to believe we’re worthy of that kind of protection.  But if intelligent aliens are at all like us, that might not matter.  Now, I’m not talking about a Star Trek-type situation in which most civilizations look like humans in makeup and everybody is of roughly the same general level of technology; I’m not even proposing a species like the one in my story “Millennium“, whose attitude toward less-advanced races is…let’s just say far too human-like for comfort.  All I’m suggesting is that if intelligence is rare, advanced spacefaring civilizations might consider all of it valuable, and could conceivably think of any intelligent species confined to a single habitat as “endangered”.  Most Oklahomans have probably never even noticed burying beetles, and few of those who know about them probably give a damn whether they go extinct or not; however, our governments have established laws to protect all endangered species, no matter how insignificant or unpopular to the general public.  They are, in fact, willing to expend considerable effort and resources to protecting such species, regardless of whether those species are relatively interesting or important in any way.  In other words, it might not be at all egotistical to imagine humans as a “protected species” to an advanced extraterrestrial civilization; they may not care about us specifically, but rather their own principles.  In other words, they may treat all young civilizations that way, even those they perceive as creepy little carrion-eating insects.

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Unspeakable

When one studies primitive cultures, one finds they always believe that words have magic power, for example the idea of a True Name, or not speaking the name of God aloud, or whispering certain words so as not to tempt evil spirits, or the idea that the very act of writing is a form of magic; consider that the Egyptian Thoth was among the greatest gods because he invented writing, and the Germanic Odin was said to have crucified himself to induce the vision that led to the discovery of writing.  We really haven’t changed much.  Take offensive words, for example; any reasonably-polite person will avoid words that he believes might offend his listeners, but many people nowadays are so terrified of the magical power of words that they avoid using a “bad” word even in the context of discussing the word itself rather than using it offensively.  And so we are forced to endure endless kindergarten formulations such as “the F word”, “the N word”, “the R word” (which I encountered for the first time this week), etc, as though the speaker or writer thought even spelling the word in question would summon Voldemort or Hastur the Unspeakable.  But such asininities are ultimately futile; I mean, is there any English-speaking adult who doesn’t recognize “f***” as “fuck”?  Of course not; the bowdlerized form merely becomes a synonym for the unholy combination of sounds.  This is what is called the “euphemism treadmill”; any euphemism eventually becomes the semantic equivalent of the Forbidden Word in the brains of listeners, so that it, too becomes contaminated and must be replaced with a new euphemism.  The process only stops when the negative associations do, and there is no shortcut.  It’s why I use old, new, clinical, and vulgar terms for whores mostly interchangeably; slapping a nice label on a stigmatized group doesn’t make oppressive laws and ugly propaganda go away.  For example, though many reporters are now using “sex worker” instead of “prostitute”, they might as well use the latter because the way they use it (ie the tone, accompanying adjectives, infantilizing statements about us, etc) is no different. The words aren’t the problem; bigotry, hate, and evil laws are.  It’s the same for every oppressed minority group, and subjecting someone to the fucking Inquisition because sinful sounds slipped forth from his larynx will change nothing except to make the world a poorer, uglier, nastier place.  So please, stop wasting your damned energy policing other people’s speech, and start using it to speak against policing others.

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