Sunday, August 20, 2017

How to stay sane during a mass panic

I've been arguing for a while that progressives and those further left made an enormous error in adopting the strategy of demonizing rather than engaging opponents.  Labeling opposition as "racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic -- you name it" might seem like a useful strategy.  Afetr all, as soon as you can get opponents defensively denying it, they lose the debate.  But while there's something to that, this is just part of the effect.  If this is practiced continually, one starts believing one's own propaganda, with the result that one's opponents really do appear as demons, with demonic powers, and also one begins to lose the ability to debate, or even see, the arguments of one's opponents.  In other words, pursuing this strategy will simultaneously make one stupid and drive one mad.  And if many cultivate -- inadvertently -- an inability to think clearly and to retain equanimity, it's almost inevitable they'll be vulnerable to mass hysteria and panic.

That's all prelude to my post.  I received a couple of emails this morning from very good friends of mine, call them X and Y.  They live outside the U.S. much of the year, and are currently outside the country.  They are very sensible people, both highly educated (Ph.D.s), and also well to the left of me politically.   The first email, from X, was links to videos about Charlotte and the rise of neo-Nazism in the U.S., facilitated by Trump.  The second, from Y, follows (I've changed names, of course):

"Got up late this morning (8:30) to find X on couch watching computer video (I thought).  Touched her and she jumped out of her skin.  She had been watching film of the Charlottesville debacle.  She's convinced the SS is on the march.  (I'm convinced they've the IQs of squirrels and have two left feet that would never allow them to march in a convincing manner.)  On the other hand, I saw this sort of stuff during civil rights, and tilt towards the Kinky Friedman approach:  'They don't make Jews, like Jesus anymore, they don't turn the other cheek, the way they done before.. '  While not being Jewish, I still feel the need to pony up.   (I will be consulting you shortly for pointers on the use of AR-14s and such.)"

It strikes me as weird that anyone would seriously think neo-Nazism is on the rise, or that Trump sees neo-Nazis favorably, or that he courts them.  Here's my response (again, edited a bit for UC):

"Good grief. The SS on the march? The main thing that is going on is mass hysteria. Pretty much all 'news' media today is devoted to manufacturing it. 'Fake news' is a pleonasm these days. A gang of neo-Marxists rumbled with a gang of neo-Nazis, neither of whom represent the views of 1% of the country, and now it's 'Springtime for Hitler.' (No, wait, that was Mel Brooks, maybe I'm thinking of Heidi Riefenstahl.) Trump condemns both (correctly) with his usual eloquence (that is, ineloquence, I think you get it but these days it doesn't hurt to be pleonastic) and now he's the reincarnation of Ernst Rom."


"I don't mean to make light of peoples' fears, but it really is just hysteria driven by pushing peoples hot buttons. Here's a sort of combination test and therapy that sometimes works. When someone is in such state, ask them calmly for clear predictions, with time frames, of what they think is going to happen. Sometimes this makes people engage the more rational, less emotional parts of the mind and helps restore equanimity."

Wise, don't you think?  Well, I think so, at least.  So, if you're flipping out over Charlotte, here's Dr. Steele's Patent Panic Remedy™: 

Sit down, take a deep breath, and write what you think will happen in 1 year, 2 years, 3 years, 4 years (basically next election). FEMA camps filled with whom? What purges? Specifically, how will Trump or the Republicans or the alt-right freaks change the American institutions? Lay it out clearly, on paper, and explain why.

Specify your fears and they will almost always shrink.  This works for much more than the current panic, of course.

Perhaps you want a second opinion.  OK, here is Dr. Scott Adam's test for How to Know Whether You're in a Mass Hysteria Bubble.  I endorse completely.  You need to read it.

For takes that I find sensible on Charlotte, here are two.  They disagree, but both are rational and worth reading.

Andrew McCarthy's "On Charlottesville, Trump, and Anti-Americanism." From a perceptive former federal prosecutor who is unsympathetic to Trump and doesn't mind removal of Confederate statues.

Arthur Herman's "Confederate Statues Honor Timeless Virtues — Let Them Stay."  From a pro-Union historian who defends the statues.

Now, having studied this, readers of Unforeseen Contingencies will have no excuses for going crazy just because the end of the world is coming.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

"Resistance." Does Trump matter?

I don't think so.

The left's "resist" movement is allegedly a response to the outrages allegedly perpetrated by Donald Trump.  I don't believe it.  I think if any other Republican had been the nominee and defeated Clinton, the resistance would be in effect.  As soon as Trump's victory was announced, leading Democrats (e.g. Obama, Clinton) began strategizing on how to depose him, and talk of impeachment began that week.  This should not be surprising because we've seen it before.

The Wisconsin governorship of Scott Walker was the first run of the left's blueprint for subverting a duly elected official not from their side.  It was quite similar -- demonstrations, occupations, strikes and riots for one. Abuse of government police power to threaten and raid political opponents.  Lies spread by a hostile media.  Attempts to use extraordinary political measures -- recall in Walker's case -- to remove an elected official simply because they opposed his non-leftist policies.  If instead of President Trump we had President Cruz, or Walker, or Fiorina, or Paul, or for that matter, even Bush '45, we'd see effectively the same playbook unfolding.

I don't believe there is anything Donald Trump could possibly say or do that would not be met with outrage and condemnation by the left.  He quite correctly identified the violent fascist thugs of "antifa" as a part of the Charlottesville problem.  But had he not done so, he'd have mollified no one on the left.

He's condemned as an authoritarian, even though he far more compliant with the law than Barack Obama was -- note that Obama regularly ignored court rulings against his immigration policies, while Trump complies and appeals or goes back to the drawing board.  Trump is accused of being in league with Putin, even though his policies are the most hostile to Russia of any president since Reagan.  (Yes, I know, Reagan actually had policies for the USSR, not Russia, but any readers will get the point.)

There's nothing Trump can do to placate critics, and he should not try.  Instead, he should simply forge ahead with whatever policies he can.  He's saddled with a hostile Republican party leadership that appears uninterested in real reform, so he should simply accomplish as much as he can.  He'll lose in the mainstream media and the political class no matter what he does, but if he can push through reforms that will help normal Americans, he'll be doing great work and will also have a good chance of defeating the "resistance" of his political enemies -- the left and Republicans.

Onwards, Mr. Trump!

Back in Action

The posting hiatus ends.  I've been busy with various adventures and activities, including a recent surgery for a bum hip, but it's time to get back in action.  My injury precluded any hard core mountaineering or running, but summer was quite enjoyable anyway.  I'll have a photo report at some point.  No ultrarunning posts for a while, until I am back to running, but they'll be back.  And, of course, our staples of pithy commentary on current events, plus discussions of economics, philosophy, and allthe rest.

Monday, July 03, 2017

American Independence Day, 2017

Here's my annual 4th of July post, just a little early as we have plans that may keep me away all day.

Two hundred forty one years ago, the Declaration of Independence was announced, the first political statement recognizing that all men (human beings) have equal, inherent rights, by nature, and that governments are merely means to the end of protecting people and their rights.  It's a most radical statement; it completely inverted the hierarchy that most humans accepted for millenia -- that everyone was obligated to serve powerful rulers (sometimes masquerading as a more powerful entity, "the state").  The Declaration discarded the doctrine of rule by elites, the illiberal system, and substituted for it the liberal system, the system of freedom for the individual.  (This is the true meaning of "liberal.")  Almost everything that has happened in political theory since then is a battle between defenders of the principles of the Declaration, and various elites trying to undo it.  Marxism, Fascism, Progressivism, Distributivism, Nazism, Patrician Conservatism (a.k.a. Hayek's "European Conservatism") Fabian Socialism -- all are attempts to get the genie back in the bottle.

This enterprise will fail.  It cannot be done.  People know too much -- even the idiots of the radical left, who are the most hostile to individual liberty, still have the ideal of liberty in their heads -- they think they'll be free in their ideal system.  They are badly confused, but the point is that they are not sufficiently subservient for the illiberal system.  The illiberal system is dead, even if its theoreticians and advocates haven't yet figured it out.

I think the left has lost the war; they just don't know it.  But this isn't yet a war where combatants are killed, so there are lots of leftists, angry and hysterical, and the United States are divided politically.  Is there any hope at all for common ground and a re-uniting?

Yes, I think so.  There are two fundamental reasons for the current divide.  One is a difference in understanding how the world works. Some of us understand what Smith called the "system of natural liberty" and how freedom, laissez-faire, generates the happiest and most prosperous society.  We differ from the left in this.  But we also understand that, more importantly, freedom is in itself a fundamental value.  To be subservient to another, to be enslaved or in submission or otherwise unfree is itself an evil.  Anyone on the left who agrees has common ground with libertarians and American conservatives (or at least the non-country club non-patrician ones).  If one accepts individual liberty as a desirable end itself, then we have plenty of common ground.

Consider these goals: better and cheaper health care, higher incomes for poor people, less violent crime, an end to terrorist attacks, less pollution, clean air and water, better living standards, happier people... obvious objectives of true liberal advocates of the free market, and in my experience many of the "rank-and-file" of the left share these.  If they also share a desire for individual freedom, then we have common ground.  The primary obstacle is that they've imbibed the kool-aid their leftist leaders mixed up for them.  To the left, we're all "deplorables: racist,sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic...irredeemables."  In other words, they have no idea what their opponents actually believe.  I'm not overly sympathetic to them, but as the left's identity politics gets crazier and crazier (just follow the TERF wars to see what I mean), many will start to move right.  And since freedom for the individual (the fundamental true liberal value) means freedom for everyone, they can find they do have common ground.  Freedom is itself valuable, and if we can agree on that, then it's simply a matter of understanding how economic and political systems work... something we can discuss and resolve.

Of course, there's another group of people on the left: all, or almost all, of the left's intellectual and political leadership, and a number of their followers, does not hold individual liberty as a value.  For them, the freedom of individuals to run their own lives is an obstacle to their schemes for building a utopia and their will to power.  One must not say, do, or even think the politically incorrect, as they define it.  This is the totalitarian left, the anti-Enlightenment anti-American Revolution anti-rights of the individual left.  There's no common ground possible with these people.  They are, I hope, the minority on the left.

For the lefties who are redeemable (hah!) here's hoping you soon come to appreciate "that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,..."

Happy American Independence Day to All.  Defend your Liberty!



Why we love Trump...

...pounding the Fake News Network.  He's right and he's funny!  Lighten up, lefty losers!


Sunday, June 11, 2017

"Toxic masculinity' saves lives

Thanks to Professor Pepple and his "I Want a New Left" for pointing this out.  A drunken English soccer hooligan, Roy Larner, successfully battled the London jihadists with his bare hands, likely saving many lives and reducing the Daesh body count.   Here's the story.  When the three terrorists entered a pub screaming their Islamic nonsense, Larner jumped up and started battering them with his bare hands.

My favorite part "I got stabbed and sliced eight times. They got me in my head, chest and both hands. There was blood everywhere. They were saying, 'Islam, Islam!'. I said again, 'F*** you, I’m Millwall!'" (I found this full quote elsewhere.)

So called "toxic masculinity" is a strength and an asset.  It is the thing that keeps evil from winning.

Well done, Lion of London Bridge Larner!


More on CNN's Faking of Muslims protesting the London murders

More footage clearly showing CNN faking the whole thing, plus some useful commentary.  Following it is an expose of other faked demonstrations, including an anti-Brexit protest.

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Socialized Medicine Kills

Here's Britain and its socialized medicine for you.  A baby in England has a rare, life threatening disease.  A doctor in the U.S. is offering a treatment that he thinks can say the baby's life, the baby's parents have received over 1.6 million USD in donations to pay for it, and a U.K. High Court has ruled that they not be allowed to take the baby abroad and that instead he be killed.  The court granted a 24 hour stay of execution while the E.U. Court of Human Rights a chance to consider an appeal.

Frankly, it seems pretty clear this is murder, and that justice would include the High Court members and the hospital officials facing the death penalty.

Today's testimony: Trump exonerated, Comey worthless, Democrats insane

Here are the important insights from James Comey's testimony today.

1. Trump told the truth.  Comey told him three times that he was not the target of an investigation.  Comey confirmed this and identified the dates.  The mainstream media and their anonymous sources lied.

2. Trump did not tell Comey to close down the investigation into Russian meddling in the election, and even said if there's evidence then it must be pursued, even if it involved people connected to Trump.  Again, the MSM lied.

3. Comey intentionally information in order to try to get a special prosecutor.  He also kow-towed to Loretta Lynch and denied Hillary Clinton was under investigation, when she was.  Comey is a coward, as we as a liar, and by virtue of not living up to his oath of office, a traitor, at least in spirit.  Steele is vindicated, and the MSM again shown to be liars.

There was nothing at all in Comey's sworn testimony that supports the cranky "theories" of Trump-Russia collusion.  In fact, Comey even made clear that the FBI never touched the DNC servers; they simply took the word of a third party that Russians hacked them.  Good grief!

4. The anti-Trump MSM/left/Democrat complex is so besodden with TDS (Trump Derangement Syndrome) that they cannot let go.  They began with a sentence (impeach and expel from office), moved to a verdict (Trump colluded with Russia to steal the election from Mrs. Clinton), and although they have no evidence and their "best" source just refuted their arguments, the conclusion they draw from this is given by Vox & Matthew Iglesias below.  The Dems and the left are clearly entirely disconnected from reality at this point.  That's the definition of insanity, a state of mind so disordered one cannot identify reality.  This describes them perfectly.


Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Islam, Terror, and Sharia

I've just read two exceptionally powerful pieces on the recent incidents of Islamic terror.  National Review's Michael Brendan Dougherty analyzes the disingenuity (I would call it moral depravity) of those on the left who, in response to outrages like Manchester and London, downplay the events by pointing to the odds of, say, dying in a traffic accident.  (Note that one example he uses is libertarian Will Wilkinson; unfortunately libertarians seem to be jumping on the left's multiculturalist bandwagon in increasing numbers.)

An excerpt from Dougherty: "The pattern is by now familiar. Even as an Islamic terrorist killer’s proclamations about Allah’s will are still ringing in victims’ ears, these individuals are already declaring that the true danger from the attack is an Islamophobic backlash, and that you’re more likely to die by drowning in your own swimming pool than from a terrorist attack. Do they know how callous that sounds? Do they not realize that sensible human beings react differently to a car accident than to a murder plot?"

I'd add several points. First, cars aren't plotting ways to increase the number and lethality of accidents.  Terrorists are.  Second, terrorism is not fundamentally about killing people, it is about effecting political change.  Theoreticians of terrorism -- including Karl Marx, Marxist-Leninists, Qtubists among them -- explicitly develop this idea.  Counting numbers of victims is thus a stupid way of measuring the effects of terrorism, if that's all one does.  When people in the West start censoring themselves and otherwise trying to placate those who use terror, terrorists achieve their goals.  And frankly, the ultimate problem is not terrorism, it's political Islam.  It's sharia and sharia supremacy, and as the idiots who worry about "Islamophobia" keep pointing out, correctly, the vast majority of sharia supremacists are not terrorists.

And here's another even more powerful article, from Ghassan Charbel, editor of Asharq Al-Awsat.  It's a piece on the problem of Islamic terrorism, written from a Muslim's perspective.  I found it quite gripping.  I reprint it in its entirety below, just in case they don't archive it for long.  (Incidentally, Nakba is the Palestinians' term for the disaster that befell them in 1948, and Naksa for the disaster that befell them in 1967.  I don't know whether they have a similar term for the disasters that have befallen them in having leaders who are effectively indistinguishable from the SS-Totenkopfverbände when it comes to Jews.)

Charbel:

Ambassadors of the Dark

I initially wanted to write about June 05, 1967. I wanted to discuss the half century of degeneration from the Naksa to the Nakba we are drowninng in today.
This Nakba is more horrific than that we witnessed after Palestine was occupied.
I was planning to talk about what “historic leaders” did and how their escapades ended with the dissipation of nations and their wealth. They killed every promising idea and chance and left the people out in the open to face bigots who dream of taking the nation back to the stone age.
I meant to address the delusion of trans-border leadership and its expensive termination. I also intended to discuss republics that collapsed because of fear, the brutality of regimes that gambled with the fate of lands and its people, millions of displaced civilians living in refugee camps with their hungry children, hundreds of prisoners rotting in jails.
I wanted to share the experience of three of my friends on how the Naksa affected their lives. My Libyan friend said that the present is far more dangerous than the past. The youngsters who witnessed the series of civil wars initiated by the “Arab Spring” will turn into ticking bombs in the Arab nations, he added.
He believes that the disappointment of moderate Arabs is deeper than when people discovered half a century ago that the war is not going as the “Voice of Arab” radio station stated or what its famous anchor Ahmad Said reported.
My Iraqi friend said he was deeply saddened and at loss, with a feeling like a delusional disbelief. Yet, he said, he felt a sense of a challenge which prompted him to participate in the protests despite the fact that he had been in hiding since his release from prison.
He explained the role of Baath Party in persecuting every different opinion and slaughtering and arresting the opposition.
Nonetheless, my Syrian friend was very brief. He just said that the Naksa of 1967 caused pains far less than the current one.
I decided on Sunday morning to write about the Naksa turned into Nakba. Things have changed. London was enjoying a beautiful weather which doubled its magic. I left my office on Saturday night to the center of the city hoping I could steal away something of this short and swift Spring night.
People were clearly enjoying the beautiful weather. That’s the normal thing for cities that have bid farewell to tragedies of civil wars and opted for elections to express content or discontent. The British are getting ready for Thursday’s election.
All of sudden, shortly after 10 PM, police and ambulance sirens filled the air, and a few minutes later, it was confirmed that the city was attacked by a lone wolf or a group of wolves. Everyone was in shock, especially that Manchester attack happened only recently.
The news about the stabbing and rampage were on all cellphones and restaurant goers cut their visit short. I, as an Arab, had a strange feeling of guilt. Every time a similar incident occurs, we all wish the executor weren’t an Arab or a Muslim. But our wishes are always crushed by the fact that these incidents seem to be limited to the world we belong to.
I felt like apologizing.
Courtesy aside, these European countries welcomed millions of Arabs and Muslims who escaped poverty, injustice, and depression and were, in fact, kinder to them than our own countries.
Europe aimed to integrate the newcomers into its communities and economy and granted them the right to be different and respected their beliefs. It gave them money from taxpayers and enrolled their children in modern education.
I am saying this because I monitored closely how Germany was busy welcoming the Syrian refugees where one of them expressed his joy for arriving at a country where he can find his three daily meals.
The tragedy is horrific indeed. Over the past decades, darkness took over: an ideology that doesn’t acknowledge others and insists on eliminating or killing them. A creed provoked by lit streets, cultural occasions, freedom and creativity, scientific research and posing complicated questions.
A doctrine that considers anyone different as the enemy who deserves to be stabbed, rammed, or slaughtered.
Worse than that tragedy are those looking for justifications for the perpetrator, citing what this country did or what history wrote as if we haven’t done any transgressions ourselves. The situation can no longer bare justifications or silence.
Terrorists have inflicted far more damages to the West than they have done to our countries. Arabs and Muslims should take a clear stand for the sake of their countries and their grandchildren.
A comprehensive battle against extremism should be the first article in the constitution of every Arab and Islamic nation. Without winning this battle, we will continue our fall towards hell.
We do not have the right to punish the world like this.
Ambassadors of the dark’s obdurate actions will sooner or later backfire at the Arab and Islamic community and the countries they came from.

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Stranger than Fiction: Communist press exposes "free press" creating Fake News

This may say something about who the real leftists are.  People's Daily Online (PR China) is helping expose CNN staging fake news, assembling some apparent Muslims, giving them posters and such, and orchestrating a "Muslim" anti-extremism protest in London.  CNN: Fake News 'r' us!

Update: I googled "Mark Antro" and found the tweet that shows CNN staging the protest -- certainly looks to be exactly what Antro and People's Daily claim.  I'm unsure, but I think this link will show it.

June 6, 1944 and June 5, 1967

Seventy-three years ago the Western Allies landed on Normandy's beaches to battle the Nazi aggressors.  Fifty years and a day ago Israel began its six-day war against the Arab aggressors.  These were two difficult and deadly undertakings, and resulted in two great triumphs for the free world.  I won't post any commentary here, except to note with gratitude that some were willing to fight for freedom and civilization.

Here's an interesting Hoover Institution interview of historian Michael Oren on the Six Day War.  And below is General Eisenhower's Order of the Day for June 6, 1944. (Click on it for a larger view.)


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