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Painting with Darkness

Evil comes in many guises, although it usually follows patterns.

Quoted from: Neo-neocon

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Independence Day 2011

Think of the past three days. What you did, where you did, and with whom it was done. In the current world, is there a nation where those three days of activity and experience would have been better?

Unlikely. For any person with some intelligence and some motivation, the current United States is the regime most friendly to flowering the human potential. And that’s what we’re supposed to be waving flags about today. U.S.A.! U.S.A! U.S.A.!

Some faction will use their liberty to dwell on the persistent injustices that come when fallen man is given his measure of freedom. The cheerleaders will counter with all the instances where the United States (or the States themselves) have corrected injustice. Or at least the institutional expression thereof.

In the top tier there, slavery is ended. And black culture is probably the single largest influence on the broad American culture. Some peoples have come a long way.


Yom HaShoah

Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day. The past few days I have been involved in an argument about race, culture and loyalty over at Cobb’s.

My opponents hold that there are two kinds of people, racists and Progressives. I find that view insufficient. Prejudice and tolerance are seldom—these days, in this culture—so simply polar and superficially recognizable. The Shoah, in contrast, was entirely about blood. Ethnicity and loyalty were not important.

There is a line between intolerance and genocide. That line has been intentionally blurred:

Pagan Dreams

Today is Good Friday and Earth Day. Both are religious holidays. From what I’ve seen, one would hardly know Easter was upon us. If the United States was once a Christian nation, it is no longer.

Easter is now a time to affirm the failings and flaws of Christians, particularly Catholics:

Although it has been celebrated by billions of people around the world for nearly 2,000 years, the mainstream media would rather celebrate the liberal holiday known as "Earth Day" and connect Easter to the abuse scandal that surrounded the Roman Catholic Church.

The networks couldn't seem to produce a truly positive or even neutral story about Easter, without then immediately throwing Christians under the bus.


Leftism is an Identity

Leftism is a matter of personal identity. It’s not about reasoned compromise or applied philosophy. It’s a label worn to confirm one’s own goodness.

I state this not as fact, but as hypothesis. It is drawn from much experience. And although I might be guilty of confirmation bias (seeing what I already believe), it explains the leftoid obsession with personality. They’re much more willing to make personal attacks and use ad hominem fallacies in place of sound argument.

This idea has been better developed around the intertracks. But I haven’t come across a comprehensive accounting of the incidents of politics as personality. Maybe in another life I will write one (comparing the levels found in several major political philosophies).

Minneapolis Riverfront in the Days of Disco

The now-demolished Great Northern Depot in downtown Minneapolis could inspire many posts on railroads, how changes in transportation technology changed the role of railroads, and how that allowed planners to re-purpose land at the core of cities, specifically Minneapolis, since this depot stood at the gateway to Northeast Minneapolis. Those changes were driven by economics and politics.

But I’m not ready to launch into any of those. I just happened across an archive of photos of the Great Northern Depot from the 1970s. It was one of those times where I was following the intertracks without a destination in mind, and found a treasure. For railfans and history buffs, at least.

Mainstream preservationists and historians—if that’s not an oxymoron—seem mostly interested in façades. I’m more fascinated to understand how the buildings worked.

1978 view beside Post Office looking upriver toward GN Depot


Saracens and Sailing Ships

Armies are often accused of preparing for the last war. It means they train and equip guided by the lessons of recent combat instead of first looking to the future. The next war is often quite different, due to advances in technology, differences in geography or the character of the enemy.

There were many casualties in Iraqi Freedom because the U.S. was using equipment and tactics designed to fight the Soviet Union in northern Europe. Staying at war for a long time allowed those mistakes to be corrected.

In a strategic (instead of tactical) sense, we may still be fighting the last war. If one subscribes to some version of a global war on terror (or a global Salafi jihad, to put the proper Islamic face on the terrorists), we might be wise to look back several wars for strategic insight:


God Forgotten

A Christianity which is not basically mystical must become either a political ideology or a mindless fundamentalism.

Quoted from: Behold the Spirit by Alan Watts

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Prometheus Responds to Lucifer Jones

My response to Cobb:

Those men in those edifices were wiser than I thought. I wanted to be Prometheus. But common men are fools, and fire is too much power for them.

By luck, guile, or self-delusion, I survived. I now understand that knowledge is amoral. And as men we are called to be moral. To choose is to be human.

The atheists, too, want to be Prometheus. But they have little guidance for the choices of a real life. It works in only abstract. Murder, for example, is wrong even to the godless. That conclusion requires no genius and comes with little risk.

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Ellison’s on Their Side

Keith Ellison represents the 55418 in Congress. He’s the first Muslim to serve there. Ellison made some headlines recently for crying—really, he shed tears on camera—in a Congressional hearing over the perceived demonization of Muslims in the United States. He feels that Islam is mis-characterized and Muslims can be American heroes just like anyone else.

Ellison is outspoken about the rights of not only Muslims, but of women and many minority categories. Including homosexuals. He believes that gays deserve the whole raft of privileges granted to non-gay people. Like the right to marry.

Mr Ellison is a proud Progressive. But the Prog agenda is at odds with the Holy Koran. Under Islam, not even “radical” Islam, homosexuality is a crime against G-d. Gayness is punishable by death. So the matter of their right to marry is moot.

It is not possible to serve two masters. Is Ellison a Muslim? Or is he a Progressive?

It’s not just a matter of overlooking some aspects of politics in favor of a greater good. There is no compromise with death. And Ellison actively, aggressively (and tearfully) advocates for the rights of both factions.

The 55418 is lucky to have such a morally and philosophically flexible Representative.

Reactionary Radio

Perhaps it is an example of Yin and Yang chasing each other around the wheel of life. Those who successfully speak truth to power become power. What was once novel and avant-garde is accepted as status quo.

Cobb spews a bit about NPR’s evolution toward irrelevance:

By the time NPR fired Juan Williams, I was too through with them and really expected nothing more. But you can't stay mad forever. So I have found myself turning back, begrudgingly. It's rather a different beast. Now there are commercials all the time, and there are a bunch of names I don't recognize reporting, only showing how strange it is to realize that NPR is essentially about 30 people. And even what they do is getting, well. How can I say it? NPR just can't compete with some really good podcasts - they just don't geek out enough. NPR is about flavor and style. It's not cutting edge anything. It's just like HBO. I don't mean to say that it has the amoral in-your-face-ness that was HBO when I stopped watching several years ago, but that it has become something of a parody of itself having become predictable and no longer being the best at what they do.

Somewhere—probably via Robert Anton Wilson—I recall a theory that information is that which you cannot predict.


Sign Me Up

As a member of The Bastiat Society:

The Bastiat Society promotes the fact that the world is getting better, and that it's the creation of wealth through business that is doing it.

The Society's argument can be simply stated:

* Trade is a fundamental and virtuous human activity.
* Peaceful and profitable trade creates wealth.
* Wealth makes the world better.
* Those who create wealth through trade are not villains, but are the true owners of the moral high ground and benefactors of the human race.

Instead of abandoning the moral high ground to glib academics, politicians, and other condescending moralists, the Bastiat Society reclaims the moral authority of peaceful and profitable business.

Well, since the annual dues are beyond my prudent reach ($200), I’ll have to remain a shadow member.

Mental Insurrection in TJICistan

I’ve just spent a few minutes looking for an update on TJIC. It’s been six week since Congresscritter Giffords was shot—along with several respectable civilians. It has been a month since the Arlington, MA police decided Travis was an imminent threat to something and suspended his Second Amendment rights.

I found nothing on the current state of TJIC’s affairs. But the event did get reported beyond all the niche blogs (like this one) who consider Travis some sort of kindred spirit.

Hit & Run, the blog portion of Reason Magazine is probably the closest-to-mainstream of all libertarian outlets. They wrote up TJIC’s saga.


The Trinity of Evil

I’ve just previously quoted from Mencius Moldbug. His context was the rioting in Egypt. Moldbug’s whole post is worth reading. He winds up offering alternate responses to the official lines offered by Hillary and the current Administration.

Although not explicitly, Moldbug highlights that there are no solutions, only trade-offs. His lines fit well with both the anti-American-Imperialists in the lefty and Progressive factions, and with the isolationist libertarian factions.


The Legacy of Ozymandias

There is nothing, nothing, that politics cannot reduce to ash.

Quoted from: Mencius Moldbug

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Irreconcilible Differences

I’ve argued around the intertracks and in the meat world that the United States is already in a state of civil war. There’s been no organized violence. Or at least none perpetrated by anyone outside current governments. But physical combat is only one aspect of war.

I see several factions with irreconcilible differences. They’re currently waging rhetorical and legal battle to bring the force of the state to bear on their enemies. I say the so-called uncivil dialog we’re being lectured about is not a precursor to war, but evidence that war is at hand. Because we’re hiring lawyers instead of Hessians to fight on our behalf certainly makes day-to-day living easier, but there’s a bullet waiting behind every legal brief.

The factions are not perfectly aligned into two camps. But as the differences become more obvious, polarity will increase. My forecast sees manifest violence precipitated not by the anti-government factions. Instead, I see all the dependents of the government getting unruly when the state can no longer afford the handouts and the structure of protective favoritism collapses.


Blind Loyalty is for Children and Fools

 I like to go on about the silliness of party politics, where people vote for the flag or the jersey without ever examining the particular issues in paticular context. It’s pleasant to have such tribalism in sports. But government is real violence on a societal scale, not just stylized violence limited to the voluntary participant-athletes.

John Pepple at I Want a New Left shares my view:


Promiscuous Judgment

The more laws you have, the less relevant guilt becomes.

Quoted from: The Last Psychiatrist

H/T: Maggie’s Farm

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Assange and Yamamoto

A month after his historic victory at Pearl Harbor, Admiral Yamamoto said:

A military man can scarcely pride himself on having "smitten a sleeping enemy"; it is more a matter of shame, simply, for the one smitten.

Betraying secrets is a weak form of heroism, if it can be considered heroic at all. It is a sneak attack. If your life was on the line, would you rather rely on a WikiLeaker or a warrior?

Perhaps much of the outrage at Mr. Assange is displacement. Instead of feeling shame in themselves (or their government), the anger is refocused on the one who exposed them.

If the secrets were important, why were they not protected better? Who was responsible for vetting whichever scoundrels betrayed the team?

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Do or Dazzle

If it’s stupid but it works, it isn’t stupid.

Quoted from: Bring the Heat

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