Tuesday, September 6, 2016

I Love When They Buy The Ammo

Some edits were made on rereading, as it came across harsher than I intended, and a few points required clarification to me.

Article for context. Thanks to @voxday for making this exchange possible, it made my day.

It absolutely never fails to amaze me how completely inept some people are at thinking their own position through thoroughly. A short list of the logical errors in the piece:
  • Equating opposition to free trade with uncontrolled taxation of indigenous peoples. 
  • Completely failing to distinguish between the natural growth of a homogeneous culture and the artificial, imposed changes of multiculturalism which destroys culture.
  • Holding one out-of-context quote from the Declaration of Independence as the end-all Supreme Truth of reality.
  • Conflating a desire for peaceful separation with forced marches and looking backwards.
  • Saying "Claiming a Label Doesn't Make It Accurate" then proceeding to strawman-tell everyone what they believe and where that places them.
It's largely a reductio ad absurdum piece, which makes perfect sense given the Twitter feed of the author. I find the juxtaposition of the "Newsmax #22 top conservative blog" claim and the name/general tenor of the twitter feed fascinating, given the conservative penchant for decorum concerns.

Consider the following exchange with the author I had earlier, noting the immediate jump to "You think I'm a Jew right?" along with the attempt at a mic-drop snark:

Far from accusing him of being Israeli, my remark was that he is talking nonsense he does not understand with the expectation that people will accept it at face value and agree, while not actually being a part of any of the groups he wants to ride to an ideological victory,

Much less "You're a Jewy Jew", and far more this:

"I'm saying all the right things, why isn't it stopping?!"

Like Beni Gabor in the film, he and those like him choose no side but their own interpretation of Conservativism (whatever they think that means), ride all sides when it suits them, and thinks that by their recitation of principles they do not understand nor take part in, they have mastered those around them, or at least risen above such 'base' things as having in-group preferences.

That's what "I agree with this concern this group has, but I cannot in good conscience actually endorse them or their concern because of other things they think and say" means. It doesn't make you superior to that group, it makes you a coward. It's intellectual socialism; when someone 'wins', they can say "yeah, I am part of that!" but when someone 'loses', then it's all on that group and their shoes stay clean. Private gains, public losses.

What I find the most fascinating about these types of exchanges is how quickly they run to a charge of Anti-Semitism or white supremacy even when it's completely inappropriate. One does not need to hate something to recognize that it has an undue influence and a negative effect on their affairs, nor does one need to see it around every corner to believe it needs to be addressed. I have developed a theory as to the root cause of this phenomenon:

It clearly explains why they cannot differentiate between self preservation and supremacy, between Left and Right, or between critique and hate. 

Of course, maybe it's just a character issue:

Unlike the highly respectable 'Mulder's Shroom Ride', I am not "Newsmax Top 50 Conservative Blogs - #22", so perhaps I am just confused here, as he suggests. I shall therefore let the reader be the judge.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Rush Limbaugh(And Every Other Pundit) Is Wrong On Colorado. Here's Why.

I have been following this bit the closest of any part of the election, because I feel that it is a perfect microcosm of the entire system and why Trump has such support.

Rush published "Ted Cruz Isn't Cheating, He's Winning" and "Prescription Trumps Reality in GOP Race" over the last few days and, like pretty much everyone else, I think he's missing the real point here.

The confusion comes from a vocabulary and articulation issue. The majority of  people who are just now becoming aware of this whole thing lack the vocabulary to properly describe what they understand.

The problem comes as a natural consequence of immersion, and happens in every field. As an example, doctors have an entire language built around their profession to give them a way to accurately describe and talk about things that pertain to their profession. Doctors, therefore,  know what a hematoma is, but it is a mistake to think the lay person doesn't. They just call it a bruise instead. A doctor that thinks a client is less educated for calling it a bruise is, however, an asshole.

Politics is no different. Politics has an entire language built around it as well. For the sake of the flow of this discussion, we shall call this language 'Bullshit'. The reason for this will be apparent shortly.

Now, what happened in Colorado, and why the pundits are all defending it, is simple enough. The lay man, the American who speaks English, understands the political process as go, vote, and best man wins. This is what they are taught in school, this is what the news reports, we have big election parties to watch the results being tallied, and so on. We, the laity, have jobs and lives and do useful things that keep the economy rolling, and generally give politics a small portion of our time since it contributes little to the cause of economy on a normal day.

Pundits and insiders, however, are under no such foolish obligations such as employment, economic contribution, or labor. For them, keeping up with Washington culture, and the Washington people's doings, is their job. The have learned the language of Bullshit, spoken by the Washington people, and have largely adopted it's culture and internalized it. Even the ones that are ostensibly the farthest removed ideologically, such as Conservative reporters, fall into the trap. One cannot live in a culture without absorbing some of it.

And so the issue with Colorado is. The Americans assumed, not having been informed differently in any way meaningful to Americans who speak English, that poll voting was still how things worked in their country. Up till now, they assumed all the chicanery had to do with redrawing districts to divide votes in ways favorable to the current power (the benign-sounding gerrymandering in Bullshit) or similar tricks, but it always came down to getting the popular vote in a single open election, because that's where the power was.

(And because I know someone will call out me out for something that should be understood, the argument that Coloradoans should know their own state's rules is irrelevant, because I am speaking of the entire nation and it's understanding, not the people of a given state and their specific flavor of that understanding. Cruz' recent drop in polls to near Kasich levels in some places demonstrates that far more than Colorado citizens are appalled by this.)

This is the key point to understand. To the Pundit people, who speak Bullshit and live under Washington cultural laws in the Washington ideological enclaves within America, it was reasonable and simple. However, for Americans living in American culture (go to work, don't be a burden, don't misuse power or violence to tell other people what to do, etc), this is as unfathomable a position to take as Sharia.

But, the American people don't  have words for this kind of insanity. What the Pundit people call "Party rule changes", and cry about being misunderstood on in Bullshit, Americans call cheating. We are, in fact, talking about the same thing. Stoning a woman for being raped is legal, and fair, and reasonable in Sharia, and I imagine it has it's own word to describe it in Arabic. We call it evil and a crime nonetheless.

This is the point that every single Pundit seems to miss entirely. We are not misunderstanding, we are making a moral judgment. Legal or not, it is cheating, because it goes against the principles openly espoused by the organization and runs contrary to the purpose of the American system. Specifically, the idea of the will of the people expressed through voting.

It does not matter that it was still possible to vote if you know the handshake and  that 912 is the REAL emergency help line now. I work for a living, I'm just picking the guy who's in charge of making sure the cartels, suicide bombers and other unsavory characters don't come in and mess up the place. That the establishment cares more about getting it's guy in than actually doing that job is a huge, systemic problem, and I do not care how you justify making the process of doing that more difficult.

The point is, Trump is correct. The fact that this kind of chicanery is part of the legal landscape itself is absolute and damning proof that he is in fact correct, and the system is so broken it considers these games a legitimate method of choosing leaders. He should not have to play ball with the establishment and know all the arcane secrets of each state, because the purpose of the parties is to collectively express the will of their constituents.

Furthermore, it is not Conservative to change rules that often, or to change rules to make it harder for people to be heard.

Therefore, if the Republican base calls it cheating, it is cheating, because the party is supposed to be a collective expression of the will of the base. The Pundit people dictating what is and is not legitimate to Americans rather than reporting on the facts of the discussion is not only immoral, it is a usurpation of it's role.

Or is that no longer the case?

For the record, given a choice between Cruz or Hillary, clearly Hillary is not an option because I am an adult. Nor am I claiming the rule change was to benefit Cruz specifically; the shift was toward the establishment as a whole, not a specific candidate at the time.

My own state went Cruz, but legitimately, and I am fine with that. If a state were to change it's rules to benefit someone like Trump to the exclusion of others, I would be saying the same thing as I do about Colorado.

It is not the job of  the party leadership to decide for me what is good and bad, they are to be a force multiplier on the will of the base. If we get Gandhi, or if we get Hitler, is none of the party leadership's business.

Cruz is approaching Kasich levels of approval rating in some states after Colorado. Americans understand that just because something is in the rules doesn't make it acceptable. Even the Constitution makes it clear that a law that runs contrary to it (and therefore it's purpose) is not a valid law, and need not be obeyed.

That isn't anarchy, that is Rule of Law. Pundits claiming otherwise, that the fact that it was legal legitimizes it, would do well to re-evaluate whose side they are actually on.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Conflating Legal and Moral

I am amazed at how many people either can not or will not distinguish between legal and moral. For the Democrats this is a non-issue, but the Republican Party stands on moral supremacy. The foundational claim of the primarily Christian party is that law should follow morals, not the other way around.

So, it is quite disturbing to see how many Cruz supporters are defending Colorado on the grounds that it was legal. Fundamentally change the way the election process works just ahead of a presidential election? Publish the changes to a media almost nobody still uses regularly? Then when people complain, simply shrug and say "But Mr Dent, the plans were on display" as though that excuses any wrongdoing.

Every tinpot dictator around the world has the law behind him. Does that make the actions of said dictator legitimate and moral and correct?

My own state went Cruz in a fair and open primary. While I think the people voting Cruz are foolish and misguided, the win was legitimate and democratic. The goalposts weren't shifted to favor career politicians who play these games every day in Congress.

The fact that such a complaint, that it's inappropriate to change the rules mid-game to favor a particular group or candidate or remove agency from the  people, is dismissed with a mere 'but it was legal' places those people firmly in the Democrat camp. They are no more moral or righteous than Bernie supporters who believe wealth redistribution by government fiat is moral.

Yes, the plans were on display. In the basement, with no lights, in a locked cabinet in an unused lavatory with a sign on the door that reads 'Beware of the leopard'.

Just because something is legal, it is not automatically moral. Legal does not mean it's not rigged. If this is what passes for conservatism, I'll stay over here on the actual Right.

Edit: Found the clip. Even more appropriate than I remembered.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Beamdog's Assassination Of A Franchise

I am a longtime fan of the Baldur's Gate series. This franchise, along with Final Fantasy 6 (hereafter referred to as 'The Good One'), was a large part of my early 20's. Even to this day, my D&D group makes references to it at the table. So, when we heard an enhanced version with multiplayer was coming out, we all got copies on Steam.

After crossing the return threshold, we found out about the developer, Beamdog, and what they had done.

Now I am not usually one to dissociate based on the leanings of a developer. I enjoyed Undertale despite the clear biases of the author, but here's the key difference.

Unlike Undertale, Baldur's Gate was not the creation of the converged Beamdog, and in no way whatsoever is the new material subtle.

I have seen the video of the token transgender character, and the nonsensical tripe they spout for no discernible reason, I  have read quite a bit of the discussion about the new characters, the adventure, dialogue, and all of that might have been forgiven, or at least set aside, if not for one thing.

Minsc and Jaheira demonstrate that they neither like nor understand  the source material, and everything they have said and done has been a lie to justify converging the franchise into yet another assault on intellectual freedom.

If all they got from Jaheira was nagging wife, and Minsc was just pop culture references, they had no business touching this franchise. These SJWs have no love of anything, no appreciation for the color and messiness of life. Everything is viewed through this insane lens where women can have no flaws, minorities are always justified in horrific behavior, and whites/males can't be shown in a good light  unless encouraging one of the former two points  or white knighting. Being a wimp is laudable, being strong is oppression (unless grrrl power), up is down, etc etc. Like Marxism, it's a checklist of all the things that work and are good for civilization inverted.

For my part, I think the time has long since passed when we should have made a purposeful effort to abandon traditional publishers and follow in the footsteps of many Japanese developers to create spiritual successors to these franchises. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Book Review: "On The Existence Of Gods" by Vox Day and Dominic Saltarelli

I have been looking forward to this book ever since I heard about the debate on Vox's Blog, and for anyone who wishes to take a serious, thoughtful look at the question of the existence of gods, this is probably required reading. This is a topic very near and dear to me, and I am nearly always disappointed by the quality and tenor of such debates (such as the dumpster fire that was the Ken Ham/Bill Nye debate). 

Not so here. 

Everyone involved was highly intelligent, respectful, and knew why they were there. This is demonstrated, at least to me, in two major ways; the format, and the fact that a good deal of time was spent on definitions.

First, let's address the format. Each participant made an opening argument blind, then rebutted the argument blind, and the panel of judges (one each of Christian, Atheist and  Agnostic) judged the arguments and rebuttals and assigned a winner of the round. At that point, the winner was afforded the opportunity to press their point, the loser rebutted, and the judges decided the winner of that round. There were three rounds in total, and while I would have enjoyed more rounds, I can't see how it would have added much to the discussion.

In addition, the judges were given space to explain their thoughts and reasoning behind their decision, and it often contributed as much to the discussion as Vox and Dominic.

All in all, it worked extremely well, and I would like to see it used elsewhere.

The second thing, and perhaps the most important thing, was the effort that went into defining what a god is, as well as evidence and logic. It's very rare to see it even come up in a debate in a meaningful way, and that has always struck me as foolish. It seems a  bit like arguing for or against string theory but never actually defining the model you are using.

I have long felt that this is the largest issue with the discussion, as the average  Atheist I have talked to has built a mental narrative in which they cannot lose by defining a god as a being who does magic, magic breaks physics and is fake, and anything that falls within any form of natural law is not magic, therefore not a god. As Vox very neatly points out, there is an issue of scale to be considered, regardless of where you draw the line.

Likewise, I know a lot of fellow Christians that feel that examining the topic closely is either a waste of time (citing 'if God wants them, he'll call them, I don't have to do anything but recite the truth' as justification) or even a bit sinister, as though wondering about how it all works is going to somehow change the facts.

It's also worth noting that I found the material compelling enough that my first attempt at this review ended up blossoming into a short book length examination of the arguments made rather than a review proper. There is a lot of meat here for the taking.

One of the biggest surprises for me was Dominic's comparison of the accounts of angels and gods of old to modern abduction stories, including a fascinating comparison of Ezekiel's Wheel to a V-22 Osprey. 

I was quite glad to see this particular direction addressed so early, as I have been in this camp for a number of years (those interested in this line of  reasoning may want to check out Return of the Nephilim by Chuck  Missler of K-House for a dialectic primer on the topic), though I believe it runs in reverse. Rather than ancients mistaking aliens for gods and angels, fallen angels adapt themselves to the culture for the most impact in drawing people away from Christ. These days it's more fashionable to embrace technology and scientism, so they are advanced aliens from Pleiades now.

While I agree that this book is unlikely to  change minds, I believe a much greater victory was scored here. Far from being a matter of evidence (as it is overwhelming in favor of gods of some description), your belief or unbelief in gods or a Creator God has much more to do with your belief about your own station within the universe. Ultimately, the argument against gods seems to boil down to "I don't consider X entity to be sufficiently more advanced than me to consider it a god, regardless of it's power and authority".

That's not a position I would like to find out I was wrong on when standing at the Judgement.

Nor is it an inherently objective position to take, especially considering how often Atheists will, with their next breath, pontificate at length about how humans are just one tiny blip on a small blue rock flying through an unfathomably large universe, go on about how we're probably not being contacted by aliens because we're so Podunk, and so on. One cannot be both insignificant and the contemporary of beings who can make universes.

On the balance, this book is a must-read for any serious seeker, regardless of where you fall on the spectrum. Props go to Saltarelli for one of the most intellectually honest attempts to defend Atheism I have ever seen(It got weird in  a few places, addressed some interesting angles such as deja vu/dreams of the future maybe indicating evidence of nonlinear time, but it is still much better than the normal 'gotcha' game), and the panel of judges did an excellent job overall of remaining ideologically neutral and judging the effectiveness of the arguments rather than their personal opinion of them.

Well worth the price of admission, and if a print version is ever made available, it will be going on my shelf. For now, there is only a Kindle version, which you can get here. As a bonus, the one-star review on Amazon is quite amusing. I am assuming the derogatory use of 'nerd' plus the constant references to being confused means the  one star is butthurt because he couldn't keep up, while the dismissive tone regarding all participants is unreasonably inflated self ego.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Trump Rally Chicago

I've been scrolling through #TrumpRallyChi for a couple hours now, and two things have really stood out to me.

1) The number of people who think throwing rocks/bottles at people attending an assembly and police is an acceptable, grassroots, free-speech method of discourse, and

2) how all wings of the mainstream media are not only on board with 'they had it coming', but are trying to pin the violence against Trump and supporters as if it's their fault.

Truly, saying 'these people need to go home' or 'this guy needs an ass whooping' is morally equivalent to actually harming people.

And if it's true that most people disagree with Trump, then he's harmless and this is literally terrorizing a minority.

The truth is, however, that more people than ever have decided to go with Trump. Carson backed him because he's the only candidate not justifying throwing rocks at attendees of a political event and police. The majority of the country is tired of the partisan politics, being terrorized just for being alive, oppressed by government more burdensome than nearly any other point in history, and being denied any real, meaningful voice with which to seek reparation.

But I would wager that a lot of this 'grassroots opposition' is quite calculated and premeditated. I have read Rules for Radicals, and the hallmarks are nearly unmistakable.

And, happily, it looks like more people than ever can see it too. So the question remains, how far are you willing to carry this war on freedom and reason, you of the progressive left? Would you see an outright war in the streets before you'd concede that most people do not want what you're selling? Because there's no going back now. Even if you manage to succeed in one of your ridiculous assassination plans, that won't stop the awakening, that would strengthen it. We're done with you, your failed ideas and policies, and the division you foster.

It's time for America to be America again, and there's more of us than ever willing to see it through to the end.

Cycle of Nations and Progressives

It can't be said often enough, progressives aren't progressive. However, of far more import is the fact that all political institutions of consequence are now fully on board.

So the screaming leftists assault a peaceful Trump rally, injure police, gloat about it afterwards on social media, and the remaining Republican candidates all blame Trump. Glad to know what side you are on. Way to 'stand for your principles'. Might I suggest that progressive terrorism is not what the founders intended for us to conserve?

There can be no question that the Republican party has been converged. It's naked pandering to the left, the globalists, and the racists leaves absolutely no room to argue it's true allegiance. We've known for some time, to be sure. Republicans had the largest sweep of Congressional seats I have ever seen, and they immediately set about rubberstamping Obama's policies and refusing to hold the DOJ or Obama administration accountable in any meaningful way. But this open, blatant support of anti-Right sentiment is new.

Progressivism is cancer. Libertarianism is dead. Conservatism is dead. Just like Europe, America will become Nationalist again, or it will perish. America's enemies are many, and they are clever, but Americans are strong, and longsuffering. We have reached a crux, a critical mass, and the fight will be shortly on. If the globalist corporatist masters of the Republican party attempt to pull a Democrat maneuver to stifle the will of the people by fiat denial through a brokered convention, there will be nothing left for the Right in the peaceful process of election. If we are to be denied by fiat the expression of our will through peaceful means, it will not go unexpressed.

They say those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it, and if there's one common trait of the elite and powerful, it is that they believe they are unique in all of history and the lesson doesn't apply to them.