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A Guide to Social Justice Paradox
Robert "RSnake" Hansen
 March 16 2024 at 09:04 pm
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This series of articles was inspired by statements by Eric Weinstein, on his podcast and others, hinting that there are irreconcilable contradictions from the left that he dubbed the “Hilbert Problems for Social Justice.” When two or more principles of inclusion or exclusion are both mobilized for social justice ends, their simultaneous application can, and, as we will see, often does lead to logical conflict. They are, as Eric said, "self-contradictory couplets." You can see Eric discuss it briefly here: In some ways these contradictions are reminiscent of the Salem Witch Trials’ logic - if she floats, she is a witch, if she sinks, human. Both outcomes leading to the death of the accused. Are people intentionally choosing to ignore logic or are they simply too close to the problem to bother to think critically, caught up in a grand narrative. How many lives were snuffed out or otherwise ruined due to a lack of critical thinking? Millions? Tens of millions? We face logical incongruity and deception from political operatives. To document these fallacious arguments requires a large degree of intellectual humility and a willingness to engage with the ostensible contradictions that define an inconsistent application of justice towards the otherwise noble pursuit of a more just world; and I fully expect it to get people's hackles up, as it did mine. Since Eric's list wasn’t released in it's entirety, it was otherwise left to the audience as a thought experiment. The task of documenting the "Hilbert Problems for Social Justice," was not merely an academic exercise for me, but a clarion call to those, like me and likely you, dear reader, who navigate the tumultuous waters of contemporary discourse seeking truth and dialectic coherence. It simply was not an option - I had to know. A few genuine attempts to get Eric to release his list by myself and others were not acknowledged, so... with a heavy sigh... it manifested itself as my task. Weinstein's decision to refrain from releasing these ideological contradictions and instead leaving them as a project for his listeners embodies itself as, I feel, a strategic delegation of intellectual responsibility. Without passing moral judgement entirely, I felt it's void left boobytraps, easily stumbled upon, for millions of people struggling with clarity. I too may have been suffering from ignorance or inconsistent logic, so not having access to this list while trying to maintain some amount of intellectual integrity felt like walking into an intellectual minefield. How can we fix what we haven't identified and explored? Either way, it left me in a lurch - a ostensible labor that needed to be attended to, with or without help, and thus herein lies it's the synthesis, now ready to discuss openly. This initiative's importance is manifold. First, it serves a shorthand to provide the intellectual rigor required to dissect the convoluted narratives of modern social justice advocacy. By identifying pairs of hypocritical opposing ideas, this series endeavors to sharpen our analytical tools, enabling a more nuanced understanding of the ideological hellscape. It compels me/us to engage with the complexities of social justice rhetoric critically, rather than accepting any one slogan at face value. Second, this project acts as a mirror to the intellectual and moral inconsistencies that can undermine the credibility and effectiveness of social justice movements - if we believe there is merit to some of the ideas. In a world where the battle for hearts and minds is waged with narratives, highlighting these contradictions is essential for fostering a more honest and effective discourse. It challenges advocates and critics alike to refine their arguments, ensuring that the pursuit of social justice is grounded in intellectual integrity and consistency - sharpening those knives. I am a seeker of truth amidst, what I find to be, a cacophony of shrill self-appointed social justice advocates. I did not begin with a desire to delegitimize the pursuit of equity and justice, but I have always been driven by a commitment to ensuring coherence and honesty. I began this exercise on the political left, and the more I researched it, I began to list toward dead center - away from the very narratives they pushed. That was a surprise to me. I had expected to remain politically unmoved by this research, but the more of it I did, the more leftist friends I lost as I discussed it with them. This felt unfair in the moment, but opened my eyes further to the insular bubble that was being created before my very eyes. With coherence as a goal, this series identifies many of the contradictions and utilizes references as examples. It provides a framework for individuals to examine their own beliefs and the narratives they support, to the aim of critical thinking and self-examination. This should not be considered complete, as I suspect the work will never finish as new contradictions arise. However, these articles should be a useful guide for those interested in the mental bulwark required to defend against poorly constructed ideas. These hypocrisies cast daylight on my perception of the shoot-from-the-hip approach to social justice and ideally may serve as a deterrent to the dangers of moral panic, steering the ship away from the rocks of unintended consequences. The first two parts are not my work - they are the work of Eric Weinstein as elucidated in various places. After that, the work is mine, but to honor his initial thinking, I felt it important to start with his. Today's problem for social justice is: I’m so different that you cannot understand my experience AND you must understand my experience. - You cannot understand my experience: Why Unsolicited Health Advice Is Often Victim Blaming in Disguise "One way or another, it's somehow my fault because you're healthy and I'm not." themighty.com - Understand my experience: Growing up black in America: here's my story of everyday racism | Brian Jones As a middle-class, light-skinned black man I am ‘better’ by American standards but there is no amount of assimilation that can shield you from racism in the US www.theguardian.com This paradox appears to attempt to quell opposition and debate. Since one is incapable of understanding the speaker’s lived experience (to quote Douglas Murray, “as if there is any other kind”) there is no reason to pay attention. Why attend to something we could never possibly understand? However, since one must understand, one must stay and listen to the speaker and never interrupt despite the fact there is no redemption possible. This is coded language that can be restated in a similar self-contradictory couplet: Diversity is important AND CIS white men should sit down and shut up. - Diversity is important How Diversity Makes Us Smarter Being around people who are different from us makes us more creative, diligent, and hard-working. greatergood.berkeley.edu - CIS-Men, sit down and shut up Cis-Men, Shut Up and Sit Down, Please Unless you support abortion rights. In which case, thanks so much for that. aninjusticemag.com To paraphrase this further: “Shut up and listen.” - https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/06/03/best-white-statement-may-be-shut-up-listen/ - https://www.aclunc.org/blog/shut-and-listen-race-and-justice-schools - https://www.tedxbrayfordpool.com/post/why-white-people-rarely-shut-up-listen-and-learn-about-race - https://www.researchgate.net/publication/237394535_Shut_up_and_listen_Applied_critical_race_theory_in_the_classroom - https://thesimpsonian.com/32666/opinion/white-people-should-shut-up-sometimes/ - https://thehumanist.com/magazine/july-august-2015/fierce-humanism/the-part-about-black-lives-mattering-where-white-people-shut-up-and-listen/ - https://greatlakes.org/2018/05/step-one-shut-up-and-listen/ - https://prezi.com/du---i43enll/shut-up-and-listenapplied-critical-race-theory-in-the-class/ Many writers, people who sincerely believe these words, appear to feel that Caucasian men are unable to learn, yet are required to listen – to what ends is not clear given the first supposition. Or, and I don't feel like this is too large a leap to make, more likely this group feels that heterosexual Caucasian men should simply step aside and abdicate power to minorities and people who feel as if they have no power. To be clear though, for the aforementioned sentiment, minorities in this context does not include: - Jewish (~2.4% of the US population) - Asian (~7.4% of the US population) And unfortunately for the narrative, it most certainly does not include males: - Men (~49.5% of the US population) Or Caucasians in California: - Caucasians (~35% Caucasian vs ~39% Latino) Specifically, this line of thinking is meant to take power away from the "patriarchy". The term patriarchy has been heavily coopted to encompass Caucasians and all heterosexual men, rather than it's original definition, fathers within small social circles. Changing what words mean has utility, when words can be weaponized, if repurposed. Where is power to be distributed once taken from the patriarchy? It is to be delivered to a growing list of aggrieved peoples. Canada has agreed to pay approximately $2BN to indigenous peoples for genocide, but there is little care or mention of other genocides conducted by indigenous people upon opposing tribes. While war is atrocious and adding additional burdens to nations that have fallen can be argued to be counterproductive (E.g., strangling the German economy after it lost the first world war), it is quite another to pay for crimes committed before anyone involved was born. Canada Settles $2 Billion Suit Over ‘Cultural Genocide’ at Residential Schools (Published 2023) The class action, brought by 325 First Nations, said that residential schools, sanctioned by the government, eroded Indigenous cultures and languages. www.nytimes.com There is a market for victimhood, and in this case, Canada settled to pay the indigenous peoples $2BN for their aggrieved status, having never lost a court case to that end. To re-iterate, Canada agreed to pay $2BN for a case that they did not lose. Rather than charge people for the crimes they are committing (destruction of property, physical violence, theft, etc.) some on the political left would prefer to punish the state for crimes that weren’t even committed while they were alive. Indigenous reparations punish the wrong people for crimes committed. It falls upon the Canadian taxpayer to create this transfer of wealth that the left will fight for. Canadian taxpayers, by government action, are forced to transfer their personal wealth for a court case they had no say in, that the government did not lose, and the acts in question were committed decades or centuries before they were born. This appears to have very little to do with lived experience and mostly to do with a transfer of wealth and power, at every level. For instance, there was a short-lived mandatory requirement to have one woman-identifying member on every board of every private corporation in California by the end of 2019. The scales of justice weighed the situation, and was ruled unconstitutional by Superior Court Judge Maureen Duffy-Lewis, but it is not for a lack of trying. According to the advocacy group 50/50 Women on Boards the law had the desired effect. Before the law, the density of a woman on a board seat was 17% in California and after the law was set to take effect it rose to 30%. California judge rules law to include women on boards of directors is unconstitutional Judge Maureen Duffy-Lewis said the law that would have required boards have up to three female directors violated the right to equal treatment. www.nbcnews.com So, while anyone familiar with constitutional amendments could see that the progressive California law was clearly unconstitutional, it wasn’t simply performative either. That is not to say that a woman’s presence on a board is bad, or that there isn't some injustice that is being righted – it is to say that the groups involved are not above unconstitutional acts to get power. For this cohort, the ends justify the means. Even if it means the constitution and our rights need be committed to the fire, those in power must abdicate. If we were to be honest, this language and these government actions appear to be primarily aimed to shift wealth and power. If we can be honest about that, then we can have the subsequent honest conversation about what it means to shift power, how to do it, whether it is moral to do so, what short and long-term effects it will have, and so on, without any coded propaganda. Wouldn't that be refreshing? I hope you found this article interesting. This is the first in a series of posts that will document many of these conflated social justice issues - there will be more, God willing. So please subscribe, and drop a comment, if you want more of the same. That is the only way I will have any sense of how this is landing with you, dear reader. Also, if you want to know about me or my show, The RSnake Show, please visit https://rsnake.com for details.
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Why HBO Hates Tokyo Vice
disgracedpropagandist
 March 19 2024 at 03:14 am
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The thread of this article made some noise. Thinkspot has asked me to join a Space this evening at 6pm to discuss it. Set a reminder to join here. A precious new vein of IP: fish-out-of-water stories about Westerners living not in the third world where they become white saviors (there’s plenty of those), but in places, like contemporary Japan, where they suffer the reverse. Stigmatized outsiders—called gaijin in Japan—stuck below a glass ceiling. Discriminated against for skin color and origin. These stories are particularly interesting now, with Asia ascendant, and because they’re so rare. I can think of only two on-the-ground gonzo reports about the Tokyo underworld. Tokyo Vice, the memoir behind the HBO show, and People Who Eat Darkness by Richard Lloyd Perry, imho the most underrated literary true crime book of all time, about the murder of a British hostess club girl in Roppongi. Roppongi is Tokyo’s Red Light District, motto “High Touch Town” because American GIs once high-fived (“high touch”) after nailing hookers there. In Tokyo Vice, Rachel Keller also plays an Roppongi hostess club girl, a Geisha-like role we don't have in the West. It’s compelling to see Western women wrangling with exploitation by a foreign culture as we’re accustomed to handwringing over the opposite. In consuming either Tokyo Vice or People Who Eat Darkness, I'm struck at how completely under explored the dark side of modern Asia is in the Western mind. We crave this stuff, in large part because we're so sick of hearing about our place atop our own glass floor. But since Japan has, unlike the West, a strong immune system against foreign meddlers, it’s unusual for these reports to make it out. (It’s the reason I self-published my sadly-malformed first book, about a summer working at a M&A firm in Saigon, but let’s not get into that now). Tokyo Vice on MAX is very good. Not great like Sopranos or True Detective Season 1. Just very good. A rootless kid from Missouri named Jake Adelstein moves to Tokyo to work at a prominent local newspaper and immerses with Yakuza. In the early scenes, the newspaper brass, testing him, asks, “Some Japanese believe Jews control the world economy, is that true?” Jake, played by Ansel Elgort, responds with “if we did, you think I’d be okay with the salary you’re paying me?” This is supposed to be a clever retort that puts an end to the issue, but it places the otherwise innocent and fumbling Adelstein in control, where he should be flailing. This comment should throw him off, as it surely did in real life. A-grade writing would add another beat, the managing editor responding, “If you did, you wouldn’t care what salary we paid you at all.” Jake would frown. The scene would end there. Ambiguously. Stressfully. What the tenor of the moment calls for. Flat writing like this plagues the show. There’s also borderline woke bits—a cranky editor draws the comment “he’s a racist/nationalist…you have those too right?” from a sidekick of Adelstein’s—and generally the dialogue is strained and less interesting than it could be. Writing lags behind design, photography, acting because only words can be, on their own, racist. They and their writers get censored. Design, no matter how fascistic or problematic in aesthetic, does not. Because, besides the mediocre writing, Tokyo Vice very, very good. Lives up to co-creator Michael Mann’s reputation visually. The characters feel real and nuanced—it captures the high peaks and low valleys of a white person working in Asia, the strange friendships with locals with whom you can never quite tell where you stand. Ansel Elgort a strong B+. Like his fellow pedigreed theater mischling Timothy Chalamet, he’s selected for the gay gaze, but he’s a better actor than Chalamet, a generational talent that maybe really could turn into a grown up man one day, if only they let him. Rachel Keller, playing a Mormon missionary broken bad, gives a 10/10 performance that would’ve won every Emmy had HBO-MAX-MAXO-BOMAX not hung Tokyo Vice out to dry. “But it’s not on HBO, it’s on MAX!" No, they market the living shit out of other MAX shows like Hacks, just not this one. The network make a distinction itself—search for MAX shows and HBO shows like The Regime and True Detective Season Garbage pop up (and are very heavily marketed). Besides, it’s not just a marketing blackout with Tokyo Vice, it’s an algorithmic blackout as well. New WB/Discovery head David Zaslav seems intent on drawing as little distinction between HBO MAX HBMAX and MAXBO as possible. He’s a money guy, an audience-servicer. He's known for slashing and burning budgets and shows in the name of the algorithm. But for some reason, with Tokyo Vice, he refuses to service the audience: e.g. me. It has solid viewership, season 2 just premiered, but I didn't know until word of mouth got to me two years late. I shouldn't be able to say HBO without a notification reminding me to check out Tokyo Vice. It’s absent from on MAX Roku app and desktop site. I have to dig for it. We know that censorial PMC-types train algorithms/AIs to steer us around problematic ideas. Could that be happening with Tokyo Vice? MSM excitedly manufactures the demise of the show: “While the series has its admirers (there are dozens of us!), it doesn’t seem to be contributing much to Max’s streaming imperatives in an era of shrinking TV budgets, nor has it attracted much awards hype to warrant shooting in Tokyo, which surely commands a hefty sum.” Still pretending that “awards show buzz” isn’t 100% driven by the publicity arms of the studios themselves. Even non-Hollywood people know this, yet here the propagandists want us to believe that "awards hype" simply "hasn't been attracted." A beautiful Michael Mann crime show set in modern Japan, an IP rarity, featuring our best young actors giving top quality performances. Dark, gritty, edgy with a growing organic audience. It has every mark of a HBO hit. MAX should be salivating. My explanation combines a few different strains. Elgort is cancelled lite via a 17-year-old groupie who slid into his DMs when he was a 20-year-old internationally famous heart throb (New York age of consent 17 so never prosecuted). Also claims Adelstein fabricated original memoir.Perhaps HBO doesn’t spend heavily to market male-centric shows likely to spread via word of mouth anyway. Better to spend on diversity shows that 1) have a chance of winning awards and 2) can’t rely on word of mouth cause they suck. Zombie True Detective, for instance, was almost instantly renewed for another season despite everyone agreeing it was horrible. But that still wouldn’t explain the discoverability fail. The whole point of streaming is that it cynically serves your interests. Surely they could’ve put these shows in my suggested mentions, or social feeds, without implicating PR. Right? Beyond these, however, I think there’s something else going on. The blackout around Tokyo Vice reminds me of another strange marketing omission in HBOs rapid self-immolation. The Anarchists is a 2022 documentary series about a crypto-anarchist conference in Acapulco that ends in murder. Also not great, but very good, and extremely topical. It focuses on problematic tech bro Jeff Berwick. As a male, tech-adjacent viewer, the show should’ve been fed to me early and often in my suggested mentions. Yet I discovered it only years later through word of mouth, and was completely addicted from beginning to very-disturbing end. Where is the data-driven marketing that has supposedly eaten Hollywood? Perhaps HBO doesn’t spend heavily to market male-centric shows likely to spread via word of mouth anyway. Better to spend on diversity shows that 1) have a chance of winning awards and 2) can’t rely on word of mouth cause they suck. Zombie True Detective, for instance, was almost instantly renewed for another season despite everyone agreeing it was horrible. But that still wouldn’t explain the discoverability fail. The whole point of streaming is that it cynically serves your interests. Surely they could’ve put these shows in my suggested mentions, or social feeds, without implicating PR. Right? Wrong. I think Tokyo Vice gets buried is because it makes people with algorithmic control uncomfortable. It’s made by white men, and depicts a white man treated as “less than” by a foreign culture. The female lead is a badass, but she’s basically a sex worker. There’s the aforementioned Jewish stuff. And the Elgort stuff. And the Adelstein stuff. Problematicness leveles too high for the “fearful women" who control MAX’s marketing, and perhaps even Zaslav himself, to handle. They’re happier to rule over the ashes. The thread of this article made a little noise. Thinkspot has asked me to join a Space this evening at 6pm to discuss it. Set a reminder to join here. Isaac writes at carousel.blog
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The Stubborn Opposite of Sociopathy
DavidGetzin
 April 03 2024 at 05:05 am
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This topic is a nerve I have an impulse to press lately. Our culture has been working though a social cycle of high-trust peaking, and then this trust being preyed upon and monetized by a kind of rent-seeking behavior, obsession with zero-sum game, and it may well have to do with dynamics of shrinking demographics. As a cohort (not always a population - it could be a race or subculture) declines in numbers - the rates of predatory sociopathy might increase. There has been a lot of talk about sociopathy lately - and (for now at least) I'm not done with either the concept or the experience. It seems none of us are. Michael Knowles was going on about the new "sociopathy awareness" book that came out, written by Patric Gagne. Beyond the usual "pathology grifter" suspicion that is totally warranted about such a book, there are underlying dynamics that people are just barely staring to pay attention to. Gagne herself notes that cases of sociopathy are rising and are undiagnosed. As much as I dislike her general (what I would consider to be enabling) approach, it is apparent via her statistics (and by my own personal observations) that the number is rising. So what is causing this? Surely it is not a case of "born this way." I remember the attitude coming out of the 80s that "some people are just like that" and even recently, what seems to be the mainstream notion is that children of a certain temperament, "not properly socialized" newer develop proper empathy or conscience. I don't think that is the case at all. Children must be born with some great degree of empathy. A child in the womb will hear and to a great degree feel what the mother does. Babies and very young children will laugh when others laugh, cry when others cry. It is the instance of trauma, and specifically unresolved trauma, that really tends to create sociopathy. Ani I don't think I am alone in thinking that the "cluster B" disorders are properly seen on a spectrum with psychopathy on one end tilting into criminal behavior, sociopathy being more circumspect, borderline being more subtle than sociopathy and PTSD being something that we can all at least identify with. All of us are able to understand the kind of numb shock or unmoved anger where we can for a time, feel disconnected from the humanity of someone who is considered an adversary, or a threat. As this spectrum tightens, that "for a time" becomes the "ongoing steady way of life" and the adversary becomes the whole world. But that's not the limit of what we have to deal with. Just as the now-famous example of the one vegetarian family member gets the whole family on tofu, a critical mass of sociopathy can oblige the surrounding individuals to behave in a sociopathic manner. NOW - add to this the fact that drugs (especially cocaine (with what music producer Steve Albini so-directly called "numbing both physical and spiritual") but even marijuana/THC) will induce a kind of trauma as part of the high and crash itself, and we see in the USA, a coming wave of socially corrosive temperament. Are we expected to do anything about this? I hope so. One answer would be to address the trauma. For some reason, I have seen and heard therapist say that there is no cure for Borderline, and certainly no cure for sociopathy. I don't think we should be accommodationist, but there are ways of addressing this trauma. Part or the trouble (as always) is if people won't want to admit to any of it. The zero-sum mindset tends to magnetize itself to people with high amounts of empathy who are also very diligent. Skeptical people who don't work hard make terrible con-marks. Part of the trouble is that the demoralized 3rd world mindset induced by a zero-sum view leads to a dominant signal in the culture of people who are skeptical and don't work hard. High conscientiousness, low agreeability… this is the combination that "spoils the Game" for all those game theorists hoping to get away with whatever machiavellian cluster-b thought they have at the moment. The trick for us would be to decrease agreeability while maintaining or increasing empathy. Late Victorian England is a good example of this. And famously enough, Georgian England and the early Victorian were famous enough for having a fair amount of sociopathic brutality. I think the same contrast can also be recapitulated going from Late Republican Rome where women like the wife or Marc Antony did things like stab the tongue of the deceased Cicero's head with her silver hairpin, just to make a point. We have been through these transitions before. I'd like to think that the spine (or upper lip?) stiffening is already underway. We see it in anything called "based" - the spine-reinforced refusal to be moved my manipulation. SO - we have choppy times ahead - but I am a bit of an optimist. None of this happens automatically. The "little games" need to stop, the stilted pandering and pretending to identity. The rise of social media greatly scaled and amplified the reach of sociopathic action. We find that in cancel culture, yelp reviews, constant-strategy-filled relationships between men and women. But I think an immunity is building - at least it feels that way.
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Retrograde spins forward - tomorrow, tonight -...
DavidGetzin
 March 31 2024 at 05:01 am
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So here we are - a new platform as tomorrow the sky spins "backwards" for the relative motion of Mercury as seen on Earth. It may be trite - but I love the story - when the (probably Logical Positivist midwits) were spouting off to Wittgenstein abut how the present was so much more clever than the past, saying "after all, they believed the sun moved 'round the EARTH!" Ludwig smiled and was said to reply, "yes, but I wonder what it would have looked like if the OPPOSITE were true?" It is not inconsequential how the apparent-motions in the sky mark out certain cycles, certain rhythms. Over on my X Platform spouts of text - ( @histofarch ) - I picked up today on Ralph Ellis noting how he thinks one tags the start of the Age of Pisces to 6 AD as the "metaphysical" birth of Jesus. (Ralph elsewhere solidly argues but it is controversial that the historical Jesus was the King of Edessa and fought in the Jewish Revolt (this makes the fig story in Mark make MUCH more sense) so - you have a ~40 year shift back that was made to align Jesus with the astrological age of Pisces.) Regardless of one's feelings about astrological meaning - there is a GENERAL sense that even though "all times are times of transition," the transition we are in now has a special color to it. I've felt it - I felt it when I was 17, wrote long-winded mystical creation myth poetry (that one was half-good) and when in college - would not SHUT up to anyone who would listen about asking them what they felt about emergent paradigms. If anything - the liquidating effects of technology have wrenched us out of old habits. Much of the social chaos we occupy ourselves with is part and parcel with such a historical season. As the industrial revolution reshaped how humans consider the body, the information age is reshaping how humans consider the mind. We are (sadly) leaving the "era of fact" that James Burke pointed out in the written companion to "The Day the Universe Changed" series. A few decades ago, he could write about medieval people being different in great respect to us because they did not live in a world of fact as we've known it. The common ground of trusted empiricism was just not THERE and it was holy tradition, authority and the word of trusted individuals that was relied on. Anything else was held to be suspect. Sound familiar? So, in the explosion of information and the attendant "game theory" sociopath-driven fakery - we find an uncomfortable affinity with the medieval mindset. Without the "justification by faith" in reason's access to "sola scriptura," and the Baconian scientific method, (Science as mainstream has become a sinister, cynical CULT Ponzi scheme) we are thrust back into the arms of Grand Authority. (The Science, NORMS, arrrr democracy! and so forth.) Much haș been made of the "sanctity of the individual" as the root of politics, and I like it that way, but this is becoming more and more old-fashioned. People who take the shift into Aquarius seriously speak (I think accurately) about a rise of lattice networks over tree-hierarchy, (the so-called rhizome organization) and also of more communtarian feelings. But let's not kid ourselves, the dark side of that coin holds cancel culture, groupthink, chaos and a general inability to scale up into large projects. And yes, we see all this, coincident with the age of Pisces fading. I am neither exuberant nor doomerish about this transition. I'd like to be AWARE of it and find like-minded people (am starting to) who want to think on long time scales, and have "big" families and really act like Italian householders who cultivate generous land with love and joy, understanding how the earth cycles integrate to cherries being only available really in May and June, figs coming ripe around Tish a B'Av (August 13 for 2024) - there's that MARK connection again - … and even integrating recent practices like the Olivetti Factory in the 70s being set up so that workers would go back home for more than a month every year in July(?) to tend to the upkeep of small, family agricultural plots. I myself any lucky enough to stand to inherit a share in a (by now 4th generation (Strauss/Howe anyone?)) family plot in Wisconsin. I fully intend to as much as is reasonable, run that place like an Italian. You know, in the GOOD way - not like movies but like Cicero would. We don't have any kind of "mass wealth" really at all and I'm bootstrapping a 4 year old LLC into *some* good growth with a team that gets more solid by the month, but this land is there - and UNLIKE the habits of the 1970s, I don't intend to rely on rent or seek or liquidate or sell. I intend to PRODUCE. All of us - land or not - are able to in some way - participate in cultural production of some sort. And I am convinced that the specific nature of the USA (I have been in business on several continents, post graduate school in Canada and I'd pick NOWHERE else but the USA (and I'm deliberately staying in California, at least seasonally) - nowhere else but the USA to start a business.) I need to cool it with these double parentheticals! Maybe some people like them. - this isn't audio, I'm very auditory. Bringing it back home - now is the time for Mercury retro introspection and reconsidering - for about three weeks - tie up loose ends - don't be hasty, don't be impulsive (this next one is big for me) don't over-communicate or bowl people over with "everything at once." There are decisive shifts coming this year and a furthering of a split I have noticed. Let's not mince words - this is a split into decadence vs growth. "Which way Western man/woman?" I affirm and choose the side of: not drugs, rooted families, trusted community leadership (yes we DO all create that together) good public transportation, and custom-tailor fit in *everything* as we step further away from the strictures of mass-industrialism. Do we welcome people who have lived under the "yes drugs, individual alienation, distrust authority, suffer with cars and parking lots, " And for all of this - I shall CONTINUE to abide in LA County, The Pasadenas have HEALTH, let the boomers flee, let Hollywood deflate. I walk to work and have a train near me and hire non-university-degreed apprentices because I live in The Future. It's just not evenly distributed yet. I will plant oranges, lemons, and (may G-d favor me so) see grandchildren play under the oak across the street while my grown children pour wine from their great grandfather's concord vine stock I transplant here from Wisconsin. These are my dreams. Sometimes I think I see the woman I share them with. Sometimes I worry I frighten her off. But I no longer fear she doesn't exist. I just have to not miss her. We shall see.
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A Guide to Social Justice Paradox - Part 3
Robert "RSnake" Hansen
 March 27 2024 at 01:00 pm
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In this series' installment of the Hilbert Problems for Social Justice, we delve further into troubled waters of deeply held beliefs: the intersection of genetic identity, right to life, and autonomy of choice. This marks the point at which I will diverge from Eric Weinstein's examples. Where before today's examination, we focused exclusively on self-contradictory couplets, today we additionally add a problematic tercet of ideas. Each thought distinct and often discussed openly as firmly held beliefs amongst legion social justice advocates, yet countervailing. Before we continue, I would once again like to thank those who took the time to read and comment on the prior articles. There is utility in shaping this conversation and I appreciate thoughtful replies and feedback. Without your feedback it's difficult to improve the utility of my writing. Today's exploration, like it's predecessors, is not about asserting definitive answers but rather illuminating the confounding complexities that challenge progressive philosophy. Ultimately, gaining awareness of our missteps, despite potential anguish in uncovering them, invariably encourages growth. So without further ado... At birth sexual identity is immutable AND sex is not. - Being trans is immutable: https://uclawreview.org/2021/11/12/gender-the-issue-of-immutability/ - Sex is mutable: https://kim-hipwell.medium.com/on-truly-changing-sex-a7770e903810 The point brought up by Kim Hipwell, and others, that chromosomal sex immutability is only a reflection of the technological state of the art is at least theoretically correct. It is entirely feasible that in the future a "trans-shop" may exist that can, down to the DNA, modify every cell in a person's body to the preferred sex. However, by the same vein the fact that people believe that minds cannot be changed with existing or futuristic technology, but bodies can, has no rational basis. Why would the human software be free from tampering but the hardware be vulnerable to it? There are innumerate case studies of minds being altered or changed – it is the entire basis of the marketing industry. A belief that no future technology could ever exist to change/influence sexual orientation by extension, is a failure of imagination. If such a thing were true, why would there be so much ink spilled explaining why it is okay to transition, since a person's mind could not be influenced? Clearly this is nonsense, and even trans rights activists concur that minds can be and are changed. - https://www.transhub.org.au/changing-your-mind Therefore, being trans is a choice either now or in the future when technology allows for either programmatic or technical changes of orientation (or both) and not immutable. Quod erat demonstrandum. It is worth reflecting on a personal acquaintance, a woman who identified as gay throughout her life until, in her late twenties, she encountered a man who profoundly altered her understanding of her own sexuality, causing her to subsequently renounce even bisexuality. There is no accounting for the power of true love, apparently. Her anecdote challenges the notion of immutable sexual orientation. Is her experience merely an outlier, an anomaly amidst a sea of fixed identities? Clearly no. I alone, have a number of similar stories of men who experimented and later, embarrassingly, decided they no longer felt homosexual. What's the opposite of coming out, when you no longer identify as LGBTQIA+? Perhaps "re-identifying"? How the mechanism for sexual preference manifests itself is beyond the scope of this article, but it does beg the question - are all deviations from original orientation pre-determined? The answer is almost certainly no, and instead a confluence of environmental influences and biological factors play significant roles in the decidedly messy state of human sexuality. Persons considering reassignment surgery may be in very real psychological distress, presenting a serious dilemma on how best to address this emotional turmoil. How to navigate such deeply personal challenges invites a broader discussion of emotional guidance - if we believe choice play a role. We must also recognize the existence of myriad influencers vying to shape these crucial decisions. What is their goal and incentive? What defines success? A similar tercet of contradictory ideas: Gay/Trans is genetic (I was born this way), AND abortion should be allowed for any reason, AND targeted abortions of gay and trans is wrong. - Born Trans: https://www.ipl.org/essay/Personal-Narrative-I-Was-Born-Trans-FKXFM4B42DTT - Abortion should be legal: https://www.bartleby.com/essay/Abortion-Should-Be-Legal-FKJLMLWZVJ - Aborting based on a “gay gene”: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/nobel-winner-may-sue-over-gay-baby-abortion-claim-1279127.html Setting aside the dubious existence of a “gay gene," the self-contradictory ideas that abortions should be legal and that gay and trans people are “born this way” is a useful edge case and thought exercise. If such a gene existed, therein lies a scenario where gay and trans individuals could be targeted in the womb and aborted - a wholesale unacceptable outcome for trans advocates. Call it a sexuality-genocide. If any aspect of being trans creates hardships, parents of millions of children may simply test for such a gene and abortions of trans children could become normative – though unlikely due to the evangelical stance on abortion. Ironically it is conservatives, not progressives, who would be most ethically bound to protect trans lives in utero. If you think mass abortions based exclusively on immutable traits is unlikely, consider that aborting on embryonic sex and the murder of newborns based entirely on their sex was a recent horrific reality: - China's one child policy lead to ~30 million aborted females: https://www.npr.org/2016/02/01/465124337/how-chinas-one-child-policy-led-to-forced-abortions-30-million-bachelors - One Child Nation: https://www.amazon.com/One-Child-Nation-Nanfu-Wang/dp/B0875GV8SL With notable exception of specific medical conditions facing hermaphrodites and those with chromosomal chimerism, trans persons may be primarily or at least partially an environmental origin: epigenetically or extended phenotypes. De-transitioning should not be possible if choice played no role in transitioning and being trans was an immutable trait. Logically, how can you undo something that is undoable? Being trans would therefore ostensibly appear to be a choice people make (and unmake) rather than a medical immutable fact. If we believe that there is any hardship at all in being trans - and if there is not, why would trans-rights need advocacy - why would we guide anyone towards being trans? If trans is a spectrum, where some choose to be trans and others are biologically forced to transition, then there still lies a cohort for whom transitioning is non-ideal due to the medical and emotional danger. This leads us to what honest analysis may look like, without subterfuge. What are progressives accomplishing with trans advocacy, and what is the outcome if successful? Is trans ever a choice or is it always truly immutable? If we believe that trans is ever optional decision-making, should we invest in additional education to encourage people to start transitioning, or should we invest in changing the minds of those teetering on the edge who may experience a lifetime of hardship if they do transition? Is there reasonable middle ground? I hope you found this third article interesting. This series will document many of these conflated social justice issues and there will be more, God willing. Please subscribe, and comment, if you would like more of the same. If you want to know about me or my show, The RSnake Show, please visit https://rsnake.com/ for details.
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A Guide to Social Justice Paradox - Part 2
Robert "RSnake" Hansen
 March 20 2024 at 01:03 pm
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In today's article on the Hilbert Problems for Social Justice, we venture further into labyrinthine ideas that challenge the increasingly deafening and confused idioms of social justice. Together we will further confront the paradoxes that fly on the masthead of progressive dogma. Unless untangled, these slogans threaten to undermine the very objectives they claim to value. On a brief personal note, I greatly appreciate your feedback thus far. As this series continues, people may find their strongly-held assumptions broken, destabilizing them. For me it was useful to absorb the concepts unemotionally, and only then it became easier to discuss openly. I won't pretend ensuing conversations went well but they felt wieldy with emotional distance. I concluded I was guilty of pushing propaganda. Introspection became my opportunity - opportunity to look in the mirror and grow. Hopefully you, dear reader, find this to be a useful catalyst in the same vein, or find a useful truth buried in the analysis. Like the first article, the following paradox originated from Weinstein, but I felt compelled to begin with his ideas. Without further ado: We are similar enough that any deviation from 50/50 shows how much sexism you have in a workforce AND we’re all so different that if you include diversity, you will see great benefits. - No difference between men and women: https://www.apa.org/topics/personality/men-women-difference - Benefits of diversity: https://www.aihr.com/blog/diversity-hiring-reasons-hiring-for-diversity-matters/ Said another way: Ginger Rodgers can do everything Fred Astaire can do but backwards and in high heels. At the heart of contemporary social justice rhetoric lies a paradox: the simultaneous demand for absolute equality and the celebration of diverse identities. This dichotomy posits that we are, on one hand, fundamentally the same, warranting identical treatment and opportunities. On the other hand, the left insists on the intrinsic value of our differences, arguing that diversity enriches our collective experiences and capabilities. The assertion that any deviation from a 50/50 gender representation is indicative of systemic sexism is predicated on the assumption of absolute sameness in capability and interest between genders. Then why do we observe disparities in the representation of women in various sectors? Is it not curious that despite the purported equality in all measurable areas, capitalist structures and even military organizations do not reflect this in their gender compositions? Business hasn't favored female employees. Why would a CEO ignore a huge chunk of the labor force? As of Feb 2024 the Department of Labor documented that 77.7% of females are in the labor force versus males at 89.3%. * https://www.dol.gov/agencies/wb/data/widget The United States Army lowered standards for female recruits. If there is an objectively uniform utility in an human, given all the other realities of hiring that individual, like potential for maternity leave, or less upper-body strength, then capitalism and the war machine would naturally collapse to the mean of equal numbers... and yet. * https://www.armytimes.com/news/your-army/2022/03/23/army-combat-fitness-test-debuts-with-major-changes-to-scoring-april-1/ None of this is to say say women provide no or less value - in fact female contribution is likely greater in some important areas. However, even the US Army can't reconcile the pass/fail rate across even the singular physical dimension, and there are asymmetries across a spectrum of capabilities/capacities for work. I hate that it feels necessary to state this, but if men and women were identical, the terms “man” and “woman” would be synonyms - they are not. A variant of this conflated thinking includes race: Race X is just as good academically/in the workplace as Caucasians, AND we need to lower standards of school/job admission. The unspoken thesis is: equality of outcome is superior to equality of opportunity. The former, while appealing in its simplicity, ignores the complexities of human potential and individual differences and preferences. Equality of outcome de-facto promotes the ostensibly less capable or less prepared and stymies the more capable or more prepared unfairly; ironically to promote fairness. Equality of outcome therefore transmutes into a bigoted philosophy, given that it looks at all candidates through a lens of immutable traits, rather than uniformly giving all candidates an equal opportunity to succeed. When someone says that they believe in “equality” they are typically smuggling in “of outcome” rather than believing the playing field should be equal. One reprehensible effect is that people who are admitted under affirmative action quotas are questioned from that point forward whether they were accepted on on merit or quota. Before affirmative action it would have been undoubtedly racist to question a minorities' abilities and presence at an ivy league university... and now? Is this progress? This not only undermines the achievements of these individuals but also perpetuates a condemnable cycle of skepticism and resentment. Enforced diversity will create new, albeit less studied, problems where it attempts to solve others. Enforcement of equality of outcome has innumerate unknowns. How far should equality enforcement go to help a group of people - should it include hurting other groups? Who is the judge/arbiter/oracle of equality of outcome? What rubrics gauge breaches of equality? What if an employee lies about their sexual organs/race? What then if they proclaim to be a different gender/race after hired? Will employers be required to observe the sexual organs and DNA test each potential new hire to ensure they fit the rigid hiring requirements levied upon them? Where now such a thing is illegal, will I be required to ask people's race during interviews? More progress? No, it's madness. One could define equal in many ways - it could be based on the percentage of applicants, the percentage of people of living in a region, the GDP of the peoples in question, the amount of money the group makes as a whole measured as a percentage… the options abound. I rarely if ever see Eskimos or Aborigines or Sinhalese or Nauruans on stage at conferences - is that the organizer’s fault? Every law has natural consequence... the "or what?" Some jack booted thug will be anointed to break doors and necks for diversity audits failures. What if new laws enforce quotas and I summarily refuse to hire based on sexual orientation/proclivities or their gender/age/religion, etc. Am I a bigot? Should I be arrested or harmed for non-compliance - that’s the logical outcome. My, how quickly the word bigot evolved to mean something else entirely. Since when does hiring, regardless of immutable traits, equal bigotry? Yet, this is where the equality of outcome mantra naturally concludes. If one changes a bar of a system to be bigoted for or against a certain group, they are doing so systemically, and creating systemic bigotry seems patently counterproductive. A more forthright approach is to confront the feelings of groups who feel marginalized, while admitting the opportunities in question may not be ideally suited to them at this point with their skill level/abilities. What aid might we deliver to the marginalized without dismantling meritocracy? Success should not require vilifying excellence in the process. This approach acknowledges an individual's worth while celebrating the diverse experiences and perspectives they embody. This conversation is a rigorous examination of our assumptions and the consequences of ideological platitudes. In its extreme form, this rhetoric risks promoting a homogenized standard that ignores the diverse human experience and capability. Who is the beneficiary? Genuinely beneficial ideas rarely fit on a tee-shirt. True equity will require embracing the richness and utility of our differences. I hope you found this second article interesting. This series will document many of these conflated social justice issues and there will be more, God willing. Please subscribe, and comment, if you would like more of the same. If you want to know about me or my show, The RSnake Show, please visit https://rsnake.com/ for details.
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When Race Trumps Merit: How the Pursuit of...
Heather Mac Donald
 April 03 2024 at 02:59 pm
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Click here to join me Thursday, April 4th at 6pm EST for a discussion on this important topic. Does your workplace have too few black people in top jobs? It’s racist. Does the advanced math and science high school in your city have too many Asians? It’s racist. Does your local museum employ too many white women? It’s racist, too. After the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020, prestigious American institutions, from the medical profession to the fine arts, pleaded guilty to “systemic racism.” How else explain why blacks are overrepresented in prisons and underrepresented in C-suites and faculty lounges, their leaders asked? The official answer for those disparities is “disparate impact,” a once obscure legal theory that is now transforming our world. Any traditional standard of behavior or achievement that impedes exact racial proportionality in any enterprise is now presumed racist. Medical school admissions tests, expectations of scientific accomplishment in the award of research grants, the enforcement of the criminal law—all are under assault, because they have a “disparate impact” on underrepresented minorities. When Race Trumps Merit provides an alternative explanation for those racial disparities. It is large academic skills gaps that cause the lack of proportional representation in our most meritocratic organizations and large differences in criminal offending that account for the racially disproportionate prison population. The need for such a corrective argument could not be more urgent. Federal science agencies now treat researchers’ skin color as a scientific qualification. Museums and orchestras choose which art and music to promote based on race. Police officers avoid making arrests and prosecutors decline to bring charges to avoid disparate impact on minority criminals. When Race Trumps Merit breaks powerful taboos. But it is driven by a sense of alarm, supported by detailed case studies of how disparate-impact thinking is jeopardizing scientific progress, destroying public order, and poisoning the appreciation of art and culture. As long as alleged racism remains the only allowable explanation for racial differences, we will continue tearing down excellence and putting lives, as well as civilizational achievement, at risk. Follow the link below to order a copy of my new book from amazon. When Race Trumps Merit: How the Pursuit of Equity Sacrifices Excellence, Destroys Beauty, and Threatens Lives: Mac Donald, Heather: 9781956007169: Amazon.com: Books When Race Trumps Merit: How the Pursuit of Equity Sacrifices Excellence, Destroys Beauty, and Threatens Lives [Mac Donald, Heather] on Amazon.com. *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. When Race Trumps Merit: How the Pursuit of Equity Sacrifices Excellence, Destroys Beauty, and Threatens Lives a.co
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"On Christ Pantocrator"
William E. Godwin
 March 21 2024 at 10:26 pm
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Christ as Pantocrator, circa 6th Century AD by unknown artist St. Catherine's Monastery at Mount Sinai in Egypt houses one of the greatest collections of Christian iconographic works. Among the most prized of these relics is a depiction of Christ as Pantocrator, or “ruler of all, all-powerful, all-mighty, etc.” Originally considered to have been a thirteenth-century work, following a process of research and cleaning conducted by Tasos Margaritof of the Byzantine Museum in Athens in 1962, it was concluded that the icon likely dates to around the middle of the sixth century. An unknown artist produced this staple of Christian iconography in an encaustic manner, wherein hot wax is employed as a medium, as opposed to others such as egg yolk, for example. Art historians have come to associate the image with the art of Constantinople, particularly that which would have been displayed along and above the entrance to the Byzantine Sacred Palace known as the Bronze Gate. As an Orthodox icon, the piece is laden with timeless Christian symbolism, certain colors are intentionally chosen to represent particular themes and ideas. Gold, a hue reserved for Christ alone, is used in the circular shape found behind the figure’s head, the book held by the subject, and in the inner lining of the purple garment he dons; as the “King of Heaven,” purple conveys Christ’s royalty. The aforementioned circle is acting as a halo; the book is likely meant to represent the Gospel or the Book of Life. Of course, the most striking feature of this work is its asymmetry, another tool of symbolism. Either side of the figure’s face is noticeably quite different from the other, an intentional choice on the part of the artist. The right side of the subject’s face displays a soft compassion; conversely, the left could be said to convey an anger or disdain. One understanding of this decision is arrived at in considering a common motif within ecclesiastical art: the dual nature of Christ, i.e., as both man and God. Another compelling assessment of this facial split is that it juxtaposes characteristics of the subject’s divinity: mercy and judgement. Indeed, as one examines the image further, this theme becomes increasingly clear. The figure’s right hand, of the “compassionate” side is performing a gesture indicative of the act of blessing. In the subject’s left hand, the Book of Life or the Gospel is held shut as Christ’s expression on the corresponding side communicates disapproval. The term “communicates” is of great importance in appreciating the gravity of the message these symbols relate to the viewer. Christ’s gaze in this piece is penetrating, questioning, forgiving, and critical simultaneously; while it may be said that all art in some sense “stares back,” as an icon this image does so in a profound and multifaceted way. One could conceive of a choice being offered in Christ’s countenance. It is as though he were silently entreating the viewer to remember that which is said of he who sits at the right of the Father, so as not to be left behind, as it were. Personally, this image engenders an awareness of self that is frightening, consoling, humbling, and ennobling in an instant, a sense one could imagine having been evoked in its first spectators several centuries ago. As such, the work is exceptionally well executed from an iconographic and artistic perspective for its efficacy in eliciting a profound aesthetic, and arguably spiritual, experience.Bibliography Apostolos-Cappadona, Diana. Visual Arts as Ways of Being Religious. In Frank Brown (Ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Religion and the Arts. Oxford UP, 2014 Christ Pantocrator, Palladion of the Monastery of Sinai. (n.d.). Mused. https://stcatherines.mused.org/en/stories/50/christ-pantocrator-palladion-of-the-monastery-of-sinai Elkins, James. The Object Stares Back: On the Nature of Seeing. In Brent Plate (Ed.), Religion, Art, and Visual Culture: A Cross-Cultural Reader. Palgrave, 2002.
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The DEIfication of the Self
rich_cromwell
 March 18 2024 at 07:04 pm
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The DEIfication of the Self Self-fulfillment isn’t gained by navel gazing “If it feels good, do it” was the mantra of the hippies, one adopted around the time they began “marching through”the universities in the 1960s and 1970s. Family, church, and community, were too limiting and not sufficiently celebratory of the supreme being of the universe – the self. Along the eat, pray, love path to full self-actualization, self-fulfillment, and self-absorption, the self as the primary means of success, happiness, and legacy crept out of the universities where it was inculcated and into the wider culture. The old hippies, not as concerned with socialism when it came to their wallets, didn’t stay in the universities or the communes, though. Lots of them got real jobs and brought their ideas along. For a while, things seemed okay. It was not a rapid revolution, but a slow boil. Then came the unofficial quotas on sex and race in both hiring and college admissions decisions. From there, it was a short trip to declarations of self. I am who I’m attracted to. I am my favorite music. “As a black woman.” “As an indigenous accountant.” “As a Mexican drone pilot. “As a white man.” Okay, the last one usually precedes an apology. Not all selves are created equal when it comes to the modern intersectional hierarchy.We people of pallor have always been and always will be the oppressors. Regardless, how did we get here, to this deification of the self on a grand scale? You can’t spell “deification” without DEI. DEI, the strongman of ESG. What you know by your chosen porn categories The self reduced to a two-dimensional object devoid of any texture or depth. Values on a spreadsheet. The DEI regime is supposedly on its heels. Businesses have stopped carrying on about their commitment to ESG. Universities are slashing their DEI staff and departments. Mostly, though, it’s a rebrand on both fronts, not an actual pivot, just as sustainable gave way to regenerative. Businesses now talk about “belonging” instead of inclusion while still working toward the same goals. Universities can eliminate the departments with the knowledge that the infection has spread and the host will continue producing the same results. For the time being, then, we’re stuck with a nation of individuals who expect special treatment because they are, contra Tyler Durden, special and unique snowflakes, ones in need of a personal spiritual journey that takes them to a place of personal fulfillment. Spiritual journeys and personal fulfillment aren’t bad things, though, but we do not attain them by navel gazing. We definitely don’t attain them by joining resource groups at work in which we focus on our superficial qualities. We don’t attain them with quotas. We attain them by looking outward, by working together on the old things, the scapegoated unions of family, community, and churches. There is more to life than what is on the surface. Staying on the surface will never get us to the transcendent place the hippies propose to take us via an obsessive focus on skin color and “finding ourselves.” We are to be free men and women voluntarily interacting based on what unites us rather than obsessively focusing on what divides us. We were never meant to be DEIdeified simply for existing, and the sooner we stop obsessing over divining special meaning from the superficial, the better.
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'Not tonight, i've got a headache'?
edXanthony
 April 01 2024 at 04:57 am
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When a woman tells her husband, 'I'm not in the mood', she is implying that her husband is a sex object whose sexuality is only relevant when she is 'in the mood' and wants to use it, and vice versa. Husbands and wives in love and marriage will never speak about 'mood' and will naturally want to please each other and are pleased to do so because they are together.All this talk about the 'woman's right to say no' detracts one from the spirit of a marriage where both the man and woman give themselves to each other' and serves to redefine marriage as an exploitative relationship that requires 'rights' for protection against each other.You can get rid of anything good by turning it into a ‘rights issue’, like, ‘You have the right to not help your girlfriend or wife up when she falls’, or, ‘you have the right to tell your girlfriend you are not in the mood to accept her present’, or, ‘i have the right to not appreciate anything you do for me’. Nonsense. But that is the ploy the corporation uses time and time again.This ploy and plot by the corporation is an effort to drive a wedge between men and women and husbands and wives so as to compromise marriage, love, and heterosexuality. Why? Because marriage becomes the greatest institution of democracy when the woman takes on her nature-endowed role as nurturer and carer, and through which, the man and sons learn virtue, and because of which they can recognise any evil outside because of its great contrast to the virtue of women. That is what drives Man to contend with it. That is the Golden thread that ties humanity to the heavens. It is no wonder that that the Indians, since ancient times, say, 'Matha, Pitha, Guru, Devam', meaning, Mother, Father, Teacher, God, with Mother being the first. Like i stated in an article i wrote elsewhere, God gave humanity the Mother so that the Mother may open humanity's eyes to God and thus achieve their humanity. edX
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An End to Chamber Pots Presented as Urns: 20th...
DavidGetzin
 April 05 2024 at 03:00 am
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I'm doing Honor to the astringent legacy of Karl Kraus (and architect Adolf Loos) with this one. We are familiar with financial or technological booms and busts, but there are also social booms and busts, a big high and then crash, then desperate for a next wave. You can call them fashion, fads, disco, you know. With the internet having brought social media monetization and the selling of demographic marketing info - these trends, fads and disco have been ever more tightly-stapled to money. And the granularity ground more finely, the barrier to entry is low and because anyone CAN do it, those who want to follow "mimetic" fill in the blank will want to think (and say) "but EVERYONE'S doing it!" "Well if everyone jumped off a cliff, would you buy NFTs too?" Part of the "everyone is…" gets to be a feverish conviction that nothing online is serious - and that everyone is "always" BSing. Or at least they believe that one is advantaged by assuming others will be lying. That is one of the key thresholds of taking the USA into the third world - right there. But that's its own article. You see, all the social media "influence" all this "mimetic desire" this is something between sleazy sales, three card monty, propaganda, peer pressure and a manipulative, drug dealing "boyfriend." (These days, people say "gaslighting.") It sort-of-works until reality comes crashing in, the margin-call clicks on, the so-called business runs out of grants/investment to vampireize, really makes no money and descends into finger pointing and acrimony, the woman starts yelling and screaming in greater percentages of the day and night, not as docile or "coached" as she once was, the honey pot thirst traps STOP catching flies when a generation of young men have honor and standards again. It's really not worth it. But then, the internet and social media presented such a VAST array of fresh rubes and ever-changing ways to apply "Game Theory" to exploitation, (especially to people you would never meet and who had no way to punish/humiliate your anonymity) - it started with Nigerian Princes, and continues on in OnlyFans. Now, ladies and gentlemen, I tell you, this gold-plated toilet the grifters are busy licking, isn't bottomless. Myself coming out of Academia and Architecture - I have an unfair advantage of being in areas where artful lying has been business SOP for many decades. And so these areas are ahead of the curve in decrepitude. There is also, an immunity built up in me, made fairly bulletproof by having worked for (literally) conquistador-legacy sociopaths in Peru. My also coming out of Silicon Valley and theatrical performance means that I've seen "another side" of business and life, a better one, a side that "most Americans" born between 1930 and 1980 think is still the default, namely the Anglo Saxon West, aka the 1st world. A land of transparency and Work Ethic, what a Peruvian colleague of mine once said (sickly referencing the East German infra red machine-gun glacis of the Berlin wall) "you can't always live inside the German Safety Zone." And by the way, snide as he was, after his own 10 days of visiting Michigan (yes, just reg-lar Michigan) he and his partner were GLOWING to me about what a paradise on earth it was. (No Trespassing signs were a particular head trip for them, they the were accustomed to electric barbed wire in front of middle-class houses.) Why yes, it IS possible to run a civilization where people are NOT constantly scheming behind backs and following the Screwtape 48 Laws of Power and tearing each other down constantly. But demean me as he might try, my Peruvian colleague underestimated the stubbornness of German (a subset of Anglo/Saxon, and I would include Ashkenazic, which simply MEANS "German") culture. Someone was quoting Patrick Bet-David today on a podcast (who despite his excellent interview skills and provocative thought has ALWAS dripped used-car-sale level grifter-ethos to me) they quoted him about how he thinks paranoia is an ESSENTIAL part of leadership. Well, perhaps, but this IS a third world attitude. And paranoia is an attitude of weak and shrinking leadership. Nixon was paranoid in a way Eisenhower was not. Do we get ANY arguments that Nixon was the greater man, the better leader? Eisenhower ran D-Day and WON. Yet Nixon was the more paranoid. Patrick Bet-David has the wrong idea and he'd never get attention for it to begin with if the Anglo Saxons around here had not become so bloodless and sniveling. Someone like Bet-David decades ago would have been emulating the success of First World values instead of carrying in third-world values and hawking them to wannabe grifters aping his attitude to scramble at power, (Mostly just so they can get a woman, a car and a house. It's gotten that bad.) It's not Bet David's fault - he was BORN that way - and raised so too. It is OUR fault in the USA for not being better examples to him, and for not brushing him back when he sells this tripe for us to swallow and call it ice cream. You see, back to that business of artful lying: 1) academia and architecture vs the (pre social media) contrasted with 2) tech industry and Theatre. Category 1, you have a saturation of hidden agendas, chamber pots are urns and urns are chamber pots, merit and talent are secondary to kinship in the formation of a dominance hierarchy, and a "game" is always afoot. Category 2, For software development - and hardware, the things won't WORK when people scheme, hide and lie. (Unless you act like Amazon.com or Twitter 1.0, but you see my point.) As much as some people like to SAY actors are liars, no, they are PERFORMERS for an audience where there is a script and everyone knows it. Theatre on stage is crippled by a lack of honesty. It happens, but the toxic nature is amplified, as with theatre, the mind and body and emotions ARE the instrument and truth MUST be delivered and diplomatically. Unlike film, where a director will lie to someone to get a reaction and then shoot it, - you can't get away with that on stage - because such manipulations only work ONCE. And that is in a nutshell the problem with all this "strategy" in personal relationships and also in online generally. With grifts - one wears NUMB to the affect. Woke PC terminology is always shifting because like a card sharp, they need to rotate the deck and change the game to keep getting away with the con. What does all this mean to social media? I have said before, I live in the future, I live in LA County where I rarely drive. I walk to groceries past trees and nice things. I go to a cigar shop that's next to a soda fountain. I walk to work and only drive for client-visits and fun. In terms of how I react and act online, I also live in the future and will tell you why. The world is sick of con-games. Clients and customers VALUE honesty and transparency. Will someone who is honest like this scare the SHIT out of grifters and liars and draw their fire? Absolutely, especially if talent is there too. (This is a chief reason why universities became stvpid.) What do you think cancel culture is? Why do you think it exists? But this is the dying song of a rotten swan. It is already ending, thankfully. People (especially Zoomers) are more immune to these manipulations and Jedi mind tricks. So, word to the wise: give it up. Whenever we catch ourselves making a front, playing some game. Stop. To quote Glengarry Glenross: Jack Lemon: "Awwww, NO what're we going to tell the COPS?" Al Pacino: "The TRUTH! It's always the easiest thing to remember." So, in the coming years, (or even months) the social drugs will start to wear thin and there will be a BIG come down - there will be grifter "overdoses" and flame-outs. (we see it already, I suspect Candice Owens is in shock-jock relapse or recovery of some kind.) - But because of the pervasiveness of this grift, of the "fake it till you make it" attitude the the Xers and Boomers never thought the millennials would take SO much to heart, this system of lies and hiding is breaking. And the lies of the 20th century, the attitudes and skills that made La Camorra and the CIA powerhouses - these intimidation and gaslight factors FAIL in the internet age, or at least are blunted. I know from experience, that honesty, sincerity and transparency (even on the X Platform! (follow me @histofarch for yet more frequent blunt absurdity)) led to profitable businesses, and strong, healthy relations. And besides, just being frank and honest is much more relaxing than all this paranoia of falseness and constant strategy. Let's grow up, shall we? So, gird your loins. I'm going to enjoy this.
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Don't Believe The Propaganda
Healthy & Awake Podcast
 April 11 2024 at 04:58 pm
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The tactic of repeating a falsehood until it's widely accepted as truth is a powerful form of propaganda, a concept highlighted by notable figures across history, including political leaders and even within totalitarian regimes. This method capitalizes on the psychological principle known as the availability heuristic, where the ease of recalling certain pieces of information leads individuals to overestimate their importance or truthfulness. As such, repeated exposure to the same falsehood can make it seem more credible over time, a technique leveraged in various domains including politics, marketing, and elsewhere. The role of media in amplifying these narratives is particularly concerning, as it lends an additional layer of credibility to the lies, making it more difficult for individuals to discern truth from falsehood. To combat the influence of such propaganda, it's essential to remain vigilant, question widely held beliefs, especially those propagated through repetition without clear evidence, and engage in continuous learning to broaden perspectives. Encouraging a culture of critical thinking, where authority is questioned and information is critically analyzed, represents a fundamental countermeasure to the pervasive spread of these malicious efforts. As for preventing oneself from being fooled by such tactics, it involves cultivating a habit of skepticism towards too-easily-accepted truths, diversifying sources of information to avoid echo chambers, and engaging in discussions that challenge personal beliefs. By adopting these practices, individuals can foster a more informed and discerning approach to navigating the complex landscape of information and "misinformation" in the modern world. How do you spot and defend yourself from propaganda? What's an example of repetitious propaganda that you see circulating today? @snowden Healthy & Awake Podcast: Apple: https://bit.ly/44pEBV6 Spotify: https://bit.ly/47KVbBM Rumble: https://bit.ly/3HPzG6V YouTube: https://bit.ly/3SKeZjn Substack: https://bit.ly/3TI9Jgw X: https://bit.ly/43sR7oa Mike Vera isn't your average Board Certified Health Coach (NBC-HWC). Armed with an MS in Exercise and Health Promotion and extensive experience as a seasoned personal trainer, he's the strategic mind behind Red Pill Health & Wellness and the engaging voice of the Healthy & Awake Podcast. With a strong foundation in cognitive psychology, Mike is adept at unveiling the hidden influences that impact our health.
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Disparate Impact Thinking Is Destroying Our...
Heather Mac Donald
 April 05 2024 at 09:02 pm
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The most consequential falsehood in American public policy today is the idea that any racial disparity in any institution is by definition the result of racial discrimination. If a cancer research lab, for example, does not have 13 percent black oncologists—the black share of the national population—it is by definition a racist lab that discriminates against competitively qualified black oncologists; if an airline company doesn’t have 13 percent black pilots, it is by definition a racist airline company that discriminates against competitively qualified black pilots; and if a prison population contains more than 13 percent black prisoners, our law enforcement system is racist. The claim that racial disparities are proof of racial discrimination has been percolating in academia and the media for a long time. After the George Floyd race riots of 2020, however, it was adopted by America’s most elite institutions, from big law and big business to big finance. Even museums and orchestras took up the cry. Many thought that STEM—the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—would escape the diversity sledgehammer. They were wrong. The American Medical Association today insists that medicine is characterized by white supremacy. Nature magazine declares that science manifests one of “humankind’s worst excesses”: racism. The Smithsonian Institution announces that “emphasis on the scientific method” and an interest in “cause and effect relationships” are part of totalitarian whiteness. As a result of this falsehood, we are eviscerating meritocratic and behavioral standards in accordance with what is known as “disparate impact analysis.” Consider medicine. Step One of the medical licensing exam, taken during or after the second year of medical school, tests medical students’ knowledge of anatomy, physiology, and pathology. On average, black students score lower on the grading curve, making it harder for them to land their preferred residencies. Step One, in other words, has a “disparate impact” on black medical students. The solution, implemented last year, was to eliminate the Step One grading disparity by instituting a pass–fail system. Hospitals choosing residents can no longer distinguish between high and low achieving students—and that is precisely the point! The average Medical College Achievement Test (MCAT) score for black applicants is a standard deviation below the average score of white applicants. Some medical schools have waived the submission of MCAT scores altogether for black applicants. The tests were already redesigned to try to eliminate the disparity. A quarter of the questions now focus on social issues and psychology. The medical school curriculum is being revised to offer more classes in white privilege and focus less on clinical practice. The American Association of Medical Colleges will soon require that medical faculty demonstrate knowledge of “intersectionality”—a theory about the cumulative burdens of discrimination. Heads of medical schools and chairmen of departments like pediatric surgery are being selected on the basis of identity, not knowledge. The federal government is shifting medical research funding from pure science to studies on racial disparities and social justice. Why? Not because of any assessment of scientific need, but simply because black researchers do more racism research and less pure science. The National Institutes of Health has broadened the criteria for receiving neurology grants to include things like childhood welfare receipt because considering scientific accomplishment alone results in a disparate impact. What is at stake in these changes? Future medical progress and, ultimately, lives. Standards are falling in the legal profession, which came up with the disparate impact concept in the first place. Upon taking office in 2021, President Biden announced that he would no longer submit his judicial nominees to the American Bar Association for a preliminary rating. Why? According to a member of the White House Counsel’s Office, allowing the ABA to vet candidates would be incompatible with the “diversification of the judiciary.” This claim was dubious. The ABA, after all, cannot open its collective mouth without issuing a bromide about the need to diversify the bar. Its leading members are obsessed with the demographics of corporate law firms and law school faculties. This is the same ABA that gave its highest rating to a Supreme Court nominee who as a justice would make the false claim during a challenge to Covid vaccine mandates that “over 100,000 children are in serious condition [from Covid] and many are on ventilators.” State bar associations are also busy watering down standards to eliminate disparate impact. In 2020, California lowered the pass score on its bar exam because black applicants were disproportionately failing. Only five percent of black law school graduates passed the California bar on their first try in February 2020, compared to 52 percent of white law school graduates and 42 percent of Asian law school graduates. The lack of proportional representation among California’s attorneys was held to be proof of a discriminatory credentialing system. The pressure to eliminate the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) requirement for law school admissions is growing, because it too has a disparate impact. As a single mother told an ABA panel, “I would hate to give up on my dream of becoming a lawyer just due to not being able to successfully handle this test.” Note the assumption: the problem always lies with the test, never with the test taker. The LSAT requirement will almost certainly be axed. The curious state of our criminal justice system today is a function of the disparate impact principle. If you wonder why police officers are not making certain arrests, or why district attorneys are not prosecuting whole categories of crimes—such as shoplifting, trespassing, or farebeating—it is because apprehending lawbreakers and prosecuting crime have a disparate impact on black criminals. Urban leaders have decided that they would rather not enforce the law at all, no matter how constitutional that enforcement, than put more black criminals in jail. Walgreens, CVS, and Target would rather close down entire stores and deprive their elderly customers of access to their medications than confront shoplifters and hand them over to the law, because doing so would disproportionately yield black shoplifters, as the viral looting videos attest. Macy’s flagship store in New York City was sued several years ago because most of the people its employees stopped for shoplifting were black. The only allowable explanation for that fact was that Macy’s was racist. It was not permissible to argue that Macy’s arrests mirrored the shoplifting population. Even colorblind technology is racist. Speeding and red-light cameras disproportionately identify black drivers as traffic scofflaws. The solution to such disparate impact is the same as we saw with the medical licensing exam: throw out the cameras. The result of this de-prosecution and de-policing has been widespread urban anarchy and, in 2020, the largest one-year spike in homicide in this nation’s history. Thousands more black lives have been lost to drive-by shootings. Dozens of black children have been fatally gunned down in their beds, in their front yards, and in their parents’ cars. No one says their names because their assailants were not police officers or white supremacists. They were other blacks. UNCOMFORTABLE FACTS We need to face up to the truth: the reason for racial underrepresentation across a range of meritocratic fields is the academic skills gap. The reason for racial overrepresentation in the criminal justice system is the crime gap. And let me issue a trigger warning here: I am going to raise uncomfortable facts that many well-intentioned Americans would rather not hear. Keeping such facts off stage may ordinarily be appropriate as a matter of civil etiquette. But it is too late for such forbearance now. If we cannot acknowledge the skills gap and the behavior gap, we are going to continue destroying our civilizational legacy. Let me also make the obvious point that I am talking about group averages. Thousands of individuals within underperforming groups outperform not only their own group average but great numbers of people within other groups as well. Here are the relevant facts. In 2019, 66 percent of all black 12th graders did not possess even partial mastery of basic 12th grade math skills, defined as being able to do arithmetic and to read a graph. Only seven percent of black 12th graders were proficient in 12th grade math, defined as being able to calculate using ratios. The number of black 12th graders who were advanced in math was too small to show up statistically in a national sample. The picture was not much better in reading. Fifty percent of black 12th graders did not possess even partial mastery of basic reading, and only four percent were advanced. According to the ACT, a standardized college admissions test, only three percent of black high school seniors were college ready in 2023. The disparities in other such tests—the SAT, the LSAT, the GRE, and the GMAT—are just as wide. Remember these data when politicians and others vilify Americans as racist on the ground that this or that institution is not proportionally diverse. We can argue about why these disparities exist and how to close them—something that policymakers and philanthropists have been trying to do for decades. But in light of these skills gaps, it is irrational to expect 13 percent black representation on a medical school faculty or among a law firm’s partners under meritocratic standards. At present you can have proportional diversity or you can have meritocracy. You cannot have both. As for the criminal justice system, the bodies speak for themselves. President Biden is fond of intoning that black parents are right to fear that their children will be killed by a police officer or by a white gunslinger every time those children step outside. The mayor of Kansas City proclaimed last year that “existing while black” is another high-risk activity that blacks must engage in. The mayor was partially right: existing while black is far more dangerous than existing while white—but the reason is black crime, not white vigilantes. In the post-George Floyd era, black juveniles are shot at 100 times the rate of white juveniles. Blacks between the ages of ten and 24 are killed in drive by shootings at nearly 25 times the rate of whites in that same age cohort. Dozens of blacks are murdered every day, more than all white and Hispanic homicide victims combined, even though blacks are just 13 percent of the population. The country turns its eyes away. Who is killing these black victims? Not the police, not whites, but other blacks. As for interracial violence, blacks are a greater threat to whites than whites are to blacks. Blacks commit 85 percent of all non-lethal interracial violence between blacks and whites. A black person is 35 times more likely to commit an act of non-lethal violence against a white person than vice versa. Yet the national narrative insists on the opposite idea—and too many dutifully play along. These crime disparities mean that the police cannot restore law and order in neighborhoods where innocent people are most being victimized without having a disparate impact on black criminals. So the political establishment has decided not to restore law and order at all. CIVILIZATION AT STAKE It is urgent that we fight back against disparate impact thinking. As long as racism remains the only allowable explanation for racial disparities, the Left wins, and our civilization will continue to crumble. Even the arts are coming down. Classical music, visual art, theater—all are dismissed as a function of white oppression. The Metropolitan Museum of Art mounted an astonishing show last year called the Fictions of Emancipation. The show’s premise was that if a white artist creates a work intended to show the cruelties of slavery, that artist (in this case, the great 19th century French sculptor Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux) is in fact arguing that the natural condition of blacks is slavery. Prosecuting this nonsensical argument required the Met to ignore or distort almost every feature of the Western art tradition—including the representation of the nude human body, artists’ use of models, and the sale of art. Only Western art is subjected to this kind of hostile interpretation. Chinese, African, and Indian cultural traditions are still treated with curatorial respect, their works analyzed in accordance with their creators’ intent. As soon as a critic turns his eye or ear on Western art, however, all he can see or hear is imperialism and white privilege. It is a perverse obsession. We are teaching young people to dismiss the greatest creations of humanity. We are stripping them of the capacity to escape their narrow identities and to lose themselves in beauty, sublimity, and wit. No wonder so many Americans are drowning in meaninglessness and despair. We must stop apologizing for Western Civilization. To be sure, slavery and segregation were grotesque violations of America’s founding ideals. For much of our history black Americans suffered injustice and gratuitous cruelty. Today, however, every mainstream institution is twisting itself into knots to hire and promote as many underrepresented minorities as possible. Yet those same institutions grovelingly accuse themselves of racism. The West has liberated the world from universal squalor and disease, thanks to the scientific method and the Western passion for discovery and knowledge. It has given the world plumbing, hot showers in frigid winters, flight, clean water, steel, antibiotics, and just about every structure and every device that we take for granted in our miraculously privileged existence—and I use the word “privilege” here to refer to anyone whose life has been transformed by Western ingenuity—i.e., virtually every human being on the planet. It was in the West that the ideas of constitutional government and civil rights were born. Yes, to our shame, we had slavery. What civilization did not? But only the Anglosphere expended lives and capital to end the nearly universal practice. Britain had to occupy Lagos in 1861 to get its ruler to give up the slave trade. The British Navy used 13 percent of its manpower to blockade slave ships leaving the western coast of Africa in the 19th century, as Nigel Biggar has documented. Every ideal that the Left uses today to bash the West—such as equality or tolerance—originated in the West. *** The ongoing attack on colorblind excellence in the U.S. is putting our scientific edge at risk. China, which cares nothing for identity politics, is throwing everything it has at its most talented students. China ranks number one in international tests of K-12 math, science, and reading skills; the U.S. ranks twenty-fifth. China is racing ahead in nano physics, artificial intelligence, and other critical defense technologies. Chinese teams dominate the International Olympiad in Informatics. Meanwhile the American Mathematical Association declares math to be racist and President Biden puts a soil geologist with no background in physics at the top of the Department of Energy’s science programs. This new science director may know nothing about nuclear weapons and nuclear physics, but she checks off several identity politics boxes and publishes on such topics as “A Critical Feminist Approach to Transforming Workplace Climate.” What do we do in response to such civilizational immolation? We proclaim that standards are not racist and that excellence is not racist. We assert that categories like race, gender, and sexual preference are never qualifications for a job. I know for a fact that being female is not an accomplishment. I am equally sure that being gay or being black are also not accomplishments. Should conservative political candidates campaign against disparate impact thinking and in favor of standards of merit? Of course they should! They will be accused of waging a culture war. But it is the progressive elites, not their conservative opponents, who are engaging in cultural revolution! Most conservatives today are not even playing defense. How about legislation to ban racial preferences in medical training and practice? How about eliminating the disparate impact standard in statutes and regulations? Conservatives should by all means promote the virtues of free markets and limited government, but the diversity regime is the nemesis of both. Lowering standards helps no one since high expectations are the key to achievement. In defense of excellence we must speak the truth, never apologize, and never back down. Originally published at imprimus.hillsdale.edu
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For Three Days
Dre Carlan
 April 04 2024 at 05:21 am
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Not long after my ninth birthday is when I first began hearing my father violently coughing up blood on a regular basis. Rarely did I hear anymore quiet that lasted longer than a few sparse minutes from the living room where he'd sleep alone in the fold-out bed. It'd been months since I last saw him in actual clothes as he now only wore different sets of the same bland pajamas my mom probably picked out for him in a few different colors. He'd probably never again wear a nice button-up shirt. What a non-issue that must be to a healthier man whose lungs weren't rotting of cancer. They probably wore very nice, really expensive shirts everyday, like my own dad used to do before he got sick. Now, he was on his way out. That much was obvious, even to me. So when one day after school, I opened my bedroom door to find my only aunt who I hadn't seen in years, standing there cheerfully humming to herself while cleaning up my toys for me, I should've put two and two together. She stayed for the next six months. In three my dad would die in his sleep and it'd be her who'd hear the loud gasp in the middle of some random night, not realizing until morning it was actually his last living breath before his body finally gave up fighting. She stayed another three months afterwards to look after her now-widowed sister. I don't remember much from that period of my life. Since I was strategically sent away to live with distant relatives who owned a condo in Queens, it's not like I was around to make many memories anyway. If I try to think back now, it feels like lifetimes ago. All I can tap into is seeing a lot of black clothes and faint whimpering. It feels like the sounds of sobbing were never too far off. It's eerily ambiguous though. Still, the days I was able to spend with my aunt seemed like miracles. Those were the only times during that period where I'd feel truly happy. Like a much-needed return to form for the younger me who laughed constantly as a child. I loved "Mamateta," and even though nobody knows why I gave her that nickname, I used it for years. She adored me and took every opportunity to prove it. Though I left Romania when I was four, I retained many more memories of my aunt than anyone else. How she'd play with me when everyone else was too busy, or how she'd nurse the many cuts and scrapes I'd get on my elbows and knees—, these things must've left quite an impact on my single-child consciousness. I specifically remember an instance where the paper cut on my index finger was so deep that I wanted to burst into tears just looking at it. While cleaning it and putting on a bandaid, I remember my aunt saying, "it feels like there's a tiny little heartbeat inside your finger doesn't it?" I nodded. "I know sweetheart, I've had this happen to me before too." This was her amazing charm. She was easy to talk to. Such a sweet, honest lady. Though she and my mother grew up side by side, they were different people. She took after their own mom, while mine walked in her father’s footprints out of pure admiration. They were sisters nonetheless. So when Mamateta was told that she had a tumor growing within her liver this past year, it was difficult knowing the treatment she'd get wasn't going to be the world's best by any means. As the months passed, her condition worsened and last Monday she fell into a coma. I heard the helplessness in my mother’s voice when she called to tell me. You try your best in these types of situations—, to console your loved ones and make sure they know that you'll be a rock-solid crutch for them during whatever may come. You try to think two steps ahead of whatever's currently happening, just in case. The spur-of- the-moment cross-Atlantic trips have to be every grieving family member's worst nightmare. Just the logistics of it all. And in their mental condition? Of course I was preparing to jump at any request my mom would make. Life does its thing anyway though and so, 24 hours later, her sister—, whose real name is Rodica—, passed away. My family isn't part of the ultra-wealthy in Romania. And because the country's still reeling from decades of deep corruption, the middle class is virtually non-existent. Economists can explain with much more elegance than I'm able to why this is utterly unfortunate for the bottom 99%. If you aren't part of the wealthy, you're part of the poor. And because what you do to one side of the equation, you have to do to the other, they're ultra-poor. It's a sad, sad thing. Either way, my mom begins to explain the finer details of a traditional Romanian mourning process. It's not something I know anything about or ever witnessed in person. After the dearly departed are moved into the living room, they are generally laid down on the center table for viewing. For the next three days, while the men and other experienced woodworkers craft a coffin from scratch, the family serves non-stop coffee and treats to an army of mourners who will randomly pop in and out at all times of the day and night and next day and following night and so on. All this to a constant background flurry of crying, sobbing, sharing stories of precious memories, wails of disbelief, loud prayers, and who knows what else. It's a pure emotional rollercoaster, a dramatic play in so many scenes filled with neighbors from five villages over who you may have never met before, but who've heard the tragic news and wanted to come pay their respects. It's touching but definitely not something an outsider would feel immediately at home around. "And is the body at least covered this entire time?," I ask my mom. "No. For three days, they live alongside it." "Seriously?" "They have no other options. No ambulance comes and takes them away like they do here. Over there, you look after your own dead. And when the coffin is completed, they’ll place her inside and carry it out into the countryside to her burial plot in a procession through town." As selfish as this next feeling was, I didn't want my mom to go. I didn't want her to be apart of it, not these days, not anymore. After so much, I wanted her to just be able to rest, not have to endure something of that magnitude. I can't imagine three hours of nonstop crying let alone three days. Somehow, the Universe seemed to hear my inner-hopes. Our entire family begged her to stay put, to stay home, that there was nothing more she could do. So instead of having to finalize last-minute plans of getting her from one continent to another, she was able to hop on an Amtrak and spend this past week here in Chicago with me. To recharge her batteries I guess. To just be able to find some mental quiet and emotional peace. Now, as I'm close to wrapping up this essay and seeing her off downtown at Union Station for her train back home, I'm sincerely trying to put myself in her shoes. I'm sure losing a sibling you've spent a lifetime growing up with is a weird feeling to have to go through. To outlive them, to think that they could've done a bit more with their life if only they would've had more time. Maybe it makes someone think about their own mortality and where they've gotten in seeing their own personal dreams coming true. Maybe my mom’s running over all of these things in her mind to the point where there's nothing left to think about. Maybe. All I can try and do is my part as her only child, her only flesh and blood, to try and live the best life I can in her name. Time will tell how successful I'll be in doing that, but an even greater feeling though, is when we can think of our loved ones who aren't here with us any longer and not feel a bit of regret. To feel a warmth and be completely calmed by just the mere thought of their name. To feel a deep need to smile because that's what they would've wanted you to do. Like even when you want to just give in to the sadness for a second and purge yourself of tears, your body physically won't let you. A familiar presence fills your immediate space and a gentle touch directly on your heart that makes you involuntarily inhale much deeper than you have in a while. Those are the types of things I hope my mother can feel as she sits down at her window-seat and readies herself for a deep meditative trip into her inner-consciousness for the next seven or so hours. Knowing the peace and tranquility she'll emerge on the other side of this experience with, how can anyone still harbor any doubt that our souls are indeed, things which don't adhere to either the human concept or limitations of "time?" That they transcend realms of possibility. That whenever there's even the smallest hint of real love, not even the giving up of one's own body and leaving it behind for greater vessels can break a bond between two sisters.
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False rape allegations aren't so rare
Bettina Arndt
 December 24 2023 at 12:12 am
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Australia's most famous recent rape case blew up when a juror brought into the jury room an academic paper discussing the frequency of false allegations of sexual assault. That broke the rules prohibiting jury members from accessing outside material relevant to the case. Yet the significance of this extraordinary event, which led to the mistrial of the Brittany Higgins/Bruce Lehrmmann case, has passed largely unnoticed. The myth that women hardly ever lie is a central plank of the feminist mythology about sexual assault which now underpins our justice system. That makes it absolutely vital for feminists to maintain the fallacy that false allegations are statistically extremely rare. Our media constantly trots out the statistic that a piddling 5% of rape allegations are found to be false. That’s the party line and you’ll find it promoted everywhere. Look at this extract from a fact sheet giving Victorian Police’s advice on misconceptions about sexual offending: “Guys, you can stop worrying about false rape allegations. They’re extremely rare,” trumpeted the ABC’s Hack program, pitched at young people. Only 5% of reports are false, they explained. The Sydney Morning Herald recently pronounced that we do not have a major problem with men being falsely accused of sexual assault, claiming “statistics show false complaints of sexual assault are incredibly rare – a 2016 meta-analysis of seven studies of rape allegations in four Western countries put confirmed false police reports at 5 per cent.” They’re all singing from the same songbook but that’s just been shot full of holes. Finally, that famous meta-analysis has been subjected to proper scrutiny – and the data actually reveals false allegations are far less rare than is commonly claimed. And this is all courtesy of two Australian researchers, Tom Nankivell and John Papadimitriou, who have expertise in statistical analysis and public policy, and more than three decades of experience each as researchers and policy analysts with various government agencies. They conducted a review, titled True or false, or somewhere between? A review of the high-quality studies on the prevalence of false sexual assault reports, in which they analysed the methods and data reported in often-cited statistical surveys of the prevalence of false allegations, undertaken in various countries. This research was recently highlighted by Oxford criminology researcher, Ros Burnett, who described the Nankivell/Papadimitriou review as “an important and overdue study,” commending the authors for bringing “an empirical approach and unrhetorical tone to the discussion”. Ros Burnett’s discussion of the Australian researchers’ review, published last month in The Justice Gap, shows that the Ferguson and Malouff meta-analysis which came up with the much-promoted 5% false allegation rate aggregated the findings of statistical studies which misused policing definitions and categories to skew their results. In effect, the surveys cherry-picked the lowest possible rate, selectively ignoring whole categories of cases likely to include false allegations. Get this… In counting up false allegations, the studies that Ferguson and Malouff re-analysed ONLY included cases where the complainant admitted the allegation was false, or where police found strong evidential grounds to assume she (or he) had made it up or had been mistaken. That meant excluding all cases where there was insufficient evidence to prosecute, or where the complainant withdrew the allegation, or where the accused was tried and acquitted. NONE of these cases were included under false allegations! In addition, at least one of the studies included basic mathematical errors while others relied on very limited data. With this highly dubious culling of the data, it is no wonder that they come up with such a low rate of false allegations. Nankivell and Papadimitriou laboriously re-examined the original data to include estimates of possible false allegations in these excluded categories. They concluded that “even with reasonably modest assumptions about the actual level of false allegations in other categories, the prevalence rate for the studies sample would easily exceed 10% and could approach 15%.” Note this is the conclusion from two very conservative, quantitative researchers. Given what we now know about how the feminists cooked the books, what’s the bet the real rate is actually far higher? According to a recent YouGov survey, 19% of Australians know someone personally who was a victim of false accusation of sexual abuse or rape. Yet the Nankivell/Papadimitriou report is vital information, so necessary for putting the record straight about this critical statistic which is being used to shut down debate on false allegations and undermine the chances of a fair hearing for accused men. Please help make sure people know about this study. It is important that news of this path-breaking analysis reaches decision-makers in our police force and justice system, lawyers, journalists and everyone complicit in promoting the feminist myth that false rape allegations hardly ever happen. Here’s the best link to use to circulate the study. In her article examining this research, Ros Burnett discusses her own work for over a decade as a criminologist looking at wrongful allegations – she’s the editor of an excellent book, Wrongful Accusations of Sexual and Child Abuse. Burnett describes the hundreds of cases she has encountered where individuals have been found to be falsely accused and her frustration when such cases are dismissed as ‘extremely’ or ‘vanishingly’ rare. She has been personally accused of “being an apologist for rapists.” That’s the climate we live in, where misinformation is cooked up to promote the women-don’t-lie narrative and denigrate anyone with the courage to tell the truth about what’s really going on. Men are being falsely accused of rape in this country – I am in touch with two tragic cases of young men jailed in the last few weeks following absurd allegations which should never have ended up in court. Nankivell and Papadimitriou rightly make the point that “there is no credible evidence that women routinely fabricate sexual assault claims” and that “the majority of sexual assault reports are true.” But what also muddies the waters is the massive expansion of the type of behaviour now classified as sexual assault. There’s a steady stream of cases now finding their way into court which involve young couples, where a girl may suddenly decide that she hadn’t given consent on one occasion after having sex when she was half asleep, or pretty drunk, even though they might have done this dozens of times before. It makes no sense. To return just briefly to that meta-analysis of statistical studies which relied mainly upon cases where police found “strong evidential grounds” for false allegations. The police have a huge disincentive to identify and confirm such grounds because they appear to be under instructions not to take action over false allegations. I’d long heard from families of accused men and also from police about these instructions. Lo and behold, I recently received proof in the form of a case note from the NSW Police Force referring to this standard operating procedure in a case where no action was taken with a likely false accuser. Here it is… Here we have a case which apparently fell apart, where the police were left unsure if the whole thing was “completely fabricated”. But they followed orders not to properly determine whether there were the required “strong evidential grounds” to charge the woman. Another man and his family, put through the horror of a possible rape trial, the public humiliation, shaming, the financial stress of seeking legal help. Another woman gets off scot-free.
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And Root Ate Nine! - Female Submission & Why...
DavidGetzin
 April 07 2024 at 01:56 am
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So there was a pleasant and thoughtful comment a woman ( @liberty5300 ) posted to one of my pieces here - I glanced at several of her own think spot posts - and read one she wrote on Andrew Tate. It was almost entirely in positive regard of him and may have come out before the revelations of his abuse and pimping, I'm not sure. But all that aside, here I want to address why he was popular to begin with for saying what I would consider to be fairly obvious things, and really not going very far with them. Firstly, the "male responsibility" rhetoric - yes, this is positive, but it is at the level of a middle school football coach who doesn't really think very much or encounter a broad variety of life situations. "I kick ASS every DAY and I do it SO HARD 'cause I'm MAYNG!" - Considering that the "everyone is equal" rhetoric alongside Gloria Steinem's 1990s (extremely harmful, I think) invocations to raise boys like we raise girls (she had a distant father and didn't have a brother, shocker), I've personally felt in my life how suffocating masculine expression cripples men inside to the point of clinical depression to live daily life in a way that denies who they are as men, even as day to day they don't realize they are doing it. AND BESIDES - women who are not on birth control tend to enjoy and like the expression of natural masculinity - that brings us to the root of what prompted my reply - this woman writing about submission. She liked what Andrew Tate said that submission is natural. I agree. It isn't a straight jacket, but it is natural and women tend to be happier in a relationship where the man lives with a kind of Leading Strength. Note, I said "kind of leading strength" that gets a "not always equal to" sign for oh: owning houses, acting all "alpha," being a "high value male" or (I'm thinking of you here, Knowles,) never sitting in the front passenger seat of a car. You can read my reply in the linked article above to really see what I think about Tate and his ape-level views on submission. What I'd like to do here is to at least touch on what I feel is lacking - namely to give due credit to how genuinely beautiful female submission is. So often it is said that it is "natural" or "biblical" or some such. All of that rhetoric feels forced. The way that it should happen, what I have been fortunate enough to receive (at least before these relationships I was in floundered for… usually issues of money (my responsibility if not always my fault) and relapses of addiction (the women's own mistakes and old trauma resurfacing)). So, a woman's submission to a man in a relationship is much more than "duty" or "biblical" or "natural." It is poetic and sits in her like a heavy magnet, restless (or even dormant but ALMOST never unconscious to her) until finding a home as the correct man's strength draws it out. So often, she pushes against this release, (knowingly and even firmly so for the ones who are playfully passionate enough) to make sure she knows his strength truly does overcome her and sweep away all else until she knows she is his whole world and he is hers. This is what it's felt like to me, anyways. Women today have been for whatever reason pushed away from such intimacy. (I think simple jealousy of lonely women has gone a LONG way to motivate the delegitimization of female submission, but I am sure there are other reasons.) I remember WAY back to 2002, my final year of college, having this DEEP conviction that it was wrong for me to want to take care of a woman. (Can you imagine the absurdity? You probably can - it's the world we've come to live in) I told my girlfriend at the time (whom I was deeply in love with but she didn't want to stay with me or work towards marriage - it got complicated later when she whiplashed that around after some not-me trauma sent on her.) I told her I wanted to take care of her, and she had a feeling that it was wrong for a man to take care of HER! But as soon as I had said the words, that I wanted to take care of her, she just melted to me, leaning and said something like "I've wanted a guy to say that to me so much." Why has this blessing - this beautiful thing - this thing humans seem to LIKE and leads to married homes and babies, why has it been drained from our lives? Hard to say, exactly. And some years after that 2002 moment, - this must have been late 2006 - no - probably early 2007. The assertion of my more-natural self as leading in relationships - (physically, emotionally and socially) had been happening and surfacing intermittently (probably drove the women bats that "he's not GETTING it!" but it's not like they had presence of mined to tell me either, its isn't easy), the one who did say somehtig was an extremely kind woman, with me in a not-super-emotional-or-serious relationship. She one day after months of us together, said to me very directly, "you're always focusing on what I want when we're together. For a while, I just want you to think about and do what you want." This miracle of empathy from her was… something very alien and foreign to me. But I needed it. And she knew that. She was happy to observe and receive it all. And I'm forever glad and grateful for the shift this made in my life. And just as an aside - so many women fairly recently for whatever reason (the distance of online interactions, "mean girl" status-competition with other women etc,) they seem to not realize how HUGE a shift in a man's life the simplest kind things from a woman will do for a man. Treating a relationship like some kind of adversarial congressional lobbying seems to be a more preferred route these days somehow - or the Karen-route of "complain to the invisible manager" for whatever displeases you. Women remembering the natural instinct to kindness, and seeing that this actually IMPROVES their lives probably, instead of "getting taken advantage of" is important. Regrading getting taken advantage of - well, stop rewarding men like Andrew Tate. Stop saying of a man you reject "he was TOO nice!" That's a whole other set of pathologies: Look what has happened two generations into a social situation where men are taught that being nice to women gets you rejected. SO - we have to end the "escalating arms race of relationship strategy" somehow. And in many ways - when things are "safe sane and consensual" as they say, a woman in her own way, letting go and submitting to the man she gives herself to, and him properly stepping up to the plate - this should help. I've felt it help. I just haven't yet had it truly last. But we're all working on that one, aren't we? Thanks for reading - this was a a pretty involved one for me. I've been listening to "Exile in Guyville" a lot these past days, releasing old pain. Can you tell?
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Go Woke, Go Broke
Healthy & Awake Podcast
 April 07 2024 at 04:25 pm
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In today's culture, it often feels as though the collective sentiment and mainstream narratives outweigh the pursuit of truth. This pattern is visible in responses to COVID, political discourse, and even in discussions about gender and biology. It's as if our society is grappling with a malaise, having sidelined the value of truth, open debate, and diversity of thought. The consequence? Anyone stepping outside the mainstream narrative faces potential censorship, cancel culture, and targeted attacks—a reality underscored by countless examples. This is why I advocate for open discussion on my platforms, welcoming differing viewpoints. It’s an exercise in mental fortitude: engaging with opposing views without resorting to silencing or shaming. Today’s cultural sickness, as I see it, stems from a lack of mental resilience—a quality honed through embracing discomfort, much like physical strength is built through exercises like squats. Comfort may be appealing, but growth and understanding flourish in its absence. The societal trend towards prioritizing comfort over constructive conversation, frequently associated with 'woke' ideology, avoids the essential effort needed to face uncomfortable truths. Truth, however, is a complex construct, enriched by diverse perspectives and insights, underscoring the importance of open dialogue as both valuable and crucial. I stand firm in my convictions, resistant to pressures to conform, advocating for a balanced approach: be open-minded yet skeptical, and embrace the discomfort that comes with mental strength training. I refuse to succumb to mental fragility, viewing it as antithetical to the principles I hold dear. It’s not just unproductive; it’s a disservice to our collective well-being and, at its worst, a detriment to society. So, I ask you: How do you build mental strength in an era of conflicting narratives and pervasive propaganda? What are your strategies for uncovering truth amidst a barrage of competing voices? Healthy & Awake Podcast: Apple: https://bit.ly/44pEBV6 Spotify: https://bit.ly/47KVbBM Rumble: https://bit.ly/3HPzG6V YouTube: https://bit.ly/3SKeZjn Substack: https://bit.ly/3TI9Jgw X: https://bit.ly/43sR7oa Mike Vera isn't your average Board Certified Health Coach (NBC-HWC). Armed with an MS in Exercise and Health Promotion and extensive experience as a seasoned personal trainer, he's the strategic mind behind Red Pill Health & Wellness and the engaging voice of the Healthy & Awake Podcast. With a strong foundation in cognitive psychology, Mike is adept at unveiling the hidden influences that impact our health.
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A Guide for Social Justice Paradox - Part 4
Robert "RSnake" Hansen
 April 03 2024 at 01:01 pm
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Part four of the "Hilbert Problems for Social Justice" takes on gender vs racial politics and how the documented rules differ for different out-groups. It is precisely this lack of consistency we're after in this series. Our quest is to unravel the inconsistencies that pepper the moral landscape, seeking clarity amid the cacophony of social justice rhetoric. An anonymous reader shared a thought-provoking observation, noting the escalating 'ante' for social acceptance within these groups, "I do find it interesting that so much value of one’s leftist ideology comes from the ability to be accepted by a group that would have them. Where the blind (in poker parlance) was relatively small… a desire to find one’s self among the lost only took the desire to play dungeons and dragons or magic the gathering sneak a cigarette or the occasional hit of weed… now takes the desire to write off the entire history of your country, set aside all logic, and declare yourself as lgbtq+… the ante seems to has gotten quite larger to find a group that will have you." This reflection addresses the evolving nature of social conformity and potential alienation from mainstream norms. The goal post has moved for what is required to maintain friend groups, and perchance that is what younger generations are facing - a greater divide from normative behavior and FOMO to keep up with the out-group politic. Keep those comments coming! Today's issues stemmed from controversy arising from the Rachel Dolezal/Rachel Moore/Nkechi Amare Diallo story that broke in 2015 where she was outed for pretending to be Black, but born Caucasian. She was president of the NAACP in Spokane Washington until the story broke at which point she resigned in disgrace. In an odd irony, it turns out prior to this event, Rachel Dolezal once sued Howard University for racism against Caucasians, amongst other charges. - https://thesmokinggun.com/file/rachel-dolezal-lawsuit So with that background... People can identify as whatever they want if their strongly held belief is sincere AND Rachel Dolezal can never identify as black. - Someone else’s gender identity is whatever they say it is: https://www.pewresearch.org/social-trends/2022/06/28/americans-complex-views-on-gender-identity-and-transgender-issues/ - Rachel Dolezal can never be black: https://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2017/03/03/518184030/why-rachel-dolezal-can-never-be-black These statements taken in totality create a disconcerting paradox: the societal decree that one's gender identity is sacrosanct, juxtaposed against vehement rejection of Dolezal's racial identity claim. The pitchfork wielders after Rachel’s job quickly changed their tune. No longer was her crime about her racial identity but about her honesty. Why the shift? Is it because of the obvious racism baked into the former complaint? Is trans-racial-phobia a thing? Calls for her job were despite any evidence that she would fail to work hard for the NAACP and yet: “We do not feel that she is in a position to properly reflect the values of our diverse community or the Spokane chapter of the NAACP. The questions surrounding her integrity may discredit the work that has been previously done to better the movement of social justice and equality in our community.” I ask you, dear reader, what is more diverse than a trans-racial woman? - https://sign.moveon.org/petitions/its-not-about-race-its Perhaps you're thinking that she has paved the way for more trans-racial persons in the future. If Rachel Dolezal is off the hook for representing herself as Black but was instead ostracized for not saying she was trans-racial out-loud, then perhaps it is okay for the next crop of would-be trans-racial persons to risk their job and reputation to appropriate another’s race. Knowing what happened to Rachel Dolezal, what naïve soul would test those shark infested waters? I wouldn’t bet on a warm reception, given that the verdict of public opinion is that Rachel Dolezal has created incontrovertible "harm" to the Black community. - https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/rachel-dolezal-s-claim-she-black-whitest-possible-way-deal-ncna871656 The uncomfortable questions become:If trans-racial people can harm the race that they are transitioning to, why would trans-sexual people be incapable of similar harm to the sexes they are transitioning to?If Rachel Dolezal is potentially bad at her job because she a liar, what about “closeted” people who lie about their sexuality? Are closeted homosexuals and transexuals similarly incapable of holding important positions? A kissing cousin to this line of thinking is: Cultural appropriation is racist AND replacing Caucasian characters isn’t racist. (E.g., The Little Mermaid) - Dressing up as another culture is racist: https://nativeappropriations.com/2013/10/so-your-friend-dressed-up-as-an-indian-now-what.html - Analysis: A definitive rebuttal to every racist ‘Little Mermaid’ argument: https://www.cnn.com/2022/09/17/entertainment/little-mermaid-racist-backlash-halle-bailey-disney-cec/index.html To engage in discussions over Disney casting choices might, at first glance, appear to be inane or trivial. Yet, there lies a more profound ethical landscape - one that merits attention. The act of reimagining stories for a contemporary audience embodies a form of personal expression that is, in principle, ethically sound. Throughout history, storytelling has evolved, incorporating embellishments and adaptations that breathe new life into ancient tales and myths. This practice of reinterpretation is not only permissible; it is a testament to the dynamism of human creativity and cultural tectonics. However, the ethical waters become murkier when we consider fidelity to an author's original vision. The integrity of storytelling is compromised if adaptations misrepresent the foundational intentions of the original creator without explicitly saying so. Ethical quandaries emerge not from the act of reimagining itself but from the unethical intentions of the changes, where the author's intent is obscured or misrepresented in the pursuit of presentism and social warfare. Tension between innovation and authenticity is worth discussion. In The Little Mermaid for instance, Hans describes the Mermaid thusly (translated to English), “...her skin was as clear and delicate as a rose-leaf, and her eyes as blue as the deepest sea; but, like all the others, she had no feet, and her body ended in a fish’s tail.” - http://hca.gilead.org.il/li_merma.html One could consider the word “clear” to mean transparent rather than Caucasian but given that the Mermaid eventually seduces a human it is likely that he did not mean literal translucence where her blood and organs would be visible - a rather off-putting mental image. When Hans Christian Anderson wrote, “...holding out her white hands towards the keel of their ship...” he likely didn’t mean anything other than he imagined the Mermaid as being a Caucasian woman atop and fish on bottom, in all but the most charitable stretches of imagination. And surely by saying that her eyes were “...blue as the deepest sea...” he did not mean “brown” as Halle Bailey’s eyes appear to be in the 2023 release of The Little Mermaid. Is Hollywood appropriating Danish culture, or Caucasian fish-tales? If appropriating a culture was a thing that can be done against stories, folklore, fairytales, and/or religion, yes, it appears so. What describes culture? Perhaps beyond physical traits and beliefs, it is a way of life, customs or even food. Why then, would the progressive movement blissfully enjoy spicy food anywhere outside of the western hemisphere? Capsicum was only introduced to Europe and Asia by way of the Columbian exchange. Most spicy foods should, therefore, be rebuked as appropriation of western cuisine if there was any sense to this philosophy. Indian and Chinese and Vietnamese and Thai and Pakistani and Indonesian and Malaysian and Sri Lankan and Japanese and Korean and Nepalese and Filipino diets 500 years ago were vastly more tepid. If foods marked Halal or Kosher might be marked as unique to Islamic or Jewish foods respectively, recipes and ingredients can be discussed in a cultural context. A “Mediterranean diet” has no meaning without thinking about the culture and food available in that region of the world. Appropriation of things people love or enjoy could and arguably should be seen as a sign of enjoyment, interest, and respect. It should be cultivated not admonished. A child who cosplays their favorite anime is no more that anime character than an Asian restauranteur is a Native American when he makes a spicy meal and disrespect is meant in neither action. Nor is reimagining the characters with honest motives, showing a new take on an old story, recipe, apparel, etc. This discussion extends beyond mere casting choices, and forces conversations around the criteria for 'authentic' representation. During Halloween years back whilst accompanying a small Caucasian boy dressed as Spiderman, we happened across a black couple and their young boy also dressed as Spiderman. The Caucasian boy in my charge said he was the character Miles Morales who appears to be Black in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and subsequent movies. The Black couple was visibly upset that a Caucasian child would appropriate a Black character. The irony was lost on them, that the very character they are referring to was a re-imaging of other Caucasian variants of Spiderman. Does any of this matter to a child? Absolutely not - they just want to have fun and there is zero racism intended. When the intent is innocent admiration we need to drop our weapons. What is better - telling a child that they can't admire another child because of their skin tone? As a child I wanted to be a Ninja - did that make me racist against the Japanese? How is this thinking progress? However, if the intent is to misrepresent that characters have any physical or cultural aesthetic or to argue any counterfactual interpretation other than what the pages actually say, is dishonest. Re-writing or lying about the author’s provable intent is disrespectful to the work. Re-imagining works in a new light with a new aesthetic or with new characters, on the other hand, has no ethical issues. How many times has Shakespeare been re-done in a modern context, like the 1996 Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes version of Romeo and Juliette illustrates. The risk comes when the themes are perverted and seen through the lens of presentism and the intent lied about. And to what end? Similar paradoxes can be written: Cultural appropriation and colonialism is bad AND renaming a group of people Latinx is good. Why rename an entire group of people based on progressive US values when the bulk of Latin America does not agree with these values or appreciate the term chosen? Forget appropriation - be concerned with forcing your values on other cultures. - One-in-four US Hispanics have heard of Latinx but just 3% use it: https://www.pewresearch.org/hispanic/2020/08/11/about-one-in-four-u-s-hispanics-have-heard-of-latinx-but-just-3-use-it/ These paradoxes could be more honestly and coherently written: certain groups feel that they are at risk of, and don't feel comfortable with, losing their culture; and why should they? The accompanying lies, presentism, and outright racism are unnecessary to accomplish preservation of culture. If anything, making curious people feel that appropriation is abhorrent pushes well-intentioned people from feeling welcome to educate themselves. There is a difference between cultural respect and cultural appropriation. I hope you found this article interesting. This series will document many of these conflated social justice issues and there will be more, God willing. Please subscribe, and comment, if you would like more of the same. If you want to know about me or my show, The RSnake Show, please visit https://rsnake.com/ for details.
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The Student: A Poem Fragment
William E. Godwin
 March 26 2024 at 10:46 am
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“How might one appeal? How might one atone? I have come to feel That neither may be known. For who can say forsooth That he has been forgiven? In searching for the Truth, To madness he is driven! Upon what divine alter Must oneself be cast In order not to faulter And be redeemed at last? Where does salvation lie? How odd to so inquire; For one could not know why He ought to flee from fire.” So went the scholar’s lecture To his pupils in the hall; For retort, one might conjecture, They were void of wherewithal. Yet one lone student bold Stood swiftly to commence An ill-considered scold Of his teacher’s tall pretense. “And error, sir,” he began, “Forms foundation for your thought; You find folly in the quest of Man To seek what you see not. How could one of intellect So hastily assume The absence of an Architect Who has designed his room? Though our homes and draftsmen vary, The former in form and latter in name, The latter agree we ought be wary, For the former to flame all burn the same.” The scholar, taken aback By the audacity Of his student’s attack On his claims veracity, Paused before he spoke In response to his protester, Laughing as though at a joke Told by a witty jester. “You speak with such conviction, For that I count you brave. Yet, you suffer an affliction: You have yet to leave your cave.” “If I may,” the student started With no less confidence, “You may not!” the scholar darted From his lectern in defense. “Another interruption I shall not tolerate As I impart instruction Do not altercate.” The student, somewhat wise, Ceased argumentation. Silence at times concession implies, At others, contemplation. “As I said,” began the scholar, “Inferno is subjective; The treasures of a pauper A prince deems dull, defective. This should be the basis For all moralities: Seek not some god’s oasis, Embrace base banalities.” “No!” exclaimed the student, To the horror of the rest; Being impatiently prudent, Wayward words he works to best. “Your cynical refrain Of utter disenchantment, Akin to screams of pain On a battlefield encampment, Brings to all with ears And a humble, humane heart Fear-inspired tears, From weary eyes they part. I beseech you, sir, Consider my objections. Do not our sorrows stir With woeful soul infections.” The hall’s air hung haunted, Silence starves audition. The scholar, dumbstruck, daunted, Declared, without contrition, “Quiet, you fool! Take your leave at once! Elsewhere may you sling your gruel You call 'the Truth,' you dunce!” Search "The Godwine Cellar" Home | Substack Discover and discuss great writing with the world’s smartest readers on Substack. Substack.com
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Are You Offended?
Healthy & Awake Podcast
 March 23 2024 at 01:39 am
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In today's discourse, it's easy to fall into the trap of being offended. Yet, this reaction often signals a relinquishing of our emotional autonomy. When we react defensively to words, we unwittingly hand over power, allowing others to dictate our emotional state. It's important to distinguish between personal attacks, which are understandably hurtful, and mere differences in opinion, which should not have the power to unsettle us. Being offended is an emotional reaction, not a logical stance. Surrendering to this emotion undermines our capacity to respond thoughtfully and critically. It's a sign of mental fragility, and, frankly, those who maintain their composure are less susceptible to manipulation. On Healthy & Awake Podcast (ep. 33) we champion the strength of intellectual fortitude. The ability to control your emotions, rather than allowing societal noise to control you, is a cornerstone of mental resilience. The world is full of provocations, but true mental health and strength are rooted in emotional sovereignty. How do you fortify your mind against the barrage of opinions and statements aimed at eliciting a reaction? What practices or habits have you found effective in maintaining your emotional equilibrium? In moments of potential offense, what steps do you take to assess the situation before reacting? Healthy & Awake Podcast: Apple: https://bit.ly/44pEBV6 Spotify: https://bit.ly/47KVbBM Rumble: https://bit.ly/3HPzG6V YouTube: https://bit.ly/3SKeZjn Substack: https://bit.ly/3TI9Jgw X: https://bit.ly/43sR7oa Mike Vera isn't your average Board Certified Health Coach (NBC-HWC). Armed with an MS in Exercise and Health Promotion and extensive experience as a seasoned personal trainer, he's the strategic mind behind Red Pill Health & Wellness and the engaging voice of the Healthy & Awake Podcast. With a strong foundation in cognitive psychology, Mike is adept at unveiling the hidden influences that impact our health.
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"Cultural Implications of Ideals in Art and...
William E. Godwin
 March 13 2024 at 10:06 pm
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from The Creation of Adam, circa 1512 by Michelangelo One’s convictions with respect to artistic understanding may sway one’s religious persuasion and vice versa. Indeed, the view one chooses to adopt with respect to the goal of aesthetics, including that of no goal at all, can greatly influence one’s spiritual disposition. The term “aesthetics” is derived from the Greek “aisthesis” meaning “sense perception.” The discipline of aesthetics as we have come to know it emerged in Germany during the eighteenth century. Alexander Baumgarten, an intellectual during the period, spearheaded the field of study with his work “Aesthetica,” published in 1750. Baumgarten drew a distinction between two aesthetic practices: “aesthetica artificialis,” the intellectual consideration of beauty, and “aesthetica naturalis,” the examination of material bodily perception as such. If one’s aesthetic doctrine is more concordant with “aethetica naturalis,” a more bio-reductionistic, materialistic view may be taken with respect to oneself, others, and reality generally; this could manifest a cynical anthropolgy, a zero-sum ontology, and perhaps a shallow theology. For Baumgarten and his contemporaries, the endeavor of the aesthetic enterprise should be a dialectical synthesis of representative vision and presentative seeing, that is the passive perception of physical sensory data and the active metaphysic thereof. To denote this newfound engagement with aesthetic investigation, the term “re-presentation” may be employed. The implications of intentional re-presentation within artistic and religious conduct are of great importance to artists, people of a given spiritual framework, and the culture which they inhabit. To expand on the term, re-presentation emphasizes the active presentation in the present of an “original presence” that has been. The process of re-presentation is mutual among religious and artistic practices; Good Friday services within the Christian tradition re-present the crucifixion of Christ in the way a painting of a landscape might re-present a mountain or a stream. The Eucharist is characterized by Catholics, for example, as an instance of transubstantiation, wherein the substance, understood in the Thomistic sense as essence, is re-embodied in the present. Writers, psychologists, and philosophers examining the nature of spirituality have suggested that it is not knowledge of “god(s)” that is sought by religion; rather, it seeks “life, more life, a larger, richer, more satisfying life…” Thinkers such as Benedetto Croce have made claims seemingly inspired by this sentiment in the artistic realm, that expression and its experience, not re-presentation, is the “vehicle” of aesthetic value. This view could be said to align with “ars gratia artis,” or art for art's sake, a philosophy of art that characterizes the artist’s aim as being beyond the mere achievement of a specified end. From this perspective, the aesthetic enterprise is not conducted with any explicit intent but rather is embarked upon, indeed, for the sake of itself. Conversely, the instrumental view of art regards the elucidation or proliferation of a particular moral or political message as a valid goal of artistry. It may be said that the distinction between the instrumental approach to artistry and that of “art for art’s sake,” as they are generally portrayed, is not one of essence but intent; this is to say that no art is essentially without function, only nominally so. In this case of explicitly nominating a painting as expressive of a political or moral message, art is wielded as a tool, which according to some reduces the work to propaganda. Many scholars, in considering art's goal or lack thereof, form a stark dichotomy between the aestheticism of “ars gratia art” and the functionalism of the instrumental view. However, by conceptualizing artistry in the classically aesthetic manner, as the synthesis of “aesthetica artificialis” and “aesthetica naturalis,” in addition to the understanding of active seeing as integral to and inexorable from passive perception and vice versa, one may regard an artwork as intrinsically instrumental irrespective of its efficacy being intentional. In harmonizing aesthetic instrumentalism’s emphasis on utility and aestheticism’s insistence on “art for art’s sake,” a reconciliatory ontology of art emerges: a work's function is fundamentally fettered to its form. If it is indeed the case that “the object stares back,” as James Elkins affirms, then the attended and the attendee are reciprocally altered via this aesthetic process. Therefore, even a painting created non-instrumentally is inherently performing a function qua an object of attention. In artistic and spiritual activity, there is something sought after which lies just beyond the veil of our perception: an ideal. Art strives for “the beautiful” while religion seeks “the good,” both of which are transcendent but nonetheless immanent. The matter of embodied faith as artistry itself is exemplified in the notion of ritual, a structured and intentional activity in which one's attention is honed towards a sacred idea, event, or deity; communication is also often sought through liturgy. A ritual and an artwork share teleological, or at least ontological, elements: when attended to, these products of intentional agents bring about a change with respect to both the object of attention and the attendee. This idea is strengthened by much neuropsychological research relating to sensory perception and aesthetic appreciation in addition to the latter’s codependence on religious perspective. Art is a cultural category in which objects which elicit this aesthetic affection are placed; this could be seen as a separation of the pure from the profane given the stark compartmentalization observed in many religious rituals and ceremonies. Concerning the shared cognitive features of religion and art with respect to this phenomenon of sacred/profane segregation, an interesting psychological analogue is found in obsessive-compulsive disorder characterized by contamination concerns. “Beyond compulsive prayer, some persons with ROCD find themselves consumed with the compulsive need to treat religious books or symbols with excessive care. Religious books, statues, jewelry, and images are sometimes the focus of ritualistic cleaning, straightening, and checking behaviors for persons with ROCD. These routines can last for several hours at a time and are often paired with ritualistic prayers.” To be in the presence of a work of art is to be its viewer or spectator. However, to engage in the seeing of a painting is to be both its benefactor and beneficiary in that one is contributing to the beauty being offered in the act of attending, which is not merely perception, but participation. Likewise, to be merely a believer in the propositions of a particular religious belief system is to be a passive member of an audience; it is only when that belief or faith is intentionally embodied in practice, i.e., ritual, that one may effectively derive meaning and produce good. This approach to religion and art is, of course, reliant on a classical understanding of both. A prevailing school of thought, postmodernism, posits a different point of view. Originating in France in the mid-twentieth century, though its roots stretch much further into the history of ideas, postmodernism is a philosophical movement with thinkers such as Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, and Jean-François Lyotard being considered its foundational members. Cornerstones of this movement include the dismissal of objectivity and the rejection of grand narrative. Premodernity in Western culture is characterized by the grand narratives of the Judeo-Christian corpus and the notion that truth is a derivative of faith. Conversely, modernity, the age of the Enlightenment, is the era in which truth was affirmed as a reality to be discovered solely through reason, scientific inquiry, and investigation. Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, along with many of his enlightenment-era contemporaries, asserted that a divorce, as it were, had taken place between religion and art in that the employment of the latter as a means of expressing truth, which hitherto had been spiritually understood and construed, was no longer beholden to said task given the burgeoning age of reason-centric rationality. Just as in any divorce, both parties involved are quite altered by the ordeal. Postmodernism, therefore, is an attempt to move beyond the principles of both eras. This point is validated by postmodernist Richard Rorty. He writes, “Both the Age of Faith and the Enlightenment seem beyond recovery.” Stephen Hicks, in his work on the subject, juxtaposes modernist tenants with those of postmodernism, saying “Instead of natural reality—anti-realism. Instead of experience and reason—linguistic social subjectivism. Instead of individual identity and autonomy—various race, sex, and class groupisms. Instead of human interests as fundamentally harmonious and tending toward mutually-beneficial interaction—conflict and oppression. Instead of valuing individualism in values, markets, and politics—calls for communalism, solidarity, and egalitarian restraints. Instead of prizing the achievements of science and technology—suspicion tending toward outright hostility.” In the domain of artistry, this worldview may characterize a postmodernist’s aesthetic endeavor, subjugating the aim of beauty, which is, at least, the cultural conception of the aesthetic ideal, to the proliferation of a political idea, resulting in a disordering of intention. However, a work of art may be regarded as beautiful in a particular context given its intent, despite its peddling a moralizing message or not “pleasing when seen.” The work of Hieronymus Bosch exemplifies this point; however, the devil exists in the details, as it were. The nature of the message may intend to revere and aspire to an ideal. The Garden of Earthly Delights, circa 1515, by Hieronymus Bosch In Bosch’s case, this ideal is the ethical good. In his work “The Garden of Earthly Delights,” Bosch is setting before the viewer an admonishment against sinful behavior in the Christian understanding by depicting the consequences thereof. While the work may not necessarily “please when seen,” it calls one to the good, a central point of Thomistic beauty. Aquinas’ conceptualization of the good is as that of both a formal and final cause, in the Aristotelian sense, this is to say that it is both an end and a means to an end; beauty, on the other hand, “does not have the nature of a final cause.” Rather, it is that beauty “bids all things to itself,” that is the form, which is “the Good.” Thus, beauty is a means to the end of good. Returning to postmodernism, one sees an abdication of this aspiration to the good through aesthetic practice. Marcel Duchamp, a celebrated French artist and proto-postmodernist, rightly recognizes the nature of aesthetic experience as a kind of transubstantiation, a process wherein the matter of the work is imbued with aesthetic value via the attention of the spectator meeting the intention of the artist; “The serious spectator's aesthetic re-affirmation of the painting is a kind of re-creation of it, serving the same spiritual purpose as the artist's creation of it.” Duchamp also acknowledges the inexorability of aesthetic judgment and culture. Indeed, as religious ritual strives to re-present a deity, which is at least an ethical ideal, art endeavors to convey an intimation of the aesthetic ideal, which is at least a product of cultural consensus. For Duchamp, individual expression of the artist is paramount over re-presentation. As such, intending to elicit an aesthetic experience de facto subjugates the work to judgement and cultural critique. Therefore, the postmodern artist endeavors to divorce art from the aesthetic realm, declaring it beyond judgment, for it was not intended to be judged. However, given the ontology of art established here, an art work will elicit an aesthetic experience and the post-requisite judgement qua object of attention irrespective of the artist's intent. Thus, the inevitable effect of work conducted unintentionally is an aesthetic experience and judgment that is qualitatively lesser than that which is done intentionally, and the re-presentation of banality, not an ideal, is the consequence. Marilyn Diptych, 1962 by Andy Warhol Abstract artist Frank Stella seems to affirm this conclusion, saying of the postmodern approach, “The artist becomes, without irony, a willing representative of society's everyday value, losing the integrity of his alienation, and art becomes an instrument of social integration – a sign of social belonging – losing aesthetic purpose and power.” The postmodern reduction of art to the “commonplace” results in qualitative, cultural deterioration in aesthetic creativity. Indeed, “in postmodernity, we no longer see the painting, only the reproduction.” C.S. Lewis, in his essay “Good Work and Good Works,” makes reference to this twentieth-century shift in artistic sentiment: “Artists also talk of Good Work; but decreasingly. They prefer words such like significant, important, contemporary, or daring. These are not, to my mind, good symptoms.” Lewis also acknowledges this need for working in concordance with the framework of cultural ideals in saying “When an artist is in the strictest sense working, he of course takes in to account the existing tastes, interests, and capacities of his audience. These, no less than the language, the marble, or the paint are part of his raw material; to be used, tamed and sublimated, not ignored nor defied. Haughty indifference to them is not genius nor integrity; it is laziness and incompetence.” The impact of postmodern ideal-death, the Nietzschean death of God, is not limited to aesthetics; the religious act of ritual practice, when divorced from a pursuit of the ideal, i.e., adherent to a high-order qualitative standard and goal, the spiritual experience elicited is lesser than. As Don Saliers explains, “In nearly every communal religious tradition congruence between the ethos of the enactment and its content is paramount. Casual indifference to words and symbols in funeral rites, for example, diminishes the meaning of the participation in the rite.” To lose sight of the ideal and to have “the high brought low” with respect to art and religious ritual is to reduce them both to the “commonplace.” Insofar as art and ritual are means of communication, from artist to viewer in the former case and from deity to follower in the latter, postmodern thought “defeats every attempt to bring [the intent of the artist] into contact with the external world, remaining the medium and symbol of the artist’s inner world.” Acknowledging this, it becomes evident that ignoring the cultural ideal results in aesthetic sin and ethical uptake failure, as it were. This is to say that, to the degree that aesthetic and ethical ideals, the beautiful and the good, are cultural conceptions, engaging in artistic and ritual practice without these ideals in mind results in miscommunication, hence the aesthetic and spiritual experiences being lesser than; the term “sin” was employed in the sport of archery in ancient Greece to denote one “missing the mark.” One may return to C.S. Lewis for a rather helpful synopsis of this matter: “Great Works’ (of art) and ‘Good Works’ (of charity) had better also to be Good Work. Let choirs sing well or not at all. Otherwise we merely confirm the majority in their conviction that the world of Business,” the mundane and commonplace, “which does with such efficiency so much that never really needed doing, in the real, the adult, and the practical world; and all this ‘culture’ and all this ‘religion’ (horrid words both) are essentially marginal, amateurish, and rather effeminate activities.”Bibliography Anchor, Robert. The Enlightenment Tradition. University of California Press, 1967. Apostolos-Cappadona, Diana. Visual Arts as Ways of Being Religious. In Frank Brown (Ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Religion and the Arts. Oxford UP, 2014 Elkins, James. The Object Stares Back: On the Nature of Seeing. In Brent Plate (Ed.), Religion, Art, and Visual Culture: A Cross-Cultural Reader. Palgrave, 2002. Gregory, Richard. From Eye and Brain: The Psychology of Seeing. In Brent Plate (Ed.), Religion, Art, and Visual Culture: A Cross-Cultural Reader. Palgrave, 2002 Hicks, Stephen. Explaining Postmodernism: Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault. Scholargy Publishing. 2004. Himle, Joseph A., et al. The Relationship Between Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and Religious Faith: Clinical Characteristics and Implications for Treatment. University of Michigan, 2011. James, William. The Varieties of Religious Experience. Penguin Classics, 1985. Kant, Immanuel. The Critique of Judgement. Translated with analytical indexes by James Meredith. Oxford UP, 1952. Kuspit, Donald. The End of Art. Cambridge UP, 2004. Lewis, C.S. The World's Last Night, and other Essays. Harper Collins Publishers, 2017. Plate, Brent. Aisthesis. In Brent Plate (Ed.), Religion, Art, and Visual Culture: A Cross-Cultural Reader. Palgrave, 2002. Saliers, Don. Artistry and Aesthetic in Modern and Postmodern Worship. In Frank Brown (Ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Religion and the Arts. Oxford UP, 2014 Scruton, Roger. Beauty: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford UP, 2009. Sevier, Christopher. Aquinas on Beauty. Lexington Books, 2015. Viladesau, Richard. Aesthetics and Religion. In Frank Burch Brown (Ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Religion and the Arts. Oxford UP, 2014.
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News of the Day Rising Star of Iran
DarrylN
 April 13 2024 at 11:22 pm
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The news today is that Iran seized a cargo ship owned by a Jew, and launch drone attacks against Israel. why wouldn’t they? Queers for Palestine run Biden optic, and the White House is a joke. Inclusive includes mentally derelicts and the gender psychotic to the highest policy of the land. American policy is to hold up their bums and say drill here. As if manna from heaven would be any more of a miracle drop than Biden landing his gig as Leader of the Free Workd. This is Alfred E. Newman stuff, a total farce. Biden shoots duds. That is a guarantee. China and Russia are all on board. The time is right. Trump is no slouch, and tomorrow is a different world. BIPOC is all about the revenge against the West. Jordan Peterson often comes up with “why didn’t conservatives do nothing” as such a world came into being. The thing is in a 51 49 world, the useful idiots are the only ones that can really do any thing. consevatives can’t go more conservative, but it is liberals that have lost their collective minds. Bill Maher for example. He sees babies in ovens and nine month old babies stabbed in Australia just like the rest of us. So what? It is a 99 to 1 bet he is Biden 2024. And Iran has been chanting Death to America all the while, Maher voting for the Obama Biden Team that cozies to Iran. Alls conservatives can do, other than go Marjorie Taylor Greene and Alex Jones’s crazy themselves, is to well, get married, have children, do the mom and dad thing and ride out the apocalypse. Negative birth rates, spiralling down, yea, conservatives can blame themselves for that. But nine of that won’t change liberal crazy one iota, and that is where the rot has set in. But liberals are enraptured by the reflections of their own virtuous beauty. Unlike deplorable conservatives, these students of Elaine Paegel refuse to demonize anybody, not even Hamas. But there are economic consequences of America being a joke, for Americans themselves. But liberals are gonna to liberal. Didn’t say boo about the white trash in Britain being turned into cum dumps for Asian predators, celebrate Hamas victory Oct 7, appease Iran, fund terrorism with those pallets of cash. And blame conservatives for the country going to hell in a hand basket.
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Subscription to Scam
edXanthony
 April 01 2024 at 04:48 am
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Subscriptions for programmes, or applications, or 'apps' to some, is a scam, plain and simple. They produce it one time, and then expect money for your lifetime even though they aren't doing anything more for you, or even if you don't want any of their updates. Previously, they sold an application. If there were any new features, they sold it in the next version of the product and you bought it if you wanted it. Now, that choice is taken away simply because they own the company. That is when they can release an application with half the features, and then charge you monthly or yearly for the rest of the features they can then slowly release over a 100 year period. This is no different from paying a gardener a daily subscription for enjoying his one day of work throughout the month. This is no different from paying a restaurant an hourly subscription for all those hours it takes before you shit it out because you are benefitting from the food till shit happens. Alright then. Let's say we go for this 'subscription model'. How about working for a company for one day, and then charging them a daily subscription from profitting from whatever work you did for as long as they profit from it - which should be as long as the company exists unless they can prove that they did not profit from your employment in any way that would not have positive effects of their profits always? How about paying the road sweeper an hourly subscription for relatively cleaner streets throughout the time before he comes to clean it again, even though throughout that time he is out playing golf. Or how about paying a taxi driver an hourly subscription for the fun you are having at a pub for all the hours you are at the pub he took you too? Or how about a psychiatrist charging you a monthly lifetime subscription for enjoying better mental health for the rest of your life after that one hour consultation? That is no different from these scamming companies. If people need a product, and they are prevented from making it themselves because they are deprived of the money to do it, then the company should be handed to the people to continue to develop it and enjoy its products. This whole thing is a scam. The moment a company breaks even from the sale of its product, all those who bought the product have actually paid for the production of the product and become its shareholders. Profits should thereon be shared equally, not used to enrich its directors and whatnot at the expense of the people. That is the only true justice. All that happens if that does not happen is a scam. From this you know who your government, courts, and police, truly work for, if not by intention, damn surely by consequence. edX

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