I never wanted to burn a Koran until hordes of Muslims made it very clear that they felt justified in killing me for doing so.

Caveat: the only copy I have of the ancient document is an ebook, so that leaves us with another meme entirely:

  

In the immortal words of “motorist” Rodney King, “can we all get along?”

As a sort of crazed anger spreads throughout America, two things seem obvious to me:

  1. The police do often over-react, too often with gross injustice.
  2. Suspects and innocent bystanders aren’t exactly proving themselves to be calm, level-headed, and virtuous in the face of police over-reaction.

It’s hard to keep one’s head — one’s “cool” — when others lose theirs. And, sure, we hire police to keep cool, sticking to procedure when violence or some other conflict breaks out to upset the normal peace of society.

But I speak to the kids out there, the youngsters, especially those who think they are being treated unjustly: even when the police are wrong, very rarely does it make sense to defy them. Prudence (as distinguished from justice) most of the time requires us to

  • be polite (show respect);
  • calm down (demonstrate restraint yourself);
  • articulate information helpful to sorting out the situation, whatever that is;
  • comply with explicit demands unless those demands are sure to kill you; and (most of all)
  • remember that police have been authorized to use force — the “police power” — and have a great deal of license and leeway.

Yes, power corrupts. Police are not excepted from this. But we (the less empowered, the until-proven-otherwise innocent) citizens must remember that they do have a tough job, resolving conflict day in and out, and we must always signal to the police our willingness to be peaceful. Even if we are in the right, losing our tempers (our “cools”) demonstrates belligerence, as far as the police are concerned, which elicits negative reactions.

Police abuse of power is no excuse for citizen unruliness. When the police are unjust, the best recourse is court — not the chalk outline of your body.

  

For all the talk of the “failure of the Enlightenment Project,” despite the tomes dedicated to the passing of modernity, regardless of how time seems to have passed by our past’s greatest markers and makers . . . the truth seems obvious: it is post-modernism that is in trouble.

 
Typo in the above, from my Facebook page (thumbing on my iPad is no way to type):  “but of past ones as well.”  Not “if.”

We all mispeak, of course, and mistype. Seinfeld, after all, in the quoted interview, does not quite connect the dots between college political correctness and his daughter’s misuse of language. But we get it: “the kids these days” is the subject and connecting tissue. As Seinfeld acutely observes, “they just want to use these words.”

When I was young, I objected to the rampant misuse of words in conservative and mainstream debate. That was where I detected the pattern of carelessness that I now see rampant on the self-identified left.

It is not primarily a problem of left or right, of course. It is a problem of the usual laziness of the moralistic mind. Nearly everybody is naturally a moralist. But few are moral philosophers by nature. That requires some cultivation.

There will always be a role for philosophy, for people in their normal condition just go with the herd, and the herd is almost never known for its collective intelligence. Followers follow blindly, to a regrettable extent. And most leaders are no better; many are worse.

Which is why Plato’s Philosopher King — or Daniel Dennett’s low-level shadow of that notion, the educational “supervisor” — cannot fix the problem. My only solution is for philosophers to transcend their cushy academic ghettos and once again push for public philosophy . . . but without the sanction or support of that most capturable castle, the State.

Why? “Political correctness.”

  

A recent Facebook post of mine, from my LocoFoco.us page, the comments on top referring to the visual meme below: 

 
Not long after posting that, I came across another Muslim-focused meme, based on a story about a Muslim woman who felt “humiliated” on a plane.

I was less than completely sympathetic:

  
If the story is true, then the airline personnel did, I suppose, behave pretty stupidly. Par for that course, in these days of TSA nonsense and paranoia and idiotic regulation. But over-reaction on the part of others gives us no license, in such cases, for over-reaction ourselves.

I mean, come on here. I have never understood the idea of “humiliation” for being treated stupidly. It is the fool who should feel humiliation. If you have committed no error, no affront, but others have sinned, it is only your own weakness that prevents you from reacting from a stance of honor and confidence.

And, likewise, if others discriminate against you because too many members of your kind behave badly for those others to ignore (reasonably or un-), you may be irked by the discrimination, but remember: people cannot treat you as an “individual” in full humanity and as an end in yourself in all cases — simply cannot. 

Some seemingly unreasonable discrimination will always be with us.

So, be more annoyed with the members of your kind who put you in that predicament. Do not take umbrage against those who prepare against terroristic threat, taking on the risk and uncertainty surrounding that threat.

It is not impossible to do; the terms of your allegiance to “your kind” are under your control.

After all, I managed to do this before I was a mature adult. I reacted against my in-group 35 years ago and more, resisting an easy victim status in how I looked upon members of my kind when I was a young man, when I had to pay auto insurance rates more than double what women my age did. The insurance companies were not regarding my full individuality, focusing exclusively on my good driving habits, but necessarily (at least primarily) on my existence in a class whose probabilities were the basis of any possible contract between us. So, of course I despised (or at least expressed vexation with) the reckless drivers amongst my fellows, against members of my age group and sex. They were to blame for my ridiculously high insurance rates. To blame the insurance companies for “discrimination” (as feminists did at that time, regarding medical insurance that women used at far higher rates than men) would have been witless.

So, too, this woman. She has standing for vexation. Sure. But if she does not have the courage to express it against radical Muslim terrorists who have destroyed planes and accomplished this using small metal objects as weapons on planes — just as the simpleton airline employee expressed as a fear from her — then she is the bigot.

Victimhood is such a prized possession in our memescape that people seem no longer able to think their way out of idea traps like this, so disabled they are by ideology from confronting the issues we inevitably face . . . under the terms we should reserve for this confrontation: honesty and skepticism and tolerance.

Obstacles to self-control

The first hurdle is to accept your own responsibility for as far as that can reasonably go. If you don’t bathe, people will avoid you. You cannot blame them for being “anti-social.” If you hold to an ideology that includes crazed mass murderers, expect to find your belief system and your very own person at least sometimes under suspicion.

The second hurdle is the in-group allegiance, with which we are dealing here. If you always side with “your side” in disputes, you are probably not a moral person: you have either made yourself incapable of impartial thought and judgment, or have prevented yourself from rising to that level.

The the third hurdle is to understand the complexity and context of every conflict and tension. Ideas must reflect the whole and its parts. Mereology is at bottom absolutely essential for all humane thinking and acting.

So very modern

I usually emphasize the atavistic nature of Islam. But modern Muslims sure do have a knack of milking the modish progressive audience for every ounce of “the left’s” sacred victimhood.

Grow up, alleged disciples of Muhammad. Take mastery of yourself. Learn how to think and argue and comport yourselves as competent adults. Then maybe I’ll give your beliefs a modicum of serious attention. Until then, I will continue to dismiss you for your crazy, lunatic mélange of atavism and postmodernism, criminality and “victim” status.

(Womens Health) – Melissa McCarthy has hit back at a sexist male reporter’s harsh comment in the best possible way. In March 2015, the daily mail reporter cruelly labelled her “hideous” in a movie review sparking huge uproar. Her response? Losing an incredible 50 lbs in just 2 months. According to Melissa it was the most profound physical transformation of her life in such a short period.

Or so begins a bizarre Net advertisement for some possibly lunatic diet method I just came across.

What interest me is not its quality as a lede to shill a product (it could be pitch perfect, for all I care), but the bizarre misuse of the word “sexist.”

Sexism is not body shaming. Sexism once had a pretty exact meaning. It did not means “something bad associated with sex, especially by men directed against women.”

Of course, nowadays, that is probably all it means. After bouncing around for years, ideological words tend to degrade in meaning.

This has been a “gender”-free lexical complaint. Sort of.

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I don’t speak Spanish, so my title is a guess. All I am trying to suggest is that the house I live in could be named, accurately, as the House of the Crazy Person Hours.

Or, more simply, as the House of Crazy Hours.

There are two humans, one feline, and countless flying rodents living under this roof in the country, and our schedules don’t seem to make much sense. Last night, suffering from a headache and my usual sleep disorders, sleep wouldn’t stick. So at 3 in the morning I took up work again, finishing an old project. After a few hours, I went back to bed again, successfully sleeping till the forenoon.

Down the hall from me, my housemate woke up about when I went to sleep, and, now that I am up and around, is thinking about going to sleep again.

Meanwhile, the cat just sleeps, oblivious.

Haven’t heard from the bats in a while.

Which is all just by way of explanation: because of my whacked-out sleep schedule, I let a half-finished blog post “publish” this morning. I was inattentive. It has now been removed from the blog. Those following this blog by email, however, got the half-written monstrosity in the email this morning, and for that I apologize.

So, back to my “regular day,” now, and to my reading.

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Fugit


I am not entirely against “thick” libertarianism, though in the past I may have expressed some skepticism about the popularity of the issue in libertarian circles. I can think of at least one attitude not strictly entailed by liberty that is almost certainly necessary for liberty to be maintained in a culture.

It is not anti-racism, or anti-sexism, or any the usual shibboleths of leftism. And it is not patriotism, a commitment to objective value, or a belief in a deity, as so often preached on the right.

It is the predominance of “mind your business.” That is, it is not being a busybody, and paying responsible care for the things one can most control, that is of paramount importance.

It Follows (2014, rated R) is not a movie about logic.

It is a teen sex-horror flick, where sexual intercourse immediately leads to spectacularly bad consequences — in this case a murderous supernatural stalker who can look like “anyone,” but only twice in the movie (that I could tell) chose to look like someone the characters know.

So, we “get” to see young people engage in normal sexual activity: that is, heterosexual coitus; nothing very kinky, somewhat discreetly shot. But the music is ominous, and there is not much erotic about the film, except perhaps for the first sex scene. The fear and horror kill the mood. It Follows might serve as a sort of anti-porn.

The premise is brilliant, in a sick and twisted way. The “It” that follows can take the shape of any human, but in its behavior it is obviously not human. It walks, and walks only, and when close lurches, thereby echoing zombie films, particularly of the classic variety. I won’t elaborate on it at length, especially since, as the movie ran, I kept thinking of ways to work around the premise’s “curse”: why not go island hopping?

What It follows is teen sexual activity, of course, so the easiest metaphor that comes to mind upon grasping the premise is that it sort of works as a metaphor for sexually transmitted disease. Or that ultimate killer of mood, a baby — sexual reproduction.

But one probably shouldn’t expend too much thought on it.

The films is better than most in this genre. Most people find it both brooding and creepy and ominous, on the one hand, and capable of delivering a few shocks of fright, on the other.

Interestingly, these “Its” are in most instances adult, and when adult are usually naked or at least in a state of advanced undress.

Yes, for much of the film, the heroine, a lovely older teen girl, is chased around by naked adults.

This helps conjure up rape fears, as well.

Interestingly, adult characters rarely intrude into the story as anything other than these maleficient “It’s,” and we witness teen life that has very little to do with adults. This is the horror of broken homes.

One of the girl characters is reading an ebook edition of Dostoevsky’s The Idiot, on a curiously designed shell-shaped e-reader. I will leave the passage she quotes from the book, narrated in the film, for other viewers to decide its importance.

Portions of the movie show some evidence of amateurism. Thankfully, not the acting. Mainly, the pulling of focus in some scenes. The score is digital synth, as if in homage to John Carpenter, though videos of classic grade Z horror flicks play in the cinematic background in many scenes.

There is not much humor in the film.

The lead actress is lovely, but not, interestingly enough, in conformity to the usual Hollywood twig-thin fashion model body type.

The film gets astoundingly high ratings on Rotten Tomatoes.

Hatred is the sin of the age, but love shines about almost nowhere.

For my part, I have great trouble hating even my enemies, though I sometimes succeed, for brief moments.

The language of today’s greatest hate haters, our ubiquitous leftist moral scolds, is almost completely Christian, and yet a more unchristian group can hardly be imagined.

It is obvious that most people turn to politics and cultural engagement on the legal and governmental end of the spectrum to work through or compensate for childhood trauma. Hence the witless simplicity of not only the standard views of social causation, but of right and wrong, value and disvalue. 

In reviving the obsessions of Mrs. Grundy, within the framework of post-Christian ethics, today’s college- and media-centric progressives — along with their mostly puzzled opponents, the Fox/newsradio conservatives — have forgotten the greatest gift civilization gives: security and progress in the context of baseline indifference.

It is indifference, not love, that must be defended — as the bedrock, perhaps, of civilization. That is, indifference backed by a technical respect for a limited set of rights, which allow for extensive voluntary co-operation. So maybe it is not indifference-as-such, but indifference flourishing as the context for co-operation.

Yes, voluntary co-operation has a flip side as well as an edge: non-co-operation. For every act or cause with which any person chooses to expend scarce time and attention, a million others must go begging. One must regard those unchosen options as “not worth it,” recognizing that one is practically (if not fancifully) indifferent to them.

The trouble with today’s moralistic Grundyism, aside from its essential ugly, intrusive and totalitarian nature, is its assault on the necessity of non-co-operation. By constantly fretting about a few instances of non-inclusion, the scolds identify non-co-operation as their bête noir, and thereby undermine civilization with their childish dualism of love/hate and inclusion/exclusion. 

They fail to see the spiritual liberation in mass (if technical) indifference. They lose track of the strategic place that justice has in our moral economy, and revive the old Christian heresy that “justice is love.”

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