When I was young — perhaps in my fifth or sixth year — my little sister and I met an older brother-and-sister pair, who turned out to live not far from us. From their very first moments they seemed dangerous. Their seemed to wish to corrupt us. And I really do mean that quite literally. Their most extravagant gambit was to extol the eating of “poo.”

It tastes like marshmallows, they said.

I looked upon them as demented perverts, and was thus inoculated, at a young age, from some types of manipulation.

Kids could not be trusted, I came to learn. Some kids were nuts. Or just evil.

“It is just hi jinks,” you might say.

The “just,” there, is misplaced. Sure, “hi jinks” might explain it. But I did not see their gambit then as mere sportive antics, horseplay.

Some people live to get others to engage in autocoprophagy.



It is possible that progressives are now beginning to understand themselves. At least, they are beginning to see how others see them.

Everybody has heard progressives’ opposition to “hate” — and increasingly know progressives mainly for their expressions of hatred.

Everybody’s listened to progressives’ theories of oppression — and increasingly recognize progressives as inveterate oppressors.

Everybody’s witnessed their incessant promotion of inclusion — yet the easiest way to identify progressivse is by their exclusions.

It now dawns on progressives that they are not the rebels they thought they were. They catch themselves repeatedly defending the major institutions of our society, and watch themselves astride Leviathan, holding the reins of cultural power. For decades, the general tenor of their favored mode of politics has been one of cultural domination, of conservation of power.

But that has not been their self-image, has it?

Well, if you are always screaming for the next sliver of advantage, you can pretend to be a screamer and not a silencer.

Really, hasn’t their habitual stance of opposition been merely a pose?

Sure, their oppositional stance made sense during the Vietnam War. They opposed the war. And to the extent they are against capitalism, well, we do live in a capitalist society. But as everybody knows, it’s awkward complaining about capitalism on an iPhone, and railing against big business while your favorite devices are made by the richest corporation in the country.

But mainly, progressives long ago obtained most of the institutions they have demanded. And it was shown during the Obama administration that the bulk of progressives do not give a rat’s whisker for peace, having enthusiastically protested war during the Bush years only to allow their anti-war protests to peter out upon the accession of Barack Hussein Obama, who then proceeded to do all of the killing Bush did, and more. They opposed not war but Republicans. This is so obvious and so tired an observation one almost hates to bring it up.

Less obvious, with their guy in power, progressives’ attitude of entitlement to power progressed rapidly. And thoroughly. Obama admitted to having a knack for killing people overseas; progressives demonstrated their knack for cherishing power and excusing power — when in their hands.

Then came the opposition to progressivism, which perhaps for the first time was directed against them in ways that they could understand: on the slogan, wit and mockery level, combined with unconcealed contempt. Jon Stewart had primed the pump of progressive hubris during the Bush years, with contempt always an undercurrent. Stewart converted nearly every last nice progressive into a snorting elitist without a lick of respect for those whom they disagreed with. Then, when the candidate selected for them by their own mavens and political vicars lost to the person they had mocked the most, they simply and thoroughly “lost their shit.” And when Obama constitutionally relinquished the reins of power to Trump, their immediate reaction was to revert to protest . . . and demand the suppression of speech they did not like.

On grounds of “hate,” of course, because those who opposed them were “oppressing” special victim classes. Oh, and because those baddies were into “exclusion,” and so therefore must be excluded from any institutional access to platforms that they themselves dominated — the universities, namely, and social media platforms.

There is a dialectic here: self-image as rebels on the outs; success in capturing the commanding heights of the culture; increasing domination of the Democratic Party; a series of massively successful revolutions in manners; partisan success at the federal level along with the promotion of one major reform; and then . . . reversion to rebellion and protest as soon as they lose the presidency, coupled with pressure both public and private to suppress freedom of speech.

Oh, but note that “public and private”: the use of public institutions to suppress dissent from their views was done behind close doors (select Democratic senators threatening social media platforms) while the use of mob action was out in the open. The public was private and the private was public.

The reason for the current hysteria and clumsy graspings at power? Panic is the result of a sudden loss of “privilege.” But what has really got to induce hysteria is the difficult thought that they themselves are not what they have pretended to be.

Now, in this progressives are not alone. My line for years, now, has been that progressives misunderstand conservatism and conservatives misunderstand themselves. But the reverse has also been true. Why? Not merely because political ideology requires a great deal of fiction to keep it going. Man cannot live by realism alone, so Realpolitik must always be leavened with myth. Sure. But what is bigger is that the traditional myths that keep the right and the left going have had so little to do with reality. Socialism is the left’s baseline paradise; strict constructionist constitutionalism (in America) and traditional forms of elitism (generally) the right’s. But neither appears to be workable on its own terms, so each side engages in a lot of pretense.

The funny thing about the standard pretenses? Progressives pretend they do not have most of what they really want, while conservatives pretend that they want what they do not have. We live in a society dominated by progressive institutions. Conservatives, by and large, do not want to get rid of Social Security and Medicare and handouts to the poor. Oh, sure, they tell themselves they want to change things, but once in power they move almost no tick down the road to republicanism. Meanwhile, Progressives do not have all that much more to achieve, which is why they bring in pathetic stories about “gender” and push preposterous notions like biological sex not mattering. Once you have achieved most of what you want, it becomes all-important to make the most of the last few crumbs. (This is Spencer’s Law.)

A whole lot of evasion has gone on. So it has been amusing to watch reality slip into the shouting matches and riots and Twitterstorms. The right is still a confused mess of anti-leftists, but the left? It is increasingly truer and truer to its own entelechy, its own cultic self.

And thus all the more amazing and impossible not to watch. In meltdown.

Ah, progress!


Replacing the Grand Canyon State’s senior member in the United States Senate — the late John McCain — is not going with the smoothness Arizonans might hope for. When Arizona Governor Doug Ducey announced former Senator Jon Kyl as his appointee, the other day, he added a hitch: the replacement would be temporary, for Kyl has agreed to serve only until January.mccain

Maybe Ducey should have consulted a temp agency.

Kyl may be like McCain in many ways — a Republican; a strong “defense” advocate; a “maverick” — but in one way he is obviously quite different: he does not demonstrate that deep hankering to serve forever in the upper house of our union’s dysfunctional Congress.

Kyl retired from the Senate in 2012, ostensibly to spend more time with his family.

How different he is from John McCain, who held his position in the Senate from the 1980s until his death on the 25th. I note that McCain did not resign in 2017, when diagnosed with an extremely serious form of brain cancer. Instead, he returned to the Senate to cast the deciding vote against the “skinny repeal” of Obamacare. McCain also did not resign later that year, despite his long subsequent absence from his beloved chamber — he did not vote in the Senate for any of 2018.

McCain held onto his title as United States Senator as if it were life itself.

I will let others praise this as courage. To me it seems more like a sense of entitlement. More accurately, an ambition borne of a misplaced sense of identity. At best, a personal mission quite separate from serving the citizens of his state.

Does Jon Kyle have a better perspective?

Well, he parlayed his senatorial career into a position with a major defense contractor. This could indicate a careerism of an even more alarming sort than McCain’s, however. It suggests the use of elected office as a mere stepping stone to where the real power is.

And where would that be?

The military-industrial complex.


U.S. and NATO, before 1991: Communism must be fought!
U.S. and NATO, after 1991: Just kidding, it was always about Russia!

American leftists, before 1991: Hey, communism isn’t so bad . . .
American leftists, after 1991*: Yeah, it’s the Russians! That’s the ticket.

Rightwingers, before 1991: Those commies are so godless!
Rightwingers, after 1991: Muh military-industrial complex!




* Especially after Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential loss.


A timeline of me changing my attitude on iconoclasm:

  1. When Russians pulled down Lenin statues, at the end of the Soviet era, I cheered.
  2. When folks in Seattle’s Fremont District put up a Lenin statue, I snickered.
  3. When American forces, during the Conquest of Iraq, hit some major sites of ancient Mesopotamian civilization I was deeply irked.
  4. When ISIS began dismantling, destroying and selling off ancient statues from Assyria as “idols,” I was aghast that any modern would wish to treat as objects for either current reverence or irreverence millennia-old statuary.
  5. When SJWs turned against the statuary of the Civil War dead, I was somewhat disturbed that anyone would treat centuries-old and even decades-old memorials as objects for current reverence or irreverance — other than a reverance for history.

My attitude about recent iconoclasm is not unlike my attitude regarding speech: just as the proper response to speech one does not like is more speech, the proper response to statuary one doesn’t like is not iconoclasm but more statuary. It is easy to destroy, not so easy to put up new monuments — they cost money, at the very least. Destroying statuary amounts to destroying history. And destruction, even the destruction of ugly history, seems more like childishness than maturity. Adults should be able to look at a statue and not get sucked into its implied ideology.

And, surely, the postmoderns are right: any given artifact possesses more than one meaning. We Hyperboreans are authorized to pick and choose the meanings we prefer, surely.

I prefer knowledge to ignorance, truth over myth, and seeing even the most vile of monuments as examples of history.

Yes, I am one of those people fascinated by ancient monuments. I have been since very young. You know: the Seven Wonders of the World, Machu Picchu, Göbekli Tepe, all that.  My interest has engendered quite a bit of reverence for these monuments’ historicity, not allegiance to their original functionality. I am quite certain I would not support the bulk of the policies of the ancient monument-builders were someone foolish enough to attempt to revive those policies.

I made peace with Lenin being in Seattle. Still . . . perhaps I should fear the statue’s influence on Seattle politics. Could it have given succor to socialism on the current Seattle City Council?

Which brings up an important point: republican governments should probably forgo the making of monuments. They are inherently propagandistic, and though celebrating the heroes of the republic seems a fine thing, it is worth doing this privately, with private funds on private land. If republics have any legitimacy, it is in defending individual rights. Adding propagandistic and eulogizing monuments to the mix of political duties is part of the ancien régime where much effort had to be made to pretend that leaders were gods, or,  at the very least, God’s servants upon the Midgard.

All this notwithstanding, were it up to me, a motto emblazoned upon every legislative house with the words Mundus vult decipi would be more apt than any other maxim, like E pluribus unum or Novus ordo seclorum.

But in politics, truth is not what you lead with.



One of the odder things about dealing with people in the political realm is the recurrent reliance upon simple definitions — speaking as if an Official Meaning could trump reality.

For instance: we call a government policy “a minimum wage.” People therefore seem to think that what the government does in enforcing such a policy is establishing wage rates. I mean, “that is just what we are doing, right?” Wrong. A minimum wage law is a law prohibiting hiring people below a specified rate. It is functionally a prohibition on hiring at a specified set of rates. It does not and cannot guarantee any person a wage, for it does not set any wage — wages being, after all, the terms of a particular kind of trade contract. Wages are set by businesses and workers in the market. The government has merely made some contracts at certain rates illegal.*

Calling a legislated wage-rate floor a “minimum wage” is like calling the prohibition of heroin a “minimum opiate” — with only some opiates allowed (Darvon, Dillotid). Under minimum wage laws, only some wage contracts are allowed. On the transactional level, both policies are policies of prohibition, not guarantee.IMG_1239

And yet people blithely go along speaking of minimum wage laws as if they established employment at the levels specified.

Like magic.

Say the word, and it happens.

This struck me when I was reading the Earthsea trilogy by Ursula K. Le Guin, when I was a youth. The magic rules in these fantasies are all about knowing how to find and speak the True Names of the thing or person to be manipulated. Now, these are terrific books. Le Guin’s account of word magic basically amounts to the reification of the human reliance upon words. But one must not believe that this is actually how the world works. The books are good because this is how the human mind works — especially in dreams.

In the actual world, outside our mindscapes, there are no True Names. Words here in the everyday world serve as conveniences of communication. They are semiotic tools. Signs. And though they come in three varieties (icons, indices, and symbols), and evidence no small degree of complexity in the dimensions of their utility and meaning, we can hone these signs to focus in on separate essences — logical atoms — each distinct.

And this is where the power of definitions come in, when we so hone our focus as to become clear as to what we are talking about, and what we are talking about pertains to the world around us and our operations within it. When we define something as x, and point to an X, our definition of x does not change the pointed-to X in our mere act of definition. The thing pointed to, X, may contain essence x as well as essences y and z. So all our blithe confidence in our definitions may not reach far beyond those definitions.

To pretend they do is magical thinking.

Yet that is what dominates politics.

I have found this over-imputation problem in rights theory, in discussions of religion and politics, and in . . . nearly everything said by a leftist today.

IMG_2080Let us say I am arguing with a feminist about the nature of sex and gender and human rights, and I make the case that feminism has advanced some grave errors and moral atrocities. And the feminist responds, “but feminism is merely equality of the sexes — it’s in the dictionary, stupid!” My jaw drops. The dictionary definition does not track what feminists actually say. Though I advocate equal rights for all, regardless of sex, I find that much of what self-designated feminists do is seek superior status for women and girls over men and boys. Special privileges. More rights. And feminism, today, contains a whole lot more bizarre content than is represented by the seemingly inarguable cause of “sexual equality.”

Another example relates to antifa. I often complain, to my friends, about the violence of these leftist bullies in black. And yet mainstream center-left mavens assert that we should not worry at all about these thugs. Why? “Because they are literally ‘anti-fascists’!” Well, yes, fascism is a bad thing. Sure. But fascists can, in reality, masquerade as anti-fascists. And fascists are not the only authoritarian bullies to worry about. But leftists merely point to the definition as if they have proved something. It is as if they think they can utter a few words of a definition and, magically, change reality with their utterances.

This seems like the simplest and least sophisticated form of logic-chopping. It does not even quite rise to the level of logomachy. But when done confidently, with brio, it can bowl over opponents, partly out of the sheer audacity of it all. Which is why one sees the method everywhere, especially in the realms of religion in politics. It is the sophistication of simpletons.

And it is now a major problem of our time.



* An exception, in a sense, is when governments raise their own employees’ — government functionaries’ — wage rates. But you should see the difference here.

Screenshot 2018-08-25 11.43.00Google has somehow commandeered my Mac Pro’s Safari browser.
When I open a new tab, Google shows up, that is, the Google search page.
I checked Preferences: New tabs and pages were set to open up to blank pages. So I set the homepage to DuckDuckGo and then set new pages and tabs to open up to the home page.
Google still opens up.
Google IS EVIL.
Is there any other explanation?
Maybe this is a result of having switched to Firefox as my main browser, a month ago. The problem does not show up on Firefox. But, alas, Safari works better on a Mac using WordPress, so I still must use Safari every day.
On my G5 running OS X Leopard, I use TenFourFox, of course.
Screenshot 2018-08-25 11.42.42

What I want to see when I open up a new tab: a non-evil search engine page.

me and the ice age

Young people these days talk about something that makes no sense to me: climate justice.

Justice, as near as I can make out, is the other-regarding virtue of action, where we focus on meting out what people deserve, especially as it relates to the use of coercion. This latter is important because this idea, justice, evolved in the context of contests between man and man: its origin is to right great wrongs, wrongs caused by deliberate behavior, usually regarding force and theft. Justice focuses clearly on rules of behavior, limiting our actions. When a limit is broken, then compensatory action of a possibly violent but definitely coercive nature is warranted. Justice thus pertains to people who choose.

The climate is something else again. It is a vast cosmos of interactive systems that we barely understand. And while such things as pollution may indeed be handled by systems of justice, of law, “climate justice” assumes way too much, especially a lot of knowledge of what climates should be.

The global climate is. Climates are. And they change. And have done so outside of the kind of direct human control where justice might readily and sensibly apply.

Could it be that people use the term “climate justice” merely to bully people into accepting a policy that is by no means evident? If you load up your politics with “justice” skeptical people might be cowed by your use of a word of power.

And yes, justice is the Big Gun of moral suasion. Because it directs the coercive power of the State, you see. In times past Righteousness might have been the word of choice, since God was the Big Gun of rhetoric. But the State long ago usurped the place of the deities in lowbrow ethical argumentation.

Amusingly, the same folks who are prone to the term “climate justice” appear to be the ones who talk a great deal about “privilege” — as in “white privilege.” And here we might find a relevant check upon climate justice fanaticism.

Greg Gutfeld’s notion of “ocean privilege” to describe Americans’ feelings of invulnerability to attack provides a key. Much of American foreign policy has been bolstered by Americans’ sense of impregnability, buffered as America is from the Old World by two great oceans. Drolly, Gutfeld himself seems to think that the days of American ocean privilege are over: (“Ocean privilege does not exist anymore. The world is small. We cannot rely on distance anymore.”) And yet he seems (from what I can tell) to think that this means America must be more engaged overseas — a bizarre conclusion.

But this is not the occasion or location to provide a critique of Gutfeldian interventionism. Instead, I merely note his use of “privilege” as an excuse to mention a far bigger and more universal privilege: Climate stability privilege.

For most of the last 5000 years, and perhaps a bit longer, humanity has lived in a remarkable period of climate calm: slow, moderate changes.

Sure, there was the Medieval Warming Period, and the Little Ice Age (which we have been warming out of for a few centuries, mostly through no merit of our own), and other waxings and wanings. But the sun has been fairly steady in its output; we have lived through a quite moderate cycle of climate metamorphoses. And civilizations have risen and fallen accordingly.

At the end of the last Ice Age, however, our climate was not at all conducive to human life.

You know, The Flood and all.

Graham Hancock has made much of recent discoveries in his latest book, Magicians of the Gods, and sides with scientists who think the Ice Age ended because of bolides evaporating the two great Canadian glaciers. Geologist Robert Schoch describes the following epoch carefully:

A dark age ensued, which I refer to as SIDA (solar-induced dark age). For thousands of years following the end of the last ice age humanity was reduced to the brutish Hobbesian state, hunting, foraging, and eking out a hardscrabble existence; and this included living in caves in some regions. Indeed, retreating to caves and other underground shelters would have been a way for isolated pockets of humanity to survive the cataclysmic solar-induced onslaughts at the end of the last ice age.

But he offers a causal story distinct from Hancock’s:

Electrical plasma discharges from the Sun, driven to the surface of our planet, would have caused widespread incineration where they touched down as well as setting off wildfires. Solar outbursts not only warmed the planet overall but, hitting glaciers, oceans, and lakes, through melting and instantaneous evaporation, would have placed vast amounts of moisture into the atmosphere that subsequently came down as torrential rains. These rains, combined with rising sea levels, caused widespread flooding across the globe.

Frightening times. Schoch summarizes: “Major solar outbursts and eruptions, the likes of which have not been experienced on Earth in modern times, were the instigating factors that ended the last ice age and brought early civilization to its knees.”

But could it have been even worse, much earlier?

Seventy thousand years ago or so, humanity was hit to almost nothing by vulcanism of astounding proportions — when, scientists tell us, the number of modern humans went down to a few dozen breeding pairs, in several locations at most.

So, while I am very concerned about some anthropogenic environmental disasters (ocean pollution, overfishing, and a possible and quite alarming increase in oceanic anoxia) others strike me as a tad overblown. We have more to worry about from comets and volcanos than “anthropogenic global warming,” for even the worst predicted effects are as if nothing compared to the catastrophes of the Ice Age terminus.

One interesting thought: why were ancient civilizations — which we may wish to call pre-historic civilizations, since if Hancock and Schoch and others are right, they preceded our histories — so obsessed with megalithic structures? Could it possibly be that these stonework monstrosities served as refuges from cataclysm, including increased cosmic radiation?

We make fun of troglodytes, to this day. But that, my friends, is mere climate stability privilege. Our nice above-ground houses will provide no protection should Sol start engaging in major unruly emissions, as it has in times long past.

And today’s young “climate justice advocates” would envy the men guarding the caves and mines and other underground structures should solar activity increase and make above-ground living again perilous or impossible. There is no concept of justice that will sway those who have prepared for the worst to take in and provide safety to the clueless, privileged young who offer nothing but their genes.

If you want to survive disaster, make yourself useful and unenvious, and . . . dig. Deeply. Into the bedrock.

To get a little perspective, at the very least.


Sometimes we should take a step back and remember: we don’t know much, and much of what we “know” isn’t so.

IMG_2025This is especially the case in foreign affairs. Many important events and agendas are kept from the public. Whole organizations operate (and even exist) sub rosa. We are fed misinformation and lies on a regular basis. We are easily manipulated.

I have tried to hedge, or even seem Delphic, in the recent past, regarding Russia and North Korea, for instance. I know I know little, and more-than-merely-suspect that many who say they know important truths often only parrot half-truths, at best.

There has been way too much partisan nonsense about Russia in the past few years, and much of what is important about the “negotiations” between North Korea and the U.S., South Korea, et al., is kept far from public view.

IMG_2027We should try to keep in mind that manipulation of focus is the modus operandi of all major parties and organizations, and with it the clumsy and deceptive uses of statistics.

Arguably, one of the main jobs of the corporate media is to encourage people to think they are informed, while ensuring that they remain misinformed. News is not history or social science. It is entertainment. And the unfortunate unreliability and sheer perversity of the major media outlets does not need to be seen as a conspiracy (much of it being quite open). Ideological fantasy, partisan coup-stick conflict, and the profitability of hype and hysteria might explain most of it.


Dr. Jordan Peterson came into fame and infamy for refusing to comply with a Canadian law forcing him to use the “preferred pronouns” of self-designated “gender non-binaries.”

Recently, he was challenged by linguist John McWhorter on this issue, mainly on the tangential matter of psychological insight. McWhorter’s point was that while he admitted that some students who desired a peculiar manner of address might indeed be trying to push a power play upon him, he could not be sure, and it was just easier to comply with their requests, no matter how bizarre.

Well, prudence was not Peterson’s issue with the law, and, were I in such a position, it would not be mine, either. Besides, there is an issue even more basic than politics. Easier? How is changing the basic, most in-grained features of one’s language “easier”?

But there is one sense in which McWhorter is right, it is easy to comply. Because the whole thing is in most cases a non-issue. And I am surprised that a linguist of McWhorter’s brilliance would not make a point of it. One does not address another by a “gendered” pronoun, in today’s Engish. One uses “you.”


What all this talk about preferred pronouns is really about, as near as I can make out, is how we address others “behind their backs,” so to speak.

“I’m asked, often,” says Professor McWhorter, “to call people, singularly, ‘they.’”

In the third person.

So, what these gender-obsessed youngsters are really fretting about is not how they are addressed, but how they are referred to — in conversation in groups where they are being referenced to other people with personal and possessive pronouns.

Peterson is surely in the right that this sort of thing should be negotiated. People who cannot handle social negotiations of this sort may understandably yearn to cry to Big Brother to enforce the exact terms, but if they are bucking a long tradition, they need to stop being such . . . juveniles. And conjure up from deep within themselves a little tolerance.

And maybe even respect for the past. And biology. And . . .

After all, is it not the people who wish to change others’ behavior, and tradition of long standing, who must prove the most? The burden of persuasion usually falls upon the radicals. It is they who must be expected to be the more tolerant and forgiving. (Amusingly, in the collective, their non-gendered pronoun falls trippingly off the tongue as well as the typing fingertips — for there is no gendering of “they/them/their/theirs.”)

That they are not tolerant, in this issue, but demanding, instead, is a sign that they are pampered, “privileged” whiners with little to recommend them as civilized beings.

And, as for me . . .






N. B. The first graphic “meme,” above, is from my second memegenerator.net account: Wirkman. (Not my first, Lucian.) The second graphic meme refers to a philosophy central in the early science fiction novels of F. Paul Wilson, which featured prominently in his LaNague Federation books such as Healer (1976) and An Enemy of the State (1980). “KYFHO” stands for “Keep Your Fucking Hands Off.”