The Populist Delusion by Neema Parvini, Part 1

PopulistWhat the heck is going on with the seemingly insane notion that all white people are evil?

From The Populist Delusion by Neema Parvini:

“For example, in 2021, the US Federal Government – the public face of the aforementioned syndicalist nexus of finance, corporations, and NGOs – has declared that ‘white supremacists’ constitute the highest terrorist threat to the country; former President George W. Bush even argued that they belong in the same breath as ISIS and that, in a statement as Schmittian as any ever uttered, ‘bigotry and white supremacy are “blasphemy” against the American creed. The media daily propagandise against ‘white privilege,’ explains why white people are ‘the problem.’ But why would Power focus so heavily on this group, ‘white people?’ It is because it comprises people who are independent of the state, would-be aristocrats, subsidiaries in potential, and even a few truly independent institutions, and therefore represents the largest threat to its hegemony. This was embodied in the hated figure of Donald Trump, but since he was banished from the airwaves and social media, now it must take the form of a direct attack on the disobedient people themselves, especially if they have refused the vaccination against the pandemic which is a very convenient proxy marker of ‘friend’ or ‘enemy’ to Power. Jouvenal as a guide would tell us two things: first, one way or the other, the hour of decision will come; second, whatever order exists after this hour of decision will grant no more ‘liberty’ than what came before – the game stays the same, only the players change.”[1] Continue reading

The World Has A Visible Structure

Frederick Woodbridge in An Essay on Nature wrote that the world has a visible structure. It takes shaking off a lot of inherited thought to make sense of that claim. The world is filled with light, color, and sound, and we have evolved sense organs to help us to perceive these things. We have adapted to the world as it is. That phrase might seem inscrutable and gnomic, but it indicates nothing other than a full experiential realism. We experience the world more or less as it actually is. The wooden house is on the hill ready for you to see it. Your seeing it does not create the house. The world has a nature, a structure, and we have evolved to perceive it. Organisms such as we need to find food and mates and so we need to navigate through the world as it really is, with all its smells, and the way it feels, and sounds, and looks. If we develop a problem with our ears, then we lose our ability to perceive that aspect of the world. If we are color blind then that aspect of reality is lost to us. The fact that many many other animals have developed approximately the same sense organs to perceive the world, and the fact that evolution exists, with failed adaptations being eliminated, indicates that all the varied living organisms are all successfully aligned with reality to a large degree. Scientific materialism has so perverted our notion of perception that we think that if a tree falls in a forest with no one there to hear it, it makes no sound. It does make a sound regardless. Kepler has indirectly taught us to think in terms of soundwaves and ears, and sound depending on the perceiver, nonsensically leaving mind right out of it. He provides a little slice of the part of the process of perception but it is radically incomplete. By analogy, he is attributing “vision” to a camera lens while forgetting the film or the photo sensors on the computer chip. Continue reading

Curing Mad Truths by Rémi Brague

1In this collection of lectures, Brague begins by quoting G. K. Chesterton, “The madman is the man who has lost everything except his reason.” The world exceeds our ability to understand it. Rationalism exhibits an overweening pride and excludes from its purview intuition, feelings, tradition, mystical experience, and even ordinary experience. In order to function we produce simplified models of reality. The rationalist mistakes these models for reality and, at times, even hubristically claims that if something exceeds his ability to understand it, it must not exist. Finding oneself vulnerable to the decisions of someone who has lost access to feelings, including fellow feeling, and moral intuition, and reliant purely on “reason” is a dangerous place to be.

The scholar and poet Giacomo Leopardi claims that reason has a tendency to occupy the whole soul and to push to the last consequences of a train of thought even when it contradicts nature. Thoughts and assumptions have their own logic, some of which can destroy civilization itself. As Leopardi puts it, “Reason must shed light but not commit arson.”[1] He tendentiously, but interestingly, writes, “Reason destroys the illusions without which man cannot live leading thereby to its own contrary, barbarism.”[2] Thus, reason becomes the source of barbarism and this sums up much of modernity. Scientific materialism, for Michel Henry, writes nature in the language of mathematics, but cannot tell us how to live a meaningful life. This is reminiscent of the evolutionary psychologist Edward Dutton’s claim that a belief in a good and moral God is necessary to provide the belief that one is a chosen people whose existence is worth preserving and defending and that having children has some kind of eternal significance. On top of that, sex is an instinct that reason can suppress and it is precisely the smart and educated among us who tend to do so. Reason cannot prove life is worth living, nor that it should be passed on to our children. Thus, the rational predilection for proof can commit the arson about which Leopardi warns. Barbarism predates and gives way to civilization only for civilization to become the victim of its own success and hubris, idolizing reason, science and proof, thereby losing sight of faith and hope in the life to come. Religion comes to be considered the meandering and wayward musings of a child. Continue reading

Ex Machina: A Story of Chaste Love Murdered by the Ending

9Alan Turing invented the ideational basis of modern computers with his concept of a universal machine. The machine had a write/erase head and a strip of paper that represented an infinite memory. The strip of paper contained instructions to move forward, move back, or stop; to write, or to erase. Exactly what the machine does is determined by the program (the memory strip) and it is why a computer can be used to do multiple, different tasks.

Turing originally conceived of a program separate from its hardware because a high school friend, with whom he had an amorous attachment, died, and Turing became interested in the notion of an immortal soul. A program that could be divorced from its physical incarnation seemed to fulfill this possibility. So a possible connection between souls and programs was imagined right at the beginning of even the idea of a computer, at least as formally described. Continue reading

From “Sent Before Their Time:” Genius, Charisma, and Being Born Prematurely, by Edward Dutton

(Thoughts inspired by Ed Dutton’s latest book).

Evolutionary psychology is interesting mostly as it throws light on certain kinds of human behavior, particularly the pathological variety. This is useful for those of us with the autistic trait of desperately wanting to make sense of the world. Thanks to EP, we know that “liberals” (US sense) are low in agreeableness and high in harm avoidance and equality. Being agreeable means to care about other people’s thoughts and feelings and, ultimately, to be prosocial. Instead of identifying with their own group in the manner of ethnocentrism, they adopt pathological ideas like multiculturalism and the concomitant ethnomasochism where the liberal identifies with the outgroup. The more outgroup someone is, the better, and then team up with the outgroup against members of their own group in order to gain status. But, they do not really like the outgroup either and are just using them, hence, they do not care if their pretended “love” for the outgroup results in things like helpful policies or not. Thus, Thomas Sowell, and books like Mismatch prove that putting members of minorities into universities where the majority of the students are far superior to them results in lower graduations rates. When California stopped affirmative action higher education, briefly, as a result of a law, one of their famous “Propositions,” black and Hispanic graduation rates went up much higher. Being the bottom of your class as MIT can be profoundly discouraging even though a student might have unusually high academic abilities compared with the rest of the general population. Better to be a big fish in a small pond or at least to be middling compared to your fellow students than to be the runt of the litter at a top school. Liberals absolutely do not care and such findings are irrelevant to them, because for their scheming, Machiavellian selves, they never cared about the outgroup in the first place. Personally, I am relieved to discover the key to this pathology. It does not stop anything, or make anything better, but it makes the world a friendlier place by being less opaque and senseless.

Continue reading

Social Justice for Business Ethics

Social Justice, Libraries, and Postmodernism

SUNY Oswego describes itself as a “social justice institution.” In doing so, it follows the lead of much more prestigious Ivy League institutions like Harvard, Yale, and Princeton. Because the phrase is endorsed by an elite, it is hard to imagine that “social justice” is a completely nonsensical idea. However, justice, like truth, does not come in different flavors. No adjectives can legitimately be put in front of the word “justice.” Justice is fairness as reciprocity. Anti-social criminals who break the law and harm other people deserve punishment. Pro-social people who sacrifice their time and wealth helping other people deserve praise. People who merely virtue signal are engaging in cheap thrills and deserve skepticism. Liberals have a conception of themselves as good, compassionate and kind. They have compassion for the less well-off, who suffer, while conservative people, they think, have no compassion. The idea that conservatives have a different idea about what is good for all people does not occur to them. In fact, modern liberals claim that any opposition to their views and their agenda is not just wrong-headed, but evil. They are the unique repositories of goodness and wisdom. Debate is pointless because they already have all the answers, even though these answers keep changing. Their opponents are “fascists,” though that word is left undefined. It apparently now means “someone who disagrees with me,” even though what I said last month or last 1year I no longer agree with too. A few years ago, famous liberals, e.g. Barack Obama, opposed gay marriage. Now, they are for it. It would be interesting to know how many people who use the “F” word could even explain what national socialism was all about. If they can, can they explain what that has to do with the people who disagree with them? Continue reading

Grammatical Subscendence

First, there was a new trend on Facebook of people writing in all lower case letters; both memes and comments. Then, my students started submitting assignments with sentences beginning with lower case letters. Finally, I received an official email from a student asking for a special favor in all lower case letters including even the first person pronoun. The whole process seemed to take about a month.

After Googling, I find that it is supposed to be a widespread belief among young people, most severe among teenagers, that using proper punctuation and upper case letters when appropriate is grossly offensive and smacks of persnickety elitism and “distancing;” erecting a barrier between you and the other person. “Hey, no fair. Me no do proper grammar. My grammar died. Me think you think you big man. Me show you!” Both starting and ending conversations is supposed to be problematic, so putting a period at the end of the sentence is seen as indicating a dreaded terminus to the conversation and thus, rude. The logical implications of banning both starting and ending conversations should be noted. Continue reading

Determinists Strike Back

16Social Media Original Post

“If determinism is true, it makes no sense to speak of someone being “intelligent.” The outcomes of your thoughts and actions are better than other people’s. Well, who is responsible for that? Certainly not you.”

 

Person 1

Woooah, I’m not a philosopher, by any stretch, but what a loaded statement….

Someone who is intelligent has “better” outcomes than other people? Or someone who thinks they are intelligent has better outcomes?

Does ‘someone’ have to be responsible for intelligence?

To me the big issue here is that we don’t have an accepted definition of intelligence. It is many things – it certainly isn’t just education …

And that’s before we get to the determinism issue – lol … Continue reading

Curt Jaimungal: Humor and Free Will

10My apologies in advance for writing about humor in an unfunny way. Someone wrote once that in a certain prolonged analysis of humor (Freud?) there was not a single joke or amusing anecdote, but perhaps that is like complaining that there is no food in a cookbook, albeit jokes being easier to produce in a text than steaming hot meals.

No one is an actual determinist in the sense of living his doctrine. Determinists even admit that it is impossible to live that way. Certainly, a consistently determinist society would be unworkable. The logical implications are hard to calculate. Perhaps, it would mean never getting out of bed or off the couch since determinism implies complete passivity. Consciousness as an invisible spiritual effect-producing phenomenon would be removed. Agency, coextensive with a consciousness that is not merely a passive, inept, unreliable perceptual recording device, means being a center of decision making. Acting. It is not possible to “act” if there is no conscious “you” deciding or doing anything. A marionette manipulated by its strings is not acting; merely moving. We simply pretend it is acting when it is involved in some human-derived, thus conscious, drama – just as we pretend things about flickering images on a screen. Continue reading

Online Rights

The network dominates in the US and elsewhere. It says who can be elected, by banning from social media anyone it does not like, what topics can be discussed during elections. Corporations can ban you, control you. In China, they can deperson you. You cannot book a flight, get a loan, get a credit card, get online to the job sites, to the dating sites, to anything. How do you operate in the modern world when you do not have access to any of that? There are no basic rules that limit any of this. John Robb testified in front of the Senate that we need rights, rather than terms of service. Terms of service do not equal the Constitution or Bill of Rights. We need protections. We need freedom of access, both as individuals and as companies and organizations, and rules, but only the most extreme stuff can be banned or knocked out, calling for violence, etc. That has to be adjudicated in a fair court that we actually trust; not some kind of Facebook supreme court that they built on the sly.

Jack Murphy Live – John Robb