Because we cannot trust the media

The proposition that the entire media constitutes a coordinated single cabal of misinformation is apt to be dismissed as a conspiracy theory. However, the usual epistemic argument against conspiracy theories, that by casting all sources of information into doubt they render themselves unfalsifiable, does not apply. We do have independent sources of information, of at least two types. We each have local information, unmediated by the mass media, about our own neighborhood and city, our own business or employing company, and any groups to which we may belong that espouse non-mainstream views (e.g. a church or political group). Thus, we can know, when an incident in our locale gains national attention, that the national media has distorted the story (suppressing details here, emphasizing irrelevancies there) to fit it into one of their standard templates (e.g. “police and schools pick on blacks for no reason”). We can know for certain that when they report on our own credal minority group, not only is the reporting unremittingly hostile, but it fails even to accurately state what our group’s beliefs and their reasons are. Secondly, we each have knowledge that, while not local in the above sense, is not widely accessible. That is, we each have expertise, e.g. extensive knowledge of a natural science or a foreign culture, that takes time and effort to acquire and is thus not widely shared. We each find that when the news media reports on a topic in our own area of expertise, they are confused and inept. Finally, while it is not knowledge per se, we each have logical and mathematical reasoning skills and can notice when the media narrative doesn’t even make sense. For example, the supposed actions of the supposed villains don’t match their supposed motives, or they seem to have no motive at all.

We each have independent sources of information to check that the media is dishonest and unreliable, but your evidences will not be the same as mine. The media does have a monopoly on global, accessible information. Since your proof will be different than mine, I will just assume that, like me, you have already come to this conclusion yourself. Let us then examine the consequences of that conclusion.

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The Luxurious Road to Lot’s Door

“Fulness of bread was the occasion of Sodom’s sin.”

Robert South, “On Matthew 17:21” (c. 1675)

Sodom’s sin was not restricted to the acts we know as sodomy, although unnatural coition was a striking indication of the deeper evil that gripped that city on the plain.  Sodom’s deeper evil was luxury, by which is meant profusion, extravagance and excess, and luxury is evil because it goes beyond what is called for.  There is no call for luxury, whether by nature, or by reason, or by God, and this is why luxury is rebellion against all three. Continue reading

The Duty to Crush Dreams

“Keep the imagination sane—that is one of the truest conditions of communion with heaven.”

Nathaniel Hawthorne, Passages from the American Notebooks (1868)

Imagination is the power to simulate sensation without external stimuli, and every intelligent person knows this power can be healthy or depraved.  The word depraved means bent, so that imagination is depraved when it is bent to simulate sensations that it should not simulate.  These may be the hallucinations of a lunatic or the forbidden figments of a “dirty mind,” and these and many other simulated sensations are insane because they cripple those who imagine them. Continue reading

Social Justice in 1940

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The phrase “Social Justice” was used by Father Charles Coughlin (1891 – 1979) for his weekly newsletter (1936 – 1942). Distinctly right-wing, Father Coughlin wanted to keep the U.S.A. out of foreign wars. He also wanted to keep the Federal Government out of everyday life. I remember several professors at UCLA in the 1970s who knew of Coughlin and made a point of denouncing him. No one, particularly on the Left, knows of Coughlin nowadays. The irony runs rich.

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Redundancy as a Tell

Redundancy is a sure sign of disordered thought. Consider the recently popular term, “lived experience.” What other sort of experience might humans have, than such as are suffered by living beings? Or again, “social justice:” there are no other sorts of justice than the social sort.

Such locutions are usually obfuscate. “Lived experience” means really “my experience, which trumps yours;” “social justice” means really “socialism.”

Watch out then for modifiers that perform no real rhetorical work. They are trying to fool us into accepting their real denotations as just, and so to dull our moral wits.

We can extend this charge to any newly fashionable locution. Any such are likely to be propaganda. Beware them.

The Nebulous Consequences of Acting Like You Believe

Under Russian communism, people knew what they were supposed to say and what not, but it did not mean that the majority of Russians actually believed Russian propaganda, that was why things like “The Terror” were perhaps necessary; purges and executions keeping people bewildered and scared. East Germans did not simply embrace Marxism either, hence the desire to escape over the Berlin Wall by some, and the need for perpetual surveillance. Professors at the University of Belgrade under Yugoslav communism who were overt Marxists were regarded as hacks and jokes by perhaps the majority of the students; not people to be taken seriously, though the relatively moderate rule of Tito, not being as oppressive as Soviet-style communism, was also not as opposed. Likewise, it seems like German fascism enjoyed more popular support than Bolshevism which really was a tiny movement. Russians were used to autocratic rule, and still are. So, once the Czar abdicated, the “head of state” could be fairly neatly replaced with Lenin and his cronies. Popular support was neither expected nor required. Russian peasants tended to be staunchly theistic and thus opposed to communism with its atheism. The disaster of collectivized farming would not have helped either. Continue reading

The End of Normal

Confusingly, the Left seems to offer libertinism and the freedom to gratify desires of almost any description without compunction; drugs, random sex, prancing around naked, dressing up as cartoons in cosplay, you name it. However, if your desire is to be a normal family man or woman, then you are a target for the most puritanical and judgmental hatred. This has been going on for a long time. Feminists were encouraged by people like Simone de Beauvoir to regard wives who had children and cared for them themselves as despicable. People with the most far-out “identities” want to be regarded as normal and to be accepted. Some older old-fashioned homosexuals used to actually like the “transgressive” aspect of “forbidden love” and wanted nothing to do with normalization and gay marriage, by analogy with an accidental happenstance peek down a blouse versus the bare-it-all boredom of a bikini. Continue reading

A Bit More on Amtor – Is Carson of Venus a Paracletic Hero?

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Roy Krenkel (1918 – 1983): Cover Art for the Ace Edition of Escape on Venus

In Burroughs’ Amtor — A Satire of Ideologies, I remarked that in Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Venus series, issued in four books from 1932 to 1944, the reader could discern the author’s theory of ideology or, at any rate, his notion (let us say) of ideology.  I wrote that, for Burroughs, “Ideology pits itself against life as such”; and that, “Every ideology is [in Burroughs’ judgment] a nihilism that, standing against vitality, beckons the moribund.”  The reader will find in the first three Amtor books (Pirates of Venus, Lost on Venus, and Carson of Venus) strong satirical rejections of Communism, Trans-Humanism, Eugenics, and National Socialism —  all four of which strike Burroughs as unjust because they exercise violence to coerce a grotesque and arbitrary conformity.*  In reference to Eugenics, the thesis is somewhat controversial.  Burroughs supported certain aspects of Eugenics, but earlier in his life than the Amtor series, and in Lost on Venus he has his hero, Carson Napier, repudiate the doctrine because a council of eugenicists has condemned his true love, Duare, to death.  Perhaps the association of Eugenics with the Nazis had changed Burroughs’ mind.  Whatever the case, the pattern in the Eugenics plotline corresponds to those in the Communist, Trans-human, and National Socialist plotlines.  It strikes me that Burroughs had seen the inexpugnable malevolence of any Eugenics-based polity and, through his hero, had turned his back on it.  No reference to my notion of the “Paracletic Hero”– which I had treated extensively in Robert E. Howard’s Conan – occurs in Burroughs’ Amtor but I was thinking about it as I wrote.  In brief, a Paracletic Hero is one who in his deeds conspicuously opposes the ancient ritual of sacrifice, on which a particular society founds itself, and seeks to free its pending victims.  Conan, like C. L. Moore’s Northwest Smith, achieves this goal and thereby deserves the appellation.  (See my Monstrous Theologies at The Orthosphere.)

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Those Who Remember and Forget as I Do are My Nation.

“The essence of a nation is, that all its individual members should have many things in common; and also, that all of them should hold many things in oblivion.”

Ernest Renan, “What is a Nation” (1882)

It is easy to found national feeling on the shared memory of glorious victories over the nation’s enemies.  It is just as easy to found it in the shared memory of the nation’s humiliation by hateful oppressors.  But it is impossible to found national feeling in the shared memory of a glorious victory of one half of the nation over a humiliated other half.  When a nation has been torn by internecine strife, as most nations eventually are, national feeling must be founded on mutual and common forgetting.

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