March 20, 2021

Perusing Comment's Sections is not a Productive Use of my Time

Over at Instapundit they are discussing the recent decision by Amazon to ban "When Harry Became Sally". 

Ed Driscoll ends the brief excerpt with this...

  "I’m so old I can remember when Jeff Bezos was believed to have been a libertarian."

...which kind have set me off more than mere words should have.

Because, while i used to consider myself a libertarian, or at least libertarian-leaning back in the '90s,. Indeed, I could have typed that sentence with a straight face a few years ago, but now? 

There is nothing un-libertarian about Bezos's decision, (at least not in practice, in THEORY this is an affront to the whole concept).

 Libertarians (at least the Reason-Mag hipster-douche libertarians) seem to be  fine with cancel culture as long as it's the 'squares' being cancelled. 

Back when it was the fringe case of a patassier asking govt. not to force him to participate in a religious ceremony forbidden by his faith, the libertarian mantra was "Bake the damn cake!" Now we hear a lot of "Muh private biddness!"...as long as the view getting defenistrated is not a view approved of by the 'clerisy'. 

They oppose the death penalty and implore us not to execute child-rapists, mass murderers or anyone. This has a very defensible argument behind it, particularly when one remembers how many people have been cleared of their charges after conviction...or if one just ponders the existence of the current Vice President.  However, to libertarians it does not apply to a complete innocent that happens to be conceived inside a woman who finds her inconvenient. 

Libertarians applaud the destruction of monuments and graves that memorialize our tragically misguided ancestors, because no time, context, nor cultural differences nor understanding can excuse the abhorrent practices of that age, but out the other corner of their mouth they lobby hard for 'frictionless' trade with China and every third world hellhole that cuts costs by substituting chains and a whip for paychecks. 

They rail against tariffs with an intensity that would make Fitzhugh proud. When the human cost of the exporting of jobs is brought up, they, after a moment of bewilderment that anyone should care for such inferiors that would not see a job loss as OPPORTUNITY, roll out their Gartmans to explain to us in small condescending words how no one should be asked to subsidize the job of an idiot who can't compete. ( compete against the aforementioned slave labor that is).  Someone's orientation should be respected (I agree!), unless one is a straight male or a lesbian then the libertarian chant of freedom is "Suck the d*** bigot!"consent be damned apparently. (I don't think Ayn Rand would approve.) 

 I used to consider myself a libertarian, considering it to be rooted in the enlightenment and not the style policing of upper-class mean girls. But I was young then and had not encountered the sneering disdain and contempt for...what exactly I'm not sure....perhaps those not high on the foetid air that collects in the mezzanines of law school libraries?  I dunno, in the last few years they've just gone full reta...oh wait we can't say that and it's OK because 'muh private biddness'.   

I think libertarians are right, or at least on solid ground on many issues, but they seem to attract autists who cary every single point to a ludicrous extreme and can't percieve (or care) about the societal costs of some of their policies. This is why I've been solidly conservative for many years, which might surprise some of you but conservatism in the U.S. is what is considered Liberalism in much of the rest of the world. (It's a conservative interpretation of the constitution placing limits on government power rather than a liberal interpretation of the commerce clause allowing the government to any old thing. ) I think that there are arguments for even the more hedonistic proposals of libertarians such as legalizing drugs and prostitution, but the societal costs and other second order effects have to be taken into account and factored in by something other than the market...which will be quite happy to to sell cigarettes to kids and the ultimate end state of legalizing prostitution might well be slavery for the sex-workers. The libertarian response seems to me to be the waving of the free-market totem and a recitation of verses from the book of Hayek. 

Free markets DO efficiently sort goods services and people, and will quickly find a correct price for anything, including your daughter's virginity and her organs. This is why I do not want to live in AnCapiStan. 

I think that Conservatism represents a good middle path between the post-Calvanistic scolds on the American left and the sort of atheistic rapaciousness and hedonism that libertarianism seems to increasingly represent.  (So much so that conservatives might one day corner the Buddhist vote.) 

I don't see Libertarianism in its current form as anything so much as a, destructive, frantic, and ill-advised overcorrection to the idiocies of neo-liberalism. It does, however have the very great advantage of being nigh-infinitely preferable to the attempts by the left to correct the same problems which are actively malign rather than merely oblivious. 

Still, I'll stick with the middle path for now. 


UPDATE: A rather less verbose comment I made at Instapundit was the origin of this post. I was surprised to see it getting upvotes, but when I refreshed the page it had been deleted. 

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March 14, 2021

Not a Reassuring Trend

This is "interesting".


So I encountered a story about how the ATF has shut down a website and arrested the owner for the crime of distributing schematics of auto-sears. (Auto-sears are devices one can install into a semi-auto firearm in order to convert it to full auto and perhaps not have it blow up.)  The ATF, for its part is boasting that they did the thing. Oh. Also, anyone who purchased these products from this company is facing 10 years in prison and 250,000 dollar fine. Now, these schematics were printed on sheets of metal  so that one could, if one had access to a machine shop, cut out a piece of metal and, if one folded it properly have an auto sear. Still. It's just schematics, plans, words, and this isn't even under the purview of the thorny problem of ITER regulations. A book on how guns work, is not that different from this, so the implications are worrisome.

But wait.

It gets worse. 

This very same morning, right before I started to write this post, I stopped by Pixy's and found this story about how the CEO of a Canadian company has been indicted first by EU ministries of justice and now by Biden's justice department for having adequate encryption. 

  Last night, the United States Department of Justice announced that they had indicted the CEO of Sky Global, Jean-Francois Eap, and one of his associates, Thomas Herdman, for allegedly violating federal racketeering laws (RICO). Herdman is said to be a former global distributor of Sky Global devices.

"According to the indictment, Sky Global’s devices are specifically designed to prevent law enforcement from actively monitoring the communications between members of transnational criminal organizations involved in drug trafficking and money laundering."
 

Of course they are designed to prevent anybody from actively monitoring one's messages, whether they be ChiCom secret police, Corporate spies, Murderous spouses, Sharia enforcers, child traffickers interested in your kids, Antifa hate mobs, white nationalist thugs, or the Westborro Church. Thwarting 4th amendment violations is really just a happy bonus. 

Note too, that the people indicted are not alleged to have trafficked in drugs or done anything untoward except honor their contract. They are likely to go to jail because someone who was allegedly bad might have used their service (but this is unproven because the messages the Justice Department wants to read to prove they are bad are encrypted.) If it is KNOWN that these are bad people, then the evidence that was obtained independently of reading their mail should be used to prosecute them. 

The 50 cent army and STASSI, are not things we should pattern our law enforcement methods after. Two different stories, on the same day, both involving law enforcement deciding that first and fourth amendment provisions do not apply to the internet, is a troubling trend indeed. 


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February 23, 2021

Reflections

... upon the direction of our current discourse lurk below "the fold". 


Picture is, I do sincerely hope, unrelated. 



Art by あすてろid (Asteroid?) Support him on FANBOX and Pixiv Sketch!
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February 05, 2021

What?

Oh LOOK!


It's all ok.

They're not afraid anymore!

It's all Oh Kaaay

There's no reason to hide anymore.

They can come right out in the open and say it.

It wasn't a conspiracy THEORY.



Saying something as spicy as this, even yesterday would get you banned from social media and perhaps loose your job or even your bank account. 

Now the conspiracy theory is a virtue signal. 

Why in God's name would Time publish this?

I can think of four reasons.

1: TIME is a principled publication seeking unfettered truth and published this bombshell out of a sense of civic responsibility. 

2: The editors at TIME have lost the plot and decided that the Q-Anon idiots should not be allowed to have all the fun. 

3: They are gloating and rubbing our faces in our helplessness to further demoralize us.

4: They aim to incite people on the right to act out of desperation and despair, as the degenerate fuckwits did at the Capitol last month, because they need a better Horst Wessel moment.

That last is kind of outre' but one wonders, given the tensions in the country, and the assumption that the editorial staff at TIME are not blithering idiots, if that isn't at least possible in current year. 

The message of the Time story, is as follows.

The Left control's the horizontal.

They control the vertical. 

There is no escape.

Not by boat.

Not by plane nor foot or even rocket.

 


Please dissuade me of my crazy rantings and troublesome conclusions in the comments. 

In case of the article getting memory holed, as often happens, it will be copied and pasted below the fold. 
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January 19, 2021

Democracy Dies in the Derpness

By now most of you are familiar with the running gag that is the intersection of current events with R.A. Heinlein's Future History, the period he called The Crazy Years


He wasn't quite as prescient as it may seem. In his timeline, the era of looniness took place before the first moon landing and ended thereafter, whereas in ours, the first wave of Cray-Cray  took place during and immediately after the Apollo program, which despite its success saw space development subsequently faceplant and suck its toes until recently when private industry began to take the lead and make real strides in space access .


Anyway, this was brought to mind by my encountering, just before I went to bed, this headline, which was so fractally crazy that it kept me up all night. 

To understand Trump’s support, we must think in terms of multiracial Whiteness


'..the fuck!?'

I.

What!?

How?

I cannot even. 


  Readers may also wish to ponder how a distaste for racial preoccupation is framed, rather boldly, as "a discriminatory worldview.”

Multiracial whiteness promises Latino Trump supporters freedom from the politics of diversity and recognition. For voters who see the very act of acknowledging one’s racial identity as itself racist, the politics of multiracial whiteness reinforces their desired approach to colour-blind individualism.

That being bad, you see. 

Racism is one of the most pernicious and vile evils in the annals of humankind, and the notion that treating people the same regardless of their skin color is bigoted is so far from reality as to be diseased thinking.  

A.E. Van Vought had thoughts on what constitutes "crazy"...

"Craziness can be measured by maladaptive behavior. The behavior the society uses to solve one kind of problem, when applied to an incorrect category, disorients it. When this happens the whole society, even if some members are aware of the disorientation, cannot reach the correct conclusion, or react in a fashion that preserves society from harm. As if society were a dolphin that called itself a fish: when it suffered the sensation of drowning, it would dive. But a dolphin is a mammal, a member of a different category of being. When dolphins are low on air, they surface, rather than dive. Putting yourself in the wrong category leads to the wrong behavior.”

It's hard to  conceive of less correct categorizations than having "Judge people not by the color of their skin, but the content of their character" under the heading "Racist" and judging people by their ethnicity as virtuousness. Indeed, like Vought's deep diving drowning dolphin, it is the exact opposite of correct and can only lead to a grim end.

One indication that a current event might be crazy is when the best, and most succinct take is from the Babylon Bee

However, while it's easy to dismiss the WaPo writer's perspective as crazy, it should not be dismissed out of hand that they might actually be aware of the contradictions, and therefore are evil. Dividing the nation is useful, not only to our enemies(who in the case of China have deep pockets to pay for such services) but to a subset of civil rights non-profits which has become quite a lucrative profession for a certain swath of our upper middle class. Furthermore, note the horror expressed at "color blind individualism". Ruling individuals is like herding cats...a philosophy of rugged individualism and personal freedom is a good bit check on tyranny. Conversely, tribes, or other groups can be moved about and controlled much more efficiently, like sheep or cattle, even a dog can do it. As such a collection of competing, mutually suspicious groups are easier for a totalitarian to deal with. (In much the same way, regulators prefer a few large companies to thousands of small businesses, as they are easier to keep track of and pay off or punish.) 

So it is possible that this is not so much insanity as pure malevolence. 

However, "multi-racial white supremacy" is such a categorical contradiction that for now, I'll grant them the benefit of the doubt and assume they're just stark-raving-cuckoo-for-Coca-Puffs. 

Note though, that craziness, especially that which is hard to distinguish from evil, is not benign, quite the contrary, so we should stay aware of this nonsense and observe this numbnuttery with a wary eye, because whether crazy or evil, this affront to reason has the potential to take us down a dark path indeed. 


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January 13, 2021

Signs and Portents

If you find yourself in a reality where one of the most nuanced and level headed takes on the Capital riot and subsequent Orwellian responses is coming to you from...BEARING...you are likely approaching some scary, crazy times. 


Watch on Bitchute

UPDATE: To be clear, while his overview of the situation we are in post riot is as good as any, Bearing is way out in front of some people I used to read until last week in that he is emphatic that the assholes who stormed through the capitol windows and stole stuff were, in fact, assholes. 

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January 12, 2021

STOP THE SEAL

Youtube and Facebook will no doubt ban this. 


Watch on Bitchute Original source here.

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November 09, 2020

Well Then

I guess I need to state a few things. 


2+2=4


News outlets do not determine elections.

However, the election is NOT quite finished yet. 

There is a very slim chance that Trump might still pull this out. 

That chance is slim but not zero. 

It is also worth pursuing for the simple reason that it is the right thing to do. 

There are legal proceedings (quite proper IMHO) seeking to determine the propriety of the elections. 

Biden, is, therefore, NOT the President president elect (yet). 

I think that it is likely he will be, but I also think it is important to fight that result until the bitter end. 

And I'm not ashamed of that. 

There actually is some evidence of mayhem in the vote-counting in this election

And I do not have any shame about saying that.

If the election does not go my way, I will NOT Burn, Loot, or Murder as a result, for I am not a Democrat. 

I say all this because of a particular tweet. 




Nice life ya had there hick...too bad ya didn't just look the other way...

Obviously, that's good advice what with lists being made and all. If I keep my mouth shut and say nothing, then perhaps they'll ignore me if they come for the Jews, or the Catholics

So really, the smart thing is to refrain from making waves, which I would urge people with children to seriously consider. 

But I'd rather lick doorknobs in Wuhan. 

This is not a political blog, but I will use my modest, Z-List platform to, from time to time, push back against the Biden/Harris administration which looks to be being staffed with creepy and destructive people. 


To Wit

Heck, I might even, given some bizarre set of circumstances, defend the currently presumptive administration as I occasionally did Obama during Biden's tour in the Naval Observatory. 

But I won't be taking Mr. Tapper's ever so 'considerate' advice. 

I'm 50. I'm single. I'm not an imposing human being, but I believe in America, free speech and, fanboy that I am, I am nevertheless adult enough to understand that words are not violence, they are the best way to avoid it. 

I also possess a history degree, and looking back on the 20th century I've gleaned that when they start coming for those who are different or express an unpopular view, silence is unlikely to guarantee one's safety, or produce any good result. 

I do NOT condemn those in precarious position or whose jobs well and truly depend on their silence. We all have to eat. But those of us who do not have family to care for and are not required by our jobs to remain silent on social media probably should step it up a bit.

One other thing:

I am neither stunning, nor brave. I shout to the four winds as anonymously as I can, and I do that because I'm not on the book of Faces or the Twit roost. 

No, I blog at Mee.nu. 

Now, my only connection to my blog's hosting service was as an unpaid Beta tester years ago, but I do think that perhaps now would be an excellent time for people switch to a social media platform that believes in free speech and won't report you to the Marquises of Palo Alto  (or the Gab junior puritan brigade).

 

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November 03, 2020

I've Got to go to Work

But this may be a leading indicator. 


The Yuan is tanking. Apparently the CCP is suffering some sort of reversal as of 23:21 Tuesday evening.  


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Golly

Aside from two or three midterm elections and a similar number of primaries, I have missed zero elections since 1988. I don't think I've EVER seen a line quite as long as the one I stood in this morning, except possibly 2008. 


The fellow behind me had had to leave and get additional clothing earlier in the morning (It was quite cold and windy) He noted that the line earlier had been longer still and gone completely around the school. 

The line was so long that it extended far enough out that city council and school board candidates could legally pitch themselves to voters in line, which they did with much verve and enthusiasm. I found this welcome since it is terribly hard to find out anything about city council or school board candidates who are, by law, not allowed to express a political affiliation. This is he first time in years that I've voted for local offices and not felt that I was just throwing darts. 

The line, for all its length moved quite fast and I was out in just over an hour. 

In stark contrast to the acrimony we see on the news, everyone was civil, pleasant, and supportive of everyone else doing their civic duty, and it was a very diverse crowd, with people of all ethnicities in outfits ranging from suits to coveralls. 

Now.....we wait.

(And wait and wait and wait, since, according to the radio just now,  Governor Moloch McBlackface has said that the state will count ballots that come in by....Friday*. )

*A quick web search turned up nothing corroborating that, but it may be breaking as I type this. 

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November 01, 2020

When the Crash WAS Your Fault

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October 28, 2020

In The Interests of Equal Time...(UPDATED)

more...

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October 23, 2020

WHAT?

DISCUSS...

WATCH ON BITCHUTE HERE.


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A MESSAGE FOR CERTAIN VERY CREDENTIALED PEOPLE WHO HAVE THOUGHTFULLY CHOSEN TO GRACE US WITH THEIR THOUGHTS ON LAST NIGHT'S DEBATE.




PIC VIA.

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October 21, 2020

C'est la Tempête Qui Arrive.

As part of our ongoing policy of attempting to appear big brained and sophisticated, we at Brickmuppet Blog are going to evaluate the results of having the post title in French, which none of us actually speak.


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October 18, 2020

Incoming Storm?

It may not seem like it, but Brickmuppet Blog does generally try to put the political posts below the fold. There are, of course some exceptions to this in an election year, and in general things like the Chinese Social Credit System or clear and present threats to free speech may not be fastidiously placed below, but we do try to not get struggle sessions in your fluff. 


Of course in current year, when everything is crazy and political the policy just not always tenable. 

However.....
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October 15, 2020

Why the Uproar?

In the comments to the post before last, a question was asked that about the recent story regarding Biden's E-Mails. It's a question I've seen asked rather a LOT. 


 What I really don't get is why everyone is freaking out about this. Everyone has KNOWN this. 

Indeed the story is not new, and was reasonably well sourced.  But there are solid reasons that this story is causing so much distress on both sides of the aisle right now. 

A: The left has been denying the story about VP Biden extorting Ukrania on behalf of his son... but the New York Post article appears to be a smoking gun that not only refutes the denials, but indicates that Biden specifically, and deliberately lied before Congress when questioned about the matter. 

B: However, the big reason that this "news" is NEWS is the reaction of Facebook, Twitter and other venues outright banning the story.  This is the most blatant and widespread 'Ministry of Truth' crap we've ever seen in the U.S. The media are killing a story that exposes a politician they support. They are cancelling the social-media-accounts (ability to be heard) of anyone who dares LINK to the story on their platforms, and the New York Post's presence on popular social media sites has ended...presumably until they retract. So the Patricians of PaloAlto have their own 50 cent army, the implications of which are terrifying. Note too that Twitter even shut down the president's campaign Twitter feed, an action which is, in effect, a huge-in-kind contribution to the Biden campaign. 

C: This story is troubling even to those not on the right,  and confirms that what we on the right have been saying about media bias for 35 years is true and actually more scary than even we imagined. 

D: Those pictures of Hunter in the tub with the crackpipe, while pathetic,  are priceless. 

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October 12, 2020

Blasphemer !

I was going to write something on this story, but Pixy found a video that sums up this dumpsterfire nicely. 



Makes a not entirely applicable but still non-terrible intro to the previous post. 

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It's Good to Learn the Mistakes of Others. It's Better Yet to Not Repeat Their Mistakes

Pete Zaitcev linked to this piece by Hillel Ofek in The New Atlantis that looks at why Islamic countries tend to have such a dearth of scientific achievement today, despite having been the undisputed world leaders in the sciences early on. 

The article is well researched and informative. While my history degree did not have islamic society in particular as its main focus, this article certainly comports with what I have researched regarding the matter, and clarifies a few specifics regarding the ascendancy of a particular strain (denomination?) of Sunni thought that is generally considered to be the culprit, but as the article proposes, may well have simply accelerated existing trends within the civilization. 

Honest critiques of "The Religion of Peace" are hard to come by in this day and age as they tend to be either the "woke" apologia frequently produced by todays very PC academia or the product of independent researchers who in response to that Islamophillic dynamic....overcompensate to say the least. It's a good article and I suggest you read it in full. Given today's publishing climate and academic realities I'd go so far as to call it brave.

However, the greatest relevance of the article to us today may not be what it says about another society's past, but the implied warnings it holds for our future. 



While it is commonplace to assume that the scientific revolution and the progress of technology were inevitable, in fact, the West is the single sustained success story out of many civilizations with periods of scientific flourishing. Like the Muslims, the ancient Chinese and Indian civilizations, both of which were at one time far more advanced than the West, did not produce the scientific revolution.

Humans have been humaning for as much as 300,000 years over those 30 millennia there have been flashes of brilliance and periods of innovation that gave us math geometry and the ability to do engineering feats build aqueducts to bring water 56 miles from Subbiaco to the Capitoline hill and many other innovations that are not to be sneezed at, but the massive cascading tsunami of knowledge building upon itself without regard to where new knowledge came from as long as it was testable, that we've enjoyed since the renaissance and enlightenment....well that's sort of thing has started a couple of places, but such golden ages always petered out after a decade or two, or were strangled in the crib by entrenched interests (as in  China and Rome)...except for the two closely linked phenomenae of the Renaissance and Enlightenment begetting the industrial revolution. These bizarre bank shots involving a series of very specific, political, cultural, and religious conditions allowed for something that had not occurred in humanity over its  many endeavors over a third of a million years. Using Thomas Newcomb as a completely arbitrary start for the industrial age, we've been in this happy state for about 300 years. 

That's a thousandth of the time we know that humanity has walked the earth (and we can be reasonably sure the earliest known remains were not the earliest people). So, going into the past of humanity and picking any one year there is a one in a thousand chance that one will land in a world ruled by tyranny, oppression, superstition, backwardness, malthusian cycles of despair looming over lives brutish and short with little or no hope of it ever getting better. That's the norm....the median state of humanity...the direction in which history bends. 

The idea that history and the universe inevitably bends towards progress is a product of 300 years of everything getting better every year. Between 1803 and 1903 we had gone from near feudal agrarian societies of subsistence farmers, to cars, electricity, and airplanes. 66 years later there were human footprints on the moon, shortly after that we were sending rock-&-roll, bagpipe music and porn to the STARS! It is easy to see how, given the short lifespans of humans, some saw this as an inevitable trend, but it is a divergence from the mean that represents only 1/1000th of humanities existence.  

Western civilization, and those others that have used its insights to rekindle and build upon their own lost glories are not examples of the arc of history inevitably bending towards progress, they are an example of a middle finger raised against the very norms of the universe. Our societies are like a kayaker fighting heroically against the flow of a maelstrom threatening to drag us down to the foetid depths that humanity will reach by regressing to its mean. 

And we've stopped paddling. 

Returning to Ofek's article, look what was happening in Islamic universities at about the time that Europe was beginning to leapfrog Islamic civilization. 

  No one paid much attention to the work of Averroës after he was driven out of Spain to Morocco, for instance — that is, until Europeans rediscovered his work.
 

Sounds like Averroës got cancelled. 

The things that made this wondrous aberration in which we live possible are under attack from multiple quarters. The so-called cancel culture used by the cultural enforcers of "wokeness" is becoming every bit as pernicious and stifling as the ash'erite courts in stifling anything outside the accepted norms. One of the reasons that Ofek points to the Ash'erite school for Islam's fall is the inability of the Islamic leadership to reconcile reason and faith, impericism and theology. Christianity explicitly allows for "rendering unto Caesar what is Caesar's" in fact Christ himself (not a prophet or apostle) implored people to do so. There is a very distinct understanding in Christianity, that there is a separation between the secular and the sacred. (The cultural basis for the church /state separation so important to our progress).  Sunni theology sees this as another example of how Christians are weak, and that Christianity is the religion of slaves. 

Likewise, the secular religion that is so sweeping our ruling classes sees itself as fully integrated into the power structure and government, which its adherents see as weapons to be wielded against unbelievers. Certainly that is hyperbolic, but it does not seem to be far from the practical result. A twitter mob is little different from a sharia court, except that it cannot dispense an amputation or direct death penalty yet. It can ensure that someone who commits apostasy, or blasphemy against the received wisdom of those in charge, looses their ability to engage, their banking privileges, and their ability to live in peace.   There were, of course, such blacklists, extortions and literal witchunts, in Europe, but given Europe's balkanized nature, one could leave and go somewhere else. Today, the long arm of the blue-check-stassi can reach you anywhere. 

And it gets worse.  

Unlike Islamic theology, which is based on the Koran, today's transgressions can change minute to minute on the whims of hash tags, and be fiendishly non-intuitive (did you know that understanding that astrology is bollocks is...SEXIST?)  

The pernicious influence of Foucault, Derrida, Sarte' and others is attacking the very foundations upon which this civilizational edifice is built, and the implications are terrifying. 

I'm not suggesting that there's going to be a collapse like the Greek dark age (where they literally forgot how to write and had to re-invent the alphabet) . Technologies are rarely lost. Even after the fall of Rome only a few closely held trade secrets like the chemical formula for the Roman's better concretes and the methods of hydraulic excavation were lost. The beau monde wine-moms are unlikely to discard the washing machines and microwave ovens that have liberated them from 300,000 years of domesticity. It's worse than that. You see the very technologies that make the Twittermob so effective can, as we've seen in China, enable a panopticon undreamed of in the worst nightmares of Orwell. That's a set of technologies that the beneficiaries of these toxic trends are unlikely to see fall by the wayside. Getting out from under such a system would be nigh impossible, not only because of its capabilities, but its stability. After all, freedom as we understand it has been an alien concept for the vast majority of 300,000 years. 

We need to really embrace and promote the values of the enlightenment and push back against those who blame it for our ills. Because if we don't, we will not have cast off our chrysalis,  and moved on to greater things in the stars, but, instead, like our many forebears we will regress to the mean...a bad place to be indeed.   

This dynamic might have implications for the Fermi Paradox, but it has more urgency at the moment for us. 


Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 06:28 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
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September 30, 2020

Why I'm on Team Mask.

A LOT is being said by people I usually agree with and even look up to regarding the oppressive tyranny of having people wear masks, and how this is an unnecessary and useless annoyance, a violation of our civil rights and a sign of submission to a tyrannical state 

I disagree.

If we're going to open up (and I think we should have done so before now) we need to do everything in our power to slow the transmission of this bug. It may be less lethal than it was earlier in the year due to improved treatments, but it is still very lethal to the elderly and the vulnerable. 

While it is true that masks (other than N-95, N-99 and equivalent) provide very incomplete protection, they do provide some, and if everyone is wearing them their aggregate effect is substantial. We've seen this demonstrated in places like Japan, Korea and Singapore where they have been quite effective. 

There is an anti-mask meme going around about a fellow using a chain link fence to stop mosquitoes. This is...flawed.

The virus itself is indeed tiny enough to avoid most facemask fibers, but is generally attached to water droplets and dust particles that are much less so, and thus a significant percentage of viri can be caught by less effective coverings.  Also, the purpose of the mask is not necessarily to protect the wearer, but to prevent spread, with lower grade masks this is to prevent the wearer from transmitting the disease and thereby protect those most vulnerable. If an asymptomatic person and a vulnerable person nearby are both wearing masks, the chances of transmission to the vulnerable individual are significantly reduced. 

A good analogy is the "Duck and cover!" drill that scared so many of us as children during the cold war. That desk we were hiding under (or a convenient ditch) was not going to provide any great protection against an atomic explosion. However, it was one of the few measures that was demonstrated to work...albeit on a macro scale. Ducking and covering, would, in a statistical sense increase ones chances of avoiding injury by an amount that was statistically significant in the aggregate. A, let's say, arbitrarily, 2 percent increase in chance of survival is of no great significance to an individual. However, in a nation of 300 million, that's six million more people alive than there would be otherwise. These macro trends are how public health decisions have to be made. 

I find it amusing that the sneering douchebags who poo poo'd the duck and cover drills as futile are draconian about the masks, and those who understand the grim and desperate calculus behind the old cold war drills and who arm up and  prepare for all manner of catastrophe, won't wear them.

Increasingly the retort to this from the right is the libertarian principle of "Why should I give a f**k about the vulnerable?...I don't like it...ain't gonna do it"


Well, there are counterarguments to that, but as a conservative, I'm unpersuasive by association, so I'll let Karl Kasarda, one of the more Libertarian Libertarians that have Libertarian'd on Gun Tube to explain almost exactly how I feel. 

This is part of an unrelated Q&A session, if for some reason, it doesn't queue up to the right point, the relevant bit is at 39:50

He is kinda wrong about herd immunity being unachievable without a vaccine. In the early 1600's the Natives of North America achieved herd immunity to chicken pox without a vaccine, (but that was a sub optimal outcome for them). Now, the Chi-Com bat-soup-pestilence is nowhere near as dangerous a disease as that, but it has killed almost half as many people as flu1918 did in about one third the time. 

Kasarda also at one point suggests that those not on team mask are sociopaths, but I don't think that is either helpful or even correct. I think most of them are just either autistically oblivious, or fed up with being pushed around.  And in fairness, they do have some completely valid points that don't involve masks. 

The lockdowns seemed like a good idea with the info that was available (particularly the calamity that was befalling Italy) at the time but the implementation in many locales WAS tyrannical. 

The restrictions ARE likely to be a template for any oppressive measures to control the citizenry.  
The masks ARE seen by certain of our leaders as a symbol of submission...one which they ditch as soon as they think the cameras are off
The examples of political targeting with and selective enforcement of the restrictions ARE numerous. 
Perhaps the most worrying trend was the snitch lines reminiscent of the East German Stassi. Furthermore, the prosecutions of protestors, in cars, wearing masks who only wanted to open their businesses, and Parishoners in cars, for violating lockdowns which was followed,  by the initial waves of the still ongoing riots  as not applicable to epidemiological precautions...which were being explicitly endorsed  by  the same health care providers who had pushed for the lockdowns...well that did not inspire confidence that restrictions are not politically motivated cruelty. 
Finally, the devastation wrought on small businesses by the lockdowns and the hyper acceleration of worrying trends in retail and real estate by them have done nothing to alleviate the fears of those who feel (rightly to an extent) that the powers that be hate them and will miss no opportunities to screw with them. 

Note though, that those valid points are about the clumsily targeted lockdowns and not the masks, which are lumped in with them  by a beleaguered and miserable public.

However, if we are to continue to open up again I REALLY don't think that a mask is the hill to die upon. Indeed, to the extent that it mitigates the spread, it will prevent further devastating lockdowns by making them unnecessary and indefensible even to those who gain a sadistic pleasure in inflicting them upon us. 

With regard to those smug nags who look down on those who chafe at the lockdowns as if they were impatient children, I think it was Pete who mentioned in the comments some months back that there are two Americas right now. 

There are those like myself who are unaffected or making MORE money than usual, and those whose lives have been absolutely devastated by the lockdowns. I see little difference in empathy levels between the oblivious libertarians who refuse on "principle" the basic civic duty of wearing a mask to prevent the spread of a disease and the contemptuous indifference that those who can continue their jobs via ZOOM have towards those who are loosing everything while those who hold the keys to power keep them imprisoned. 

The minor annoyance of wearing a mask when in a store or using public transit seems like a small price to pay for ending both the economic and human nightmare, and seems like an easy way to give some protection to those who are most vulnerable to this gift from the CCP. 
 

This being an election year, there are other practical, though less universally appreciated  reasons to wear a mask as well; ones that don't actually involve giving a hoot about anyone else. The vulnerable are largely old people and if they die of the Wu-Flu before November 3rd they will surely (as the dead are wont to do) end up voting Democratic. 


Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 05:35 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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