Tagged: philosophy

This Time I Resolve Why There Are No More Great Ideas (And This Also Explains Why Good Ideas Didn’t Ever Really Come Out Of Anywhere But The West)

I’ve had my “Great Books of the Western World” set for over two years now. Not including the Synopticons, books 2 & 3, I am on book 5, I think. Aeschylus. I think. Anyhow, the thing that has been unresolved until now is how no one else cares about these amazing books and ideas.

Finally, today, it hit me. To put it avant-garde, the reason no one cares about the “great books/ideas” is because there are too many Indians to kill this time around. Put inversely, the reason no one cares about the “great books/ideas” is because there is no vast, unexplored, unconquered, and ungoverned terra firma to be again treated like New Eden. After all, it’s “you’ve been kicked out of the Garden”, not, “You’ve been kicked out of wherever you settled after being kicked out of the Garden.”

We don’t seem to be able to think more than one step ahead.

Put another way, great ideas and great books—so says the zeitgeist—have become meaningless. We ask, “What’s the point? Where could we put them into practice and try to build up a utopia for a third time?”

“Is anyone really going to redraw European boundaries? Will untamed regions of Africa and South America and Siberia and Northern Canada really find themselves useful to man?”

“Where is the Neo New World? Or the Ultimate Final Frontier?”

“Speaking of, will it be ‘New USA’ once we’re living somewhere off earth? Or just ‘USA’?”

My step-son just finished reading about Columbus, from an author who adored Columbus—rightly so—and on no follow-on ACT/SAT-prep style reading comprehension test is Columbus:Spain::Musk:USA, no matter how many dictionaries or books I let him use.

Changing generations, my good, in fact, great friend is working on his History PhD, and in so doing writes on mountaineering and exploration. I used to think he was writing the history of mountaineering and exploration. Now I see that he is writing that mountaineering and exploration are actions and ideas which can only be found in history—like the word “homespun”. The crazy part of this aspect of my realization is that many people and cultures never climbed mountains for pleasure or explored uncharted vistas in the first place. It seems that nature is not equitable when dishing out bravery. We might say that bravery is actually unnatural. Better to hide, run, and go hungry.

In the end, despite the depressing nature of the above, I am terribly excited to have resolved this.

Stay tuned for a post about how I resolve the follow-up quandary, which is deciding how to let fellow earthlings know that they are not very nice neighbors without killing the men, raping the women, and enslaving the children. I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.

Let’s Be Honest

Can we be honest with each other, you and me? Let’s be honest. This whole “Say Her Name” challenge chant that accompanies the now nightly tide of stupidity is an indefensible, ignorant, and superstitious holdover from Old Testament days and Old Testament locations.

I get it. The “whites” who are marching alongside the “blacks” are trying to be empathetic and sympathetic (and many other multi-syllabic words which these self-same “blacks” still aren’t certain as to whether they mean friend or foe). And in their skin-deep efforts, the “whites” are willing to go with the flow. In the meantime, the “whites”, who also like to wrap the utterance of “RBG” in a knowing look (Do you honestly believe you knew her? I know that you haven’t read one, not one, of her opinions. Stop the nonsense.)—as I was saying—the “whites” have tragically left their thinking caps at home when they pack their camelbacks for the day trip downtown. But if they knew what the “blacks” chanting “Say Her Name!” really meant to accomplish—some kind of wishful, but literal, deification of the dead #BreeWay—I have to believe that these “whites” would pack it up and head home.

Despite the “blacks’” most passionate and honest desire to take us back to the days when crossing the Jordan meant something, since the Resurrection, the utterance of only one name actually requires decision, actually might have consequence, and that name, as you know, is Jesus. And even here most people, Christians included, don’t really believe the good Lord is going to hold their silence against them at the Pearly Gates.

Anecdotally, I’m told that in Ethiopia if a person exclaims, “Jesus!” after dropping a dish, stubbing their toe, or hearing a loud noise, then a non-believer will often playfully retort, “Are you Pente?” They, of course, mean “of the pentecostal denomination” which is renowned for placing great value on all things uttered. I mention that here because that should get you close to understanding what the “blacks” you’re marching alongside, and posting yard signs in support of, really mean.

On the whole, in this superficially diverse movement, the “blacks” are foolish for thinking this is finally “their” moment—foolish especially for believing the “whites” who literally have nothing better to do with their time really care. And the “whites” are foolish for dropping the great legacy of skepticism and regressing to the point of ancestor worship. To be clear: Civilized man doesn’t do ancestor worship anymore. There is power in the name of Jesus (or there might be), but that’s it. No amount of chanting any other audible elixir will ever change that. So let’s be honest. You know this. Or you used to. Please remember it.

Review of Bob Woodward and Friends’ Forgettable Effort

I don’t remember who taught me to do this, maybe it’s just the way my mind works. But if I hear that, for example, some otherwise successful and prepared leader lost a battle because he underestimated his enemy, I try to live under the mindset of the other extreme. In this case, I live always overestimate my enemy. (Enemy is a bit harsh here, but it’s quick.)

What’s on my mind, today, is that the pundits won’t stop. It’s been four years of Trump and they won’t stop. They somehow believe that today is the day I’ll rise up with them in indignation that Trump lied. (“Up-played.” It’s brilliant.) But until recently I couldn’t answer the question, “Why do the pundits press on? What drives them?”

It cannot be love of country. They cannot be driven by their love of the USA because that’s what drives me. That’s what drives Trump. If I felt they loved America, then I wouldn’t care what they said, anymore than I care what Trump says. But I do care about what they say, rather I do struggle to understand how and why they continue to point out the obvious as if it isn’t obvious. And so something else must be driving them.

At first, I wanted to treat the pundits like children. Like children, I thought, the pundits just didn’t like the man. But then I remembered that underestimating my opponent can lead to disaster, so I have given up that line of thinking.

What, then, would the wisest, most educated and well-read humans who ever walked the earth (here’s the intentional overestimate) be so ate up with that they’d persevere day in and day out against Trump? That became my question.

The answer: Vanity.

If I was wise, well-read (let’s not forget camera ready and funny), and lived in the United States of America right now, I’d hate that no one noticed me. I’d be super pissed that all my brainpower was not translating to real power. Sure, I may live in opulent comfort, but I would know that if I had been alive only a few generations ago, then I would have found that my abilities would have placed real power within my grasp. I’m talking Trump-like power. I would know that I could have very likely been KING OF THE WORLD!! (Flat or not.)

But, as it stands, we all live today. Right now. And no one, not-a-me, and not-a-you, (and not the pundits—from either side) are going to live on in history. President Donald J. Trump will, though. He, in all his buffoonery and apparent lies and orange hair and every other flaw the wise and well-read (perhaps even physically fit) pundits point out unrelentingly, will live on.

Do I care that Trump lives on and I do not? Nope. But if I was as wise and well-read as my (overestimated) opponents must be, then I have to think I’d resent that despite all my education and training and ambitions, that I, daily, was proving to be impotent and forgettable.

This perspective, achieved by overestimating my opponent, allows little ol’ me to admit that this would be a hard truth to face. I could even admit that this hard truth might just drive me into an incessant, blind rage.

I’ve Struck It!

I’ve struck it. Eureka! I finally have a narrative that satisfies. It’s perfect. It’s coherent. It’s complete.

The American dream, the American way of life, requires agreement. It cannot be imposed. It cannot be forced.

For the last few months, like everyone else, I have been struggling with the way the fringe movements, the radicals, have somehow taken over the news cycle and captivated us all. I can’t understand how illiterate blacks (culture, not skin color) could put out a written mission statement on a website (“talk to text” maybe? Idk). And I am perplexed by the “patriot” type groups who spend their small fortunes on fingerless gloves and beard trimmers.

But now I’ve finally come across something that explains it all. (Thanks, John C. Calhoun.) America requires, as a necessary and sufficient cause, the agreement of the people.

No National Guard troops can maintain America. No police force in riot gear. No chanting, whether metered, rhyming or deity-invoking or not. No umbrellas. No N95s. No vaccines. Nope, no element of force will do the trick here in America.

Other, perhaps all other, types of government, types of countries, can be maintained through force. But not ours. Not America.

Why, then, are we seemingly headed towards disaster, month after month? Because we don’t agree to America anymore. The blacks (culture, not skin color) don’t agree to receiving gifts. The patriots don’t agree to being taught history by the illiterate blacks (culture, not skin color).

The inevitable question this realization leads to is, “How do we achieve agreement again?” And that question hinges on, “What in the world do we believe the future holds anyhow? Flying cars? Cures? Mars?”

Many educated Americans point to China as the way of the future (after all, they still wear masks on public transit—no complaints). Many blacks (culture, not skin color) point to Wakanda (or are the protests literally all going to end if a handful of policemen are in jail?).

In other words, without the future, we’re in a tight spot.

As your captain, I’d offer that the future must be a successful landing. To do that, we have to truthfully assess the condition of the atmosphere and decide if we have enough fuel to reach our original destination (life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness). If not, we need to head to our alternate (the hope that our children will be the right skin color when full lawlessness officially breaks out–Rwanda-style).

To BLM: I won’t overlook lies to save a handful of American lives—not sure if this is hard to understand, but some things are more important than life. Truth is one of them.

To Patriots: I can’t commit. But please email me if you decide to change which flag means “same team”.

Flawless Execution

I do not know how Trump’s team chose “red” for their ballcaps.

I think I understand why red ballcaps became a symbol of all things evil.

I am very certain that I adore the recent and unfolding slight-of-hand in which red ballcaps have been replaced with the American flag.

And I am here today to say that the exchange was executed flawlessly.

You see, the American man can always spot the enemy. This ability is no mutant, divine, or alien superpower, but it does seem to reside in the rushing rivers of our blood. Likewise, the enemy always knows that deep down, in the empty recesses of their heart, that they are an enemy to America. The reason the American man and the enemy cannot coexist is found in this simple fact: the enemy lies. Consequently, rather than come outright and announce their disdain for all things star spangled, they strategically and deceitfully choose to disdain abstract, absurd, and obnoxious straw men. So be it.

But, but, I say! The American flag is now back in the mix.

Until today I never really considered what it must be like to view Old Glory through the eyes of an enemy. Did the Germans really ever hate it, back in the day? Doubtful. Could Osama Bin Laden look upon the American flag-blanketed bases in his homeland without envy? Yeah, right. Even now if I imagine my Trump-hating relatives (the BLMer up the street), I have to ask myself, when they see the Red, White, and Blue, does not the same awe and wonder that pulses through my body pulse through their body, leaving only goosebumps in their wake? Surely!

All this to say I’m thinking about a tattoo. And a vinyl wrap for my truck. And a flag pole for my truck. And a few T-shirts, starring you know which object of admiration.

Flawless execution. The American man has always known. Now all do.

You never hated Trump. It wasn’t the red ballcaps that disturbed your baser passions. From birth you had it out for Truth. Then you couldn’t stand to work hard and your lack of self-control was only outdone by your envy. Later you wouldn’t accept that you were born into a world which demanded, and did not apologize for its insistence, that you accept responsibility. Afterward, you furnished any and every argument, from weak to completely unfounded, against accountability. Finally, it has been revealed that your ignorance of history is only to be silenced by your cry to change it.

Uncursed Art

“…we ought rather to be proud of the fact that American literature can boast of at least one good, decent, Christian author who was cursed neither with self-consciousness nor with false modesty, those banes of art.” — William Leigh Jr.

The NBA players are so stupid that they can’t distinguish between “boycotting” and “quitting”. You can’t boycott yourself. Or, I guess you can, but it’s called quitting. Let it be said, unsurprisingly, when times got rough, LeBron quit.

Heading into this election, I have the same feeling I had last election: Trump is going to win. It doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t have to make sense. I offer as proof the fact that so many well-to-do whites hate him.

Vice President Mike Pence is Uncle Tom. It’s remarkable to me. Whether he really is as squeaky clean as his image makes him appear, I look at Pence and see a man rewarded for simple obedience. In this way, he is a genius and I couldn’t respect him more.

I watched, for obvious reasons, Black Panther last night. The notion of Wakanda is still troubling to me. I want to be Batman. I wouldn’t mind being Superman. Wolverine would be a great superhero to embody. But I can’t get with Black Panther. His ultimate power is his hidden culture? His ultimate power is he knows that his people are better than generally perceived? More and more I find myself persuaded that the single most harmful thought to a man is the notion that his ancestors were enslaved, the notion that his “people” were a victim at some point, the notion that someone else is controlling his destiny.

Peggy Noonan is out of touch. Evidence: she pontificated about what a 12 year old would think after watching the DNC. She said, “I’d wonder if I had a chance.” Well, I spend a lot of time around two ten year olds. This is what they would think, this is what they would say after watching the DNC, “Tonight’s the night. I am going to tell him I’m gay. No, wait, I’ll say ‘LGBTQ.’ Or maybe I’ll just tell him who I ‘like’ right now.” Then the child would utter some strong, terribly heartfelt call for wearing masks, taking vaccines, and a defense of all things black, all things China, all things climate, all things women, all things equality, all things diversity, and all things safety. In other words, the 12 year old would think and speak like a child. Because they are one.

No Means No

I had an epiphany this week. Long story short, my ex-wife of 7 years is holding H- hostage. I haven’t seen my daughter in almost a year.

This all started when I called to say I got a new job in a different state, a much, much better job. Instead of saying something normal like, “Congratulations,” she said, “You’re abandoning your child! I get 100% custody!” (Keep in mind, I wasn’t and she doesn’t. Custody is not even a word in Family Court in our state.)

Naturally, the big picture is a classic “he says, she says” situation. And naturally, she has an attorney who makes her feel incapable of child abuse. But, make no mistake, she’s actively committing child abuse—for what else can kidnapping be called?

Anyhow, the point of this post (did I mention it’s over 7 years after the divorce?) is to highlight the epiphany I had. And this is it.

My ex is still in love with me.

Crazy, right? I know. But it’s true.

Why else would a woman create a parenting plan which requires communication between us in order to coordinate my parenting time? As in, she could have said, “Father picks up daughter on July 16th between 7:00am and 7:01am and returns daughter on July 23rd between 7:00 and 7:01am and if Father doesn’t make these windows, then he forfeits that time or the following time.” But no. She develops a plan which requires that I coordinate every trip with her. In other words, I don’t see my daughter unless I talk to my ex.

If I wanted to talk to my ex, I would’ve said, “I want to talk to you,” not, “No matter how much it costs, no matter if I lose my daughter’s childhood, I never, ever want to talk to you again,” which is the thematic equivalent to, “I want a divorce.”

At first I thought this requirement of the parenting plan was about control. That’s an easy to make mistake, right?

But now I see she’s still in love. It’s sickening, really. She can’t let go after 7 years? And this after having obtained an attorney within 30 minutes of me saying, “I want a divorce”?

Believe me when I say that I am quite a catch. But no means no.

No means no.

And no means no especially now that you’ve revealed the level of commitment you’d stoop to just to get me back inside you. You’re pimping your own daughter. You’re an abomination.

No means no.

Every Man A King; No Man A God.

As usual, I feel like I understand my “opponent” through and through. And as usual, despite my great efforts to understand, for my part, I feel misunderstood. This feeling besets me strongest whenever I read about myself from my “opponent’s” perspective. Upon concluding such reading, I just don’t recognize myself. So I’m asking you, dear, mask-wearing, “woke”, and godless leftist, please, argue with the real me. That’s all I ask. This “being misunderstood”, then, is the problem that this post will attempt to remedy. There are two points to be made before getting to the title claim.

Firstly, regarding masks, those in favor of mandating mask-wearing are doing an outstanding job of analogizing their reasons for wanting to bring the full force of the law into the equation. Most recently, the chorus goes: “It’s common sense, no different than speed limits.” Sticking with analogizing (or stooping down to analogizing–as if adults can’t speak plainly or understand plain speaking), my response is: “No, mask-wearing is not like speed limits. Instead, on the driving theme, mask wearing is like middle-aged men driving sports cars.” Put plainly, my belief is that a pandemic can no more be stopped by a mask than aging can be stopped by driving sexy cars.

Secondly, regarding “woke” as a label, I just learned something fascinating. Did you know that before the Civil War, abolitionists had formed firearm-less militias which trained in the middle of the night and subsequently had the nickname, the “Wide-Awakes“? Take a moment to ponder this fact. In the past, the nickname “Wide-Awakes” was applied to those who remained awake during the night hours in efforts to abolish slavery. And abolish slavery they did. Today, uneducated, over-educated, or mis-educated citizens use the label, “woke”. The difference, denoted by the linguistic variation, is staggering, to my thinking. And if I was hurt and mad and everything the “woke” folks are supposed to be, then I’d want everything to do with “Wide-Awakes” and nothing to do with “woke” if I was trying to accomplish anything, to include how my nickname came to be. My reason is simple. Nothing about being “Wide-Awake” betrays stupidity. As in, ask, “Why are you ‘Wide-Awake’?” And a perfectly sound answer would be, “Because it will take extra effort to overcome business as usual.” Whereas everything about being “woke” betrays stupidity. Ask, “What were you ‘woke’ out of?” The answer will either be a commercial truckload of bullshit or *crickets*. And so I’ll tell you. “You were woke from stupidity. And if you were stupid then, you’re probably still stupid.” Such is life.

Now for the good stuff. I want to record here an observation on the left’s prideful godlessness. The left loves being godless. Good for them. To a Christian, this godlessness is a repugnant, prideful, and foolish idea. But I realized something last night while on a walk. The left may not believe in supernatural gods, like the Christian does. But they do believe that the power typically designated to such supernatural beings is real. How do I know? Because of what they want men to do. Trump is a failure as a leader because of many things, they say. Most recently, the left is holding Trump accountable for his inability to both exorcise racism from the human heart and heal sickness–and not just of one person, but of the millions. For the great majority of history and populations, people voiced these very natural and noble requests as “prayers” to gods. Today, the godless left encourage using “votes.” The problem here, the left’s problem, is not the method or the message. The problem is the recipient. Trump can no more accomplish the left’s demands than can Zeus, Jove, or Allah. But that won’t stop the godless left from holding him accountable. This incoherence is just weird.

Men as gods. Seems like we’ve tried this before. Yes, I’m sure of it.

****

Hey, you! That’s right. I’m talking to you. Get with the program! With the advent of America, July 4, 1776, in this country, every man’s a king. And no man’s a god.

One Reason the Literate Feel Uncomfortable and How to Regain Our Peace

One reason literate people like you and I feel uncomfortable as we survey the passing scene is as follows.

Back in mid-August of the year 1837, in England, an election was held, apparently on schedule. Queen Victoria was newly ascended to the throne and a Lord John Russell reported the election results to her in a letter. It reads:

Lord John Russell is sorry to add that bribery, intimidation, and drunkenness have been very prevalent at the late elections, and that in many cases the disposition to riot has only been checked by the appearance of the Military, who have in all cases conducted conducted themselves with great temper and judgment.

I want to call your attention to the “the disposition to riot has only been checked by the appearance of the Military” part.

An obvious reaction is how it feels like this could have been written last week. But such obviousness makes it a blasé reaction, and you deserve better.

The deeper, more profound reaction—the reason for our uncomfortableness—comes upon reflection that rioters like to pretend that their actions are accomplishing something noble. The tale they spin has an “ends justify the means” flavor. Rioters, or those who explain away rioters’ actions as What do you expect?!, load their words with a, “This will be the last time riots are necessary. If you only capitulate to their/our demands, then there will be no more riots,” sentiment.

This is a lie told by criminals.

What were the near riots about in 1837 England? Who cares. What were they about in 1968 in America? Who cares. What were they about last week? Who cares.

The thing that I do care about, the thing that matters, is you and I, the literate, properly identify our problem—uncomfortableness—and address it.

Put bluntly, our problem is we are not quite sure how to effectively explain to rioters, or those who see it as justifiable, that they are merely criminals and/or defending criminal behavior. We’d like to believe words could help. We’d like to believe a conversation would work. We’d like to believe all people, at all times, have something to say that’s worth a listen. The trouble is we can read. Consequently, we know that riots will occur again. And in that instance they will, again, be criminal. And criminal behavior, by definition, is incapable of communicating and reasoning in a civilized manner. So off to jail, by use of force or threat of force, the rioters go.

Conclusion-style, then, we have to admit a truth that we’re generally uncomfortable with; we have to admit that the conversation, the explanation, is foolish to attempt. (Well, we have to admit this if we want to regain our peace, if we want to end the uncomfortableness.) To be clear, I’m commending that we don’t even listen to them. There is nothing to be gained by “understanding” the rioters or those that would defend their behavior—only something to be lost: time.

Response to Mitch Albom: Don’t Scapegoat

Mitch Albom released an Op/Ed that reads no different than anything I’ve ever consumed of his, which is albeit not too much. He has a knack for reasonableness. Today, he was not reasonable. That’s because, today, he defended scapegoating.

In his post, “Coronavirus represents a war of the Everyman,” Mr. Albom asserts, “In fact, I would argue, it’s the biggest issue question facing the U.S. today. How many can be sacrificed? What’s the ‘dead’ number we can live with?”

Later, while arguing that the disease is no less dangerous despite any flattening curve, he writes, “You can get this disease, not know you have it, act irresponsibly, spread it, and indirectly be responsible for someone’s death. If that doesn’t bother you, then you are either soulless, or a president who thinks it’s cute to not wear a mask in an auto plant where everyone else must.”

And to kick things off, before unleashing those two doozies, he describes the virus as, “…a monster that attacks through the air but is animated by unlikely foot soldiers: Ourselves.”

At first, it sounds like he is sticking to undeniable and unassailable truths, but listen closer a second time.

“What’s the dead number we can live with?”

“…animated by…Ourselves.”

Now wait for it…

You can…indirectly be responsible for someone’s death.”

Mr. Albom: someone’s body’s inability to heal itself from a virus does not make asymptomatic me responsible for their death.

Reader, wait! Before you think me callous, lend me your ear.

If all asymptomatic folks get back to normal life, no mask, no social distancing, no nothing—a return to actual normal life—handshakes and hugs, then what happens? We diffuse the blame. That’s what happens.

It won’t have been that the right-wing, gun-toting nut-jobs currently storming the Bastille caused the second wave, the second peak. And it can’t become the socialist, no consequence libtards who claim, “It was Trump!” that smugly prevent the second wave, the second peak.

Like the Senate who took down Caesar as a group, it will be all of us who are indirectly responsible for all COVID deaths. And when “all of us” are responsible, it means “none of us” are responsible.

As clearly as I know how: Asymptomatic individual humans will never be culpable or responsible, directly or indirectly, for deaths during “pandemics.” That is, unless asymptomatic individuals keep behaving in such a manner as to create scapegoats.

Mr. Albom: Don’t put on the mask. I know you’re scared. But sometimes people die. You of all people should know this.

Actually, every time, people die.

And Mr. Albom: Guess what? You aren’t responsible. Your pen can’t stop death. Your words can’t stop death. Your research can’t stop death. Your experts can’t stop death. Your mask can’t stop death. But your behavior can relieve your pain like a laugh can relieve sadness. Don’t put on the mask. You won’t have killed anyone, no different than before.

But when asymptomatic you puts on the mask, you put on something more. No different than Aaron the Israelite Priest of old put the sin on the goat, you put the virus on me.