Category Archives: the Sisko is angry

Unraveling

I won’t sugar-coat this – society is more polarized than a stack of Ray-Ban lenses and I’m getting heartily sick of it. But even worse are all the nauseating lies people tell about it.

When you are a single person, a small company, or a private forum, your exercise of the freedom of association doesn’t really cause any loss or inconvenience to anyone else. A person who can’t get a cake at my place can get it two blocks away. A person who can’t post on my blog can make their own.

But if an entire industry blackballs you? That’s a difference of kind – the choice to block someone else on Twitter is a lot different than Twitter itself banning a user. The one is idiosyncrasy, the other is policy; and both law and common understanding can recognize that a policy that is neither objective nor transparent is trouble.

Yet we’re told exactly the reverse: personal choices that must be controlled and enforced, while public policies are beyond reproach.

This inversion of term and meaning is the norm in other areas as well. If I express a different opinion it’s called violent, but if I’m punched in the head it’s called just an expression of opinion. If someone is provoked, they can’t fight back, but if they are attacked, it’s because they provoked it. Journalists openly alter, edit, and lie; those who merely report as is are called “not real journalists” who “distort the facts.” Misandry is called “feminism” and propaganda is called “education” and one’s sex is a matter of subjective declaration rather than biological fact.

This is the reason why I am often dispirited about the society my child is going to inherit. He is growing up in a world where terrible problems are growing worse and nobody can begin to solve them because the attempt to even talk about them is shouted down as “hate” and “bigotry.” It’s to the point where even the attempt to NOT talk about them, in favor of talking about just about anything else, is itself banned; and further, nobody who has disagreed about such things may be allowed to mingle. The common ground we used to have as a starting point has been seized by force.

This wonderful article makes this point (and more) about the recent decision of Ravelry’s founders to banish all pro-Trump users from their site. Note, this isn’t a decision to ban pro-Trump commentary, which would at least be arguable (if still ultimately unhealthy). It’s the people themselves, and anyone who protests the decision.

Those of us who are old enough to remember the 60s, 70s, and 80s remember the problems we faced far less than the ideals we faced them with, because we shared those ideals and faced the problems together. Such things were far bigger than any difference of opinion. We put unity into practice by setting aside differences to do things together – worship, watch the big game, listen to music, pursue hobbies, learn, explore, play – and we grew as people. We learned that many of those differences weren’t a matter of right and wrong, some very different people were actually pretty cool, our hearts were broadened and our minds were sharpened as we heard new ideas and explained our own.

A place like Revelry served as that common ground to grow together. Twitter, Google, YouTube, Amazon, Facebook – all the major players – grew into what they were precisely because at one time they WEREN’T “players.” They were the playing ground upon which the game was set.

One by one, all of them have become polarized, declared off-limits to the Wrong People by would-be kommisars. Now there are all these odious gatekeepers -who join these communities and assume control of them, then demand conformity of everyone else. They even dictate terms to anyone they’ve chased off. It’s more than just “We won’t read what you wrote, we won’t buy what you’ve knitted, we won’t listen when you sing,” it’s “You must never write, knit, and sing ever again. You will be punished for having done so by losing your job, even if you stop. You can lose your kids or be doxxed and attacked if we really feel like it, so you must not protest either.”

Worst of all is that this sort of anti-thought is now in government. People are winning office or lobbying the state or advocating in public to enshrine, in law, an official sanction against unapproved ideas. They have already begun a little ad-hoc private enforcement of same via their costumed mobs called Antifa.

They then claim that all of this is diversity, love, and inclusion. One might as well claim that arson, poison, and fasting are forms of good cooking.

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Who doesn’t go Nazi?

Marvel Comics needs a refresher course on their Dorothy Thompson.

Read the article linked above first, if you’ve got the time, and then keep that in mind when you read all about Marvel’s decision to bring Steve Rogers back from the dead just to have him Hail Hydra.

There’s some speculating that this is a “long con” by the character to infiltrate and destroy them from within. My own thought is that actually killing Cap wasn’t enough for the Gatekeepers, who have decided that they have to desecrate the corpse as well by trying to kill his ideals.

It’s being passed off as a political commentary, of course, but whether through willful writer’s malpractice or a woeful lack of craft, they’ve only betrayed their own thoughts about America – and shock of shocks, it’s that America sucks. And I don’t buy for one minute that this has anything to do with the political rise of Donald J. Trump, official GOP nominee for the Presidency. They felt this way going into it, and they’d be doing the same thing if Ted Cruz took the nod. The writer has already gone on record in saying that the Republicans are all evil, so why not ruin their favorite freedom-loving symbol as well? It insults them AND ruins the guy who has (until now) unapologetically loved his country, to the point of punching Hitler in the face in his first comic.

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And your little Joss, too

So Joss Whedon’s been chased off Twitter by these petty-minded scolds, these would-be tyrants of the human mind.

JOSS WHEDON.

The man responsible for Buffy, for Firefly, and for Dollhouse, is now the latest target of a Two-Minute Hate from these oh-so-tolerant and oh-so-loving leftists.

None of them is fit to sharpen the man’s pencils. They could barely write a bloody greeting card but they see fit to level their mindless shrieks at Joss Whedon, who is as close to the King of Geekdom as you are likely to find today.

None of us is safe. Not in our works, not in our words, not even in our thoughts – not if such as these have their way over the culture and over the world. They want the power to veto other human beings, to so commandeer us that we will be incapable of doing, expressing, or even believing anything of our own – to drain us, to hollow us out and make us mere puppets of their own will. We will be made to agree, to approve, to admire.

Pardon my salt, folks, but fuck that noise.

I have had it beyond all reckoning and patience with this anti-human codswollop. God Himself permits us this autonomy – it is in fact one of the favorite accusations of skeptics against Him, that He does suffer our sins and doesn’t make them impossible to us. Simply hating Him for that isn’t enough for some folks, apparently; they want to take on that job themselves.

So I appeal to all and sundry – don’t fall for this. Think twice, especially if you find yourself agreeing with the silencers, much less joining in. You may think you’re safe because you’re in the midst of the mob today; but crowds shift and tastes change, and you may look up and suddenly, uncomfortably find yourself facing a very large group of very angry people – the same ones you called friend and ally. The innocent jokes you all told yesterday will be People’s Exhibit A in your show trial tomorrow.

Freedom means the freedom to disagree, and the freedom to get along with each other despite disagreeing, and not being ground into a monochromatic paste. I will call “brother” and “sister” whomever stands with me on this fundamental point: that any individual deserves individuality, personhood, a unique voice, and a free will – not subject to any veto power over that will.

This is my answer, nitwits

You all should have fun watching our resident Cuttlers twist themselves into impossible mental shapes in the vain attempt to pretend that two contradictory things are, in fact, identical – and that refusing to go along with this attempt is in fact our mental failure, not theirs.

Perhaps I’m bad and should feel bad for laughing, but I find myself increasingly open to author Sarah Hoyt’s advice: when obvious loonies say obvious lunacies, point and make duck noises at them. Refutation, as you can see, made no difference.

Why am I so on about it despite the Cuttlers’ predictable failure to

  • understand what we’ve said
  • grasp why they can’t grasp it
  • notice the same mistake applies to how they see both the topic and the debate
  • understand basic metaphors or figures of speech?

Because this is really important – not just the topic itself but the process used in turning the innocuous into the poisonous with the willing compliance of the victims. Allow me to indulge, below the fold, in an analogy…

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A counteroffensive

Author Sarah A Hoyt is having a small difficulty writing about friendship.

The difficulty is in the tendency of all too many folks to Werthamize everything. There’s no such thing as text, only subtext, and that subtext needs must be sexual. Oh, but not openly… never openly, because the author is secretly a repressed homophobe of some sort who won’t give the fictional friends their proper due. It’s crypto-closeted.

CS Lewis dealt with this sort of unfalsifiable non-argument with the scorn it deserved in The Four Loves, saying that it was akin to stating, “If an invisible cat was sitting in that chair, it would look empty; it looks empty; therefore an invisible cat is sitting there.” He’s right, but of course the debunkers and scoffers don’t care. The argument HAS to be impossible to prove or disprove. That’s a feature, not a bug.

The Four Loves was published in book form in 1960, and as Ms. Hoyt’s difficulty shows, things haven’t gotten any easier for an author… or, for that matter, a friend. It’s part of the systematic campaign to dehumanize all of us and turn us into insects in a hive: all alike, all interchangeable, and above all, easily controlled and herded. There’s only one queen in a hive, easily overwhelmed by sheer numbers if it came to that. It never does. An ant or a bee that starts to behave erratically and out of concert with the others will be set upon by its fellows and destroyed.

That is the method by which the machine runs. Once social engineering and politic correctness take a deep-enough root, our community gets to the point where any deviation from the common doesn’t have to be dealt with by the leaders or tone setters, but by one’s own neighbors and coworkers. Continue reading

When will now be then?

Soon.

As a word of explanation: on either side of my family, I’m the eldest of my generation.  My mother’s sister got in the next three, and then there’s a gap of eight years or more between me and my brother.  From there, the various cousins and siblings range well younger than myself.  As a result, sometimes I tend to lapse into “get off my lawn” mode with the youngsters, a situation that annoys all parties, and one I take pains to avoid when I can.

Still, I notice even when I manage to keep it to myself, and what I primarily noticed in the Czar’s Monday missive is the uncanny resemblance to many of my generation.  This meant that I wasn’t keeping it to myself this time.  The Czar kindly let me ramble, but even that was cut down.  My interest was more than abstract.  What got me where I live is the part I’m putting after the jump.

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Shut up, they explained – it’s for your own good

So, it’s law.

The local paper ran a two-color headline: YES IT’S CONSTITUTIONAL.  I wouldn’t go quite that far.  “Yes, It Stands,” maybe, or “Sure, Why the Hell Not?” or “Yes, It’s As Bad As You Feared and If You Don’t Like It, Scrap It Yourselves.”  But constitutional?  Even though the Supreme Court refused to strike down the ACA, I think that I’d stop short of saying that they gave it the Constitutional imprimatur.

For one thing, the decision basically outlines every last way in which this statute is bad law, and Constitutionally sketchy… which seems quite odd in an affirmation.  For another, it’s quite possible for a very smart person to make mistakes that no average or middling intellect could ever.   Justice Roberts’ reasoning in this decision is nearly a textbook example thereof.  It’s almost as if he were searching frantically for a legal reason to avoid scrapping this monstrosity.

As a result, there are a number of thoughts within his reasoning that make sense in isolation.  For example, there’s the statement that a bad policy isn’t de facto unconstitutional; also, the thought that the Courts don’t exist to spare us the consequences of sending morons to Congress to write dumb laws.  Both eminently true.  Alas, neither of these is the point at hand.  The point at hand is, does Congress have the authority to force us to do what this bill requires?  And a very simple reading of the list contained in the US Constitution of things Congress can do reveals that, No, they really can’t, not no way, not no how.

But they ARE allowed to tax us, right?  OK, so fine, this is a tax and they’re allowed to do it!  Splitting the judicial baby, as it were.  Poor kid, he never stood a chance.

There’s a huge flaw in that thinking.  I’m sure a cleverer mind than mine could paper over it, explain it away, much as today there are many clever minds explaining all the silver linings in this cloud that’s currently set to deluge us in another layer of unbearable government busybodery.  In this case, let’s just look at the cloud, OK?  Sure, the Congress can levy taxes – but why are they taxing us this time?  That’s exactly what the decision refuses to examine, with a firmness and determination that I wish had been applied towards actually deciding the issue instead of punting it. 

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Doubling down on petty tyranny

update, 6/3 – they start early, don’t they? (thx to Stoaty via Twitter)

(Plenty of play on the blogosphere and Twitter on this subject: the Swillers, Morgan Freeberg, and IMAO for starters.  Good.  I hope Bloomberg is driven from the field in shame.  It’s high time we let these bossy busybodies know who’s boss in the citizen-politician relationship.)

The more I hear about this seemingly-inconsequential Beverage Mandate, the more it irritates me.  I’ve seen a clip of a flack on TV (I think it was an “obesity expert” or some such from a university) say that obesity began to spike in the early 80’s with the introduction of the two-liter soda bottle.

Horseradish.  I can remember Hoffman’s Beverages on Long Island offering racks of twelve single-quart (glass) bottles.  After we emptied it, we brought the rack back and got twelve new ones, with the old bottles sent to the company for cleaning and refilling… or we could just take the nickel deposits and be done.  Soda has always been around.  Sugary drinks have always been around.  Gigantic calorie-stuffed, creme-filled snack food has always been around.

What we have now that we didn’t then is the Atari 2600 and its successors.  We have an Internet that is so easily reachable that even when kids are turned out of doors, they spend their time huddled over miniature screens instead of running and laughing.  Are we going to ban video game consoles and smartphones next?

We also have such an over-layered, smothering approach to exercise that it’s no wonder that ever-more people are inflating at a rapid rate.  Unstructured play?  What’s that?  Sure, it keeps you healthy, you have fun, you learn to mediate your own disputes, you have opportunity to develop good sportsmanship, coordination, skill, and friendships – but what if you get hurt??!?!eleventy!!?

To top all that, we lack essential counter-influences to these tugs on our daily habits.  We fetishize self-esteem to such an extent that any experience that affronts or worries is considered a borderline assault.  Well, playing a game of pickup basketball offers ample chance to be affronted or worried.  Am I good enough?  Will I be teased for running slow or looking awkward?  Will nobody want me on their team because I’m terrible?

We also lack parental authority.  Not coincidentally, this is directly tied to the ever-intrusive State: they have whittled and undermined the traditional societal units of influence in order to gin up a desire for those necessary functions to be filled by elected officials.  “Government must step in” is the mantra of the newly-infantilized adult, raised for 30-50 solid years in a world in which parents’ and church’s accustomed say in kids’ lives were systematically ridiculed, marginalized, and ultimately ignored.  Pick a topic.  Education?  Teachers know so much more!  A kid ought to feel good about the educational process and be an equal partner in it.  Morality?  Passé!  It’s all situational ethics now, with no timeless absolutes by which to judge the momentary situation.  Relationships?  We’ll teach sex ed.  All that situational ethics and self-esteem we taught earlier will ensure that kids will have no basis for decision other than their in-the-moment, hormone-addled emotions, and no way to be told that the decision may have lasting consequences without being horribly offended.  If it doesn’t work, it’s not their fault – society has failed them.  But government will never fail them!  They pinky-swear!

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Eat, drink, and be wary

The latest in Mother Henmanship from Mike Bloomberg in New York City: banning any sugary bevarage of more than 16 ounces.

This pferdkaese reminds me a lot about the whinnying over tobacco use.  Seriously, if soda or cigs are that bad for you?  Ban them outright.  Otherwise it really isn’t anything to do with “safety” or “public health” or any such fig leaf; it’s about control.  And that all of this is coming from the man who shoved through a revocation of the term limits on his office so he could rule a third time.

Sure, he says it was only because of an “extraordinary one-time thing.”  But it wasn’t.  There’s always some financial crisis looming.  This isn’t the first time even in my lifetime that the national or world economy has tanked.  You know what was an extraordinary one-time thing?  Foreign agents driving airliners into skyscrapers, that’s what – and Rudy Guiliani didn’t serve a third damned term.  He talked about it but it wasn’t a good idea even then; he gave way to this tinpot potentate – one who now hypocritically says that he supports changing it back so no mere human peasant can have the opportunity.  None are as enlightened as he, and thus shan’t be trusted with such awesome power!  And I’m not fond of hearing, “Oh, but it was legally done!”  Are you fighting Big Beverage “legally,” Mayor Ninnyhammer, or are you just ruling by fiat without any input from the City Council?  The answer is B, isn’t it?

Again – it’s about control.  The mandatory posting of nutritional information and calorie contents was supposed to be enough.  Apparently not, so now it’s going to be blunt force.  I’m fond of joking that parody is a dying art because it’s so hard to stay ahead of the idiot curve, but this is nearly beyond a joke, now.  On Futurama, Leela once said something like: “This is Fry’s decision to make… and he made it wrong, so now we’re going to butt in and do it for him.”  Oh, Mayor?  THIS WAS NOT MEANT AS ADVICE.  Stop it.

Sometimes, debate and argument don’t really work, because a person isn’t really being reasonable at all.  That’s when you resort to ridicule.  If you make the dumb idea seem dumb even to the person promoting it, you might stay their meddling, restless hand when ironclad logic fails.  The Twitter hashtag #BloombergMovieTitles sprang up and a good many people spent hours savaging Bloomberg’s pompous overreach.  You can click the tag to see the top lines… some of my contributions are below.  (Hard to come up with ones others didn’t, so I hope I didn’t rip anyone off.  I mean, The Good The Bad and The “X” is just a slam-dunk.)

  • Heavy-Handed Luke
  • Lord of the Servings
  • Smokey and the Big Gulp
  • Ten Things I Hate About Yoo-Hoo
  • Everything You Ever Wanted to Eat, Drink, or Smoke, but Weren’t Allowed To
  • Bloomberg Almighty
  • Birth of a Ration
  • The Incredible Rightness of Being Mayor
  • The Sensible Breakfast Club
  • Silence of the Gourmands
  • The Good, the Bad, and the Salty
  • Transfatting
  • Steamed Green Tomatoes
  • Logan’s Beer Run
  • The Towering Cappucino
  • Blazing Griddles

For the children?

I was thinking about something that I heard on the radio (heheheh) while driving to work yesterday – a news item about lawmakers from New Jersey wanting to change the regulations regarding tanning beds.  They want to raise the minimum age from 14 to 18.

It didn’t seem like much of anything to write a post about, until I saw this online today, via Ace:

Federal agencies should step in if industries that promote high-calorie foods to children do not implement common nutrition standards within two years, the influential Institute of Medicine (IOM) said Tuesday.

Now, “exercise more and eat healthier” hardly requires 478 pages to say; no doubt the rest of the IOM’s report has to do with exactly what these agencies ought to be doing to whomever gives a kid a slice of cake.  And for once, I’m not going to track down that report and go over the highlights, like I did with the Act in Multiple Acts from last week.  Frankly, there’s no need.  If you’ve stuffed 478 pages full of “guidelines” and “interventions”, then doing even 5% of it will be a huge intrusion on the everyday lives of ordinary citizens.

But even that isn’t actually the point here.  Ace makes that point much better than I can, anyway, and I see the Masters are on board with a fine take as well.  The long and short of it is that the proposal here and in re: tanning beds in Jersey are both categorically dumb, in the same category.  To wit, they aren’t going to do a blessed thing to fix the problem that was allegedly the whole reason for getting together and blathering on for 478 pages.

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