Channeling Karl Marx

The globalist elites have a problem they must continually solve: there are a lot more of us then there are of them, and they have to keep us from noticing that.

A tried-and-true strategy for doing this is divide and conquer: if they can convince half of the poor and lower middle-class population that their real problem is the other half of the poor and lower middle-class population, and vice a versa, they are good to go.

And thus we get the twin memes of "white privilege" and "welfare parasites." The function they serve is to help convince poor black families in the South Bronx that their real problem is poor hillbilly families in Kentucky, and vice a versa. To the extent these two memes take hold, they block the possibility of a true populist revolt against the rule of the current elite.*

Of course, many, many people sincerely buy into the ideological superstructures being erected to support elite rule. The fact that they materially benefit from their subsidiary positions in the ruling class helps in this task tremendously: largely, this support army consists of university professors and other educators, government bureaucrats, mid-level corporate managers, and so on: people who are materially very comfortable within the current system. But most of these people are not cynics, and they must be led to believe that they are truly working for a noble cause: this is called false consciousness. Its spread is helped greatly by the knowledge, trickling down from the top level of universities, corporations, and government, that anyone who calls into question this schema risks ostracism, loss of opportunities, and other serious career and social consequences. It is much easier to believe an ideological construct when, in the back of your mind, you anxiously recognize that failing to believe it can cost you your job or your next promotion.

Interestingly, as I understand it, many old-school Marxists recognize this dynamic quite well, and are contemptuous of identity politics as a result. The fact that many of their younger colleagues have embraced this tactic shows that our current elite is clever enough to co-opt even Marxism in its interest.

* I am not a Marxist to the extent that I am not a utopian: I think all societies have some elite class. The problem with the current elite is their lack of any moral compass other than becoming even richer and even more powerful.

John Grisham

Is my bedtime reading tonight.

First off, let me say that as a writer, Grisham is light years ahead of James Patterson. No cocks flopping around like cod in a basket for Mr. Grisham!

That being said, cranking out material at the velocity that people like Patterson and Grisham do has its cost in either case. (Grisham finishes a novel every six months.) So we find in Grisham a sentence like: "He was much too careful about the security system to get careless." Well, yes, since "being careful" means "not being careless," that sentence says nothing more then "He was very careful" or "He was not careless."

But the one I found more puzzling is that several times, in reference to mountaintop removal mining, Grisham has a character say "It is legal because it is not illegal."

Here, it is not so much the fact that we apparently have a tautology like above that bothers me. It is, rather, that Grisham appears to think that this should not be true (the characters that say this are the heroes): he seems to feel that an activity should be illegal, unless it has been specifically approved. When are trained American attorney has this attitude, this suggests are present difficulties may run even deeper than I had imagined.

First of all, the issue is culture, not race

Open borders fantasists always want to turn any discussion of immigration into a question of race, and of course, label their opponents "racists." This is today's trump card: once you play it, your opponent is just supposed to whimper away with his tail between his legs.

For example, one person in my Facebook feed said that Brexit was all about the dislike of "brown people." He apparently is not aware that after 2004, when England was being flooded with very pale Poles, Latvians, and Lithuanians, many people in England saw that as problematic, even though these immigrants were whiter than the average Englishman.

That is because the real issue is culture, not race. If the families of England were to adopt a million Pakistani newborns this year, in 20 years, they would be a million brown-skinned Englishmen. But if 1 million Pakistani adults were to come to England this year, and settle in nearly 100% Pakistani enclaves, then in 20 years, we will see little pockets of Pakistan scattered throughout English territory.

And a culture can withstand some amount of that sort of thing: Catholic Western Europe always had enclaves of Jews scattered throughout its territory, yet remained a cohesive culture. But if you get enough of it, the incoming culture swamps the existing one, which then disappears, or retreats into enclaves of its own. Just ask the Iroquois or Algonquins how their nations are doing today. Or talk with someone from Tibet about Chinese immigration into their country.

And there are people who love their own culture, and don't want to see it disappear and be replaced by a foreign one, whether that foreign culture is embodied in very pale Estonians or very dark Ghanians. The idea that this is all about "race" is a smear propagated by cosmopolitans who don't love any culture.

Uploading your mind into a computer

The idea, if we should even grace it with such a lofty name, is that we get a complete mapping of all the neural connections in someone's brain. Then we "upload" that mapping into a computer: Voilà! A human mind in a computer.

This is pretty much akin to the idea that if we get a very, very detailed mapping of the wiring and electrical appliances in my house, we can then take that blueprint and read by the light it gives off, and perhaps dry our clothes with it.

How to troll Scott Sumner

The basic idea here is Hilary Putnam's, not mine:

Sumner holds, with Richard Rorty (although Putnam claims that Rorty actually abandoned this view!), that objectivity is simply a matter of consensus: to say that "X is objectively true" is equivalent to saying "X is held to be true by me and my community."

There are a number of problems with this view, and Putnam exposes one in a clever way: What about Rorty's idea that truth is just a matter of consensus? Is that idea true?

Per Rorty, the way to test this is to see if it is the consensus in the relevant community of experts. But, in fact, the overwhelming majority of philosophers reject this view. So if we take Rortian relativism seriously, we must convict it of proving its own falsehood.

Monocausal monomania

Hilary Putnam has an excellent chapter called "Materialism and Relativism" in his book Renewing Philosophy. In that chapter, he analyzes how what we identify as "the" cause of some of it is dependent on what we are interested in at the time.

He gives the example of explaining a man's heart attack. We could say his heart attack was caused by:
1) his shoveling snow
2) his genetics
3) his high blood pressure
4) his failure to follow his doctor's orders

And more. And all of these explanations can be correct, and none of them contradict the others. If we want better screening for potential heart attack victims, we may want to focus on number two. If our interest is in cautioning people to take it easy after the upcoming blizzard, we might focus on number one. Interest is in getting people to pay attention to their doctor, we might focus on number four.

And so explaining a terrorist attack: easy access to guns, radical Islamist ideology, the hatred in a man's heart, insufficient screening of immigrants, and aggressive American foreign-policy can all be explanations for some attack, depending on our interest when we are doing the explaining.

The only truly complete explanation for any event is the entire state of the universe before that event occurred. (E.g., if the sun had gone supernova earlier this year, the Orlando massacre would not have occurred.) When we pick out some particular feature of that entire state, we do so because of some particular motive.

Bearing False Witness

My review of Rodney Stark's book is available here.

A novel way of living

Eneg: Some people have the silly idea that we all might be characters in a novel, and what we think of as the "real world" is actually just the novelist's setting. Of course this is nonsense, since novels are not a place, and so nothing whatsoever can live "in" them.

Salis: But what about a sufficiently rich novel? One with lots and lots of details about rivers and hills and cities and forests?

Eneg: Huh? What difference does the amount of detail make? Where do you think people living in the novel are?

Salis: In the novel!

Eneg: What do you mean? They live inside the paper and ink?

Salis: No, they live in the story!

Eneg: But the story is not a place. The only physical parts of the novel are the paper and ink, and they are a place one can live, if one is a bookworm. But the story only arises in our imagination, as we look at that paper and ink.

Salis: So, you are just like the people who in 1700 said a novel but never capture the inner flow of our mental life: but look at Ulysses! How can you say what the limits of the novel are? Future authors may write novels many times as complex as the novels of today!

Eneg: That they may. But they still will not provide a place in which living creatures may dwell.

Salis: You see, you just have an ideology that denies the possibility of people living in a novel, while not offering any reason whatsoever for rejecting the idea!

Eneg: Aargh! [He takes out a virtual gun, and shoots himself in his virtual head with it.]

Not even a simulation of intelligence

"Artificial intelligence as we know it doesn't really try to simulate intelligence at all; simulating intelligence is only its notional activity, while its real activity is just writing clever programs for a variety of tasks." -- Hilary Putnam, Renewing Philosophy

Free riding on the free market

It is very easy to free ride on the existence of markets themselves. I do it all the time when I go shopping.

My wife will ask me, "How much were the strawberries?"

"I have no idea."

"What? You didn't even check?"

"No: I trusted the free market."

In other words, when shopping, I often simply assume that prices are "right." If there were serious mispricing, the people who cut out 25 cent coupons and save them for weeks, and then take ten of them out of their purse at the checkout line, those people will have already spotted it. Thanks to them, I can simply pick up whatever items I want off the shelf and assume that I am paying roughly the "fair" price.

Of Course Most People Think Things Are Just Fine!

If a car full of partying people is heading towards a cliff, there are two possibilities:

1) The majority of the people inside recognize the danger before it is too late. In that case, the car won't go over the cliff! They will change course.

2) The majority of people inside think there is no problem, until it is too late. These are the only cars that actually go over cliffs.

When I note that "our car," i.e., Western Civilization, is heading over a cliff, I get lots of responses telling me, "Everything is just fine!"

That's how I know the car is going to continue on until it plunges off of the cliff.

Wealthy White Man Shot at Country Club

Black janitor accused of crime.
IP, Verywhitetown, Connecticut, June 22, 2016
Thaddeus Gotbucks was found dead in the clubhouse of the Verywhitetown Country Club Tuesday evening just after he had finished a round of golf. Jeremiah Poboy, the club's janitor, who had been heard arguing with Gotbucks earlier in the day, has been charged with the murder.
The town said that they intend to appoint a jury of twelve of Gotbucks' fellow club members, all of whom happen to be white. When Poboy complained that this jury would be biased, a spokesperson for the town called Poboy "a racist who thinks whites aren't competent to serve on juries."


Wow, that's a pretty bad distortion of Poboy's actual complaint, isn't it?

It would be as though I complained about a particular judge who I thought was biased against me because of my plan to invade Uzbekistan. I say, "I guess as an Uzbek, he might not like me."

And in response the press claimed, "Callahan1 is a racist who believes Uzbeks are not competent to be judges." (Even though Uzbek is not a race.)

Or if I was going to build a wall between the US and Canada, and I suggested that this judge of of Canadian descent might be biased against me because of my plan.

And in response the press claimed, "Callahan2 is a racist who believes Canadians are not competent to be judges."

If you are ready to buy into anything like the press claims about Poboy, or Callahan1, or Callahan2, or similar claims about someone, say, running for president, then you have been hypnotized in advance to receptive to the idea. It certainly isn't backed by what actually occurred in any of the above three scenarios.