Philosophy

Ungratefulness: The root of modern evil

Posted on Updated on

 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.~Hebrews 13:5-6

One issue I am striving to overcome since returning from Afghanistan, is my persistent displeasure with fellow Americans who don’t seem to realize how good they have it, with how much tough work went in to making this country, with the willing sacrifices that were made, and mostly just how outrageously easy the day to day life of an American really is. The thoughts of the cellulite-ridden mall shoppers standing in line complaining about this or that is a national embarrassment.

The ungrateful person is not concerned about others, he does not complain about injustice so much as their own momentary discomfort, without a second thought about their relative situation. The ungrateful person manifests many of the deadly sins, mostly sloth and gluttony and envy. Since the ungrateful person’s appetites can never be sated, work is seen as evil, since it gets the person no closer to satisfying his personal needs ( an impossibility), this results in sloth. The ungrateful person, paradoxically, never stops trying to satisfy himself, thus gluttony often results, and not only in the overeating of food, but in the hoarding of useless trinkets, clothes, etc, firmly entrenching in him severe materialism. Finally, despite his laziness and his hoarding, he always wishes to have what his neighbor has, and in fact he wishes that his neighbor would lose some of what he has.

Ultimately the ungrateful society is primarily comprised of people without any real skills. They expect all of their needs, including their personal safety, to come from outside sources. As such, they make increasingly poor decisions for themselves. Our state and society has become the great enabler of the ungrateful person, encouraging a plague of horrible personal decisions among its citizens.

An ungrateful society loses its sense of perspective, its ability to tell good from bad, evil from holy. Soon, the democratic state which supports an ungrateful people finds itself the victim of its own populism. It throws money about, just as did the Roman emperors who gained the throne via assassination; they baited Rome’s soldiers and citizenry with exorbitant amounts of money, merely to mollify them. The result backfired utterly, as a people so eligible for purchase will be the first to sink the dagger in the back of the next ruler. Discipline disintegrated. These emperors would have done better for themselves had they offered the money, then had crucified anyone who took it.

An ungrateful society finds itself unable to protect itself at a personal or national level.  The weight of self-defense is placed on emergency services. The same skills that are necessary for the individual farmers of history, be they from ancient Greece, Rome or even the original settles of America translate well to that of soldier. Thus, these people were extraordinary fighters, hardy, resilient, cunning, grateful with little. In those societies, before they began to crumble and while they still maintained the visage of nobility and strength, even the aristocrats were able to live ascetically when needed. Make no mistake, George Washington was an aristocrat. Yet he drove himself as he did his troops at Valley Forge. Eventually ungrateful people are overwhelmed by hardier peoples.

Now, I understand that “ungrateful” can be relative, that circumstances can always become so uncomfortable that anyone would complain. Still, when we look at our wealth and the trivial nature of our complaints, can anyone truly say that most are justified? Where are the days when a beer, a cup of coffee, a good book, the beach, were enough? It’s not to say that we should not strive to be better, but our gluttony is destroying us. Clearly, as a people, we have asked far more from our nation than we have put in to it. History’s largest debt supports my thesis. When I hear people complain about the weather, even though it is not hurting any plans, even though they don’t have a job that requires them to be out in the weather, when I hear people complain about perfectly good food, about how walking is hard, breathing is hard, thinking is hard….well I complain about their incessant complaining. Life just isn’t that difficult for me.

Ungrateful people are outraged by nature itself. Someone, the government most likely, should do something to make it all ok. The government should stop hurricanes, make it warmer, make it colder, stop hunger, stop war. The government. If the power goes out, it’s outrage against the government. We’ve become so weak that everything is an outrage. Am I hallucinating, or was it against the rules as a child to even complain about the food on the table in the 1970s? What were the options? Go hungry or eat. Are we doing our children, the world a favor by scrambling for a food that tastes better? As parents are we so stupid as to not know what is actually good for our 3 year old?

I stand by my words, that America past was better than America present. That our people were better.  That ungratefulness is the root of our problems, our debt, our gluttony, our lack of important skill, our welfare system, the root of feminism, socialism, liberalism.

In parting I’ll leave you with a tract from Livy’s, The Early History of Rome. Ask yourself, does it portend our ending?

I invite the reader’s attention to the much more serious consideration of the kind of lives our ancestors lived, of who were the men, and what the means both in politics and war by which Rome’s power was first acquired and subsequently expanded; I would then have him trace the process of our moral decline, to watch, first, the sinking of the foundations of morality as the old teaching was allowed to lapse, the the rapidly increasing disintegration, then the final collapse of the whole edifice, and the dark dawning of our modern day when we can neither endure our vices nor face the remedies needed to cure them. …no country has ever been greater or purer than ours or richer in good citizens and noble deeds; none has been free for so many generations from the vices of avarice and luxury; nowhere have thrift and plain living been for so long held in such esteem. Indeed, poverty, with us, went hand in hand with contentment. Of late years wealth has made us greedy, and self-indulgence has brought us, though every sensual excess, to be, if I may so put it, in love with death both individual and collective.

Fascist?

Posted on Updated on

To make the individual uncomfortable, that is my task.~ Frederick Nietzsche

Someone posted my recent blog post, The Feminization of Everything, on Reddit yesterday, and some other people posted a link to my article on other blogs, resulting in the single biggest day of blog traffic I’ve had on any blog I’ve hosted.

I’m not sure if it was done as a joke, as a prod, or as a genuine contribution to a string, but the person posted my article under the “feminism” subreddit. Of course, this subreddit is largely populated by feminists and my article is receiving some interesting comments. Actually, it hasn’t received one positive comment, though some frightened individuals appreciate my article, as it’s received twice as many “like’ votes as dislikes. It is  #3 in the “hot” tab under feminism, and #1 under the “controversial” tab.

I have never posted to Reddit, never used it to increase blog traffic. When I post links to my articles, it is usually because I want honest input from people I trust or know; I’m willing to see others’ views, and I want to know the weaknesses of my own arguments. Many times, blogging is a very inferior way of expressing one’s views on issues, as they tend to be written spur-of-the-moment. A book would be better.  I don’t handle my blog in a professional manner, though perhaps I should.

One comment on Reddit stated that my article seemed fascist. Another called it a “tantrum” and “junk”. One more implored others not to read the article at all, apparently afraid some may find some good in it.  I’m not sure if I should be honored or dismayed by this person’s opinion. I lean towards being honored. The last 5 years of my life have provided ample opportunity for self-examination, a crucible of honesty with myself. I realize my weaknesses, my strengths. I have something to say, I see problems in the world, and every so often a person comes along who can’t help but obsess about the tragedy of it all. Such is my melancholic personality.

Are my views fascist? I’ve asked the same question myself. And I’m willing to concede they are at some level.  But it’s almost meaningless to me. The only reason it’s not completely meaningless  is because I know I’ve made the right people uncomfortable. Change for the better rarely occurs without pain and discomfort.  The term fascism is as meaningless to me as the word “drug”. What kind of drug, aspirin or Methamphetamine? A single word cannot probe the intricacies of reality.

I regard the modern world as incredibly unauthentic, a poseur propped us by the rich daddies of yesteryear who did most of the work.  Acting as children, we play make believe in the mansion built by our forefathers. The mansion is crumbling for lack of maintenance.

I won’t spend time writing about the misuse and overuse of the term, “fascist.” The criticisms of the lazy usage of the word have become as cliche’ as the word itself. I will say however, that if someone wishes to insult me with a commonly misused and misunderstood word, “reactionary” would be more appropriate.  I would not deny the label.

Surprisingly, I found the definition that best suited me, not in Websters, but in the online Urban Dictionary:

One who supports Reaction in opposition to the general progressive Western zeitgeist, often accompanied by a sense that the expansion of democratic politcs has made life in general much worse either in absolute terms, or measured by what should have been achievable with modern science, reason, and technology; usually believes race is a real genetic construct and therefore not surprised at disparate average outcomes across large population groups; often believes human evolution has in part or in toto shaped human nature, which therefore cannot easily, or at all, be changed very much by social engineering and/or conditioning; usually believes heirarchy is imprinted upon mankind by nature and/or God, and that heirarchy is not only not necessarily evil, but desirable and even inevitable and ought not be torn down for any but the most grave reasons; tends to support tradition either as revealed by his religion and/or as successful adaptive memetic developments which usually solve deep and complex problems in human societies; anti-revolutionary; anti-socialist; anti-communist; anti-whig; anti-democratic; anti-globalist; skeptical; (once a term of derision, most reactionaries of late do happily so self-identify)
Tom suddenly realized he couldn’t find a single Republican at the convention who didn’t hail FDR anything less than a great hero. He remembered knowing conservatives in his youth who opposed both FDR and WWII. But where were they now? They had disappeared, but their thoughts and words had not. Tom hadn’t changed his mind about much in the past 25 years, but he suddenly realized he was a Reactionary.
Adequate, though, not of course complete. Years ago a friend of mine, whose opinion i respect, said that my thinking matched that of a gothic king, a pejorative remark that I like to wear as a badge of honor.
My view is generally that the world is worse than it was no more than 50 years ago, not because of technological progress, which serves to partially blind us to the inadequate order that now holds power, but because of the current social order, or more appropriately, disorder, that now reigns.  Just because you have a microwave and an IPhone does not mean the world is a better place than your great-grandfather’s world.  Of course, some things are better,  but in aggregate they are not. We are a deeply unhappy society for reasons the ancients would have easily perceived. But our instincts are dulled by mall shopping. We resort to gulping Zoloft.
I recently explained part of my world view to my wife, who generally agrees with my ideas on how men and women should act.  I said that I did not believe marriage was a democracy. Democracy is possible when there are thousands or millions of voters because it’s easy to find a majority; the chances of a perfectly even vote are practically nil.  However a marriage is made up of two people. A democracy of two does not work well at all. There is a distinct chance that two people will disagree on issues, and when, in a marriage, those issues involve money, sex or other fundamentally important issues, it’s important that there be a system for resolving those conflicts. In my marriage, that system is me. I get to decide if my wife can spend $400 on a new purse. Yes, that’s right, it’s patriarchy,  not democracy. If it were democracy we’d both be angry, me at her expenditure, her at my reaction to it. Carrying on this way results in the the end state of most marriages today: Divorce. We of course have had our problems, like most.  The problems lessened when the rules were states explicitly: She is woman, I am man. Stay in your lane, I’ll stay in mine. Surprisingly she agreed with all of it. I realize that most of these things should have been worked out before we got married, but it is the current social order that demands they not be worked out, that problems be resolved through the magic of democracy.
Instead of the magic of democracy, I told her, that in exchange for me having the power to veto a $400 purse purchase,that should a 250 pound felon with a machete decide, at 1 o’clock in morning, to enter our house to steal our flat screen tv for himself and be willing to  kill anyone unarmed and unable who tries to prevent him from getting it, I will stand and fight while she and the children exit the back door. Also, if we ever take a cruise, as on the Titanic in 1912, and we begin to sink, she and the children can get on the lifeboats before I do.
This all seems a fair trade. See, that’s the way it used to be. Men were not honored simply because they were men, but because they did something special. In our decadent society, we devalue that which was sacred in all societies before ours: The Soldier. I’m not saying this because I am a soldier, I became a soldier because I believed it sacred.  I often comment to my children that one of the most unattractive attributes a person can have is to be ungrateful. No ungrateful species can survive because it can not differentiate between what is important and what is not. Those that cannot appreciate people who protect them are decadent and bound to extinction. Unfortunately, if they outnumber those who respect the sacred, they will take those who are not decadent with them. All cultures before our current one honored the warrior because killing those whom are trying to kill you is better than slavery or extinction. Yes, America is far ahead of modern Europe in this regard. I’ve been overwhelmed by the expressed gratitude walking through airports in uniform. Most soldiers, including myself, don’t want to be patronized or doted over; we consider this to be a departure from the asceticism necessary to fighting wars, un-soldierly. Why I myself want is a worldview that respects that which is respectable.
While it’s tempting–and possible–to connect my worldview to that of the Prussian 2nd Reich, and some aspects of Sparta, (and I would not vigorously argue against you), it’s also possible to connect it with some of our founding fathers and past presidents, most notably, Andrew Jackson. Jackson, undoubtedly, would have been labeled a fascist, had the term been so cliche’ in his time. Yet, he embodies many of my beliefs. Anti-materialist, aristocratic, willing to smack a pie-hole where a pie-hole needs smacking, for small government, understanding the everyone–banks included–is susceptible to corruption. That honor meant something. Jackson said:
Every good citizen makes his country’s honor his own, and cherishes it not only as precious but as sacred. He is willing to risk his life in its defense and its conscious that he gains protection while he gives it. But you must remember, my fellow-citizens, that eternal vigilance by the people is the price of liberty, and that you must pay the price if you wish to secure the blessing.
Passe to the modern liberal and feminist. Arrogant, militaristic in tone–fascist. In other words you’d want Jackson on your side when your cushy circumstances go to hell.  Of course, liberals and feminists can not imagine a situation in which they would not have it easy. They really think the world has progressed, that they have made it much better.
The one thing that may worry these people is that, they, in fact, may be becoming passe, unfashionable. Nothing worries the modern more than what is fashionable. An increasing number of people, including women, are becoming disillusioned with the message of feminism, which they’ve tasted and found wanting. They discovered that it’s a lie. What the feminists and progressives must realize, is that their fashion may end up like the Pet Rock. Feminism and the modern progressive movement is an anomaly, an outlier, never before practiced even in ancient democracies such as Athens.  The feminists and progressives may well look back in 40-50 years and long for days pasts. They may become the reactionaries.

Dilbert: Self Selection, Tabula Rasa, Homosexuality, Religiosity, First Cause

Posted on Updated on

I like Scott Adams, author and artist of the Dilbert comic strip.  his blog posts are insightful, though I often disagree with the angles he takes.  For instance, in this post, Adams writes about Phil Robertson’s comments on homosexuality that momentarily got him suspended from his show, Duck Dynasty.

Adams states that he is “pro-gay” but does not believe the response by other pro-gay people to Robertson’s comments was a consistent response. He writes:

It seems to me that Phil Robertson was born with the brain he has. He didn’t have a choice in the matter. And science is starting to understand that religious folks have different brain structure than non-believers. So how is it fair to belittle Phil for acting in the only way he could, given the brain he has?

Adams supports this argument by stating, that because gays are born gay, they should not hold Robertson responsible for acting in a way consistent with his biology, just as pro-gay people ask others to accept the actions of gays because because gays are born this way.

Adams employs his argument as A priori, that is, he makes little attempt to prove that gays are born that way, or that Robertson is born believing that homosexuality is a sin other than to point out that almost all modern people believe homosexuals are born homosexuals and that studies on the brains of religious people shows that their brains are different. Indeed, there are studies that show people who meditate or pray may have differences in their brain. 

But Adams misses the point entirely, it seems, after reading the results of those studies. What the studies seem to show, is that meditation in prayer change the brain, it is not the A priori structure of the organic tissue that caused meditation or prayer.  He puts the cart before the horse, which I have increasingly noticed to be a habit of scientifically predisposed liberals, of which Adams is one.  Adams’ argument is much like saying that someone lifts weights because they are strong. Now, at elite levels, or in highly specialized arenas, there is some truth to this notion. For instance, Olympic athletes are not only very adept at what they do because they are Olympians, they in fact showed an extraordinary talent in their early years which incentivized the activity.  The best gymnasts are not only strong because they are gymnasts, but they are likely great gymnasts because they received the positive feedback of success against others of similar experience early in their careers. This is called the self-selection bias.  People like to do things in which they can be successful. Thus it could be argued that certain organic traits in a person’s brain may involved in the person’s religiosity, especially if the person showed great insight of religious nature, such as Martin Luther, or Thomas Aquinas. They could be rightfully termed religious prodigies. And homosexuals may have attributes not directly related to sexuality that predispose them to being gay. But this does not mean genetics is destiny.

Another hole in Adams’ reasoning is that he must willfully ignore the fact that some nations and cultures show higher levels of religiosity than others. Pakistan and Afghanistan for instance are much more religious than Canada.  Are we to believe that the people in Pakistan have distinctly different brains than the people in Canada? Also, in the past, humans were generally more religious than they are now. Did our brains change so dramatically in a matter of 100 years? These are rhetorical questions to which nearly everyone knows the answer. And the same argument must be made for homosexuality. If homosexuality is innate, why did almost all ancient Greeks practice it to some degree?

And just as with the studies on the religious brain, we must consider that homosexuality may change the human brain, Ex-post facto.  Even if defining differences are discovered between homosexual and heterosexual brains, are the structural differences the cause or the result of homosexual thoughts and actions? We know the human brain is very plastic, its organic structures very susceptible to outside influence.

And this brings us to an even deeper question: What is the First Cause of thought? The purely materialistic view states that thought is nothing more than microscopic movement of matter, in ways poorly, but generally understood. However, the observed science seems to contradict this. If thinking can change the organic structure of the brain, how can the organic structure be the cause of the thought?  What, at this very moment caused you to reach for your coffee cup, change the channel, stand up? It could not be a random impulse, otherwise our daily life would have no order. So, it seems to me, the First Cause lay deeper than the material, in a sort of spiritual realm.

But are we a Tabula Rasa, a blank slate upon which the external world, though training, rhetoric and dogma can elicit from us any response it likes?  I do not believe we are. We obviously possess some innate inner qualities. I am often amazed at the things my three year old daughter knows without really having been taught these things. For instance, I have noticed that she knows what is “scary”, and thus evil or bad,  in some cartoons, even though to my knowledge she had no way of being taught that such things were supposed to be evil.  Some studies show that children have a general idea of good and bad from a very young age.

An easy solution to the question of Tabula Rasa, is that humans have many general inborn traits, but that any of them can be subdued through training, culture, or other factors, for good or bad.  Just as all humans get hungry after going for a time without food, all humans can to varying degrees, stave off the act of eating through acts of will.

The Femininization of Everything

Posted on Updated on

[T]he regime of diversions, surrogates, and tranquilizers that pass for today’s ‘distractions’ and ‘amusements’ does not yet allow the modern woman to foresee the crisis that awaits her when she recognizes how meaningless are those male occupations for which she has fought, when the illusions and the euphoria of her conquests vanish, and when she realizes that, given the climate of dissolution, family and children can no longer give her a sense of satisfaction in life. ~Julius Evola, Ride the Tiger

I miss men. I miss my grandfather.  He was a man. And he wasn’t sorry for being a man. He was never told to be sorry for being a man, or acting like one. He never pondered the “social constructs” of gender. He liked Lawrence Welk, Archie Bunker, knives, guns, boxing.  He welded for a living. He wore flannel. He killed animals and ate them, fed them to his family. He didn’t pop his collar. He used Lava soap to rip the grease off his hands after doing the work men did. For him and his generation, life was not a sterile, over-analyzed bore.

Safety killed us. Such are the heights of the giants’ shoulders we stand on, such were their labors, such were their sacrifices, we were made too safe, too comfortable. We came to hate our betters, just as the Helots hated their Spartan masters. And so we dived into every fantasy, every unrealism, believing the opposite of reality as a sort of revolt. We became lazy, ungrateful. We enjoyed the nectar of being critical, and so criticized to disintegration those who made our free nation: Men.

Women didn’t freeze to death at Valley Forge, storm Normandy, they didn’t rot in Hanoi. And they never will, because the current “integration” of our military is theater and a power grab.  It’s playing doctor, cowboys and Indians at the expense of us all.  The people who want women in military combat arms know woman can’t actually do what men can do, but they enjoy seeing men cringe and squirm over such excesses.  Of course, women won’t pour into such billets, because they are difficult, though even when they end up there, they still won’t find it as difficult as do men, because men will treat them better than they do other men. And the feminized bureaucracy will ensure they have it easier, national defense be damned.

The United States Marines require that men do 20 pullups in order score the maximum points on their physical fitness test. Women are required to do exactly zero.  How’s that for egalitarianism? The Marine Corps tested 318 female Marines, and found that on average, they could do 1.6 pullups.  Yet, when I last tested myself at 39 years old, I could do 20 pullups. Many classically male jobs, such as firefighting and police work have distinctly different physical qualifications for women than men.  Women do not have to register for the draft, but of course their  inferiors–men–do.

The way we fight war itself has become feminized. We treat our enemies like the single mom treats her kids: We try to buy them stuff until they quit throwing temper tantrums.  We don’t win wars any more. The trade schools are considered a sub-par option for those not worthy or capable of the “higher” intellectual pursuits of gender studies. No thought is given by these elite snobs as to who builds their cars, roads, laptops and latte machines.

In a strikingly Nietzschean world, Slave Morality reigns, the Spartans now serve the Helots. As Nietzsche states, Slave Morality originates in the weak and is deployed by the weak as a weapon against the strong.  It is not necessarily drawn as a weapon of righteousness; it’s usually the sword of resentment. Slave Morality–Feminism–does not seek the impossible, that is, to make men and women equal in all things. Instead, it seeks to neuter men and weigh them down with a lodestone that will ensure men cannot surpass women in any meaningful way. The Helots now rule the Spartans.  The feminists used the tactic commonly employed by children on mothers in order to get what they do not deserve: Whining.

The false notion that sexual assault is rampant in our military was predictably seized by the Left, who lose sleep nightly over racial and gender issues.  The number of sexual assault reports in the military this year is up 50% this year, after it became fashionable to be raped. Ignored are studies that show over 40% of rape allegations are false [Kanin, 1994].

Everywhere we look, from our earliest days to our last, we see the philosophy of woman. Television shows, movies, politics, almost all of it aimed at women’s tastes. This is not to say that the feminine, the womanly, or motherhood are bad things, indeed they are good things, but so are classically manly traits. Yet our entire cultural system is bent on making boys more like girls. They must be sensitive, they must sit still, they must not joust. The NFL now celebrates Breast Cancer Awareness by allowing players to wear pink football gear during allotted games. Men must be made aware of female supremacy, that we are being watched, monitored controlled, at all times. Even during our classically male moments, such as playing football. What is the male color by the way? Do we have a color? I’m not sure.  I’m trying to imagine Dick Butkus or Mike Ditka in pink. It’s not working for me. But of course, there are no women in the National Football League, but Americans actually care about their team winning football games, unlike winning wars. We’ve become an unserious country, rolling toward the glue factory.

Oprah decides the fate of nations. One study found that Oprah Winfrey’s endorsement of Obama resulted in an additional one million votes.   She tells women to go their own way, that they can do anything men can do. Can they? Should they? At the core of the modern feminist movement and others Leftist movements like it, is the the use of pity as a weapon.  Pity is used to relieve people of the duties of a Natural Law they despise. Pity is used to escape the carrying out of some people’s duties, to gain power over those susceptible to pity’s draw. It is a perverse utilization of a subtle Christian ethic, taking advantage of those who lack street wisdom.  Pity has its place, but it can also be misused. We need not agree with everything Nietzsche had to say, just as Nietzsche did not agree with everything that his mentors, Arthur Schopenhauer and Richard Wagner said. This does not mean we cannot glean truth from some of Nietzsche’s writings. The cult of pity, and the misuse of pity as a sordid sentiment has resulted in an American military that is barely functional. First, an army draws its soldiers from a population organic to its nation, thus, it can suffer from many of flaws endemic to that nation. I have a ground-level view of those flaws as an NCO in the Army.  The call for pity is the default setting for many soldiers wishing to avoid Duty.  I’m not averse to having pity on those that deserve it, but I regard those who attempt to avoid Duty by feigning weakness (or the belief that feeling any discomfort at all means that something is “wrong”) as thieves. They are trying to steal something to which they have no right. They long for victim-hood and all its benefits. This perverse inverse of traditional values for women began with perhaps its most troubling aspect: Its loathing of motherhood, of parenting, of homemaking, as if being a housewife were tantamount to slavery. from this root grew the withered tree of cultural demise.  As the German philosopher Oswald Spengler wrote,

“When the ordinary thought of a highly cultivated people begins to regard ‘having children’ as a question of pro’s and con’s, the great turning point has come.”

A proto-feminist, upon reading my concerns of birthrates and modern attitudes toward motherhood, quipped that she did not feel it necessary to reproduce merely to prop up her society. But she misunderstood. The mere fact that she and the rest of the West has asked the question: “Are children worth it?”, means that the fatal seed is already planted and even blooming. Such a question is like asking, “is eating worth it?”, “is the sun rising worth it?”.  So, if Spengler was correct, we are already dying.  When motherhood becomes tantamount to dishonor, count your nation as dead and rotting. The perverse inverse continues in its paradoxical reinvention of what is feminine. Oddly, it is now feminine to be masculine, yet masculinity when practiced by men is demonized. This can only equate to men being deemed as bad. Again paradoxically, the feminist disapproval of motherhood has led to even more doting over children, who are not allowed to take risks common to children of even 15 years ago. We now give “timeouts”, as opposed to concrete discipline. Can youn imagine a child being sent to bed without Doritos, err, dinner nowadays? The typical male response of men from my grandfather’s age was “toughen up”, and parents were not seen as human entertainment machines. It was well established that doting over children ruined them, that even picking them up too often could damage them. Whining and pouting earned a trip to their room, excommunicated for conduct unbecoming.  Now such behavior earns more soda and candy.  The hours spent outdoors by young people in past years is now replaced by hours on a couch.  So spoiled are many of today’s children, that nothing can sate their appetites, nothing can satisfy, nothing can make them content for more than 30 minutes.  Such are the wages of overindulgence and the absence of the classic male response to unjust complaints: Toughen up. We have made children into anti-stoics, the opposite of the Buddhist ideal of the Middle Path.

But perhaps the feminists have overplayed their hand. There is a surge of male unrest, a revolt against the metro-sexual ideal of the sedate, passive man willing to serve his time as house Helot. Some men have realized they don’t want participation trophies, as they have no transcendental meaning, no value. A man’s inner longings are often about value, giving life meaning, about the fact that the things that are earned through pain and blood are the things most valued in life. Some men like emerging from an athletic game, tired, bloodied.  In the feminine society, there is something wrong with this. In the man’s world of old, pain was viewed as the refiner’s fire, moving men beyond the materialism so prevalent today.  To those men, life is not about smart phone apps, the latest fashion, a perfectly comfortable life, Doritos, Starbucks, Oprah, GLAAD, strippers, drugs, Obamacare, or Miley Cyrus. For some, life is about the transcendental state that can only be achieved by doing what is difficult. The feminized society tried to make war safe, against Sherman’s warnings.

I think Camille Paglia is right.  What we’re seeing is the decline of our civilization, but no one wants to move to do anything, because as with the Methamphetamine addict whose body withers and erupts with boils as death approaches, the pleasure felt during our death is too great.  Even those who secretly see the problems at hand are embarrassed to contradict the herd. They are not sufficiently convinced by their own convictions, the modern culture has shamed them into submission. But as for me, count me as Riding the Tiger, the good Roman soldier who stood at his post fulfilling his Duty even as Vesuvius erupted and slew him.

Oswald Spengler: We Are Doomed
Oswald Spengler: We Are Doomed

“We are born into this time and must bravely follow the path to the destined end. There is no other way. Our duty is to hold on to the lost position, without hope, without rescue, like that Roman soldier whose bones were found in front of a door in Pompeii, who, during the eruption of Vesuvius, died at his post because they forgot to relieve him. That is greatness. That is what it means to be a thoroughbred. The honorable end is the one thing that can not be taken from a man.” `~Oswald Spengler, Man and Technics

Go Tell the Spartans, here lays Mickey Mouse

Posted on Updated on

It is vain to do with more what can be done with less. ~William of Occam

In an age of drastic military cuts set against a background of international instability and conflict, a sane person could be excused for thinking the US Army would have to cut out as much nonsense as possible in order to assure it fulfill its central role: winning wars.

But no.

Instead the Army has upped its impressive resume for pettiness.  Big Brother is watching, not just the Taliban and al-Qaeda, but our own Soldiers. “Courtesy Patrols” skulk the halls of PXs and commissaries, ready to pounce on the heretics who’d dare talk on a cell phone while walking.  Soldiers at some posts are assigned the duty of policing for small violation of regulations on Army posts. The title “Courtesy Patrol” is an interesting manipulation of language, a key aspect of all authoritarian regimes, and reminiscent of Orwell’s observation that “pacification” is a term used when the military bombs a village.  Courtesy. The Army is doing Soldiers a favor. Honest. These courtesy patrols even keep their eyes peeled for the exposed underwear of Army spouses. Who could make this stuff up?

There’s a problem, though. No one cares except the Commissars.

As a cop, I learned that enforcing laws with no moral force earns not only scorn for the law, but  scorn for the enforcers of those laws. Rules concerning walking whilst talking on cell phones hold no moral force. None. Nada. Zilch.  Want Soldiers to hate the Army (many do), just institute and enforce regulations that hold no moral force. As Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn stated, morality is above the law, always. If murder were legal, murder would still be wrong, just as lying is now legal but wrong under most circumstances. The US Army’s Commissars believe they are maintaining discipline with small rules, controlling every aspect of a Soldier’s life. In truth the Commissars are merely bored.  The Long War is now short. The Commissars have to hurry to ensure their careers have meaning. After two COIN debacles,  the idea that senior Army officials will now have to sit virtually inert signing leave forms is driving these Type A personalities bonkers.  So it’s now to making petty rules, to make sure every Soldier knows the importance of the Commissars.  Reflective belts, cell phone rules, mustache regs, the, the power!! Lost to the authoritarians in the Army is that we suck at fighting. For the billions of dollars spent on the Long War, barely an American benefited. A witch’s brew of multicultural nonsense and bad strategy,  Americans got robbed. Making petty rules is easy, winning wars is tough. Any high school student can make up inane rules and assign them arbitrary relation to “discipline.” It takes real genius to win wars.  Real discipline is bravery. Fake discipline is rote memorization.  Now, I know some will excuse this as all part of military rigor. Nope. There’s a historic term for this BS. It’s called Mickey Mouse, an old military pejorative.

The Free Online Dictionary defines as the slang use of Mickey Mouse as:

1.a. Unimportant; trivial: “It’s a Mickey Mouse operation compared to what goes on in Lyons or Paris” (Jack Higgins); b. Irritatingly petty: the school’s Mickey Mouse requirements for graduation.
2. Intellectually unchallenging; simple: His Mickey Mouse assignments soon bored the students.
3. Melodramatic or sentimental. Used especially of popular music.

Here’s the Commissars, err, Courtesy Patrol. Wait, they’re out of regs. Who knew. As commentators on this post pointed out, no one can follow all the regs all the time. There’s too many. “Let’s first start off by putting a picture with the article where the Soldiers are within AR 670-1. The two middle Soldiers have ink pens/pencils showing in uniform – not IAW with AR 670-1, 1-14.2” “They are within the current regulations. AR 670-1 is so far out of date, I can’t even keep track of how many ALARACT messages are in place to update it. ALARACT 140/2007 para 4 states “PENS/PENCILS WORN IN THE PEN/PENCIL SLOTS ON THE ACU COAT CAN BE EXPOSED. NOTE: THERE ARE NO STIPULATIONS ON THE COLORS OF PENS/PENCILS WORN IN THE SLOTS ON THE ACU COAT.”” Yes, the proper wear of pencils and pens is indicative of military discipline. Pathetic.

Soldiers are crushed under a mountain of petty regulation that have nothing to do with the reasons armies exist and nothing to do with the reason people join the Army. Entire days and weeks are spent completing “online training”, surveys, and certifications. Staff Soldiers often have no time to train skills fundamental to fighting modern wars, such as using radios. We are well on our way to a Hollow Force, a military in which blocks are checked but can’t win wars. The Hollow Force will be great at wasting Americans money, allowing its citizens to be killed, and conducting meetings in which Mickey Mouse and the Commissars can share ideas on how to enforce discipline.  Count me out.

Instead, the Commissars and Authoritarians would be better off taking advantage of the odd psychological aspects of victims of Stockholm Syndrome. People under the influence of Stockholm Syndrome come to worship their captors should they be allowed the most basic of human necessity.  Merely being allowed to use a toilet is interpreted as god-like righteousness on the part of terrorists. Cutting out the petty regulations in the Army would probably result in an increase in morale more than commensurate with the actual impact on daily life. Moreover, many good Soldiers would gain respect for an an organization that realizes rules and laws should have something to do with morality, and in the Army, winning wars is moral.  The military’s rules are bound by Natural Law, just as are all good rules. No matter how some try, they cannot find true outrage at those walking and talking on cell phones. Yet they will still fight and die for the American way of life. Like a fat Soldier, the Army is carrying too much flesh, so much so that it’s hindering the mission. Cut the fat, and by fat this isn’t just concerning budgets.

The Wikipedia entry on  the Authoritarian Personality notes:

Alfred Adler provided another perspective, linking the “will to power over others” as a central neurotic trait, usually emerging as aggressive over-compensation for felt and dreaded feelings of inferiority and insignificance. According to this view, the authoritarian’s need to maintain control and prove superiority over others is rooted in a worldview populated by enemies and empty of equality, empathy, and mutual benefit.

Note to the Commissars: Our Founding Fathers were anti-authoritarian. Read some Thomas Jefferson and put down AR 670-1 for a few hours.  The Army defends the foundation upon which our country stands, not 670-1.

We are becoming an Army of Martinets, not the Spartans of Thermopylae that so many military people adore. So, think, are we upholding our Western values in our own Army? The epigram, placed upon the grave of the Spartans that saved Western Civilization, read:

Stranger, bear this message to the Spartans,
that we lie here obedient to their laws.

What laws did they speak of? The eternal laws, Natural Law, that great men fight and die for foundational values, not minutiae that only small minds find important. I’d first have that every Soldiers carry a copy of Sun Zsu’s Art of War and Thomas Paine’s Common Sense before AR 670-1.  Freedom is the reason the Army exists.

The Death of Philosophy

Posted on Updated on

In 2011, vaunted scientist Stephen Hawking announced the death of philosophy.  His premise is that philosophy has not kept up with modern physics.  Hawking, judging from his writings, is probably quite happy about the death of philosophy.

I am in no position to argue with Hawking’s science.  What I am in a position, I believe, to do, is compete with Hawking, and many other current and popular scientists, such as Richard Dawkins, on a philosophical level. It is precisely because of the death of philosophy, that brilliant scientists such as Hawking draw fallacious conclusions.

First, let me admit that philosophy and science are intimately linked, like Siamese twins; two entities sharing common  systems.  It is impossible to speak of science without invoking some philosophical insights.  Many new scientists despise this idea. To them, philosophy involves metaphysics, which is related to that dreadfully unscientific thing called religion.

These scientists want to keep science and religion separated. It enables them to control the message, which is that if a person is religious, he is by definition  anti-science. And since we all know that science is “true”, we must conclude that suppositions of scientists are true, and that those reached by theists are false.   What many modern scientists cannot abide is that religion can be based on science.

But science, in and of itself, tells us little about what conclusions we should draw from scientific revelations. Science does a rather poor job in answering the child’s first question: Why? 

Why is the grass green? Because of chlorophyll, of course. But why? 

Why should I not kill the human next to me, and take his wallet? The Nazis divorced high science from real philosophical or religious thinking. The result was Zyklon-B and gas chambers. They knew, from science, to a sufficient degree, what the poison gas would do to human bodies, but they could not decipher the reasons not to use it in such a way.  Science cannot save humanity, hence the invention of the atom bomb and artillery shells and reality television….

Why is there something instead of nothing? Ask scientists why often enough, and you will get a response similar to the frustrated parent answering a string of whys from a 5 year old: “Shush“.  Like that parent, some scientists don’t want to admit that they don’t know the answers.  I am always amazed by the juvenile understanding that some world class scientists seem to have of the philosophic weaknesses of their arguments. Why do humans like music? Why do humans have language? Science rarely makes itself look so ridiculous as when it exercises itself through “evolutionary psychology” or makes any attempt to explain the exact reasons for a certain trait in a species.

The death of philosophy not only harms science, it harms religion. Christians, in many cases, find it difficult to defend their beliefs, with notable exceptions. Even a tertiary knowledge of philosophy would better arm them.

Indeed philosophy’s demise even results in faulty intelligence analysis and bad military strategy for America. A 50 minute class on deductive reasoning from a teacher who knew what they were talking about, may have saved the United States billions of dollars and thousands of lives in Iraq and Afghanistan.

If the unexamined life is not worth living, modern America seems a wasteland of meaninglessness. Little Johnny cannot determine why knowing and understanding American history is more important than anything that can be gleaned from Jersey Shore.  We have and will reap the whirlwind because of this.

Are atheists more intelligent than religious people?

Posted on Updated on

 

You may have read about the recent meta-study, which showed that atheists tend to have higher IQs than religious people. This is yet another example of the (re) emergence of hyper-rationalism. Call it the second wave.  The first wave occurred during the Soviet and Nazi regimes’ reigns. I’m not throwing the “Hitler Fallacy” out there just to scare or shame people into seeing things my way. Nor is this my call to anti-rationalism. In the case of Soviet Leninism and Nazi Fascism, both used science as propaganda in order to further ideology. 

The message that some people would like broadcast from this study is that smart people are atheists, dumb people believe in God.  Without going into the obvious causation/association issues with this argument, let’s look at why the study is nearly meaningless.

First, as the article I linked to states, what a study like this ends up doing is measuring things that the researches didn’t really intend to measure. IQ is a major factor in success in school, and SAT scores are largely reflective of IQ. Higher SAT score equals access to better schools. 

So, children with higher IQs have a much better chance of going to college.  The more intelligent they are, the better chance they have of going to elite schools, like Harvard, Yale, Stanford or Berkley. 

Each university has a culture. That culture for the most part is secular and liberal. This is in part due to an influx of intellectuals with left-leaning sentiments during the 50s and 60s, into the major universities. Many were outright Communists.  A pillar of Communism is atheism.  So we find on many campuses that smart people are atheists because “that’s what other smart people believe”.  Of course, we would likely find a very different correlation at another elite school that is associated with religion: Notre Dame.  I have no doubt that if we were to measure the IQs of Communist sympathizers and compare them to the IQs of say, average people in America during the 50s, 60s, and 70s,, we would find that the Communists had higher IQs.  But Communism utterly failed, and few today in America are full-blown Leninists.  But these “Communists” became so by hanging around birds with red feathers. Eventually they grew their own red feathers. A problem with intellectuals as opposed to scientists, is that they tend to over generalize. As Friedrich Heyek noted, many left-leaning intellectuals ignore the specifics, that is, the science of economics, in favor of generalized (ideological) notions about how to help the poor.  Looking at the details could lead an intelligent person to believe that government handouts are not the best answer, and that capitalism cuts into poverty more than giveaways.  The same goes for religion.  Intellectuals, whom are almost always intelligent people when measured by IQ, generalize about the non-existence of God.  Most college students would probably classify themselves as agnostic or atheist, but would do a very poor job if asked to engage in specific scientific or philosophical debate on the matter.  Their arguments would be based on (probably), “I can’t see God, and until I do, I don’t believe”. Yet college students have higher than average IQs.

Next is the problem of induction.  If it is true that atheists are just so because they are intelligent, than it should be so that by utilizing a form of Backward Induction,  and becoming atheists, people could raise their IQs.  This is absurd of course. But we also know that people with higher IQs tend toward drug use, drink more alcohol, and like cigarettes more. But no one argues those things actually make people more intelligent.  Moreover, Germany just prior to the Nazi takeover was considered the country with the highest scientific and social advancement.  Plenty of Germans were intelligent, and plenty of high IQ people were Nazis. 

Finally, intelligent people are susceptible to the Appeal to Novelty fallacy.  Intelligent people get bored easily and like new, different things.  In terms of civilizational time, atheism is very new. 

In summary, the higher IQ of atheists is due to the self-selecting nature of college attendees, the zeitgeist of modern universities, the tendency to avoid specifics, and the desire for novelty in the intelligent. 

When Libertarianism becomes an ideology

Posted on Updated on

Libertarian Nick Gillespie, editor for Reason.com, wrote an article about The Boy Scouts’ stance on homosexual membership in the organization. 

I like Nick Gillespie, enjoy Reason magazine and will continue to read articles produced by both. However, Gillespie reminds me of why I am not a true Libertarian. It is not because I don’t want my children to be homosexuals ( I don’t). It is because the Libertarian movement has essentially become just another ideology, to be followed at all costs.

In Gillespie’s WSJ piece, he outlines extensively the benefits he received from being a Boy Scout. But at the end of the article he says that he will not allow his children to take part in the Scouts because of the organization’s official stance on homosexuals. This is a classic example of throwing the baby out with the ideological bath water.

First, Gillespie forgets why it’s so great to be a kid: Innocence. Kids aren’t thinking about who’s gay and who isn’t. Gays seem to want kids to think about these things, as well as sex, race etc, at the cost of robbing them of their innocence.  Boys want to be Boy Scouts because it is fun. I was a Boy scout, and I loved it. I never once thought about who was gay and who wasn’t. Modern children are cursed with the presence of idealogical and political organizations bent on impressing their “life styles” upon kids, because how better to change society? Meanwhile, classic Scouting involves inculcating Natural Law into one’s life and thinking: Do good deeds, be prepared, do not lie.

Secondly, why is Gillespie saving his ire for Scouting, an organization that he admits has so many benefits to offer? Why is Scouting worthy of a critical article in a national newspaper, but not the North American Man-Boy Love Association, an organization that I assume does not admit many straight, conservative Christians?

Thirdly, Gillespie’s “all or nothing” politics is obviously standing in the way of his own children’s development: He writes about the Scouts’ own positive effects on his own life, so why deprive his children of the same benefits he had?  I grew up a Catholic. I was an alter boy. I am no longer Catholic, but I realize the many benefits that going to weekly CCD and Sunday mass provided me.

People need not agree with every dot and tittle of an organization’s creed to accept the fact that the organization is good for our civilization. And the Scouts are just that.

Confessions of a lifelong introvert

Posted on Updated on

Today I feel better than usual. Today I realized something about myself, saw what I am more clearly than I have ever before seen myself; I am an introvert.

I’m fairly skilled at hiding the fact that I’m an introvert, and all but my closest friends, and my wife, would likely be surprised by this revelation. In fact, I’m so adept at hiding my own introversion, that the discovery even shocks me.

By introvert, I do not necessarily mean that I cannot be around people, only that being forced to engage with people whom I do not completely trust is a painful, exhausting ordeal. This sort of engagement condemns me to interact when I would prefer to disengage.

I discovered this fact about myself while examining the cause for my discomfort in the Army. I do well at everything the Army asks me to do, but I never feel comfortable. Hardly ever a day of peace. Then it came to me, as if on the Damascus Road. The Army celebrates extroversion almost as much as a Gay Pride parade. Not only are the top NCOs extreme extroverts, but introverts are actually quite severely punished.  I’ve seen NCOs relieved of duty for not yelling at soldiers. NCOs are expected to scream and rant and rave. They are supposed to have strong personalities. That’s ‘leadership.”  Believe me, it takes an extreme extrovert to eyeball a complete stranger from across the street and yell at him for not wearing his patrol cap correctly.

From the very first day in the Army, I have felt a deep sense of discomfort, bordering on manic unhappiness. It began in Basic training when I was forced to lodge with dozens of other people, in very close quarters. Again, in everything I excelled. I was voted the best soldier in my platoon in Basic, Soldier of the Year at my previous unit. In AIT, a school that teaches soldiers their specific jobs right after Basic, I spent my weekends almost completely alone. I felt euphoria finally being able to experience solitude. Almost all the other soldiers would hang out together, but not me. I literally just wanted to go somewhere and read a book. I would go to restaurants, and read while eating my meal. If I saw someone I knew, I would turn and avoid them, afraid they would ask me to do something with them, which would take away from my time alone.

I hate Army “formations” in which soldiers are told to gather daily. Hate them with a passion.

One of the most euphoric feelings I recall in my entire life is my first day in Germany, after graduating Army AIT. The Army provided me with a hotel room in Frankfurt, Germany. Finally, I was a lone.

Looking back, I realize that almost all of my problems as a child in school were the result of being an introvert. The other kids seemed so open and desired to be with the group. I didn’t enjoy feeling like an outsider, but I didn’t particularly enjoy extroverts either. I did not feel comfortable in school until college, when I was finally given the power to run my own life. I could choose when and where to interact with people. The Army took away much of my power to be alone.

When I was a young man, one of my good friends said to me, “You’re the biggest loner I know.”

I’m sure he was being truthful; I’m the biggest loner I know, too. Characteristic of an introvert, boredom is never a problem for me. I am almost never bored. German philosopher, Arthur Schopenhauer, an arch-introvert, said that introverts are rarely bored because they gain pleasure from an intellectual world, whereas extroverts gain pleasure more from the external, and more temporal, world. I am constantly amazed by some of the people I work with. They will complain about their work, and the moment they get a chance to relax, they say they are bored.

Arthur Schopenhauer: Kindred spirit

“That I could clamber to the frozen moon. And draw the ladder after me.”~Arthur Schopenhauer

I am never bored. And I am almost never lonely. The things that make me feel lonely are being away from the people whom I love dearly. But I do not need to be around people with whom I have only passing relationships. I work with many people who cannot do anything unless they are doing it with someone else.

Schopenhauer pointed out another characteristic that he had and shares with me, and is apparently an almost universal aspect of the introvert: Hatred of noise. He said that all his life noise bothered him significantly, and on one occasion, his weakness got him into trouble when he physically assaulted a woman in his apartment building whom he claimed was a chronic noise-maker. He was forced to pay her money from a lawsuit for the rest of her life. So while the introvert has significant advantages in certain areas, such as an ability to think deeply, lack of boredom, maintaining long-term friendships, and very creative, they are easily distracted by the outside world, do not maintain a “network” of people that can help them, and may come off as cranky. So easily distracted am I by other people, that I must do all of my writing and thinking in complete solitude, or I must have a drink of beer, which seems to dull the effects of external stimulation and allows me to remain in my own mind and continue writing amid possible distractions. . At work, I must sometimes shut myself in a room, telling my Captain that I need him to use his rank to keep people from bothering me, while I read intelligence reports and make sense of things.

At times I will return home from work feeling utterly exhausted, as if I had just run a marathon. I often ask myself what I have done that could have made me so tired that I do not do on my days off from work. The answer is that I interact with large amounts of people. I do not want to come across as someone that is a crank all day, though I find myself being more so than when I was younger. Only that my exhaustion is from trying to act like the extrovert I am not. Oddly, I feel dumber when I am with people I know only at a surface level. My instinct is to speak like them, to think like them, so as not to offend. Yet in my inner-most being, I almost never think like them and feel ashamed to tell most people the things I think about: Philosophies, metaphysics, religion, demographics, grand-strategies. All near useless trivia, really.  This facade is draining and debilitating.

I have just today, come to grips with what I am and what has caused me so much pain throughout my life. I am fine with it. I know now that I don’t have to appear gregarious if the mood doesn’t strike me. That being quiet is ok. I know that some may doubt my claim to introversion, being that I say some things on this blog and in other writings that may shock some. But I read that introverts are more likely to be intimate online, and I think it fair to say that many historic writers were notorious introverts, recluses, and hermits. All of these things bring to mind wisdom, and even in the age of the extrovert, they are something to hold dear.

There are people in this world that I look forward to speaking to often and I am lonely without.  Nothing can replace the smiles of my children.  But other than that, I rather look forward to being the old hermit on the top of the mountain, surviving on his own, beholden to none, just thinking, thinking….