In Praise of Naked Apes

I grew up in the seventies, or at least that’s when I discovered history and philosophical currents. I read both the treatises from my grandparents’ time and before, the attitude of which can be summed in Shakespeare’s lines: “What a piece of work is man… etc.”

But I also read a lot of seventies claptrap moral philosophy and theorizing about man. I don’t have a very high regard for the seventies, an era that seems to me to have been heavily influenced by drug use and eye-searing polyester to the point people could believe two thousand impossible things before breakfast, which ran into lunch because they were passed out on the floor, tripping on horse tranquilizers.

Okay, maybe this was just the view of a young woman just coming of age in a country undergoing great upheaval.

However, if the sixties started it, the seventies is when the ah… new age of entertainment and thought hit the mainstream. Perhaps it was when the slow marchers got enough power to influence things. Suddenly every book and every movie seemed bent on rubbing our noses in the fact that humans were animals and not nice animals.

In anthropology – I was a weird kid. As the youngest of a huge extended-but-living-in-each-other’s-pockets family, I was very lonely (my ten years older brother was the nearest to my age) but also well provided with books, college texts, and stuff on subjects my much older cousins favored – it was the age of the Naked Ape, red in tooth and claw.

Universally the view as that we were bad, bad, bad all through and that the only hope for society was for our betters to take us in hand and change us.

I didn’t realize at the time this was a vile-prog point of view. I do realize now it hasn’t changed much.

Watching people at the DNC say “We all have to belong to something, so we belong to the government” made my hair stand on end, but if you believed that man, the human by itself, left alone, is an evil being, a uniquely evil being in the scale of the world, wouldn’t you think you needed something – some entity, some enlightened someone – to fix him? And if you don’t believe in G-d, who are you going to call? Other humans. And because you have to believe in something you believe that government somehow transforms humans into angels.

Don’t ask me. I don’t get it either. I believe both in G-d and that he created flawed humanity and believes in us and in our ability to struggle to salvation.

But whether you believe in Him or not, if you believe we humans are unredeemable, it explains both the ridiculous need for “overseers”, the hatred of humans (zero population growth and extinction-lust programs and books), “bad humans, good aliens” movies (gag) and the endless pathology of the left which seems to hate humans just a little more than they hate… everything else.

And this is nonsense.

Those books of seventies sold us a bill of goods, including that humans are the only beings who murder their own kind; the only humans who commit murder; the only animals capable of making war, and who knows what else.

None of those are true. What is true is this: we are sentient creatures built on an animal base. The structures of our rationality are built onto the body of a pre-rational animal. We are built on an ape base, and that comes with certain qualities, as much a part of us as anything we want to be or think ourselves to be: we are sexual beings; we are creatures of instinct; we are social creatures; we are both lazy and clever, an ape who makes complex things.

The important thing to remember, though, is that we have the qualities of our vices.

I’ve moaned here, and you’ve heard me moan that we’re tribal creatures. This has some awful side effects because we tend to tribal-up. Some of the effect is minor. Get a bunch of my friends and Dan’s in a room. Or just an undifferentiated bunch of IT people and writers. As the night advances, we’ll divide into two groups and roll our eyes at the other guys.

This drives the social justice warriors nuts. They want to understand/integrate/whatever the other. They want to lift up the other and debase the group to which they belong. But they too are build on the same social animal base we are. So what they end up is forming a tribe of “The people who care deeply for the other” and… well, the other. Those of us who couldn’t care less and some people who think there’s nothing wrong with them that a few swirlies couldn’t fix. (And sometimes my loyalty veers to the second tribe.) This is the basis of all oikophobia. Wanting to belong to the tribe that is achingly, achingly I tell you (stop laughing) sympathetic to the “other.” Unless the other is their own tribesmen who think they are a few buckets short of a gallon of water, to be caring deeply about people who would stone them to death for their behavior.

What they – as well as the moralists who would have us all, even the least suited to it become utter saints – fail to get is that you can’t – not as a fellow human, not even, often, as yourself – excise the bad parts of someone and leave the good standing. That’s not how it works.

As individuals or as a species we are the same: we have the virtues of our vices. So humans who are tribal might get in league against “the other” but they also, by being tribal, stand in close association and protection, and will take care of the weak and the old they consider to be their own. (The SJWs want the government to do it, but that’s something else. It’s a delusion of sorts.)

Men are aggressive, but that aggression turned to protectiveness, has caused them to die in droves to protect the homeland and women they never even met.

Yes, humans strive against each other in war, but that’s a side effect of striving FOR something.

Civilization consists of individual humans choosing to channel their natural instincts productively. A functional society consists of giving them incentives to do so, instead of killing and pillaging.

Yes, there are bad men. Yes, there are bad women too. Yes, periodically all civilizations go dysfunctional or at least dysfunctional for a while, and yes, Mr. du Toit might be absolutely right that our collective psyche is being fractured by the speed of change which creates a sort of regression in some people who would rather go howling into the dark ages than towards a future they don’t understand.

But by and large, humans have done well. It’s not just a matter of our covering the face of the Earth, not altogether bad for a “naked ape.” It’s also the fact that we can look back just 400 years to Elizabethan England and see how far we’ve come.

It’s entirely possible, mind, that Western civilization is a terrible thing. (Terrible according to WHOM?) but if you are disabled, weak, a woman, a child or just plain weird, where would you prefer to be? In a Western nation or elsewhere? And more importantly, in the world now, or elsewhen?

It’s all in how you channel your aggression. You’re not born human. You’re born something like human. A civilized society can make you human, though, and we’re getting pretty good at this.

If we understand this, we can stop the self-reflexive hatred.

Virtue and vice are one, and the denied one fuels the other. No human is so good he’s without bad impulses, no. BUT he can choose. And those impulses are often never expressed.

We might, yes, be a killer ape. But we’re a killer ape whose expansionist desires can make him dream of the stars, and realize we might even be friends with those we meet there – if they extend a hand of friendship to us.

A naked ape can’t ask for much more.

516 responses to “In Praise of Naked Apes

  1. Mayhaps. But I’ll STILL tell the Others to take their stinking paws off me, the damned dirty apes. . . .

    (evil grin)

    • There’s an actor and a style for every role. They put down ole Chuck, but try to imagine anyone else in that role in that script.

  2. Chuck Colson did a spot on John Lennon’s “Imagine” while he was still with us. It came to mind when I was reading the section on not being to stand ‘for’ anything if we don’t accept our tribalism. The Left thinks Lennon’s lyrics the most profound and beautiful thing of all time. It’s their substitute Gospel, really.

    And yet, if we didn’t have nations, possessions, and yes, God, what would we care ABOUT? “Everyone”? Yeah. Sure. In reality, that becomes ‘no one,’ which is why they’re so bad at charity. Lennon’s “Imagine” society would be a world no one would have anything to live FOR.

    It is a pernicious, soul-sucking lie of a song. And very much rests at the heart of what separates those who believe in freedom from those who believe in Government as the Savior.

    • “And yet, if we didn’t have nations, possessions, and yes, God, what would we care ABOUT?”

      That was always the fatal flaw in the Star Trek universe. Let’s see, we have essentially unlimited energy, and a system that can convert that energy into any form of matter that we have analyzed down to the atomic level. Why, exactly, would they be in space. To find new and exotic things to scan for the replicator is about all that comes to mind. They wouldn’t NEED resources that are consumed and have to be replaced; they can make more.

      Of course, that wouldn’t make for much excitement or drayma to base the show on….

      • Funny you bring up Star Trek replicators. I did a little discussion on what their REAL impact in a universe would be: http://ripleynox.com/principle-scarcity-speculative-fiction-guest-post-tarien-cole/ Economics is a cruel teacher. 😛

        • There’s a reason that Economics is called the Dismal science.

          • Sorry I know everybody here know why it is call the “Dismal science” but had to add this anyway “the dismal science” first occurs in Carlyle’s 1849 tract entitled Occasional Discourse on the Negro Question, in which he was arguing for the reintroduction of slavery as a means to regulate the labor market in the West Indies”

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_dismal_science

        • I dunno. I’d be cruising around at a comfortable distance from civilization (say 500 LY), in my copy of an open-source spaceship, occasionally drifting into town to trade designs/information with the rest of the spacecraft/habitat-hacker community. I might also have a commercially purchased iShip or Windowsmobile, paid for with an exchange of my own attention for that of the programmer’s attention.

          (My guess is that human attention and problemsolving is still going to be scarce)

          My problem with the Star Trek universe is that, if the replicator did what they said it does, everyone would have their own starship, arbitrary amounts of equipment (huge amounts of per capita capital), and no one would need to join vast hierarchical organizations to accomplish any purpose that entered their minds, anymore than the rest of us need to dial in to the IBM central operating system on our dumb terminals.

          • For one class of good (software, books, movies, information in general) we already have our effortless replicator – our computers.

            I’d say that realistically, a Star-Trek replicator-driven economy would probably end up looking a lot like the software economy. There would probably be a lot of free stuff around, but you could probably also make a living selling stuff if it is good. Per unit prices would tend to zero as the production volume of anything increases.

            I also imagine, if someone’s property looks anything like my computer filesystem, there would be metric tons of discarded projects and random machinery that would accrue.

          • There’s a STNG episode that kind of crosses your speculations with the “Imagine” mechanical materialist universe. The holograph creates real people, and they cease to exist when you stop playing, at least in this episode. Two gangsters somehow know this, and try in vain to escape.

          • That was a big part of my own critique. Along with the fact that most people would use it for Rule 34 or dark purposes. Human Nature doesn’t magically improve with the level of tech.

            • After the TNG episode where Data’s designer’s teacher uploaded himself into Data’s positronic brain, I really wanted to see someone who’d take full advantage of ST tech. Upload yourself to a positronic brain with an attached Emergency Medical Hologram holo-generator to produce whatever body you wanted to occupy. Use a large replicator to build your own Defiant-class ship with very little room for meat-ware (you wouldn’t need it yourself) and use the extra space for more power, or better deflectors or larger brain modules…

              Basically turn yourself into a Culture Mind:-).

            • William O. B'Livion

              Oh, but it COULD, if the tech is right.

              FCVO.

              A really short story in outline form:

              I. Biotech advances to the stage where teenagers/college students can hack viruses.
              1. Bright kid finds out he, and large parts of his generation have metal poisoning from 150 years of dumping metals into the air.
              2. figures out how to filter the blood for excess chemicals using hair follicles to extract the metal and embed it in hair (this already happens to a degree, he just “improves” it).
              3. Clones a common cold virus to spread this.
              II Unintended side efffects:
              1. Haircuts now involved tinsnips.
              2. Trimming nostril and ear hair now a lot more involved.
              3. Kissing you grandmother now draws blood.

          • *taps chin while thinking* I had a rather vague notion that there were different kinds of replicators – the food one, and… I think the ones that spat out stuff that weren’t food. I haven’t played STO for a while so my memory is hazy on that. A common thing that I remember cropping up now and then is the remark that food from the replicator isn’t anywhere near as tasty as the ‘real thing’. I don’t remember if they changed that by TNG, and there’s Will Riker’s forays into cooking ‘the old fashioned way’ – played for comedy, IIRC.

            But I think the replicators DID need something to replicate with, and that’s what ALL the organic waste was used for…

        • William O. B'Livion

          Or read the DNA Cowboys sequence.

      • Forgot to check comments

      • I believe a book titled “A is for Anything” – rather dark and morbid – postulated that once you could (almost) perfectly replicate anything, the limiting resource were those who can create new things to replicate – so of course the artisans were enslaved.

        Especially because in this case, you could replicate fresh fruit, but not store the template for later use…..

        • The later books of Venus Equilateral series by George O.Smith had matter replicators. The economy was finally restructured around getting copies, raw materials and certifiable uniques. Money was based on materials that could not be replicated for various reasons. One of the big problems was that once there was nothing to work for, no one wanted to work, so things like power plants stopped working

      • Well, yes… and no…

        Those replicators need to be powered. And given the importance of dilithium crystals in the Star Trek universe, it’s likely that the whole setup revolves around them. If that’s true, then there ought to be a currency besides “gold-pressed latinum” (whatever that is), and it should be backed by dilithium. An important part of Starfleet’s exploration mission is therefore to find new sources of dilithium so that it can be gathered, refined, and sent back to the Federation to keep all of those replicators running.

        • There’s probably an explanation in one of the technical manuals. I’ve always just assumed that the dilithium was part of the AntiMatter containment system. We know they have AM, and that’s about as efficient an energy-storage substance as you’ll find (or make).

          I’d guess that they have lots of solar statites turning out the AM, which gets stored in diLithium storage crystals and shipped around. But that’s just me blue-skying.

          • iirc, latinum was a transuranic element they pressed into gold bars for transport. Not completely sure about that, since I haven’t read a single Star Trek book in over a decade.

            • Based off of a single episode of Deep Space Nine where they were trying to be clever, yes. (I vaguely remember that it contradicted the episode that introduced the Ferangi, too, where they were impressed by the gold emblems the crew wore.)

          • Not really, the dilithium is part of the warp core, and the warp engines, not the power system. They tap some of the power for the ship off of the matter/antimatter reactions in the warp care and the dilithium is used to contain and control the reaction. The antimatter is stored in large magnetic bottles.

    • Sarah wrote a blog on “Imagine” a few weeks back.

      https://accordingtohoyt.com/2014/08/24/the-grandchildren-of-imagine/

      If you haven’t read it yet, you should. 🙂

    • And yet, if we didn’t have nations, possessions, and yes, God, what would we care ABOUT?

      Status, and the exercise of power over others. While many of us are not interested in those, the evidence is great that many would. At the very least those folk who feel compelled to tell others what to eat, how much to exercise, how to raise their children and, in general, how to live their lives would persist.

      • Indeed. But isn’t that the ‘worst’ of things to care about and promote. Sure, I don’t resent status accruing to those who succeed. But if that’s all one’s life is aimed for? Vanity of vanities.

        • Oh crikey, yes. While observation of a motivation is not endorsement, that motive is visible omnipresent. Strike the politicians and Hollywoodites and simply notice the neighbor whose lawn care obsession exists to earn bragging rights, the parent whose child’s achievements are valued not for themselves but for the comparative validation of their superior parenting ability.

          Humans are competitive apes who will even compete over who has more misery.

  3. Patrick Chester

    Why am I thinking of those “Humanity on Trial” bits that pop up in stories?

    (Sarah, you’re drafted as our defense. Good luck!)

    • Because this article came from a discussion of one of these around the kitchen table. The one in Have Spacesuit Will Travel, which is perhaps the best of them all.

      • I look at that scene – complete with very non-PC, but noble in their own ways romans/etc. – as a total refutation of the PC attitude towards our ancestors, and “humanity sucks” in general.

        • YES. I loved the Roman. I cheered when he threw his pilum at them.

          • One other recent read I loved a lot – no “trial” per se, but nevertheless man against the elements and thus the universe at large, and people being more than just nasty rational animals (and lots of geeky engineering personalities and a few familiar namesakes) is Andy Weir’s “The Martian”

      • I dunno, I think Kip could have made a much better argument along the lines of “You call us savages, fine. But *we* consider complete eradication of a group of people genocide and the most horrible crime of all, and here you are slaughtering an entire planet for the actions of a few. Explain to me how YOU are civilized. And when a superior race judges you too dangerous to live in the galaxy, by their own standards, how will you plead?”

      • William O. B'Livion

        See also “Glory Lane” by Allen Dean Foster.

      • I don’t remember that, it time for me to reread it.

        • William O. B'Livion

          I seem to remember that in that book Homo Sapiens were on trial because of something, and the penalty was to be rotated out of the universe at 90 degrees leaving out sun behind.

          And one of the group was basically like “You really don’t want to do that because it’ll piss us off and we’ll figure out how to live w/out our sun, and then figure out how to get back, and then you’re REALLY be sorry”. But I might be crossing two streams.

          • It was not for something we did. It was for our potential danger to them. Kip makes arguments, one of which is that. Also, he and Peewee request to return home if judgment goes against Earth, even though arrrangements have been made to let them live out their natural lives.

  4. In Green Lantern: First Flight (2009) when Hal Jordan is examined by the Guardians of the Universe on Oa to see if he’s worthy to be a Green Lantern, Humanity is mentioned in entirely negative terms.

    • Only one of the reasons I’m not a fan of the movie. The other being the total lack of imagination in how he used his powers…

      • Re: Lack of imagination.

        I’ve concluded that JLU Flash is really the absolute nicest person in existence.

        He clearly has a really, really good imagination… yet not a single villain dies a horrific death at his hands, or even gets suffocated to my knowledge.

        (I am NOT going to elaborate on all the ways that moving that fast– including vibration– could be used to utterly horrific effect. Please don’t give anybody else nightmares, either…..)

        • It’s been noted from time to time that The Flash (along with the other speedsters) is quite possibly the most dangerous individual in DC’s roster. Fortunately, his evil counterpart, Professor Zoom, doesn’t appear to have figured out just how nasty the powerset can be.

      • Most super-heroes use their powers in unimaginative ways. For example, what if the LoSH’s Princess Projectra (or did they change her name since last i read a legion story?) used her illusion casting power not to make people “see” BEMs but rather to “not” see what was actually happening, such as Mon-el about to punch their lights out? Or not see chairs, footstools, rollerskates and lego blocks underfoot? Maybe make that flight of stairs seem to start one step farther out or end a step sooner … or simply see everything that is happening but shifted 5 degrees clock-wise?

        Susan Richards could kill the Hulk by inserting a force field bubble in his heart.

  5. I was talking to my parents a few weeks back, and they were telling me how much the current era reminds them of the Sixties, and it scares them. No matter what the time period looks like in the movies and TV, it was not a good era. (Which makes me shudder to think what these years will look like in the future mass media.)

    • The Other Sean

      As I read the international news, I’m thinking it looks more like the 30’s. Maybe we’ve got a two-fer: worst of the 30’s and 60’s, combined!

      • Or the aughts (ninteen-aught-x through 1913). Lots of disruption, lots of stupid politicians, lots of technical leaps, an lots of dark clouds on the horizon.

    • Times of rapid and massive change are what I believe the Chinese had in mind when they came up with their famous curse: “May you live in interesting times.”
      Change, no matter how ultimately beneficial the final result, is always disquieting and uncomfortable. To use a con term, it makes the mundanes nervous.

      • mikeweatherford

        That’s one aspect of change. Another is the belief that people HAVE to accept any change that comes up. I don’t. I don’t have a cell phone, for instance. There are times when it would be convenient, but for the most part, I can live without it. I COULD live without a lot of things, but there are some things that are so much better than how things were done “before”, that the change is not only acceptable, but desired. Change for the sake of change isn’t. I’ll continue to pick and choose for what works best for me and mine. That’s just one of the MANY things that makes me an “ODD”. 8^)

        • No argument here. I’ve always been most comfortable at the trailing edge of the technology curve. We live in a time of massive and continuous change, some of it essential, a good bit convenient, and most simply noise. And all that defined by each person’s very specific needs.
          I finally started carrying a cell phone because my kids insisted. It is a very dumb phone, not smart at all, and I make use of a very few of even its limited capabilities.
          The thing about change, new technology in particular, is that it’s hard to tell at first glance whether it will be for better or worse. To me it’s just prudent to hang back a bit and let the early adapters have a go and see what shakes out. Odd, sure, but wise as well.

          • I have a Blackberry, best phone I’ve ever owned. I use absolutely none of the ‘smart’ features on it (well I did used to occasionally use the mobipocket reader app that came on it) I simply use it to place and receive calls. All the smart features are just wasted space on it, but it gets better service than any phone I have ever owned, at seven years old the battery still lasts almost a week on a charge, it has been dropped onto a concrete floor from the second story and still works, got chewed up by a puppy and superglued back together and still works, and has a good clear speaker that I can hear plainly while driving a rattling diesel truck. When I do need a new phone, as long as I can find one that is not a touchscreen, I expect to buy another Blackberry, even though I won’t be using any of the smart features. If they made a simple idiot phone like the $10 Wal-Mart specials, but with the quality of the one I own now I would be perfectly happy with it.

    • It’s worth noting that a few people I respect as thinkers (even if I disagree with them) have discerned a 50-year-or-so cycle in American political, cultural, and economic life. Heck, in the “Past Through Tomorrow” series, written in the late 1930s and into the 1940s, Robert A. Heinlein (PBUH) predicted the Crazy Years for the late 1960s…

      To a certain extent, this is very bad news. Because that means we ARE in the 60s all over again. And the ’70s will followeth. The good news: just as I’m gearing up for retirement, we get the 1980s, and it’s going to be a great time to be alive.

      • A) we can’t. It won’t work. We’re not rich enough for that. B) meh. Humans always see cycles. And there is one, in fashion, but in the rest, bah.
        c) We’ve gone way beyond crazy.

  6. I think there is maybe a third of us who will put doing what’s right ahead of ourselves. Then there is a third that will put themselves first regardless. Then there is the rest which will blow will with the winds of culture which is why the fight over culture is necessary for civilization to survive and for people to have as much true joy as is possible in this veil of tears.

    Regarding the march through the institutions, there is an apocryphal story regarding how Pope Leo XIII wrote the Saint Michael’s Prayer in the late 19th century involving a vision he saw which involved a conversation between Jesus and Satan, in which Satan said he’d destroy the church in 100 years and Jesus said “Do what them what you will”.

    Say what you want of it when the prayers stopped in 1964 things started getting kind of weird.

    And this is also a comment for the turtles as I’m still not getting comments unless I subscribe to the post.

    • I’ve never heard this story, and even though I have a pretty good collection of orthodox sources that are conspiracy friendly (A lot of good information gets destroyed because it’s “sounds too much like a conspiracy theory;” I hate that!) I can’t find anything older than a ’95 magazine as a source for the specifics; I did find this mention of the original story from ’47, and several places mention that the “Jesus gave Satan more control over those who follow him” thing was a very popular story with no identifiable source.

      I don’t know how wide spread the custom is, but my parish does the St. Michael’s Prayer while the Father is getting his vestments on, after announcements but before the “stand up and say hello to those near you!” thing.

      • I’ve noticed that my parish has been saying it after the Rosary before service. I only picked up on it after I heard the story about the prayer. We are an Eastern Rite church we can be a little out-of-step with the Catholic mainstream.

    • (partly a link because the author is a sort of friend and is really nice about doing his research, and usually even links to where it came from if it was digital! Today’s post has an lol worthy image, too– “CLOSED MINDS STOP THOUGHT CRIMES!”)

  7. And yet the same people who claim that human beings are just animals condemn humans for working to insure the survival of the species–which I consider to be the one inescapable biological imperative.

    • A petty concern with constancy is the hobgoblin of little minds.

      Witness their shining confidence that the world evolves toward them in spite of their having no children. If they thought, they would realize they are an obstacle to be avoided.

      • Only now when we live in a time of great plenty. Should resources get tight and no one any longer has that luxury they will stop being obstacles and become speed bumps to simply be driven over.

        • There’s a scene at the end of Three Days of the Condor that I’ve always liked:

          Higgins: It’s simple economics. Today it’s oil, right? In ten or fifteen years, food. Plutonium. Maybe even sooner. Now, what do you think the people are gonna want us to do then?

          Joe Turner: Ask them?

          Higgins: Not now – then! Ask ’em when they’re running out. Ask ’em when there’s no heat in their homes and they’re cold. Ask ’em when their engines stop. Ask ’em when people who have never known hunger start going hungry. You wanna know something? They won’t want us to ask ’em. They’ll just want us to get it for ’em!

          It’s easy to be nice to people when you’ve got a full stomach and warm clothes.

        • What? there won’t always be plenty for women’s studies professors to batten off of?

        • …they will stop being obstacles and become speed bumps to simply be driven over.

          If things get bad enough, and their preferred societal model were to be followed, first their stuff and then they themselves will become resources to be consumed for the furtherance of the state.

  8. About humans being unpleasant animals: At least among the social animals, humans probably come off looking pretty civilized in comparison.

    The societies that social animal tribes form (at least among apes, though some other species are almost as bad) are pretty literally sadist. The strongest members demand (and receive) the fawning admiration and support of the other members, and the ones that end up on the bottom of the pecking order are picked at, stolen from, and attacked by every animal up the chain, until they die starving and alone, discarded on the outskirts of the band. Thus the breed is “improved”.

    Asocial creatures may war for territory, but at least they don’t do that sort of crap.

    Mankind isn’t at his most evil when on his own – in my (admittedly more asocial than usual) mind, the time to start looking for an escape-route / expedient weapon is when the social instincts of the mob start kicking in.

    I have a lot of random observations and thoughts that I will have to collect about this sometime. Many of them were formed when observing very dysfunctional and bizarre attitudes about authority and worth of others that began showing up in my cadet flight during field training. (Yaay peer evaluations. The knives come out!)

  9. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    In the back story of one of Christopher Nuttall’s books, a human fleet assumes that an alien fleet has “good intentions” because “of course nobody gets into space without being peaceful” and gets slaughtered. After all, humans weren’t peaceful and we got into space (in this book) so why shouldn’t another non-peaceful species get into space. [Very Big Evil Grin]

    How many so-called SF movies try to make humans worse than the so-called Bad Aliens? “Independence Day” had its flaws but at least it wasn’t mankind’s fault that the aliens attacked Earth.

    • Christopher M. Chupik

      I’m sure in the sequel, Roland Emmerich will reveal the aliens are invading because of global warming.

    • Reminds me of one of Niven’s Known Space stories featuring first contact with the Kzinti. The humans are in a photo-drive interstellar ship when they encounter the technologically superior Kzinti. The humans have almost all been brainwashed into pacifism and fed doctored “histories” that left them ignorant of humanity’s violent past.

      The humans still survive the encounter while the Kzinti don’t:-).

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        I “liked” how Pournelle & S. M. Stirling showed that Niven’s future world was the result of a hidden conspiracy that controlled the UN. Niven’s future world would have failed without that conspiracy even if the Kzinti didn’t exist. [Evil Grin]

        • Not a story I’m familiar with, but sounds interesting. Link please?

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            Don’t remember the exact story, but it was one of the Pournelle-Stirling Man-Kzin War stories. In the story, a Senior ARM gentleman gets involved in actions against the Kzin and it’s revealed that part of ARM’s job is keep the human monster under control. The Auto-Docs (mechanical medical devices) are part of the control especially when it comes to “wrong thoughts = insanity” idea. IE the Auto-Docs use mind-control drugs when it came to ideas/impulses that ARM considered “wrong thoughts”.

            • Sounds like ‘Madness has its Place’ in ‘Man-kzin Wars III, but that was by Niven, not Pournelle/Stirling

            • Of course, the idea of a conspiracy controlling humanity during the period leading up to the Man-Kzin Wars isn’t exactly new. It was revealed in one of Niven’s other books (possibly the original Ringworld) that humanity had specifically been prepared by the Puppeteers as a means of dealing with the Kzin.

              So logically, yes, there is a conspiracy. And it’s by paranoid aliens who are secretly manipulating the humans who think that they’re the masterminds of the whole thing.

              😛

  10. The way Heinlein addresses species loyalty in Starship Troopers is far and away better than I could hope to manga. I’ll let you all read it for yourselves, just fine a pre-1997 edition.
    We may be psychotic ape but its the only species we got. I also think that in general we done damn well in what’s important. The SJWs may not think so but they would be destroyed for saying what the do if we hadn’t.

    • Forgot to push the button

    • He said that over and over and over again, in ALL his works.

    • Why a pre-1997 edition? Was the text altered due to the movie (my current copy dates from the 1980).

      Speaking of Heinlein when did nearly all the juveniles go out of print (although all are in eBook). I mean WTFOMGBBQ, Heinlein juvies are mostly out of print?

      • In an early copy I had, he went into depth why there are no women in the Mobile Infantry. The copy I have just finished published post that awful movie was missing that part. I wonder what I have forgotten that was also excised.

        • Hmmm, I first read it in the 70s and have read it multiple times since and I don’t remember that part. The only big discussion of women I remember was the advantage of having mixed sex crews on troop transports because it reminded the men why they were willing to be shot out of a spaceship like a gun. It particularly emphasized that advantage of the last thing a trooper hears before going into battle (and possibly the last thing he ever hears) is a woman’s voice wishing him good luck.

          Is that the part you’re talking about?

          • Yes, but women weren’t MI, they were airforce.

            • Right, but that’s not an explanation of why they weren’t MI which is what is supposedly missing and that I never remember being there.

              And those women were NAVY, very explicitly…it appears the junior service never quite made it to space…not that such a failing surprises an old sailor 😉

              • Oh, Navy. Sorry. I have no brain today. And it’s been almost a year since I re-read the book. Duh.

                • Didn’t it say that all the pilots were women because they massed less and something else I can’t remember.

                  • Not all pilots. Just most of them. It was something like better reflexes. I don’t know if that’s true. It MIGHT have said better spatial reasoning, in which case it was flat wrong, but hey.

                  • Better reflexes and IIRC higher g tolerance.

                  • Better spatial sense. They know where they are in relation to everything else, especially in three dimensional space. Weber has a brief mention of this in the Harrington sags.

                    • Not exactly. In Field of Dishonor, Andrew LaFollette and Jesus Ramirez are discussing Honor’s shooting ability, and Andrew relates that Honor, as an individual, tests very high in spatial awareness, which the RMN tests everyone for. It isn’t the way Heinlein presents it which IMHO is that it’s an ability somehow linked to the X chromosome.

                    • Close enough for government work

                    • Then he followed Heinlein into error. It’s exactly the other way around, according to tests.

                    • Following a master into error is an easy thing to do. The Israelis and Soviets have proven the viability of female fighter pilots beyond a reasonable doubt.

                    • Oh, of course, but I understand it’s the same thing that makes women better shooters — steadiness of hand, and of course they’re (usually) lighter and smaller.
                      However, men have better spatial reasoning.

                    • “Better spatial sense. They know where they are in relation to everything else, especially in three dimensional space.”

                      Huh? Whoever came up with that theory had never ridden with or gotten directions from a woman.

                    • I think the reason for Honor’s better sense might be the genetic alterations in her family line. However, they were discussing her individual trait, not her superiority being based on gender.

          • It was part and parcel of that. How women make better pilots and the evolutionary issue of the male responding to female in danger. Its been a long time so I can’t quote directly.

            • Ah, okay, yeah we’re talking about the same part I think but our memories just focused on different pieces.

  11. My Lady and I are big David Attenborough fans. He’s bought the Environmentalist line, which is a pity, but on actual animal behavior he’s damn good, and he’s knocked that “man is the only animal that murders” crap on the head. He’s up front with it; males kill each-other over females. In some species, males kill the young of other males so that the females will be available for breeding.

    So; “Natural” is murder, followed by infanticide, followed by rape.

    To hell with “Natural”

    • Females kill each other over males.

      Some biologists were DNA testing bluebird chicks. They found something like 5% of them weren’t related to the “father” — and something like 15%, to the “mother”. Which kind of explained why the female bluebird fights were so much more fierce, even lethal.

      • Now that 15% sound odd. Why wouldn’t a usurping female smash the eggs of her victim?

        • How would she know which one was which?

        • She’s a bird brain?

          Seriously, that’s pretty much it.

          While scientists were shocked that birds could tell which pile of seed was bigger than the other, I’m pretty sure from chickens that relative amount when both are in front of you is totally different from relative amounts then vs now. (The first time I saw a rock or wood egg it was in my aunt’s hen house. Made it so they’d use the nests and she didn’t have to keep track of what egg was new.)

          • Yup. They have trouble even eliminating cuckoo or cow bird eggs, and those are a different species.

          • I had three silly hens decide that a single nest box was fine for all of them to lay in. They couldn’t tell apart whose egg was whose, and when they all hatched, the three of them went around together with their chicks following along all three mothers.

            We had to hand raise those chicks because as long as SOME chicks were following the three, the rest would get lost, end up trapped, eaten by river rats and large bullfrogs,or drown in the ponds we had around the yard,

    • A world record bull gator was taken this year in Alabama. Fifteen feet long, over 1,000 pounds. Short season, lottery system for tags, not like the hunting shows on TV. Took a family group with a tag over five hours to finally take the beast. Of course there was the usual outcry of “how could you destroy such a magnificent creature?” That quickly tapered off once a naturalist pointed out that large bull alligators would commonly kill every other male in their territory so its removal probably saved the lives of hundreds of smaller animals.
      Side note, they did a full autopsy and found a complete though partially digested 110 pound deer in the alligator’s stomach.

    • As is frequently the case, what they say is true but what they mean is not.

      Murder =/= killing (curse you, bad translations of the Ten!) or even “killing of own group.”

      That we know of, humans are the only murderers. What they want it to mean is that humans are the only ones that kill their own…..

    • David Brin’s book “Earth” (which has a rather odd plot) includes some fairly nasty hits on views about the wonderfulness of nature. Among other things, one sequence has a male human working in a nature preserve suddenly realize why a female baboon is trying to get him to hold her child. She and her child are about to get attacked and murdered by the other baboons, and its her way of appealing to him for protection.

  12. Josh A. Kruschke

    Sarah,

    “And because you have to believe in something you believe that government somehow transforms humans into angels.

    Don’t look to me either.

    Even Plato believed that we would need to elect the “Elite” the best of us to rule over us.

    Plus, you trying to get me and RES to rehash old arguments?

    😉

    • Elect? You would be born to the elite, although it had rules about born elite who had to be pushed to lower classes, and skimming off the elite who were born to lower classes.

      • That’s really the only way an ‘elite’ could survive. Otherwise you get inbreeding – which is very evident these days in Washington… 😉

        • Well, you could always make sure that your slaves–sorry, servants– look enough like the man of the house that any, ahem, additions to the genetic pool were assumed to be his, plus the occasional amazing twins-born-six-months-apart, or pregnancy that caused zero weight gain and isn’t it nice that the house servant over there just happened to lose her baby so she can wet nurse the child?

          Rather dehumanzing, but that’s kinda the point.

      • Josh A. Kruschke

        Mary,

        I was referring to a “Socrates'” Plato’s notion that the only people fit to rule are those he referred to as Philosopher Kings. Basically only the highly educated should rule; as, they would “less” likely to succumb to the corrupting influence of power, and their highly trained logical minds would see and choose the correct paths without succumbing to greed or emotion.

        ‘Elect’ in the sense of how we choose those we let rule over us.

        (Thought I had posted this earlier.)

    • Please don’t. “Mom! They’re fighting again!” 🙂

    • A) no resuming arguments
      B) Sorry, Josh, wasshisface unmasked you. You’re a supporter of big government!

    • *passes a plate of snickerdoodles* (Other types of cookie can be managed.)

      On the topic at hand, one of the scenes I loved during one of the Babylon 5 movies (In the Beginning specifically.) Londo is talking about the humans fighting the Mimbari, and in contrast to a lot of what’s out there now, there was only praise.

      (Post also to follow the thread)

  13. Bullseye on the cynical, anti-human nature of 1970s science-fiction, especially in the movies. Remember what our future was going to be? Eating Soylent Green while destroying the last forests in our Silent Running spaceships, if the Omega Man zombies didn’t get us first. And if our betters from the Planet of the Apes defeated us, it would probably be for the best anyway. Yeesh. Still, those were better fates than enduring the clothes of that decade.

    • I disliked the 70’s when I was living the 70’s, and it’s not because my personal life was in any way bad, it mostly veered between tolerable and pretty good. But I hated the attitudes, I hated the fiction – one reason why I have read a lot of older stuff, it was still easily found in libraries and used books stores and it was so much better – and I hated the fashions.

      And most of all the attitudes. Everybody was trying to be so damn cynical. And mostly their cynicism always seemed pretty naive, even to a teenaged me – not sure how else to say that. That everybody was a cynic in exactly the same way, maybe, the way they had been told to be a cynic, cynical about the things they had been told to be cynical about. Pretend cynicism, just for the sake of fashions, maybe, more than something real. Not much thinking in evidence.

      • And about that fiction: that was the time I was still depending on translations and fiction published in my country. You still had more new good stuff at that time, but those I mostly found only after I learned English well enough to be able to read them in the original.

        • True. I was very lucky I got to read stuff translated ten and thirty years before because my brother’s friend’s father had a full collection of everything ever translated into Portuguese. Even the more hopeful Heinleins never made it to translation.
          So I should stop mooning about not getting translated. I guess.

      • Everybody was trying to be so damn cynical. And mostly their cynicism always seemed pretty naive, even to a teenaged me – not sure how else to say that.

        I think that’s why Star Wars became such a phenomenon.

        • Probably. It was something different from everything else, and in a fun way.

        • Yeah. The problem is that trying to be unironical in an age of irony can always be undercut the ironists.

        • Star Wars had a heroic hero, a hopeful story, the government didn’t own all the spaceships, and plus they looked well used. Man, if they were that beat up, they must be everywhere!

          Compare and contrast with 1977’s other SF hit movie, Close Encounters of the Third Kind: Huge government conspiracy to coverup UFOs buzzing all over the place, enormous shiny government science project with scientists apparently OK with the conspiracy, and plucky heroes fighting to get past the conspiracy, even if it means leaving your wife and kids and moving off planet.

          Talk about cynicism.

          • I suspect that the optimism of Star Wars arrived at just about the right time.

            The way I see it, the ’70s was the screwed-upness of the ’60s coming home to roost. People trudged through the decade, and slowly fixed the things that had caused it, leading into the optimism of the ’80s. I suspect that the early bits of that optimism started to show up toward the end of the decade (Carter and his “malaise” to the contrary), and Star Wars hit at just the right time to take advantage of it.

            • 80’s I mostly liked. And that decade was personally a lot worse for me than the 70’s had been. But it was optimistic. The written fiction and the movies improved and for a while it seemed the tide had turned.

              And then we got to the 90’s, and the 80’s started to look like a temporary reprieve.

              I am an optimist in some ways, though. I think the tide has to turn for real sooner or later, even if I’m not sure it will happen in my lifetime. And I suppose it’s quite possible things may get much, much worse than they are now before that can happen. Maybe they have to. People are in some ways quite… maybe lazy is the right word. We prefer to stick with what we know – familiar feels secure even when it really is anything but – as long as we possibly can. Many of us are willing to go for any kind of fundamental changes only once we have absolutely no other choice left. And some won’t do that even then.

              But things always seem to go in cycles.

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            And all powerful all wise benevolent aliens who acted like creeps. [Frown]

          • I never like Close Encounters.

            I never liked ET either. I guess I am weird.

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

              IMO ET was OK on a see-once basis but then I only saw the original ET not the “re-edited” version of ET.

              Oh by the way, one reason I dislike what I heard about the “re-edited” version is that IMO if some alien spacecraft are landing on Earth, I want armed government people attempting to find out why they are landing there.

              After I saw ET, I joked about “some government people investigated an alien landing and the aliens were Klingons”. [Very Big Grin]

              • How about ET coming back with an invasion fleet… has that story been told? Probably, but I don’t think I have run into any version. Naive people protect the alien from ‘evil’ military, only to find out later that it was a scout which now comes back with force (maybe the government people, especially the military, this time actually knew better because they had some information which they had kept to themselves). And the kids as now young adults have to figure out how to stop the invasion they helped to happen. 🙂

                • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                  There was one cartoon that showed a bunch of ETs with one of them being praised for his successful scouting mission. [Grin]

                  On the other hand, I saw bits of what looked like a trailer for a movie where ET comes back to help Elliot fight ET’s people but that may have been more of a SF Fan joke. IE no such movie was being made but others had the idea that ET’s people weren’t nice people. [Evil Grin]

                • Cool. And they see human beings as a food source. Sort of like an ET/To Serve Man mash up

                • BobtheRegisterredFool

                  I found a novel, supposedly a sequel to a novel of the movie, or something, and I recall that there was something wrong about ET’s people

                  • I think I’ve heard about that. Wasn’t it that ET’s people were scouting to find a place to move after their world got screwed up somehow?

                    • The sequel I read had E.T. trying to find a way to get back to Earth, and eventually growing a spaceship for himself in his garden. Yeah, it was kind of weird.

                • Probably the worst version of that idea was the movie “Super 8” where pretty much everyone is horrible. There’s an alien who is basically terrorizing the town and EATING PEOPLE as he tries to secretly rebuild a spaceship and then, once it’s complete (stupidly finished by sucking up metallic junk through the air and sticking it to the town’s water tower) somehow we’re supposed to feel sympathetic to the monster like he was ET going home, just because there was an Air Force general who was abusive to the beast while he was in captivity.

                  • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                    Let’s see, there was one where IIRC an alien kills a woman’s abusive boy-friend by taking over his body and the woman helps while the alien kills others (in order to escape the government) because (apparently) the alien killed her abusive boy-friend. [Frown]

                    Another stupid one starts with an air-force plane captured by a UFO and we follow (years later) the pilot’s son who is trying to find out what happened to his father. Of course, the son sees the top-secret government agency that “knows” the truth as the enemy and works with this beautiful alien woman. After the agency is destroyed by the son and alien, the son meets his long lost father who hasn’t aged a day. Never mind that the aliens might have really been the bad guys and the “hero” just helped destroy the agency working to get ready to fight them, it was “shown” as a happy ending. [Frown]

                    • The first one sounds like Starman, I don’t know about the second.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      Nope, Starman made more sense. In Starman, the alien created a human body to live in from the DNA of the woman’s late husband and stayed in that body for the entire movie. He (the alien) didn’t kill anybody during the movie. His actions were shown as reasonable and the actions of the government people were also shown as reasonable. Mind you, I’m talking about the movie, I didn’t watch the short-lived TV series “based” on the movie.

                    • yep. And you sort of understand her helping the alien without reserve, because… well… could you hurt someone in those circumstances?
                      Although the only line I remember from the movie was “red stop, green go, yellow go very fast.” I remember it because Dan often uses it wrily when I’m driving.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      Great Line! [Very Big Grin]

                    • Oh, I would SO do that, if the wife were the type to A) Remember the movie, and B) Not get pissed at me.

                    • Ah, I never really watched either.

                    • Nah, the first, the alien took the shape of the woman’s dead husband. (She’s a widow.)

                    • That is where that line came from! I’ve heard that line for years, but never knew where it originated from.

                    • The line totally outclassed the movie, yeah. The movie wasn’t bad exactly, but…

      • What, you didn’t appreciate leisure suits and platform shoes for men?

        (Don’t feel bad. I didn’t either. And I really don’t see how women wear platform shoes…)

    • LOL! I skipped the PotA sequels after watching the first.

    • Christopher M. Chupik

      Not sure the Apes from POTA were meant to be our “betters”. They seemed to suffer from all of the same flaws that pre-WW3 humans did.

      And I always feel sorry for Chuck Heston in The Omega Man. His world ended before VCRs, so he has to go to the local movie theatre, and the only movie they have is . . . Woodstock.

      I’d be hoping for the albino mutants to get me at that point.

      • Meh. He’d have had access to all the city’s libraries. And no obnoxious librarians telling him to keep the volume down, or pull his pants up, or not eat in the stacks!:-)

        • Christopher M. Chupik

          Ah, but remember, the Family was on an anti-modern crusade, so they probably would have burned all the fun books.

  14. I have to admit that one of my pet theories for why so many SF/fandom geeks also have a very strong affinity for the “humanity is terrible and most of it needs to be managed by its few bright and noble specimens for its own good” attitude of many SJWs is that most of us grew up being ostracized, mocked, or even physically bullied for our interests and differences by most of our peers, most of whom were (or seemed so in the contexts we saw them) much dumber and nastier than we were, and often only found refuge with the adult overseers that everybody else disdained or feared. Nothing creates sympathy for the idea of the Expert Elite faster than feeling like a real-life Harrison Bergeron. “We would never do to anyone what you ‘ordinary people’ did to us,” is the tape that gets embedded, “and we will change the rules, by force if necessary, to make sure nobody can ever do so again.”

    But of course, as we have the virtues of our vices, so we have the vices of our virtues: the desire to control people’s behaviour for everybody’s good cannot be satisfied without creating precisely the abusive apparatus of force that its would-be users were once the victims of. Like poor Boromir, many SJWs would pick up the Ring solely from a desire to do good as they see it, naively confident that they can put the Ring back down once they are finished with it and unable to believe the Ring is itself the evil they wish to preclude. In place of the International Lord of Hate they would set up Queens, cis, drag and trans, beautiful and terrible as Revlon and Loubotin, dreadful as the music of Nickelback, stronger than the member rolls of the NRA! All shall love them and despair!….

    (ahem) Sorry. Carry on.

    • Speaking of Nickelback, I was listening to this song the other day, and really thought I should dedicate it to John Scalzi:

      • <.<; Would it be bad to admit I like listening to Nickelback? Not all of their stuff, some songs.

        I think that describes most of the music I listen to that ISN'T instrumental though, and isn't from Japan.

        • Part of why digital music is so awesome is most groups have one or two songs that I like, and a dozen I can’t stand.

          Supposedly CDs were designed to have at most two songs that any one person would like on them.

          • Supposedly CDs were designed to have at most two songs that any one person would like on them.

            Yes but the LP in its heyday was meant to be a seamless work of art.

          • Yeah, the ‘buy an individual song’ option is rather nice.

            When the majority of my CD money went to Enya music though, I didn’t have that ‘two songs at most’ issue.

            • I think half of Enya’s appeal is that if you enjoy her style of music, you’re going to enjoy all of it. Had a teacher that would turn it on at very low volume during “study time” or tests and she swore it improved scores.

              • Oh, it was very good as calming background sound, for studying and pleasant conversation. We had a multi-CD player in the living room where Enya CDs, Final Fantasy Symphonic Suite and Yanni would cycle. Throughout my high school years my house was the place where my friends and I hung out, because it was a place where, as they said ‘they found it peaceful’ and we could, per their words, ‘have intelligent conversations with you and your parents.’ Well, my mother, mostly. Impromptu overnight stays were common because we’d usually get carried away talking and talking and talking… One of the guys decided “We need a pond, with fish in it,” and went and bought the materials. So the front porch area became so much cooler (and it was already pretty cool relative to the surrounding areas) and we’d sit around that porch and chat. Since a number of the young folk who visit were raised somewhat old fashioned, they’d always bring some kind of food as a gift to their host (my mom) and we’d share it. (Homework? That was done in school!)

                Yeah, my house was the ‘safe place to hang out at’ for us. I don’t really remember it ever being otherwise.

        • Actually, I love Nickelback myself; I just used them as one of my touchstones of snobbery. I have no problem with people who just don’t like a particular sound, but it’s all the contempt for them as being somehow beneath respect that scralls my nurd.

        • Not at all, I like most all of Nickelback’s stuff. I admit to not listening to much of it around younger kids, the lyrics tend to NOT be something you want them repeating, but I like the cynical self-deprecating style of them myself.

          • Yeah me too.

            Right now Audacious is playing the High School of the Dead anime OP theme. After that is the UEFA Euro 2000 Theme.

            Yeah my playlist is pretty random. ;-D

            • You think your playlist is random; I always thought mine was pretty random going from Goth to Country to Power Metal to Celtic Rock to Gospel. Then I had a girl make some CD’s and give them to me, while my tastes are pretty eclectic I confess to being somewhat shocked to hear Amazing Grace and a song called The Local Cops A C*nt playing back to back.

              • 😮 Okay, your playlist may be more random than mine even with the randomizer turned on. I try to arrange the music somewhat according to emotional (at least the emotions they evoke) theme.

                • I occasionally burn a CD that is themed, but even then it is usually an emotional or subjectial (it can be a word if I want it to) theme, not a genre theme. For example I have a couple of ‘Patriotic’ CD’s but they have rock, country, heavy metal, and traditional? (what genre is Yellow Ribbon and The Star Spangled Banner?).

                  But yeah to me a playlist on the computer, or most of my burnt CD’s are; list 500 songs I like, or liked on the day I downloaded them, hit random. I get strange looks from anybody who rides in a vehicle with me when the CD player is on.

          • I’ve got one of Nickelback’s cd’s. It’s the kind of stuff I like to listen to when driving. Reminds me of some the old 80’s arena bands, or whatever they used to be called, easy to listen to, nice rhythm, a lot of the songs I have heard pretty much sound as if they are slight variations of the same song. And at least the lyrics are more likely to talk about the kind of things people do for fun, not about how to turn the world into a paradise or how horrible humans can be (okay, unless you think describing drinking and looking for sex is horrible by itself). For me it’s nothing one would get exited about, neither for nor against, just easy background music.

            • Yep; they’re in the category of easy listening for me. Some music is the kind that’s really really good to either walk or jog to (and thus I tend to listen to them while describing very physical scenes) If Today Was Your Last Day is one of those really nice evocative ‘running’ music. For something more energetic (and probably for parkour enthusiasts and those on a motorcycle ride) I prefer Boom Boom Satellites’ Easy Action and Shut up and Explode. (And I blame credit my introduction to their stuff through the Appleseed movies.)

              Speaking of, here’s my Briareos figurine.

    • Pretty sure most SJWs not only think they can use the Ring, but they’ll never have to put it down, because they’re doing the Right Thing. Only peasants, inbred nobles, and violent ignorant savages can be influenced by an ancient demon lord. The power of Lenin’s mummified corpse protects them from superstitions like that.

      • Or like some of my friends seem to, they trust that whoever picks up the Ring knows what they are doing, and so will use it only for good.

        I just spend a day with a pretty damn liberal friend. She has been working for one government agency for a few months now, and said that she had been shocked over some practice she ran into there. She truly seems to have been thinking that the place would be full of people who are at least relatively honest and trustworthy, maybe simply because they have a job where they should be honest and trustworthy and above reproach, so learning that some of them can be pretty corrupt really seems to have been something of an actual shock.

        Yet she still seems to trust our government, or governments in general, to be something which can be given practically all the power over individuals, because she also thinks that at the very least a large portion of those individuals are too dumb to look after themselves, or to be trusted to not to hurt each other so of course they have to be managed by their betters, and that is what a government is for. As if getting some government job would magically transform those same people into ones who now can be trusted – well, I suppose she maybe, on some level, thinks that those official groups will somehow be able to screen the people they take in so that they mostly just take those trustworthy ones, and then are able to monitor them so that they stay trustworthy…

        In spite of recent evidence.

        And she also seems to think that she is pretty damn sophisticated and smart and not easily led at all.

        Oh dear.

      • I wonder whether the documented tendency of people who have endorsed a “moral” position to act badly in personal moral matters applies in spades to those who work for government and NGO agencies?

        Not so well phrased as I would like, but I hope the fundamental question is recognizable.

        “The surest way to work up a crusade in favor of some good cause is to promise people they will have a chance of maltreating someone. To be able to destroy with good conscience, to be able to behave badly and call your bad behavior “righteous indignation” — this is the height of psychological luxury, the most delicious of moral treats.”
        Aldous Huxley

        • Josh A. Kruschke

          🙂

        • There’s a reason folks keep having to point out that the ends don’t justify the means, and it’s not just because folks will get carried away in their desire to Get The Right Thing Done.

        • C.S. Lewis’ quote also comes to mind: “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

          That said, it should be acknowledged that failure to live up to the moral standards one endorses is a pretty universal position among humans, far as I can tell. I have certainly failed to do so myself. (I am fortunate in being Catholic and having a method available to deal with this, though; indeed, one of the reasons I remain Catholic is that it’s the only religion I know which not only makes such a method available but acknowledges its perennial necessity.)

          • It is not failure to live up to one’s advocated standards to which I was referring, but the fact that for many people advocating a particular standard seems to absolve their failure to live up to it. The research which I am admittedly unwilling to look up at the moment, reveals a specific tendency for folks to confuse promoting a standard with upholding it, so that men who advocate on behalf of women (often without consulting that particular class’s views on the topic) feel free to treat individual women like disposable facial tissue.

            Similarly, people who argue in support of universal aid to “the Poor” are frequently found to resemble Scrooge (pre-Christmas revelations) in their personal charitable giving.

            My thesis is that people who see themselves as enrolled in a noble crusade tend to feel they have met their good deed quota (GDQ) for the day and thus can behave abominably. For example, because a Lois Lerner imagines herself a participant in a good cause the people who get stepped on in her eagerness to achieve her mission are regrettable corollary damage that leaves her conscience untroubled. Philosophies which view people as aggregates rather than individuals would be particularly susceptible to this tendency.

            • The Modern Thinker’s Creed, by Steve Turner.

              We believe in Marx, Freud,and Darwin We believe everything is OK as long as you don’t hurt anyone to the best of your definition of hurt, and to the best of your knowledge.

              We believe in sex before, during, and after marriage. We believe in the therapy of sin. We believe that adultery is fun. We believe that sodomy’s OK. We believe that taboos are taboo.

              We believe that everything’s getting better despite evidence to the contrary. The evidence must be investigated And you can prove anything with evidence.

              We believe there’s something in horoscopes UFO’s and bent spoons. Jesus was a good man just like Buddha, Muhammed, and ourselves. He was a good moral teacher though we think His good morals were bad.

              We believe that all religions are basically the same-at least the one that we read was. They all believe in love and goodness. They only differ on matters of creation, sin, heaven, hell, God, and salvation.

              We believe that after death comes the Nothing Because when you ask the dead what happens they say nothing. If death is not the end, if the dead have lied, then its compulsory heaven for all excepting perhaps Hitler, Stalin, and Genghis Kahn

              We believe in Masters and Johnson What’s selected is average. What’s average is normal. What’s normal is good.

              We believe in total disarmament. We believe there are direct links between warfare and bloodshed. Americans should beat their guns into tractors. And the Russians would be sure to follow.

              We believe that man is essentially good. It’s only his behavior that lets him down. This is the fault of society. Society is the fault of conditions. Conditions are the fault of society.

              We believe that each man must find the truth that is right for him. Reality will adapt accordingly. The universe will readjust. History will alter. We believe that there is no absolute truth excepting the truth that there is no absolute truth.

              We believe in the rejection of creeds, And the flowering of individual thought.

              If chance be the Father of all flesh, disaster is his rainbow in the sky and when you hear

              State of Emergency! Sniper Kills Ten! Troops on Rampage! Whites go Looting! Bomb Blasts School! It is but the sound of man worshiping his maker.

              I think this would be better named “The Liberal Thinker’s Creed”

              • I think I read that in longer form in the Sixties in a book by Anton Szandor LaVey (born Howard Stanton Levey.) It didn’t impress then, and I was much more easily impressed as a youth than I now am as a curmudgeon.

                • Don’t say curmudgeon like it’s a bad thing. Society needs us. Without us it would be in danger of hubris. Remember Mark Twain was a curmudgeon.

  15. William O. B'Livion

    Mmmmm…horse tranquilizers…

  16. I iz not nekkid. I haz pants.

  17. <>
    The problem is when civilized society starts undervaluing child-rearing you stay only somewhat human. I’ve seen what I call “feral kids” and all I can think is “we’re doomed.”

    • There are still enough not raised by strangers. There are still enough loved. But yes, the water will get choppy.

    • Oddly, just had someone musing on my facebook feed– he blogs as DarwinCatholic– that a lot of the attitude of “kids shouldn’t play unsupervised” is because of those feral kids. He looked into that recent study that said something like 59% of the population disapproves, and discovered that “disadvantaged” folks were most likely to say that. Ditto urban vs rural.

      • Some people don’t see the difference between “unsupervised play” and “unsupervised, ever, barely fed and rarely disciplined.”

        • Yeah. My kids playing in the park– assuming that they’re as reasonably controlled at nine or so as they are now– not a problem.

          The little maniacs that ran around our apartment complex shrieking the F word? Not so much.

    • Not that what’s happening is good, but as recently as the 19th century and awful lot of kids were essentially “feral”, for a wide variety of reasons, not all of them connected to poverty.

      We’ll get through this. We have before.

  18. it was the age of the Naked Ape, red in tooth and claw.

    Universally the view as that we were bad, bad, bad all through and that the only hope for society was for our betters to take us in hand and change us.

    I just don’t get it.

    If they really believe that we’re the “naked ape” and all, why are they so surprised that people aren’t all the same?

    If they recognize that people can be “changed” by society, and that there is a society, then why don’t they recognize that cultures are more than food and clothes and language– that there’s a world view in there?

    That there’s a difference between Phil Robertson saying “They are slitting throats, the only way to stop them is to convert or kill them” and those throat cutters saying “they are not supporting our group, we will either convert them or kill them”?

    It can’t be as simple as “history starts with me”– they’ve got to recognize that SOMEONE tried to change things before, and the effects should still be around.

    Shouldn’t they? What am I missing in the theory!??

    • I lost an entire group of friends after 9/11 because I held to the position that we’d just been shown a group of people who were giving us the choice of dying – or killing them first.

      • We lost our entire group of friends.

        • Sorry to hear that

        • Well, there’s lots of boxes packed up around here – maybe they’re in one of those?

          • No, Mike, the same way I ended up leaving the filk community behind in about 2003-2004: too many people who were ready to throw anyone under the bus who disagreed with them, an increasingly obvious strain of anti-American / pro-Islam actions, and structuring things so that those who disagreed were labelled as making them feel “unsafe”…..

            • I’d feel unsafe around people who praise the religion of suicide bombers and car explosives. I wonder if there’s any organized movement to provide a safe space for people who don’t want to be threatened by people who like sawing off head and the people who love them….

          • I understand, twas a joke, which failed the basic joke rule (if you have to expain it, it wasn’t a joke).

            I’m lucky, I guess – Friends of mine who went trufer didn’t become prosyletizing trufers, so the rest of us could skate around their nuttiness and talk about cars.

            • That held for about a year, and then the demands we LISTEN to them (same for the BDS sufferers) led to my breaking cover and giving them my unvarnished opinion. Which in turned ended the friendship.

      • I didn’t lose friends after 9/11 – they mostly already knew I was an atavistic Crank – but I shocked a number by saying that my first thought was “This is taking architectural criticism a little far” and my second was “I’ve been expecting this for twenty years”.

        My conservative/libertarian friends would just nod, but my liberal/progressive friends would want to know how I could say that, as if an attack on us was a surprise. And I would point out that Islamostupidity had been growing for decades, that our foreign policies did not on the whole work to discourage it, and that dedicated islamoidiots had tried to attack the towers before.

        What really annoyed me at the time was the constant repetition of the phrase “Unprovoked attack”. That’s nonsense. It’s nonsense when applied to Pearl Harbor too. “Unprovoked” does not – or should not – mean “we’ve called their mother a whore, stopped their trade, and sent them suggestive and threatening letters, but we haven’t actually punched them. Yet.”

        We had provoked the Islamoidiots. We had provoked the Japanese. In both cases, we were right to.

      • Didn’t lose any friends who were actually friends.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      “They” are the result of “random evolution” finally creating the “perfect person” *not* the result of good people trying to create better societies. [Sarcasm]

    • They are that self centered, history begins and ends with them. Cultures are only food, clothes, and language

  19. Human beings can be rational… but almost never are. (Percentages below totally made up.) Humans are doing unbelievably, exceptionally well to be irrational creatures who mostly manage to govern our animal nature, most of the time.

    Honestly, that’s the best you can expect of people. Rational people are the, as you put it, Odd.

    85% of humans do whatever everyone else does / what they were raised to do. Sacrifice babies to an iron idol with a fire in the belly, or drop pennies in the Salvation Army bucket, it’s all the same to the norms.

    2.5% of humanity is irredeemably greedy and violent, no matter the society. These are your thieves, murderers-for-profit, rapists. The scum ye always have with you.

    2.5% of humanity are mostly merciful, kind, and generous, no matter their society. The meek ye always have with you.

    Then there’s the 10%. The freaks. The outcasts. The rationals. The people who “couldn’t find The Box even if they tried”. ADHD. High-functioning autistics. Well-socialized sociopaths. The geeks, the dorks, the nerds.

    They tend to settle on their own bizarre (that is, different than their culture) moral systems — sometimes better, sometimes worse — and maybe even proselytize for them. Sometimes even successfully.

    Basically all cultures, before the 1800’s, were murderous as a matter of course. Even after then, only a few got out of the habit. And only 1 or 2 for the right reasons. And we’re busy dismantling those few as fast as we can, and handing Earth over to the decivilized.

    Would you hate me if I kind-of agreed with the ’70’s people, but I aim the blame elsewhere? Humans are murderous by nature, unless we’re raised to be better. It’s just that the elite are not those who know what “better” is. The elite are those selling “worse” to everyone else.

    We can be better. We’re just usually not.

    • I guess another way I differ from the ’70’s crowd is that, though I think most humans are murderous as a matter of culture and innate tendencies, I’m not so stupid as to believe it’s only humans. (“Animals are pacifists!” Idiots.)

      Also, I don’t harbor a corrosive hate towards humanity. We are what we are. We can be better. But so few of us are.

  20. ‘If you believe we humans are unredeemable, it explains both the ridiculous need for “overseers”, the hatred of humans (zero population growth and extinction-lust programs and books), “bad humans, good aliens” movies (gag) and the endless pathology of the left which seems to hate humans just a little more than they hate… everything else.’

    I don’t disagree, but my understanding of the Left (Progressives, whatever) is that they *don’t* believe humans are evil, that they are very redeemable, and are progressing inevitably toward Utopia… as long as we can tweak and manipulate and control our material circumstances. Which is why anyone who stands in the way of their agenda to drag us all toward Progressive Utopia can be demonized, marginalized, controlled, and even killed outright.

    For years I have struggled to construct a “Grand Unified Theory” of why the Left thinks/speaks/acts as it does – which is frankly often amazingly incoherent and self-contradictory. Muslim extremists good. Evangelical Christians bad. Wut??? I might have arrived at an answer, which others (John C Wright in particular) seem to be articulating also, and the key is *nihilism*. I agree with that assessment, although I phrase it differently, which is that all sin is somehow a movement toward non-existence. Applied to the Left (Progressivism, whatever) what they desire (without always or even usually realizing it) is non-existence. The SJWs seek death.

    Tolkien addresses this in some of his essays on the nature and motivation of Melkor/Morgoth in Morgoth’s Ring (supplemental volume 10), which is arguably the single most important book for understanding Tolkien’s mythology (and philosophical/theological significance).

    • I dunno. Maybe they cite nihilists, but the left seems to value power over everything else. They’ll do anything for power.

      Tho’, thinking about it, their lust for power has an odd twist: it is more important to them that others be powerless than that they personally have any power. Thus the bizarre attitude towards self-defense and, I think, preparing for bad times. And maybe their sanctification of victim hood.

    • William O. B'Livion

      which is frankly often amazingly incoherent and self-contradictory.

      Yes, it is. And on their side of the fence it’s a feature, not a bug.

      Seriously. At least part of post-modern “philosophy” is that you can hold two contradictory positions and not have to resolve the dichotomy.

    • You might find Thomas Sowell’s “A Conflict of Visions” Helpful. He starts with the same premise. The left believes man is “perfectible” and damned if they aren’t going to be the ones to do it. the Right believes man is fallible by nature, and does its best to deal with it.

      Which just struck me, the left believes they can “Teach men not to rape” and the right believes women should be able to shoot rapists.

      • “Which just struck me, the left believes they can “Teach men not to rape” and the right believes women should be able to shoot rapists.”

        Hmm, which method do you think ‘teaches’ more men not to rape?

        • We already teach men not to rape, just like we teach them not to rob and murder, some won’t learn. Those are the ones you have to shoot.

          • Housemate was sharing the news of that man who murdered his baby by leaving the kid in a hot car – in the wake of honest tragedies of overworked, overbusy parents accidentally doing so – and said he figured I’d approve that the son of a bitch was given the death penalty.

            For me the death penalty’s never been about deterrence. It’s always been about taking out the monsters and stop them being a threat to the law-abiding people.

            • Death row inmates have a 0% recidivism rate.

              What I don’t get are the same people who want Mumia Abu Jamal to live typically support abortion. Race transcends guilt or innocence in their minds, apparently.

              THEY are the reason it costs more to put a murderer to death then keep him alive in a box for the rest of his life.

              • Yep. They’re usually the same sorts who also want there be more leniency for Islamic intolerance ‘because culture and understanding’ but shriek utter hatred for Christianity. They’re the same folk who don’t want people to be able to defend themselves, yet want that people’s lives be utterly ruined for disagreeing with them. An old man is beaten to death in the street, and they call for understanding toward the thug who beat him to death because ‘oh his social circumstances…!’

                Feh and phaugh!

                • I’ve often described the Liberal Mind (such as it is) as highly compartmentalized. Each idea they have is kept in strict solitary confinement away from their other ideas, because if any two of their contradictory ideas were forced into contact with each other, the Cognitive Dissonance would be like a matter-anti-matter explosion, and boom, brains on the ceiling. This is why in a desperate bid for survival, they will obfuscate and derail any discussion that threatens to make this happen.

                  “Hey, Liberal, why is it you approve of these drugs to be used to euthanize old people, but fight against them being used in Lethal Injection?”

                  “La la la la! Star Wars, is it Science Fiction, or a Genre? Answer me first, or I’ll call you a Racist!”

              • In response to the argument that you can’t support the death penalty and also oppose abortion, I replied that any moral code that cannot tell the difference between an innocent baby and a guilty adult, is too confused to be taken seriously.

              • What I don’t get are the same people who want Mumia Abu Jamal to live typically support abortion. Race transcends guilt or innocence in their minds, apparently.

                They are moral relativists. Why the believe yesterday doesn’t matter, nor does it matter what they will believe tomorrow. It only matters what they believe now which is generally feelings created by those who control pop culture.

                Basically, they are people without character. Note how they get flustered when you try to make the explain why it is what they believe.

                • I wish there was an edit thing on these posts. Dang, there was some garble in what I just wrote.

                • Eh, to be fair, at least to some of them. The fluster isn’t always because they don’t know. (Usually the ones who behave as I am about to describe don’t STAY leftist, but that is a side argument.) Often they get flustered for similar reasons to what I do. They already are aware of at least some of the counter-arguments and are trying to cut them off before they come out. This is a more rare breed of leftist, but they’re also the ones you can catch off guard by switching roles with them. (I did so accidentally in one of my first DMing sessions. I was playing a nihlistic villain who was orchestrating bringing the ‘truth’ to the world. IE destroying the illusion that was reality. Bye by world. He and my rabidly evangelical aethist leftist player, who was playing a devout paladin got into an argument. I ran out of arguments of my own so I started using his against him. The look on his face when he realized it was priceless.) Some of them honestly aren’t that articulate. I’ll have more patience with them than the ‘because I said so’ crowd.

                  • I ran out of arguments of my own so I started using his against him. The look on his face when he realized it was priceless.)

                    That sounds like something that should have been filmed. 🙂

                    I’ll grant I used a broad brush but the ones I was thinking of are the kind that wear Free Mumia or Che t-shirts and mindlessly defend these people.

                    I’ll even grant that some of those are doing so out of sincere ignorance but when you start bringing up to them Maureen Faulkner or the true story of Che and they just dismiss it out of hand, they don’t deserve any slack. The are completely devoid of any redeeming qualities.

                    Regarding Mumia, I like to ask them if they are against the death penalty why do they think it acceptable for giving it to a guy just for wearing a blue uniform? And, if the Philadelphia Police conspired to frame Mumia why do you think they are willing to allow the “real killer” of Danny Faulkner to go free?

                    They are fools. We are too nice.

                    • Oh, I have very little sympathy for that sort. This guy well, He was a leftist by reaction. He’d been raised with a very monolithic world view, and it all tied in to familial racism (the real kind not the modern shriek mode) in his young and young adult mind. When he enlisted at a shiny 17, the Marines took care of the racism, but it shattered his whole world view. If that was wrong how could he trust anything he’d been raised on since it was all tied to that usually in the same breath? (smart but with no real training in logic or logical reasoning) He swung opposite on everything he’d been taught that tied in (from religion to politics) and it took a while for reason to balance him out. From what I understand he’s much more moderate now, but I haven’t talked in years.

                    • I had my liberal youth too where I actually voted for Ds. I don’t mean to imply that all liberals are bad or have no redeeming qualities.

                      Some of my best friends are liberals. It’s just that certain type.

                    • I find it interesting how many ex-military people are not racist. We learned to just people by their capacity to actually do what is expected of them.

                  • Some years ago one of hubby’s then-social circle decided to try discuss politics with me. I made no secret of the fact that I’m rather conservative, and he was keen to have someone to argue with. I had been refusing to engage because I said that leftists don’t take it well if they lose arguments, but he kept insisting he wouldn’t lose his temper.

                    Long story short, he kept moving the goalposts and I kept calling him in on it because he couldn’t refute or argue against my statements or arguments or facts. He got increasingly more belligerent and dismissive – and at that point the rest of the party had been watching the face off, as it were. I was sitting on the couch and he had taken to looming over me with fists clenched. When he said “I don’t care about that,” once too many times I said the discussion was clearly over and he accused me of refusing to face him in fair debate.

                    I replied that I was not the one using physical intimidation to try force the debate opponent to back down, and I rather pointedly looked at the fist he’d raised, and looked up at where Rhys was standing right behind me, in that relaxed but ready stance indicating that if the guy had taken one more step forward, Rhys was ready to beat the shit out of him – and the guy had not noticed he was there.

                    The guy turned away, snarling that this was bullshit and it didn’t solve anything anyway, and that I was hiding behind Rhys. Rhys replied that he was the one who insisted on the ‘debate’ even though I didn’t want to because I predicted that the guy would lose his temper. Someone else said “She got you fair and square, mate, suck it up. And she DID warn you.” Another person said that he’d been clearly ready to punch me and if Rhys hadn’t been ready to throw down the speaker was ready to.

                    The guy’s wife apologized for his being an asshole and she said she agreed with me and that he needed taking down several notches. I liked the wife and the kids, but we never went to visit the house again.

                    But that entire evening reinforced the impression I’d gotten over the years that if a discussion is face to face and a leftist is losing, that person is the one more likely to display anger and use physical violence if they feel they can get away with it.

                    • The most misogynistic behavior I have ever seen has come from guys who have declared themselves to be supporters of feminism.

                      I”m guessing this guy would describe himself as that.

    • The SJWs seek death

      Then they shall find it, coming at them down the barrel of a gun held by one of the “bitter clingers” they so despise……

      • Remember, they are often very violent. Many have confessed to be too violent to own guns. (Others have revealed it other ways — a man says, online, that he teaches his daughter to shoot, and another poster hopes that the daughter will shoot him one day.) But since they think they are perfect, they can’t admit that others can do what they can’t.

        • self-proclaimed “too dangerous” and/or incompetent indeed.

          Local Middle School band teacher posted after Sandy Hook that “making all teachers carry guns” (straw man, but that’s another issue) was stupid because he wouldn’t trust most of his fellow teachers.

          I pointed out that, given how mechanically simple most firearms were, and the proven ability to teach kids safe operation of far more complicated machinery in shop, and the number of people who can’t get into college yet could learn how to safely and morally use firearms, that he was effectively saying said teachers should also not be trusted with the judgement/etc. to influence kids minds….

          Another teacher took a LOT of offense at that, told me I had no idea i was talking about/was stupid/etc…. and I should PROVE my givens above…. and that I had no experience teaching, especially unruly teenagers (10 years nuke instructor), etc….

          I understand some of the anger – I did in effect call them stupid, even if it was by pointing out to them the consequences of their own statements.

        • We caught a state leader for the MomsDemand gun control group, displaying a photograph of her with a rifle to “prove” she was really a gun person, while under a restraining order prohibiting her from possessing firearms.

        • Most of the leftists I know (and know of) are cowards. .

    • Dagnabit, now I have to find a copy of Morgoth’s Ring someplace. This blog is no good for my book-buying budget.

  21. Wayne Blackburn

    “Naked Apes”? Stay out of my bedroom, dangit! You’re married! I don’t wanna get hurt!

  22. Nahh – they’re about town, and still keep away from me.

  23. “But they too are build on the same social animal base we are. ”

    Not sure that is exactly true. I’ve read with great interest the book on r/K selection theory and politics by Anonymous Conservative, and I think he may be right that liberals and conservatives really don’t think the same way at all. I guess we are the same animals in the same way that Locusts and Grasshoppers are the same animals, but yet different animals too.
    http://www.anonymousconservative.com/blog/the-theory/rk-selection-theory/

    • Have you read the “progressive” reinterpretation of Aesop’s “The Grasshopper and the Ants”? They believe the ants are the villains for being so greedy.

      • Yup. There are those who think that the foolish virgins in the parable are innocent; the villains are the wise virgins for not sharing their oil.

      • So the ants share and everyone dies in the middle of the winter? And Gaia exists happily ever after, untroubled by ants OR grasshoppers?

  24. It’s all in how you channel your aggression. You’re not born human. You’re born something like human. A civilized society can make you human, though, and we’re getting pretty good at this.

    This is the foundation of so many of my personal philosophies.

  25. But it is so much easier to control people who hate, than those who do not.

    • William O. B'Livion

      I’d double check that theory.

      I’d bet that it’s easier to control people who hate, up to a line. Once that line is cross it’s all over but the sad singing and slow walking. And the mops and scrub brushes.

      OTOH people who don’t hate aren’t as easy to control, but things don’t degrade so easy or so suddenly.

      • The point is that as long as you have a reasonable scapegoat to direct the hate against, you have some power. The problem is that once you’ve trained the mob to hate and attack, hate and attack, hate and attack, occasionally they get different ideas of what to hate and attack, and then you suddenly find yourself on the receiving end of what you’d directed against others for so long.

  26. I’m not sure if I should be insulted or what; but EVERY time I’ve been called a naked ape, I’ve been wearing pants.

  27. Josh A. Kruschke

    Paul,

    Animals do operate under or have Laws (Rules) that they follow and it is dictated by their nature. This what is meant when John Locke and others talk about Natural or Nature’s Law, that our human nature should determine what the Law should or should not be for us as humans.

    Our individual morality (The rules we individualy live by and how we deturmine right from wrong.) will detirmine what firmal or written Laws that others say we should live by that we as individuals are willing to put up with.

    (An aside not directed at you Paul.)

    In a certain cultures the killing of an outsider or infidel is justified and not considered murder. Our problem is we want deal with them like they believe the same things we do, but the reality is they do not see the world they same way.

    When the otherside believes thay have a right to kill you, you can not live in peace with them. You can do certain things like try to avoid them or talk them into adopting your point of view, but until they decide not to kill you the best you can do is to kill them when they try to kill you or to kill them first. Those are your options. Left thinks that everyone thinks as they do so the only valid options are the first two.

    The problem as I see it is to often people think everyone opererates on or with the same morality and it’s theirs. If you can’t understand the otherside and why they do the things they do, it’s because you are only look at it from your point of view.

    • Josh A. Kruschke

      This was supposed to be a reply to Paul. I gues we can move the discution down here.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      Humans make Laws to “govern our behavior”. Animals don’t make Laws.

      • Josh A. Kruschke

        And that Paul, right there is why we are F**ked. The belief that Laws are their to govern or control us; to curb are natural desires, and not there solely to protect our natural rights of Life, Liberty, Property, to Pursue Happiness, and other rights not mentioned.

        The Law: by Frederic Bastiat

        http://bastiat.org/en/the_law.html

        We’ll just oscillate back and forth fighting over who controls the law.

        😦

        • The alternate is a mass grave yard with no one to mourn but ghosts.

          • Josh A. Kruschke

            Wyrdbard,

            “The alternate is a mass grave yard with no one to mourn but ghosts.”

            Hmmm… I must of missed the mass graves that result from living at that village or tribal level.

            Right now we have two factions fighting over who get’s make the “Laws” that have been subverted from their natural place and made into means of legal plunder.

            What is killing us is not a lack of respect for “The Law” but that we are not passing our culture down to thd next generation. We have let others define these terms and what the law is and what governments role in our lives should be.

            Governments role was supposed to be only to protect our rights, help mediate disputes and to defended us from outside threats. Not dictate to us how we are to live our lives. That was meant to be left up to individual communities.

            But what have we do but turn Government and the Law into a means of controling us. 

            Example: You want to live by the Standards of advocated by the Protestants you live with them. Oh, wait! There are some defereing opinions there too. Maybe you beliefs fall more in line with the Baptists, or Lutherans, or Presbyterians, or …?

            I’m a Buddhist where does my morality fit into the scheme
            of things?

            The 1st Amendment is not there to protect religion or the press or assembly, but is there to protect our right to Freedom of Expression. And it will do this by expressing that the government has no right to limit our ability to participate in these activities or not. And the 2nd Amendment protects our right of self-defense even from our own government.

            What some of our Founding Fathers new that there must be seperation between government and how people choose to live their lives. If not who’s morality would we put on top, and we would ended up like Europe fighting over the minor details of culture and religion.

            If you feel you must force your beliefs onto others, then your beliefs must suck if no one is willing to take them on of their own free-will.

            You and others make the claim that we needed the state and legeslative law (law by fiat) to keep order but how was order kept within Sarah’s village? It couldn’t have been through shame, loss of respect or reputation. That could never work….

            Not saying this would work at a national level, but if our goal is to shrink government, we need to keep this in mind as it does work the closer you get to keeping government local.

            I believe in a pyramid where local governments have the most power this power to effect the lives of the people and must diminishes the higher you get.

            (IMO – There should me no legeslative authority at the Federal or highst levels. No Law by fiat.)

            ———————————

            U.S. Constitution

            Article 1 – The Legislative Branch
            Section 8 – Powers of Congress

            The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

            To borrow money on the credit of the United States;

            To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

            To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;

            To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;

            To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;

            To establish Post Offices and Post Roads;

            To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

            To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;

            To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations;

            To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

            To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

            To provide and maintain a Navy;

            To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

            To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

            To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

            To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings; And

            To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

            ———————————

            The role of government is to do some very specific things and none of it has anything to do with promoting the morality or culture of those it presides over. That is left up to we the people to do for themselves.

            If you think Governments job is to fix things or promote one Ideology over another, then you are part of the problem. Governments job is to protect everyones rights equally and provide for a national defense. Nothing in there about promoting or protecting one morality over another.

            I have some very strong ideas on what is right and what is wrong. What I do not have is the right to try to force you to live by my morality.

            The only mass graves that I’m aware of have been created by Statists seeking power.

            The Law, Government and Morality are different things let’s not conflate them.

            • Hmmm… I must of missed the mass graves that result from living at that village or tribal level.

              Then you’re so bloody ignorant that you really aren’t worth reading on the topic. Even my incredibly PC school couldn’t totally remove the nasty little habit of tribes wiping out those who were weaker and in conflict– even if they did try to put a gloss on how they’d “adopt” some of the females.

        • The belief that Laws are their to govern or control us; to curb are natural desires, and not there solely to protect our natural rights of Life, Liberty, Property, to Pursue Happiness, and other rights not mentioned.

          You act like those are contradictory, and needlessly add the “solely.”

          • Josh A. Kruschke

            Foxfier,

            Not needlessly. And yes it is mutualy exclusive, because who get’s to determine what is the correct way to live your life and seek happiness?

            Read Bastiat’s “The Law” and my reply to Wyrdbard.

            • Who determined that the right way to live your life and pursue happiness requires curbing the natural desire to interfere with others doing the same?

              • Josh A. Kruschke

                PK,

                The Second Amendment. PK,

                The Second Amendment. Your rights don’t trump my rights.

                If it’s a grave and serious offense against my rights, I will defend accordingly.

                If it not, I ignore you and continue my life as I see fit.

                • Josh. This is going to lead to a re hash of all the other discussions we’ve had that have been shut down. Enough, we’re not going to get anywhere starting the whole thing all over again, and I will not override our hostess. If you wish to discuss this offline I might be persuaded, but past performance doesn’t fill me with hope.

                  • I said the discussion should stop. Thank you.

                  • Josh A. Kruschke

                    Wyrdbard,

                    PK (Peace Keeper? Been watching a lot of Farscape lately.) asked me a question I answered it. I’m kind of interested in how he or she answers it.

                    FYI: Up till this point I haven’t even been arguing the Anarcho-Capitalist position but the Generalized position of the Founding Fathers as expressed in say like “The 5000 Year Leap.”

                    He or she asked me a specific question on how I would handle a situation based on my morality. I answerd him or her in that light.

                    Wyrdbard if you didn’t want to continue you didn’t have to intruded in this conversation.

                • Then you’re not a very good Buddhist…

            • And yes it is mutualy exclusive, because who get’s to determine what is the correct way to live your life and seek happiness?

              Uh, usually after “because” you give an argument, not an appeal that assumes what you’re trying to prove.

              Of course, a response is supposed to have something to do with what it’s posted in response to, not attempt to change the subject. You not only failed to make an argument for laws both curbing folks’ desires and promoting good, you ran off in a totally different direction.

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

          Josh, I don’t want to get into another argument with you but I was commenting on the differences between animals and intelligent beings.

          Animals don’t make Laws. No ifs or maybes about it.

          So there’s no intelligent comparison between animal behavior and human behavior.

          • I don’t need or want, nor will I endure another plot bunny, so someone — PAM U.? — PLEASE TAKE IT — but the thought that wen through my head was “what laws would seem right and just to an uplifted animal community? Would uplift result in segregation? or in outright civil war?”

          • Josh A. Kruschke

            Paul,

            But Animals do have an internal logic, determined by their nature, they use to determine what is good and bad decisions. A morality.

            mo·ral·i·ty
            məˈralətē,mô-/
            noun
            principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior.

            It not as complex as sophisticated as ours, but they don’t make choices randomly either.

            But to say Animals in this case Lions don’t have morals or rules the live by, because they are not the same as ours… I find that to be in error.

            🙂

            • Yes, but Josh, as far as we can tell, they don’t have LAWS. Laws require some form of government, and statist you might be (grin) but you have to admit animals don’t have that.
              And that’s the end of the argument.

              • Josh A. Kruschke

                Sorry Sarah,

                When we talk about Natures Laws (Rules)what we are talking about is the Rules that govern our or differing animals behaviours. Lions have a natural law based in their nature.

                This not my definitions or usage, but how John Locke and others used and understood these concepts.

              • Come now, don’t tell me you’ve never read the Mowgli stories? Clearly, there are animals who have laws. 😉

    • The issue, Josh, is that if there is no objective morality (which is what your argument boils down to), there is no morality at all. If Morality is just an artifact of culture then NOTHING is genuinely wrong. It’s just a matter of opinion. You may firmly believe that it is wrong to steal. If the next guy doesn’t without an objective standard anything that says ‘you’re not allowed to do that’ when he tries to take someone else’s stuff is just forcing him to conform to someone else’s notions and that means if you also believe you can’t force anyone to do anything you have to let him steal because ANYTHING you do to him will be forcing your views on him.

      • It means saying that the Nazis and the WWII Japanese did nothing wrong.

        Needless to say, I’m not willing to reject everything down to stuff as basic as Natural Law (before someone wants to be a smartass, look up the term) just because someone’s theory wants it.

        • And there seem to be too many theories that do want it because it means they can define themselves out of being wrong.

          • The only reasons I’ve seen are
            1) the thing that I want to do is wrong by all moral traditions I can accept
            and
            2) but it makes so much more sense if we do it my way!

            The option of people not being something you can put into an equation isn’t appealing to folks who want stuff to Make Sense.

      • If Morality is just an artifact of culture then NOTHING is genuinely wrong. It’s just a matter of opinion.

        That is true.

        • It is also terrifying when you follow the implications out. (I don’t think I want that plot bunny, but I may have to apply it to at least one story I’m writing.)

        • Is it correct to say the inverse? There are things that are absolutely wrong, therefore morality isn’t a social construct.

          • The response to that is always insisting that the absolutely wrong things are just what you THINK are wrong, and if you point out that means they’re saying that nothing is wrong they’ll accuse you of saying they think killing puppies is good.

          • If Morality is just an artifact of culture then NOTHING is genuinely wrong. It’s just a matter of opinion. That is true. . . .Is it correct to say the inverse? There are things that are absolutely wrong, therefore morality isn’t a social construct.

            I’d say yes while noting that the when social constructs are founded upon the true universal morality, societies with those constructs end up just and relatively pleasant places to live.

            • Josh A. Kruschke

              Everyone,

              “The issue, Josh, is that if there is no objective morality (which is what your argument boils down to), there is no morality at all. If Morality is just an artifact of culture then NOTHING is genuinely wrong. It’s just a matter of opinion.”

              – Wyrdbard

              When what I said was, “Morality is defined by you culture within the guidelines of human nature.”

              “Ok, what is this universal definition of right and wrong? What is this ultimate Morality?

              Every single culture out there will give you a slightly different answer.”

              – Me

              The reason I asked these questions and made a statement is you have made a statement that there is an objective standard for what is right and wrong, but have not said what it is or how to determine it.

              I have give you how I and the Founding Fathers, John Locke and others determine the right and wrong of our actions. I’ve even gave examples and explaind how most people learn of and develpope their morality. And it isn’t through objective means but trial and error being told what isn’t and is OK. “Little Johny don’t do that it isn’t right.” Most healthy cultures live close to the ideal objective standard of Natural Law and Man’s Nature. We in the US are the first Society to try to build a Culture around our Rights and Responsibilities based in Natures Law and Man’s Nuture.

              Yes, there is an objective standard by which we can determine right from wrong. But you failled to define them and I guess I was just supposed to take your word for it.

              I have a morality. I even know what it is based in (Do You?). I’m even willing to defended it. But what I’m not going to do is believe that everyone has the same understanding of morality as I or that they even should, as long as they are not trying to force me into it or trying to kill me because of it.

              • The reason I asked these questions and made a statement is you have made a statement that there is an objective standard for what is right and wrong, but have not said what it is or how to determine it.

                OK, the objective standard for right and wrong is to do unto others as you’d have them do unto you. To determine this is so is for someone to declare it then demonstrate that he has the authority to do so by rising from the dead.

      • Josh A. Kruschke

        Wyrdbard,

        Ok, what is this universal definition of right and wrong? What is this ultimate Morality?

        Every single culture out there will give you a slightly different answer.

        [Side note: We in the US used to believe it was Natural/Natures Laws (As God Made us.).]

        To use Sarah’s village: what Laws where the old women of the village enforcing? Are they written down? Are they decided on in committee? Are they the same as the village down the road?

        The villagers are enforcing and passing on the standards that the villagers find acceptable. Their culture. All the unwritten rules one must follow to be accepted as part of that culture. Part of that is what is moraly accepted as to right and wrong. And often this is erespective of what the State Government says the Law should be.

        The Law condoned Slavery did that make it moraly right.

        We all draw our lines in different places.

        My standards are my standards. I understand the generaly accepted standards of the community, and as the price of living and wanting to continue living in that community I try to live by the standards of that community.

        Morality is defined by you culture within the guidelines of human nature.

        I’m not a Nihilist, I just realize that my standards are not necessarily going to be your standards.

        • Josh, what are the Laws of Physics? Does light change it’s nature simply because Einstein understood it better than Galileo or Copernicus? Even in Quantum Mechanics we are discovering that the laws of the universe truck on without giving a damn about what we think. So, too, are the laws of Morality. They are what they are. Our understanding of them grows and changes, but that doesn’t mean that they’re not there. Yes, your understanding may be different than mine, but that doesn’t mean you’re right, because if you’re right you can’t be right because there is no ‘right’ to be. If it’s all subjective, then there is nothing at all to argue about. There is no spoon. (I loath trancendentalism, for the record.) There is no possible way to harm another person because as long as you think you’re right you’re right and their opinion doesn’t matter and you have no right to protest when they harm you because they think they’re right. Yet propose THAT in so many words and people shriek which seems a bit of observational evidence that there’s another factor that we haven’t managed to put in a box and paint green yet.

          Whether you think yourself to be a nihlist, your arguments are extremely nihilistic. Because when there is no right and no wrong, nothing at all matters but what you can smash and grab, whatever form that takes.

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            Until Josh shows he understands the difference between “Laws” that animals follow and the “Laws/Morality” that humans attempt to follow, I’m not sure there’s a point in discussing this with him.

            • It’s also the underlying fundamental flaw in his argument for all the arguments we’ve had with him. If things aren’t relative, none of his theories work. I will be doing my best to bite my tongue over future arguments.

        • Ok, what is this universal definition of right and wrong? What is this ultimate Morality?

          I suppose you disbelieve in gravity as well?

          After all, we still don’t have the equation for Ultimate Gravity, and that’s a lot simpler than Right and Wrong.

          “Not everyone agrees” is not evidence for there being no objective truth.

          • Gravity works the same for everyone, everywhere. Morality not so much. The latter is far more subjective.

            My general rule is that morality is an evolved (via Lamarkian selection) set of behaviors that promote social solidarity and security. That leaves a lot of room for moral flexibility as circumstances dictate. Regardless, I try not to make the mistake of believing that the traditions of my tribe are laws of nature.

            • Gravity works the same for everyone, everywhere.

              No, it doesn’t. Can you hit a golf ball on earth like the guy on the moon did? Do you float those in zero g?

              Gravity’s complicating factors are just a lot fewer, and easier to identify.

              • Gravity works the same for everyone, everywhere . . .No, it doesn’t.

                Yeah it does 🙂

                The Law of Gravity is the same for the moon as it is for Earth (or Jupiter or Sirius).

                The reason why the golf ball goes farther on the moon is because of the Law of Gravity.

                • Ah, but that is only because the connection between the two events is more readily apparent to our current understanding with Gravity than with Morality. It is a simpler law that we still cannot fully define (see: black holes and the fits that it gives quantum physicists.) Why should our lack of understanding of the absolutes of morality have any impact on those absolutes?

                • We observe that things behave in a non-uniform way, and make a new theory to model why that is so; that is the law of gravity.

                  Likewise, some things are objectively not right and models are created to try to adapt for that: these are various “moralities.”

                • While this really needs an editor, it does have a bunch of the theories listed out:
                  http://www2.hesston.edu/Physics/GravityTheories/paperpage2.htm

              • You’re confusing quantity for quality. The equations governing gravity’s behavior don’t change*, just like the number of immoral actions does not change whether they are immoral or not.

                * Let’s leave out the edge cases for this one, please? I’m not talking about black holes or cosmological inflation

                • By the current theory, yes; the results change based on other factors and the thing itself is constant. The observed effect is that it doesn’t treat everything the same.

                  Look at morality with two instances of killing a human, now– some people want to insist that if you oppose abortion, you must also oppose capital punishment; others point to the objective difference between being inconvenient and being a murderer, so Right is treating them the same, but the observed effects are still different.

                • Honestly, “everything involving physics” would be a better comparison for how complicated it is, but gravity is ok as a very simplified metaphor….

              • I knew someone would reply like that. The operation of gravity doesn’t change just because the amount being produced does. The equations that describe the behavior of gravity on Earth work the same on the Moon, or Mars, or Jupiter, or Sol, or just about anywhere else.

                Morality doesn’t even have a universally accepted definition. To claim that there’s an absolute, universal morality is more than a little hubristic.

                • You’ve probably already seen it, but there’s a link with several of the equations that attempt to model gravity.

                  To claim that there’s an absolute, universal morality is more than a little hubristic.

                  And yet you’re comfortable claiming there’s one for gravity, to the point of ignoring that there are several developed by observation?

                  Incidentally, “saying that is hubristic” is not an argument, it’s changing the discussion over to the person making the argument and away from the argument itself.

                • And based on further reading of the thread, it looks like this conversation has been ended. I apologize in advance for posting to a closed discussion.

        • –Every single culture out there will give you a slightly different answer.–

          Well, yes. And a lot of these cultures get it wrong. If you think otherwise you will never be able to give the answer Sir Charles James Napier gave to the Hindus who wanted to continue burning brides. You will allow Rotherhams in the name of multiculturalism and because you don’t feel the anger to make the unpleasant effort to put a stop to it.

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            Well, one of the major differences in cultural standards is “how is the outsider treated”.

            In the past, the cultural standards applied only to your tribe.

            People outside of your tribe were fair game as long as their tribe didn’t find out how you were treating members of their tribe and as long as your tribe was more powerful than their tribe.

            IE your tribe “cared” if you killed another member of your tribe for “no good reason” but killing an outsider was another matter.

            Killing an outsider was only a problem if your tribe feared the outsider’s tribe and feared that the other tribe would take revenge.

            Multiculuralism is a thinly disguise reversion to older tribal thinking.

            Also, I sometimes get the idea that libertarianism in practice is also a reversion to tribal thinking.

            • I think “libertarianism” is a word like “feminism” in that some hear the word and think of the good connotations and identify with it while with others the bad side is what pops in their minds first.

              When I hear “libertarian” I think of economics and generally identify myself as one in the Milton Friedman sense. When I hear people use it to justify “do as they will” or “greed is good” or “I got mine so your problems don’t concern me” it becomes seriously odious.

              • There’s a difference between libertarian and Libertarian.
                Greed — for money — IS good if you compare it to greed for power. There’s more than one way to help others — taking money from people to help other people, vs. helping them yourself/looking for ways to help them. Look, starting a business for profit, which the left calls “greed” (it’s not) IS quite good. It helps more people than most charities and certainly more people than most states.
                There are a lot of things accruing onto Libertarians that I’ve never heard a self avowed Libertarian say. It’s like conservatives as viewed by liberals. I’m not a capital L libertarian because I’m not an internationalist nor a pacifist. Other than that? Bah. “Practical application” libertarians? There’s no such thing. The closest we’ve come is this Republic of ours, and as is it’s the best thing in the history of man.

                • Greed — for money — IS good if you compare it to greed for power.

                  It’s the same thing, Sarah. What is good is freedom to create.

                  It seems to me, anyway, that the average business owner is far, far, far less greedy than those who pursue careers in “public service”. Look at the salaries of those who run NGOs and public universities.

                  Most people who start businesses aren’t doing it for the bucks but for the freedom and to create something. The money just comes naturally from creating something useful (and working your butt off doing it).

                  • it’s not the same thing as greed for power. I’ve met people who have that. Mostly editors in NYC? The job sucked and paid almost nothing, but they had POWER. I think same for IRS etc.

                    • Money and power are just different modifiers for the same word. I’d further argue that greed for money and greed for power share the same end which is to get stuff whether it’s material things or service and status.

                      I suspect your editors merely reached the level of their competence. If they actually succeeded in getting real power they’d demand their Beamers and Lexus and whatever it is really hip in their circle — which despite their protestations would be very expensive.

                      That’s why the losers conflate “greed” with “profit” which are words with entirely different meaning and nothing in common. Profit is good. Greed is bad.

                      But making profit takes effort and talent whereas neither is required to call someone greedy with the expectation that they might give you something to make you go away

                      And that is why the losers call other people greedy. They want their stuff.

                      I loathed the left.

                • Look, starting a business for profit, which the left calls “greed” (it’s not) IS quite good.

                  If the left defines something be confident that it is 180 degrees from what the truth is.

  28. Back in the early ’70s we had a HS teacher who, if you paid attention, taught us everything anyone needs to know about Islam, and I have therefore not been surprised by anyhting that occurred since. One of things he taught- the reason why Muslim women wear the burqa. If you ask the average everday man in the street why you’ll likely be told- “To protect the woman’s modesty.” Which is what Muslims tell non -Muslims. Which is taqiyya, a lie told to non-believers. The reason is a bit more complicated, and explains a load of difference between the Judeo-Christian world and Islam. Muslim men are nor expected to control their baser instincts. An unclad woman, is to them, an invitation to rape. And, women are evil. And men are weak. A woman can, with a glance of her eye or a swish of her hair, enthrall and seduce him- he won’t be able to resist her. Therefore, women must be covered, not to protect women, but to protect men from the eveil seducers.

    In the Judeo-Christian world, men are expected to control themselves. The tradition of chivalry and all that. If a woman dresses so she looks like she’s “available”, you still have to ask and/or negotiate and get permission. You can’t just take her. That’s rape- and according to western law, she’s not asking for it.

    The western tradition of male self-control is why the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders can safely perform dressed in cheerleaders outfits week after week without being gang-raped. A western woman certainly can try to seduce a man, but the man must want to be seduced for her to succeed. A married man is supposed to resist, and he truly wants to, can. Western courts don’t accept a plea of “I just couldn’t help myself.” Western society has evolved a lot in a short time. Even 100 years ago women didn’t dress in public as they do today. I kind of like the evolution myself.

    Western civilizations toleration for minorities is a lot more fragile then most people believe.And it looks like that toleration, despite the efforts of the elite, is coming to an end.

    • Yep. They think a woman’s hair emits rays that stop men’s self control. I swear.
      My first run in with Islam was when I was young and stupid reading the Koran. (I’d read the bible, the writings of Lobsang Rampa (sp?) and any religion related thing I could find, about that time.) I recoiled in horror from the Koran. No, don’t tell me it’s like the old testament. Sure, there are parts of the old testament about slaughter, but they’re not… how to put this… infused with constant and vile hatred. Which oozes from the Koran. I don’t know about the recent translations, but the ones in the seventies put off both myself and all my friends (and some of my current acquaintances) who read it. It was enough.
      Weirdly just before 9/11 I’d picked up at a garage sale an analysis of Muslim societies vs. Christian societies, from an historical perspective. Which is where I caught all the bits and pieces about the hair and such.

      • There is a website called “Ask the Iman.” It’s something to laugh at until you realize they are serious.

        • Yep. When you realize that they’re there to help MUSLIMS with questions, and those are completely serious responses, it’s hard to do the ‘but but translation!’ thing. Bloody taqqiya.

          Which is why I laughed when Fail Burton decided to sidestep the whole Islam thing after I linked him to what the ISLAM SAYS about pedophilia and pretend we didn’t know anything at all. Muslims seem to be his blind spot in reality.

          It doesn’t help at all that non-Muslims seem to get suckered into thinking that the Koran = the Torah / Bible and is thus the only source of doctrine. It’s not – they have the Hadiths, which are just as relied on for doctrine, law and behavior.

            • I’m pretty sure he doesn’t live there, or it wouldn’t be such a blind spot.

              • Or again maybe it would. Maybe Takkyya. Think of his obsessions: women and sexually unusual people…

                • That thought actually has me rather wary of him since the behavior he displayed here. He’s a frequent commenter over at Vox’s and Larry’s, and he consistently will bring in the hilarity of SJW comments. I was willing to allow at first that Islam and Muslims are his blind spots, but after his ragey response about the covers I wonder. The ragey response and the way he responded reminded me too much of Clamps. Fail’s too articulate and coherent to be Clamps to be the same person, but there was a distinct similarity. Also, the way that the Guardian’s Village Idiot behaved on Larry’s FB reminded me VERY MUCH of that.

                  • He is articulate and coherent; until he goes off the rails on one of his obsessive subjects. But I guess everybody has to have a hobby, if his is women and sexually unusual people, more power to him.

            • I banned him here for being a butt about covers (which makes perfect sense if he’s abroad. Very different sense of “cover” in each country. BUT he’s a frequent commenter at PJM and most of the other writer blogs. I’ll confess spoofed or not, the fact his IP is Cairo made me a little… icky.

              • I remember him on PJM. HIs avatar is a cartoon girl which threw me when I had a debate with him about something.

                I didn’t know he was a writer. I never picked up a Muslim vibe from him OTOH, I could never figure out where he was coming from.

                I can’t figure out what his handle means either which for some bizarre reason bugs me a little.

              • And getting passionate about book covers to the point you get banned is pretty strange.

                • It involved insulting everyone, then giving his example which was the sort of cover I saw in the seventies in PORTUGAL, then calling us all stupid, etc.

                  • That is pretty strange.

                    I remember your “writer tips” post on PJM about book covers and thought it interesting. It had a lot of things I never even considered.

                  • I think it was the insistence on his being the keeper of the one true way THE One True Way that drove everybody around the bend, coupled with the distinctly notable fact that his One True Way had gone off-road four decades ago.

                    • He’s on every damned conservative website I’ve seen. The man must have independent means of support.

                    • There are at least two people in my husband’s (small) guild that are on total disability, with various levels of drugs and pain. I’d guess something like that.
                      Probably for Clamps, too, actually– would explain the similarities CLD noted, and I can only tell that there’s at least two in his guild because one is a total ass who thinks stomping on any sensitive spot he can find is funny. Is the reason Dear Husband hasn’t tried to get me to join, I’d go nuclear. Deliberate fools disgust me.

                    • Rumor mill has it that Clamps is very rich; that after the death of his dad he got left with nearly everything (the rumors vary between 30-20 and 10 million range of wealth and assets) and possibly a couple of houses. He doesn’t have to work and given how much time he spends online tracking everyone he hates all over the Internet, the rumor does have some teeth. (I wouldn’t even know how to go about trying to verify such a thing, so, again, it’s rumor.) The sheer amount of time he takes are the obvious thread that lay false his claims that he has a life outside of his stalking and harassment. We don’t have time to be online, we don’t reply for a while or miss entire conversations. Most of us are not constantly hooked onto the Internet, and we do step away from the monitor for periods of time for a variety of reasons. Clamps does not seem to do so, except possibly sleep, given how prolific his comments are.

                      As for Fail… it seems he has as much time as Clampsy does so one does wonder how the hell does one keep track of so many conservative (and non-conservative) websites at once. He comments frequently and lengthily enough that it is almost like a full time job for him, timewise. If he is as prolific as Clamps in terms of presence, then one must regard that as a point of curiosity and interest, if not some suspicion.

                    • Could be a small, paid crew.

                      Paid by who, and for heaven’s sake WHY, is a good question….

                    • See just keeping track and reading takes time. The ability to do more and comment lengthily … Takes even more. According to the timestamp it’s been 41 minutes 1 hour since you sent this and I didn’t notice because I was busy on a different screen. I’m pretty sure most of us don’t sit here waiting on tenderhooks for replies all the time.

                      Sure one could pay a crew to reply on your behalf even if I were like Dan Bilzerian* rich, why do so when a mere script can keep track of mentions (So I am told) – but that still takes tons of time to read and reply to personally.

                      But okay, let’s go with the idea of Fail being not a singular person but a crew – and the question of ‘why’ rears it’s head. What possible purpose would serve if such a crew existed, to comment on conservative blogs, facebooks, forums, etc? We know why Yama does it (he’s a no-life troll) but what purpose or end does it serve for Fail? Sure he keeps track of the racist and misandrist and insane things that the SJWs say and some of the stuff he says is funny… He doesn’t resemble the hordes of ‘supposed Muslim commenters’ on G+ and Twitter and … everywhere else… spewing anti-Semitic, anti-Western hate and calls for death, so really the cover rage and the meanies to Muslims rage was kinda out of nowwhere…

                      Come to think of it, until the ‘Islam is okay with paedophilia’ rage and the cover rage there isn’t really much of Fail himself being discernible online.

                      Still, an odd thing indeed.

                      *I mean Bilzerian has fun with his tons of money. Hedonistic, crazy, annoys feminists kind of fun. (twitter is not necessarily safe for work. Has lots of scantily clad or topless, leggy, well endowed women. Also pictures of a grumpy looking cat, money, yachts, helicopters and a lot of guns.)

                      Yes I find him very amusing. (I got distracted at Bilzerian’s twitter for 10 minutes typing this up. He seriously has one of the grumpiest looking cats I’ve ever seen.)

                    • Just a thought on Fail. Most of his rants are very similar. Most of his quotes get repeated several times. Quite a few of his longer posts are ‘bulked’ by those repeated quotes. (He’s REALLY broken record over at MHN.) I haven’t cared enough to do a detailed analysis but I wonder if he has a few canned screeds or simply is so used to typing the same thing over and over again that his wpm bumps up dramatically. He rarely says anything new. He has several pet paragraphs that seem to have remarkably little variation, which means if he’s got a decent typing speed he can probably compose it very rapidly just on sheer force of habit.

                      The spacing between his ‘Wiscon satire’ posts implies to me that he wrote good chunks up in advance and was posting it in sections. There are delays. There’s usually a couple of hours, at least at MHN after a post goes live, before his long posts start, unless it’s composed entirely of copy/paste quotes (new quotes start later than the ones he trots out repeatedly). His shorter posts often come closer together, but many of them are at least conceptually canned even if they’re not copy/paste. They summarize out to “Intersectionalist QUILTBAGS are out to get us I TOLD YOU I AM A VICTIM. Even though this isn’t more than loosely related to anything like that.” His longer posts tend to be just buffed up fluffed up versions of the same over there. Often with repeated quotes, which he probably has saved in a file some where. Copy/paste adds bulk in a hurry.

                      Oh, just because banned doesn’t mean he can’t read it *waves to Fail* Yes, I’m analyzing you. Force of habit.

                    • Heh, I didn’t start analyzing him til Dr. Mauser brought up that he’d seen Fail in practically every conservative site Dr.M’d been to. It caught my attention and my brain went “…That’s kinda like what Clamps does.”

                      You may be right about the copypaste. But in the long run, what’s the reason for it / the why?

                      *sigh* Timezones. I’m about to go to bed and y’all are getting up / to start commenting. C’est la vie.

                    • You obviously need a night job that lets you sit in front of a computer with internet access for hours on end. You might consider librarianship (or Library Assistanceship) if you have any local libraries that stay open late. Or possibly a night concierge position at a hotel.

                    • *laughing* I’m afraid I fall short of such requirements – one usually expects the concierge to look fairly presentable, and my height has people mistake me as a child half the time.

                      Libraries here close pretty early, relative to over there. I think the latest they’d likely stay open is 7pm, if that.

                      And what makes you think that if I were surrounded by books, I’d pay attention to a computer? *grin*

                    • Interestingly, he almost for sure has a post detection thing. His first three posts in this blog, in response to being mentioned, were utter incomprehensible gibberish and he seemed to think I was attacking him from the left.
                      But there’s another point of insanity — mention any relatively modern SF writer and he goes unhinged telling you only Jack Chalker was worth reading.
                      See, to me, he DOES read like a foreigner. Mostly because I was once one. I thought that the three greats of sf were Simak, Heinlein and Asimov, for instance — because what’s translated is whimsical and gives you that impression and also reading in another language makes it harder to evaluate writing. I still like Simak, but Portuguese suits his writing better than English.

                    • Interestingly, he almost for sure has a post detection thing. His first three posts in this blog, in response to being mentioned, were utter incomprehensible gibberish and he seemed to think I was attacking him from the left.

                      So, like the odder Ronulans who seem to look for any mention of The Name and (more complex search example) “self defense spray” guys who have some things to detect mention of wasp spray and home defense, then paste only slightly edited variations on a standard text?

                    • *ponder* We’ve a few people in guild who are on total disability, at least one or two I know are former military (and one of them is said to be a total badass prior to injury) and while they’re fairly rough sorts I wouldn’t class them in the same way as Clamps – hell compared to him, they’re freaking mellow, constant cursing and vehemence and all. Hell, some of the folks who ARE seriously disabled we kinda admire because they play so that their muscles (and social skills) don’t atrophy, and are some of the nicest folks I’ve had the pleasure of knowing. One’s practically a quadriplegic who we did NOT know was disabled till he told us (and showed us pictures) that he was. He was so fast in response time that we had no idea he was playing the game with a trackpad and a stick held in his mouth. After he told us, he would crack jokes about his being a cripple all the time.

                      But then there are those who are crippled in body and not in heart and spirit nor mind, and those who are stunted or crippled in one or both.

                    • Gaming is perfect for folks who are simply not able to get out otherwise– I’ve been using the metaphor of the bowling team for ages.

                      That said, heavy pain and the common killers for it do tend to have a dulling effect on personalities. Most of the disabled folks I know who are still identifiable are the ones who refuse to use it except to hold on by their teeth and nails.

                    • Jordan S. Bassior

                      I think that Clamps / Yama / Andrew Marston’s big connection to reality is his work at a wild-animal shelter (which he posts too much about and knows too much about to be faking) and that he has actually made friends there, including female friends who more or less like him back. If this is true it is the one positive thing in Yama’s life, the one thing that isn’t just fantasizing about the annihilation of other people and cultures of which he disapproves. It may be his path to sanity.

                      Look, just as abusing animals is often a path to sociopathy or psychopathy, helping animals can be a path to empathy and kindness. Yama’s not 100% evil, just messed-up.

                    • There is an abundance of articles about programs that have convicted criminals/abuse victims/other challenged entities working with horses, dogs, other animals has significant therapeutic benefit and facilitates rehabilitation.

                    • And goats, you can’t forget Dan Bilzerian’s pictures and videos of goats.

                    • Yeah, I found out about the goats when Rhys was showing me Bilzerian’s Ice Bucket challenge video (the one where he’s sitting in this huge tub with ice water and several people were pouring ice water on him. When HE was the one doing the pouring on two scantily clad hotties, it was funny too. (Jim Butcher and Larry Correia’s challenge videos were hilarious in their own way.)

                      Patrick Stewart’s video of the ice bucket challenge had me laughing.

                    • Patrick Stewart’s made me cackle.

                      Misha Collins did a neat one, as well.

                    • Yeah XD *pull bucket of ice to him, and look for all the world like he’s about to up-end it over his head*

                      Nope! XD

                • It had more to do with being passionate that he was right… in the face of contradicting evidence… and being nasty about it.

                  • We have a Muslim in clan who does that. Sounds reasonable and friendly but he doesn’t like to be proven wrong. Absolutely. Fscking. Hates it. Especially if the person who is ‘better’ than him is a woman.

                    So naturally whenever he brags about something he can do, people set out to trounce him very badly in the things he brags about – and often offers to sell the technique to do.

                    He got very very bitchy about the fact that there’s a woman in clan who’s better at pretty much everything he says he’s an expert at and tried to get her ousted from clan. That wouldn’t work – because she’s been helpful to pretty much everyone in clan when it comes to leveling and gear when he’s been a jerkass who refuses to help anyone else and will prioritize his projects of stuff over everyone else’s. Also, she’s the clan leader’s girlfriend.

                    Fail reminded me of that guy when he got ragey about the covers. He still carries a grudge about it from what he displayed over in Larry’s.

          • Interesting side conversation I had with a lady during a conversation where – when I was pointing out any cultural issues with islam, I was careful to quote either Turkish friends, actual historical examples (how we shut down Iranian F14’s), and other muslims – she told me “I can’t believe anyone so obviously knowledgable and educated [I never finished college – she has a teaching degree] can actually say any of that bigoted crap.”

            Her husband was Iranian, he was smart, an engineer, etc….

            I pointed out that cultural generalities do not define the individual, and vice versa – she accepted – and then asked if her husband ever had gone back.

            “He wants to, but can’t – they’d kill him”

            Hmmm – so the guy who proves “not all/most muslims/Iraanians in charge are like that” can’t go back because he’d be killed.

            • Incidentally – she’s an example of someone who realized they were rude in what had up to then been a historical discussion, and apologized, and has been polite and kind ever since. Rare and appreciated.

            • Yep – a coworker I became friends with is someone who, along with their entire family, can’t go back on pain of pain-then-public-death (vague gender and other details on purpose to avoid tripping any IRGC web crawls). Interesting thing was, this person was shunned by all the Iranian immigrants (of which there are a fair number in high tech) that could go back, as association in any form with that family was still that dangerous, even after this many years.

      • Sure, there are parts of the old testament about slaughter, but they’re not…

        Kind of like the difference between a history book and a auto-brag-ography? (Was going to just autobiography, but some folks are really harsh on themselves.)

      • *now wondering if there’s a mind control ray hair X-woman*

    • Josh A. Kruschke

      🙂

    • bill whittle did an excellent exploration of this distinction between the two “sides” of the people’s of the Book* understanding of human nature. Sadly, i am not presently configured to recall that link.

      *BTW – ever read an Islamic edition of the Old & New testaments? Check out one of their versions of children’s stories from The Bible …

    • Re: Taqqiya and kitman

      http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/Quran/011-taqiyya.htm Helpful, and succinct, along with citations.

      The whole site is helpful, I find.

  29. This song actually makes me feel better about the whole “are we watching yet another person having a hugely public meltdown?” thing.

  30. Josh A. Kruschke

    Sarah,

    If you asking me to drop a subject I will, but I find it hard to do so when others continue to poke me with questions.

    😦

    • they are answering by email and haven’t seen the “drop it” yet.

    • Unless you’re a puppet, you have the ability to stop yourself and not let others MAKE you reply to them. “Oh no! Somebody’s wrong on the Internet!” is no way to live your life.

      It’s impossible to get the last word, so the best thing to do is get in the best Next-to-last word, and leave them hanging.

      • Josh A. Kruschke

        I put this down here for three reasons.

        1) as a reminder that Sarah asked us to drop it not just me.

        2) If they are going to address questions at me. I find it rude not to answer if I can.

        3). I don’t find it fair to be the punching bag in a one sided lecture.

        Also, what the point or fun if everyone is on the same page or if no one ever expresses a differeing opinion.

        😉 I’ll admite I do take my contrarian nature to the extreme.

        • It is also rude to continue it once asked to stop — so you’ve a choice of rudeness.

          Continuing a one-sided discussion ensures you will continue to be a punching bag.

          Being contrarian for its own sake is self-defeating and childish.

          Keep in mind that, just as with deep space communications, the internet has a time lag, especially when people are getting their data packets via e-mail. Accept that sometimes it is most appropriate to reply by saying words to the effect: “I think you may be wrong but there has been a general request to drop this topic.”

          • Josh A. Kruschke

            RES,

            Childish? Yes I can be.

            But I find it pointless, if the point of this blog is to discuss the issues of today, to just sit around in a circle… and pat each other on the back making silly and funny puns; while talking about how stupid the progs are and how smart we are.

            We treat everyone the sameway here from slight disagrements to full blown trolls; we circle them like sharks with blood in the water. As I no longer mind being the circlee breing it on. But…

            If Sarah needs me to back of a subject, all she has to do is ask, and I’ll keep this, “I think you may be wrong but there has been a general request to drop this topic.” as my general reply.

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

              Good idea.

              IMO all (or most) of us here have “knee-jerk” issues that get us going but most of us know that others disagree with somewhat good reasons for the disagreement.

              So we trying to hold ourselves back when the “knee-jerk” issues come up.

              The problem with “knee-jerk” issues is that we don’t always listen to or understand what others are saying.

              I know that I have major problems with this when I get going on my “knee-jerk” issues and IMO you show the same problems.

              There have been discussions where you said things worth listening to but other times (like I have) you’ve gone off the deep end.

              Please take care.

            • Clarification:
              Being contrarian for its own sake is self-defeating and childish. Being contrarian for good reason is justifiable. Understand and utilize the distinction.

              Revision & Expansion:
              “I think you may be wrong but there has been a general request to drop this topic. If you would be interested in pursuing the topic further please contact me at Buttheads@hoytmail[dot]com or at my personal blog at IKnowYouAreButWhatAmI[dot]com.”

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

          “;) I’ll admite I do take my contrarian nature to the extreme.”

          Yes you do Josh and it gets annoying when you start up your “rant” at the drop of a hat. [Sad Smile]

          [Begin humorous comment] It makes me wonder if saying “Good Morning” to you would make you start arguing for your “perfect society”. [End humorous comment]

          • Josh A. Kruschke

            Paul,

            I wasn’t ranting about an AC society, but founding principles. And that few understudood this make me 😦 .

  31. I found another pair of pants.

  32. Pingback: Friday Linkfest: This, That, and T’other | Andrew J. Patrick