There Are Four Lights by Synova

There Are Four Lights
by Synova

There are a number of things that I’ve learned over the last few years.  Here is a partial list.  I’ve tried to be as fair as possible and include things that were explained to me and which I can specifically place, both where I heard them and who was speaking.

For example, just recently someone shared a post talking about a YA book that had been declared racist by a self-appointed judge who encouraged all of her significant number of followers to harass the author and make sure her book failed. (It didn’t.) But the person who originally sat in judgement of the book also made a curious statement, that no one should read for themselves to confirm if the book was bad or not.   I’m sure that many of you can think of specific cases where someone has insisted that people not listen to the other side, don’t read, don’t engage, don’t judge for yourself.

Some are paraphrases and contractions, such as “Their speech is violence and our violence is speech.”  That’s not often paired, because pairing it highlights the problem.  But “speech as violence” is something often said in complete seriousness by educated people who should know better.  I can picture two or more specific individuals who have made the argument in my hearing (or at least reading.)  And hearing violent marches, riots, or other performative sorts of things described as protected speech is also not at all uncommon.  After all, what is breaking that Starbucks window if it’s not political speech?

I’ve skipped the sorts of things I learned that had very narrow political or social focus.  Lots of people are wrong about lots of things and it’s not useful to list the little stuff.  There are a few science fiction specific ones on the list that some of you will recognize, though.

Things I have learned:

  • The only reason I can vote or have anything good in life is because someone in history was an asshole, therefore assholery toward random fellow citizens is proved to effect positive social change.
  • Processing your Privilege in Public via confessions and discussion among other privileged white women helps. Like hashtags.
  • Tolerance is about the moral necessity to be intolerant.
  • Inclusion will be achieved when enough of the right people are excluded.
  • Compassion is about figuring out who doesn’t deserve any, such as that fellow who got tortured to death by North Korea for stealing a propaganda poster. That guy didn’t deserve any.
  • Free Speech only applies to things that have broad public approval.
  • Their speech is violence and our violence is speech.
  • Comparing identical behavior and motivations is a false equivalency if different people are involved.
  • A conversation involves listening until you understand.
  • There are no bad tactics, only bad targets.
  • Bigotry based on race isn’t racism.
  • Anyone is entitled to a little violent acting out when judged negatively due to their race, except for white men, who are better people.
  • If someone has made it possible for people to lie about them, the liars are entitled to run with it.
  • Authoritarian threats can be solved with more government.
  • “Anarchists” want more government.
  • Denying slander proves that it’s true.
  • Making little old church ladies uncomfortable is funnier than hell, and probably means you’re a good person.
  • Disproving an ideology through words and logic actually makes that ideology stronger.
  • No one should read a book that’s been condemned nor listen to a speaker they expect to say bad things.
  • Getting people fired is right and just and true, and you should be very proud of yourself.
  • Shutting down speech, reporting thought crime, and destroying people’s lives doesn’t make you a fascist.
  • Wearing the face of a man who was a murderer, racist, sexist, and homophobe on your shirt means you’re down with the struggle.
  • Constitutional protections are subject to how strong your feelings are.
  • Morality can and should be legislated, just not that old morality that you didn’t like.


What have you learned in the last few years?  Keep it clean and have fun.

267 thoughts on “There Are Four Lights by Synova

  1. What have I learned in the past few years? It’s easier to just ignore some people and stop worrying about changing their minds. Oh, and being intolerant is a badge of honour.

    1. Warning, ignore the nonsense and watch out for the baseball bat headed for the back of your head, since failure to agree is proof of ignorance and/or evil.

            1. *rubs nose* Usually I’m the one that’s finding out what everyone already knew so it went unspoken… the hard way. *THUD!*

        1. I.e. we’re in an environment where “ignore” means “retain high situational awareness”.

      1. These days, it’s go after your livelihood and murder that.

        Chilling, what happened to Jihadwatch. It’s clear. “You can’t have unapproved opinions or facts, or we will destroy your income and ability to continue.”

        It’s been the old protectionist racket since Al Sharpton started making it really popular for the grievance-mongers, but still… the hits on my site have me worrying. (The most popularly ‘visited’ post right now is an old post where I talk about cutely drawn pro-Trump artwork. Ben Carson looks adorable.)

  2. None of the actual, breathing anarchists I know, such as my mentor in things libertarian, or such as David Friedman, have any desire or tolerance for “more government’.

    1. Where I am an-caps are thin on the ground but you can’t swing a college textbook without hitting a few an-coms.

      1. Given the cost (if not the value) of a college textbook, I recommend that if you wish to go hitting a few an-coms, use a a bat or a length of 2×4 instead.

      2. The nice thing about an-caps is that they aren’t as likely to advocate the violent overthrow of government, either, because it would involve the initiation of force…an-coms don’t have a similar limitation….

        1. On the other hand as a general rule an-coms implement violence poorly, and can usually be counted on to overplay whatever temporary advantage they might gain.
          Eventually common folk do discover what flaming nut jobs the hard line socialists really are and reject their ever increasingly bizarre demands.

          1. Eventually common folk do discover what flaming nut jobs the hard line socialists really are and reject their ever increasingly bizarre demands.

            But weren’t their demands increasingly bizarre 5 years ago? 10?
            James A. Donald is less than optimistic about this:

            Three years ago, after World War Trans, people said, “OK, one more unconditional and total capitulation by the right, and then we will be able to live in peace.
            But today we have red guards and a cultural revolution.
            And that is what everyone says, after each capitulation, starting with the denial of King George’s divorce. “The left has today become so crazy, so extreme, it cannot get any crazier, and there is going to be a blacklash.”


    2. See, that’s part of the comprehensive leftist effort to redefine pretty much every word in the English language. Just as “fascist” has been redefined to mean “not us leftists,” “anarchist” has been redefined to mean “the violent terrorist aspect of leftism.” The original tenets of anarchism (built into the etymology of the word, [from Medieval Latin anarchia, from Greek anarkhia, from anarkhos without a ruler, from an- + arkh- leader, from arkhein to rule]) have nothing to do with the word as they’re trying to redefine it.

      1. To be fair, other than anarcho-capitalists, which as far as I can tell are rare to non existent in Europe, European anarchists were ALWAYS the shock troops of socialism. And some of the fathers of anarchy were violently (lit.) anti-commerce. They’re the children of Rosseau, by and large.

        1. So it’s similar to the left/right differing definitions between Europe and the US, eh? “Anarchist” in Europe means “violent socialists,” whereas in the US “anarchist” heretofore meant, “someone who wants no government.”

          1. Foot-note, if they’re in college the definitions they’re going to be using are probably European. If not flat lala land “it sounds cool so I’m going to go by that name.”

            1. Yeah, academia here in the US seldom acknowledges standard US usages and meanings. Would that it were different, but we’ve got to play the hand we’ve been dealt.

              1. Not just academia. A company I had the misfortune to work for a few years ago mangled the English language beyond recognition in some of the training classes I was required to attend.

                It took a supreme effort of will not to explain how they were wrong. (The ‘Customer Service’ and ‘Conflict Resolution’ segments of training were more like ‘Transparent Manipulation for Exceptionally Stupid Morons’).

                1. I had the same experience some years ago in a harassment seminar. (How you were supposed to avoid harassing fellow employees, not how to harass them best. Drat!) I’m pretty sure they didn’t like having me there, as I pointed out that all their examples were coming from just one direction, and that harassment by their definition could come from any direction. Therefore, they weren’t allowed to make any comments about my beliefs either. That darned evenhandedness! (This was before they figured out how to deny us the same “rights” they demanded for themselves…)

                  1. Different times. The past year has me looking at that line in the sand and while I’m not to the point I’m daring anyone to try and push me over I’m not all that far from it. I’m afraid I don’t really have much more ‘give’ left.

                  2. Such seminars typically are about better harassment; they instruct the proper thugs how to weaponize harassment policy against decent folk.

                    1. It is a well recognized fact that white men are incapable of being sexually harassed because America is a patriarchy and their undeserved privilege means that any harassment of them which does occur is because they were asking for it, dressing and or acting in such way as to invite it.

                    2. Why I should have thought it obvious. Men, particularly white men, especially non-leftist white men, were always portrayed as the harassers to the women, minority, etc. harassed. Nothing that they didn’t want to hear was allowed to be said.

                    3. You would’ve LOVED our “harassment training” on the ship.

                      The idiots scheduled all of AIMD to go in at the same time… with the gal who was basically a TV villain chaplain. (She slept with the XOs. All three of them. Like it was a job requirement. She also harassed the guys working for her if they weren’t religious in a way she approved of, and openly taught that officially condemned practices in the name of Catholicism were standard Catholic teaching. And they still put her in charge of the diversity training….)

                      So, they sent all of the AIMD guys in.

                      We stretched a 30 minute lecture on how saying “The N word” is uniquely evil” into about three hours of racial slurs, none of which were acceptable because they weren’t sufficiently black.

                      Bonus: most of the guys being most obnoxious were racially protected from her wrath. (In many cases, they’d talked to co-workers to get a list of racial slurs to shout out. Some of them I hadn’t even heard of!)

                      Grand prize goes to the (very, very black) guy who shouted out “White Bread” as the most common racial slur he’d heard.

                    4. Foxfier: That is just breathtaking. If that was in a novel, I’d say it was over the top and unrealistic.

                    5. Until I SAW her harassing one of our geeks for playing D&D while a chaplain, and until I SAW her reaction to my correcting her on portraying the guys in the PI who LITERALLY crucify themselves AFTER THE BISHOP SAYS NO, I would’ve thought it was crazy.

                      Thank goodness for Geek being a color-blind rating.

          2. Ah, perhaps this explains the peculiar use of the term in an old comic book I was reading, in which a character suggests that the world might have ended up “even more anarchic” than the villain who’d taken it over had wanted. She explains that anyone in the elite can kill anyone not in the elite without repercussions. It is later revealed that anyone not in the elite is subject to things like having to be licensed to reproduce. I was trying to figure out why she apparently thought anarchy meant “some really bad things are legal, and other things are oppressively bureaucratic”.

            I’m sure Marvel wasn’t actually thinking of it as socialism, but….

      2. The redefinition of “fascist” happened long ago. It was Orwell who first pointed out that “fascist” had ceased to mean anything other than “not desirable.”

    3. There is a whole strain of European/Russian philosophical Anarchism openly inspired by Marx. The nutshell version is that if you destroy all social obligations (property, religion family, etc.) Marx’s eschatology will be achieved.
      Groups inspired by this trend to serve as deniable vanguards for communist movements. (And in the American context, it’s notable that one assassinated President McKinley after he successfully suppressed communist insurrections in the Western United States.)
      This has nothing to do with the Anglo-American philosophy of Anarchism advanced by Spooner and the like.
      But you can count on them being deliberately confused by Leftists in a motte and bailey ploy.

      1. Yes. Reading turn-of-the-last-century mysteries has made it very clear that the “anarchists” of the day were the communist vanguard. The ones today still fill the same role as terrorists that the Statists can promise to make go away if they are given control of everything.

        1. During the Spanish Civil War:

          Immediately after the military rebellion, which gained control of about half of Spain, the anarchists and some of the Reds went on a tear in the areas still controlled by the Republic. (“Anarchosyndicalists” – a radical flavor distinct from Red socialism, and Trotskyites.) At this time the government of the Republic was a coalition of the Socialists, Communists, and “Republican Left” (the last being those who were anti-Church and anti-monarchy but not socialist, including the Prime Minister). In this period of “Red Terror”, the radicals executed many “bourgeois capitalists” and other “class enemies” and looted from “exploiters”.

          After about two weeks of this, the Communists stepped in. They were well-organized, had stayed out of the mob actions, and had positions in the government. They led the crackdown on the crazy Left, which allowed them to liquidate a lot of their ideological competition and gain acceptance from the business community (including foreign investors, whose holdings were now protected.)

          IOW, “bad cop, good cop.”

      2. Not anti-ruler, but post-government mysticism. Very much a 3rd grade Sunday School view of the world without sin.

        I’ve wondered if the corruption of the word “anarchist” is why certain (unnamed) groups tend to hate anti-fa so much.

    4. The anarchy desired is the hedonistic value of ‘i’ll do what I want.’ the Communism is ‘you shall pay for it’s

      Although the theory is that True Communism (TM) has no hierarchical government. Ya. Sure.

      1. I often ask purveyors-of-latter-day-Marxism: To achieve this worker’s paradise, WHO enforces it? (Because obviously it goes against human nature, or we’d have already achieved it on our own; therefore it requires at least some enforcement.)

        They NEVER have an answer for that.

        1. *shakes tired head from visions of seagulls, door-to-door preachers and Prepping Like A Pro, with a Marx paint layer in the Loony Toons style*

          Someone who is Mormon and can give it a non-shallow tint totally needs to do that in a story.

          (Catholic, have critiqued both Our Lady of Cuthulu and the evil nun’s internal monologue in Good Omens. That stuff is HILARIOUS if done right.)

  3. There are times that I’m as likely to virtue signal as the next person. That fact that it’s to a different set of people about different things really isn’t much better.

        1. I very much like the mental image of someone virtue-signalling with one of the big honking WWII shipboard Aldis lamps, though I suppose virtue signalling by Very Pistol is more apt given the actual information content.

          1. I kinda like the idea of, say, Sugar Ray Leonard tapping out Morse Code using some antifa’s head like a speed bag. Now that’s virtue signalling!

    1. There are very blurred differences between plain posturing, Shibboleth (or tribal ID – many memes do this, you just have to know the in-joke) and moral fashions (after all, Phariseeism is ancient, sticky and left trails over everything).
      I tend toward “punkier than thou”, for that matter, and have to think whether there’s any point to do so now.

  4. “Free Speech only applies to things that have broad public approval”….correction, “Free Speech only applied to things that are broadly approved among academics and media people”

    1. I sometimes get the feeling from collegiate crowd and the media want to rule everyone else.More narrowly they want the power to tell everyone else what to do. And to have this enforced by the force of government. They want to be considered always right and exempt from consequences. Lastly to be insulated from the real world.

      1. The academics are in a severely hierarchical social system. Everyone has their fixed place in the pecking order. It’s a zero-sum system; for any one of them to improve their lot, it must be at the expense of someone else.

        To them, it’s as natural as breathing, and they recoil from the unstructured chaos of Odds, who threaten the basic structure of their social system.

        1. Sir Pterry was only slightly exaggerating when he said “If advancement is by dead man’s shoes, always check yours for scorpions”

        2. And are in a collective panic as one of their fundamental principles, that a degree is a ticket to a better life, is proving to be a demonstrable falsehood. The dumbing down of content, granting degrees in subjects with no value in the real world, and the ever increasing tuition costs that practically mandate massive student debt, guarantee that their entire world was built on speculations and false assumptions. Traditional universities are dinosaurs who are just starting to notice that bright light in the sky heading straight for them.

        3. This is a thing everyone has to keep an eye on themselves for– call it over-extending the simile.

          I’m a mom. 90% of my daily activities involve interaction at first or second hand with small children. There are useful comparisons to be drawn from this, but I also have to guard against over-extending it.

          The worst boss I ever had was a command master chief who literally treated everyone like they were kids– you had to be an officer before she’d recognize you were an adult. (For those who just guessed “diversity shield,” you’re right.) For those paying too close of attention, she’s the one that did the really transparent manipulation of “awarding” me with a room in the petty officer building for being such an outstanding sailor (ie, never getting caught) …so she could go through with her scheme of making it so girls and boys didn’t ever share a common room. She also did absolutely jack to control my literally psychotic roommate.

          She retired from our command and went into her dream job….

          Head of a daycare.

          I’d lay odds she’s rather good at it, too, as long as parents count as officers in her eyes.

        4. One of the things, oddly enough, that I find distasteful about academia, is the notion of tenure: the idea that you settle down at a university, and pretty much stay there for the rest of your life.

          Theoretically, I’d like to settle down somewhere…but I also don’t particularly want to be tied down anywhere either.

          There’s a certain organism that swims around in infancy and adolescence, and when it becomes an adult, it attaches itself to a rock and pretty much becomes plant-like. The first thing it does once it does that is devour/absorb its own brain. The person describing this organism basically suggested “It’s left as an exercise to consider the implications of tenure for professors…”.

        5. Also, they get to set the rules in a way no one else can. The history professor can flunk you for contradicting his claim that the American Civil War was a fake done by the ruling classes.

      2. The thing that freaks me out is how many “Libertarians” do this, too.

        If I had a time for every time that they told me that under their theory I wouldn’t want to do (thing they disapprove of)……

        1. IMHO many American “Libertarians” are same sort as the rest of local politicians – socialists (American euphemism: “liberals”) or fascists (American euphemism: “neo-cons”), who chose this label because they want to flank the other side more than they want to preach their own creed unrestrained. =)

        2. The most sensible post I have lately spotted on tumblr went something like “If your solution starts with ‘if everyone would just–‘ then stop. Never in the history of the world has everyone just. They’re not going to start now.”

      3. “Political tags — such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth — are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number. The latter are surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort.”

        ― Robert A. Heinlein

      4. In a world where intellectual “superiority” is a supposed indication of merit, the desire for a technocracy is natural. And ,obviously, if you desire a technocracy, and you think you’re the one in the know, then, ipso facto, you should be telling everyone else what to do and how to do it.

        Of course, both the “superiority” and the need for a technocracy are false premises. So the conclusion does not follow.

  5. I think almost all of these can be subsumed under the zeroth justification of the leftists:
    It’s not wrong when we do it, only when you do it!

    1. I think that there’s a corollary to that: We are always right, You are always wrong just because we said so.

    1. You do realize that grouping by number, and numbering itself, are just constructs of the evil Western patriarchy and must be rejected by all correct-thinking (I almost said “right-thinking,” I’m guilty, I’m guilty {I almost said “mea culpa,” I’m doubly guilty, of religiosity and wrong-thinking}) woke people…

      Darn, it’s hard to be a crazy as they are!

      1. It will take a long, long time, but should they ever succedd at redefining everything as its opposite, they will find the work undone as everyone has realized they are now living on Antonym Island. So then they’ll have to put it all back. Bunch of Sneetches, they are. Star bellied, not star bellied… cycle this way, cycle that.. only problem is.. I fear Sneetches learn much faster than they.

      2. It should also be noted that lights, being generally binary (on or off) are an artifact of false consciousness forcing us into a rigid logic which is contrary to the fluid, intuitiveness of the woke mind.

        1. Quite. “Light” and “dark” are only artifacts of the patriarchy, while reality is completely a dim twilight…

            1. They’re leftists. They don’t see clearly in any conditions, so I suspect for them that’s true.

        2. However, I can vouch that a dark calico cat is indeed black in the dark. Especially when she is sleeping on a dark brown mat.

            1. So the “cat fit” of suddenly zooming all over until finally crashing into something is an indicator of an outside force for which people have yet to devise a proper detector?

          1. Our cat is black. He’s learned, with hardly any incidents, to give his location by a sort of meowing murmur when we’re walking near him in the dark. He also tends to be on something above feet height when it’s dark in the house.

    1. Gee, perhaps a good way to inform young adults is via a parable. Instead of lecturing them how evil and racist they are, present them with a story, with a type of -ism that is magical instead of real. Through the romp of this allegory, the young adult is made to understand not through criticism, but rather by example and identification.

      Nah, young adults are so stupid they would end up liking the racist/evil nature and we must protect them by censoring such questionable work.

    2. Enjoyed the article, thanks for the share!

      And yeah, it seems to be mostly drama done by adults determined to keep the whole fucking world a high school. Guess the frustrated circle queens are enjoying that they can push for their clique-driven pogroms in their new area of ‘power.’

      I really related to this too:

      Sierra Elmore, a college student and book blogger, expressed her frustration in a tweet thread in January, writing, “[Being] in this community feels like being in high school again. So much. No difference of opinion allowed, people reigning, etc… I and other people I know (mostly teens) are terrified about speaking up in this community. You don’t get a chance to be wrong here.”

      1. I expect all here have seen this from Britmag The Spectator but for any who’ve missed it (or want to discuss it (or give it a Huzzah!) here it is:

        Safe spaces and ‘ze’ badges: My bewildering year at a US university

        Fear of causing offence on campus is stifling free thought – as I’ve found to my cost
        Madeleine Kearns
        As a child in Glasgow, I learned that sticks and stones might break my bones but words didn’t really hurt. I’m now at New York University studying journalism, where a different mantra seems to apply. Words, it turns out, might cause life-ruining emotional trauma.

        During my ‘Welcome Week’, for example, I was presented with a choice of badges indicating my preferred gender pronouns: ‘he’, ‘she’, ‘they’ or ‘ze’?

        The student in front of me, an Australian, found this hilarious: ‘Last time I checked, I was a girl.’ Her joke was met with stony silence. Later I realised why: expressing bewilderment at the obsession with pronouns might count as a ‘micro-aggression’. Next stop, ‘transphobia’.

        It was soon obvious to my fellow students that I was not quite with the programme. In a class discussion early in my first semester, I made the mistake of mentioning that I believed in objective standards in art. Some art is great, some isn’t, I said; not all artists are equally talented. This was deemed an undemocratic opinion and I was given a nickname: the cultural fascist. I’ve tried to take it affectionately.

        After a year on campus, on a course entitled ‘Cultural Reporting and Criticism’, I still feel unable to speak freely, let alone critically.

        [END EXCERPT]

        1. I hear quite often that Americans find exceptionally jarring how ‘casually racist / sexist’ Aussies are. I wonder how deaf those people were. Even during my first visit here I could recognize the exuberant “OI, CUNTS! HOW’S IT GOING???” as friendly, happy and welcoming and between friends.

          Its like Vegemite I suppose. That uniquely Aussie thing that really will be distasteful to the unwary (and used by Aussies to prank unwary visitors) but really isn’t bad at all and turns out to be healthy for you. And the ‘healthy’ part comes from not being so cripplingly oversensitive to ultimately pointless and useless petty nitpicking.

          And yes, I can eat that stuff…now. I discovered it’s nice as a thin scraped condiment on toast, with a sunny side egg on top.

            1. Yeah. My housemate recounts a co-worker whose nickname was Terrorist, because not only was he Muslim, he looked like the stereotypical suicide bomber. Unlike the stereotypical Muslim, he didn’t like the way a lot of Muslims behaved. “Hey Terrorist, blow up any buildings lately?” would be met with “Your car, maybe, if ya want!” or similar. He never wanted his wife to convert for love either, and refused to have her live under Islamic standards.

              He later converted to Roman Catholicism after being exposed to one of those pro-Jihadi imams. Supposedly he walked right out of the mosque in a rage, down to the Roman Catholic Church and surprised the priest by saying “Catholic me.”

                1. He was well known in the neighborhood; so the priest hesitated and asked if he was absolutely certain. He thought it was a prank at first (Terrorist was known as a bit of a joker with a huge sense of humor, if the fact that he cheerfully went around being nicknamed Terrorist wasn’t an indication…) But as soon as he determined that Terrorist was certain, he said “Well, let’s get you started.” Terrorist started eating bacon that very same day too.

                  Actually I asked Housemate about it and he gave me more details and it’s more amazing than I originally knew. This is what happened, from his recounting.

                  There was a Muslim fellow who got arrested for a crime, and the imam wrote one letter to the police, protesting this. Apparently, this was the cause of a HUGE and VERY LOUD argument with the imam by Terrorist. The sound of their voices CARRIED.

                  The result, apparently, after Terrorist stormed out, was fully half the population of that mosque came out of the mosque. Some of them went to a different mosque, some turned atheist, and some followed Terrorist – either soon after or later on – and also converted to Roman Catholicism at the same church. One woman tore her hijab off her head ‘in shame.’

                  When one of the women who moved to the other mosque was asked about what happened, she said the argument was about the difference between “An Australian who happens to be Muslim, and Muslims who live in Australia.” Then she went back to walking her dog.

                  The former is someone who considers themselves Australian first, lives by the laws of Australia and behaves like an Aussie (hence the ability to have dogs, because this is one of the things considered to be part of Australian life) but happens to also be Muslim, while the latter… well, doesn’t do that. Muslim first, as opposed to “happens to be X.”

                  1. I can see the difference– I’m a Catholic before I’m an American, but there really isn’t the conflict between the two that the Muslim before Australian would have, because of the different spheres.

                    1. Of course not, they’re familiar with how my morality would get in the way of their desires– in some cases, when my faith says I have to be a good citizen!

          1. I wonder how deaf those people were.

            I wonder whether those people suffer socially induced Asperger’s? They have been taught to “hear” only the literal meaning of words and are incapable of grasping the underlying sentiment behind words.

            They cannot hear a smile.

  6. What I have learned in the last ten years or so? That the establishment news media are a gutless set of cowards, ruled by whatever current trend in intellectual fashion is uppermost, invincibly ignorant and smug about it.
    This was brought home to me with the matter of the Danish Mo-Toon Cartoons o’ Doom, and when they united in worship of the Obamster,

            1. More seriously, by finding the Greek on some other webpage and then copy-n-pasting it. I suppose you could use unicode somehow, but it would have been more trouble to do than was warranted.

            2. No need for a Greek font, it’s already in Unicode fonts.
              To type something like this without setting up a language, use abcTajpu (if you use Firefox), Compose key (if you use Linux or OS Mach Mac) or copy-paste from Unicode tables on (it helps to write custom .XCompose settings, too).
              And just type αβδε… As well as ⁎⁑⁂ ☒ ☑ ☐ ‣ ⚀⚁⚂⚃⚄⚅ ⚓ • ∀∃∄ A⊂B B⊃A √x ∛y ∜z

  7. Sadly, the nitwit Left has done nothing in the last few years that comes as a surprise. I’ve been following politics since the mid 1970’s, and in that time I quickly came to the realization that the political Left had no morals, no ethics, and no sense of the absurd.

      1. I’m a fan of the classics. Twirling your finger near your forehead and the oh so appropriate ‘Cuckoo, cuckoo’.

        I’m trying to figure out if total lack of self-awareness is a symptom of Leftism or a cause.

        1. Yes. Regenerative feedback. It’s not just for radios, you know.

          And, like the regenerative receiver, it can become a transmitter and interfere mightily with other folks trying to mind their own business.

          1. And like positive (regenerative) feedback, it quickly builds to a shrieking volume that in painful to those around it.

  8. “My speech is free speech. Your speech is a violation of my free speech.”
    “Once I say something, if you speak in opposition it means you want an echo chamber”
    I’ve seen both of them in action.

  9. The transgender issue that has recently arisen, sex change ops, correct pronouns, hormone treatments for children, males having babies … this whole movement makes me feel like I am in struggle session about whether I see four or five lights.

    1. You want to know why? Obamacare makes every insurance cover sex change operations. This means that unscrupulous psychologists can use transference to push a procedure that will have people in therapy the rest of their natural lives.

      1. But that change to insurance was a result of existing pandering and agitation. There is definitely a component that is more malevolent than just the dollar signs.

      2. That explains a lot, actually.

        Here in my prov of Canada, there is one doctor who does sex change operations and he used to refuse treatment on people under 19. Since this became issue in America, progressives up here in Canada have pressured government to add more doctors doing surgery and they got doctor fired for refusing to do ops on children.

      3. … will have people in therapy the rest of their natural lives.

        Therapy which is covered by Obamacare compliant insurance.

      4. “unscrupulous psychologists can use transference to push a procedure that will have people in therapy the rest of their UN-natural lives.”


      5. And due to their rigorous training, licensing, and high moral and ethical standards, there can be no conflict of interest…

    2. The hormone treatments for children is child abuse (yeah, clearly the boy who said he was a dump truck yesterday and a girl today is ready to have his entire life altered because of that second statement). However, I find the whole “men having babies” thing amusing in a grim sort of way. Because, of course, it isn’t arbitrary men who are having babies, it’s “trans men,” who strangely enough, are actually women, and it turns out that calling them men doesn’t magically cause their bodies to start acting like male bodies. I see that as reality asserting itself no matter how we try to insist that it’s wrong.

      1. I am mid 40s, my sister is one year younger than me, and she is what we used to call a ‘tomboy’. My sis loved playing hockey and baseball with me and my friends, she rode her bike with us ….. and she has mentioned a few times that she glad that she was not a child in the current environment. My sister’s daughter is also a tomboy, I play lots of sports with her as well and take her on bike rides like I did with her mother, but fortunately she has not said anything about being a boy and has lots of feminine traits.

        Let kids be kids and see where they are when they twenty one.

        1. Honestly, if people weren’t insisting that certain common traits were “male” or “female”, there would be less of this nonsense. My toddler loves cars, building things, playing with the toy kitchen and having tea parties. Because TODDLER.

      2. I think that children shouldn’t be exposed to (see, hear, taught about) sex until puberty. They have multiple other more important things to learn. Puberty is soon enough for sex.

  10. Last weekend, there was a “free speech rally” in Boston, with a few hundred people showing up for that. There were also thousands of “counter protesters”, 33 of which were arrested for assault, disorderly conduct, or weapons violations. It occurs to me that the correct label for that group is “anti-free-speech protesters”.
    Speaking of the notion that free speech applies only to approved speech (and the approving is done by a small elite that has the power), this is precisely the situation in Europe. We’re told this quite explicitly. For example: “A right to offend does not exist.” (Beatrix, queen of the Netherlands, Christmas 2006).

    1. Whereas here, the right to offend is clearly mentioned in our constitution. God bless America! 🙂

      1. Something you may not be aware of: unlike a lot of other Western countries that are “constitutional monarchies”, the Dutch king (queen) is not strictly a figurehead. Legally speaking he is the “head of the government”, though the cabinet runs things and is responsible for that. This is significant because it means that speeches of the king are not personal opinions but official statements of policy, approved by the elected officials in power (and, in many cases, actually written by them).

        1. Respectfully, that doesn’t prevent her from being full of crap. The heads of most governments are, after all.

          1. Fair enough. What I meant is that you were getting the official policy of the ruling coalition, as expounded through the mouth of the queen. Not her personal opinion. It all fits, because the Dutch constitution doesn’t actually protect freedom of speech (or anything else).

    2. A right to offend does not exist.” (Beatrix, queen of the Netherlands, Christmas 2006)

      To which the proper response is “I find this statement offensive.”

  11. I don’t even follow sports aside from what comes over the news radio when I’m waiting for the traffic reports, but I still managed to pick this one up from sports. It’s totally okay to force the owner of a sports team (Donald Sterling) out for racist comments because private industry doesn’t have free speech, but it’s superbad blacklisting to not sign a quarterback (Colin Kaepernick) because he takes a knee during the National Anthem because free speech.

    1. I don’t follow sports, but wasn’t Kaepernick not signed because he just wasn’t all that good of a QB? His political antics probably made him a bit more uninteresting to the NFL, but if he was good in the position some team would have signed him (after all, the NFL isn’t all that politically conservative…).

      1. The ESPN article I found when I went looking for Kaepernick’s name for my comment ( has this bit, and I’ve heard similar comments on the news: “Kaepernick opted out of his contract nearly five months ago and has remained unsigned, leading some to accuse the NFL of blacklisting him.”

        Even if the real reason is because he’s just not that great of a player, it’s not keeping people in certain quarters from making it be all about the protests.

        1. It is all about the protests: the NFL is extremely corporate and any protests are unwelcome. If he were protesting removal of statues of Confederate generals the people arguing in his support would be demanding his expulsion from the sport.

            1. The only time I see ESPN is in the morning when I’m at the gym. I’m really not sure exactly what strategy they are going for. . .I don’t think liberal pajama boys watch many sports. (Could be wrong though, don’t actually know any liberal pajama boys).

          1. WANTED: “Confederate” statue. Personage immaterial. Statue must be metal (in good polish, if applicable). Plinth must be good electrical insulator. Cavities for running thick cable a plus.

            A few KV here, a few KV there, and pretty soon you’re talking real entertainment.

            1. Time was, statues around here were bronze. Held in place with thick rebar and set in concrete. Bronze ain’t the best conductor. Skin insulates a fair bit, too. Adjust input voltage accordingly.

        2. It’s all about butts on bleachers, and, no buts about it, When Kaepernick was playing, there were noticeably fewer butts on bleachers.

      2. There was a theory that Kaepernick’s initial “sitting during the national anthem” wasn’t a protest, it was just him sulking because he wasn’t going to start that game. His agent then tried to spin it as a matter of high principle that he couldn’t possibly stand for the national anthem while such injustices were going on, yah de yah de yah duh.

        I don’t think I buy that theory, but there’s no question that Kaepernick was pretty much a one-season-wonder. I have to think that the 49ers occasionally look wistfully towards Kansas City and wish they had Alex Smith back…

        1. My understanding was that he had acquired a “woke” girlfriend who radicalized him, although that may have been an ex post facto justification. Whatever – he violated the fundamental rule of professional sports: controversy is for stars; all others are replaceable.

              1. More like unto a bit of foil backed paper. The kind left behind after a toddler’s birthday party. Might have had a bit of shine, the oncet. Makes no glow of his own, so when the light’s not on him, he’s just another bit of trash.

        2. The I-30 Speedway at Little Rock always has some pre-race entertainment. Before the race there’s a prayer from a local pastor or preacher. Most people stand up for that, but there are always some of the Birkenstock Bridge who won’t. Then they play the national anthem on the PA system while the first cars come out. Then you see old ladies on the higher rows kicking the heads and shoulders of the Birkies until they stand up. And if they still don’t get the idea, people will come over and assist them to their feet, for which they inexplicably seem not to be all that appreciative…

          Standing for the national anthem is our culture; flaunt it at your own peril.

          1. I think you mean “flout.” I, for one, have no objections to flaunting the standing at the national anthem, as long as it isn’t out of control. 😛

      3. They do care about their bottom line, though.
        The NFL took a big financial hit from the anti-American shenanigans. (And from the sportscasters relentlessly informing us about what “heroes” the buttheads were.)

        Of course, it likely didn’t help his case when Baltimore’s owner floated a trial balloon about signing him, and Kaper the clown responded by calling him a plantation owner and the team’s star linebacker a house slave.

      4. I assumed that he was doing it cynically as cover.

        “They’re firing me because of politics, not because I suck!”

    2. > to force the owner of a sports team (Donald Sterling) out

      I’m guessing that “owner” doesn’t represent the word’s usual meaning.

  12. “Free speech only applies to what I approve of – all other speech is hate speech.”

    “Any form of criticism is racist, misogynistic, homophobic, or otherwise bigoted unless directed at a straight white male.”

    “Regarding the former, should a female agree with a SWM, she is no longer female. Thus, any abuse heaped upon the apostate is justified and their own fault.”

    “Math is hard is sexist. Math is racist is accepted wisdom.”

    “Rational thought is violent enforcement of a white patriarchal structure.”

    “Manipulating data in defense of higher purposes is the true calling of the modern social and environmental scientist.”

    “Facts matter less than my perception of {pick a topic}.”

    “There are no good people except those who beliefs conform to my own.”

    “Since bad people think bad thoughts, they are not entitled to the protections of society.”

    “We, as the morally righteous, are permit to enforce our orthodoxy through violence. You, however, may not force your morality on me by even speaking of it.”

  13. I have learned that there is much intellectual malware in this world and one must be on one’s guard against it.

  14. In the Leftist mind, Speech is an exercise in power. Who gets to speak and who must listen is determined by relative power dynamics. For them, Speech bears the same relationship to communication that Rape bears to sex.

      1. Agreed. He’s probably got the a far saner, healthier, and more wholesome take on the idea than do any of the vileProg anarcho-Soviets.

        1. That’s not exactly a high bar to set.
          But yes, he does, because A. he acknowledges that his way isn’t for everyone and B. he actually bases his notions on empirical data rather than nebulous theorizing.

            1. So long as I’m the mother.

              …I do not get the Mom Approved stamp out for Herb, but he’s a good guy and gets the “well, if I don’t say no” stamp at least.

              1. … gets the “well, if I don’t say no and nobody suffers any damage” stamp at least.

                Minor amendment.

  15. I have learned that pulling the same stunts that Madonna did 30 (okay, getting to be more like 40) years ago makes you cool and edgy.

    Seriously, if the old ladies in church are shocked at your behavior, it’s only because they’re disappointed that you couldn’t come up with anything more creative to try to shock them.

    1. I was utterly boggled the first time I heard one of my leftish Northern friends talking about repressed Southern grannies. After a speechless moment, I managed “…do you…know any older Southern women?” Because Lord, I’ve heard some terrifying things from my mom’s generation.

      1. I think that what a lot of people forget is that those “repressed Southern Grannies” are not the women who grew up during the Great Depression or the Wars… they’re women who grew up during the 60’s. They’re free love and key-party grannies.

        1. It was decades ago now that Mark Russel gave the warning that that we were approaching or entering the time when “Grandma Bambi” would just something that happened.

        2. I’m reminded of the time I saw a millennial try to lecture an older gentlemen on the wonders of marijuana. The older guy just rolled his eyes and said, “You do know I was at Berkeley in the 60s, right?”

          1. Haw! Some don’t believe me when I tell them I was alive when LSD wasn’t illegal. The idea it ever legal at all comes as a shock to them. DDT is less jarring, of course.

            1. Shades of one of my turns at the MN State Fair Libertarian Party outreach booth where the Question of the Year for our Penny Poll was ‘Should Marijuana be re-legalized?’ Blew folks’ minds that there used to be *no* restrictions on the growth, possession, sale, use, etc. of marijuana, and the country *wasn’t* on its way to a hot place in a handbasket.

              ‘We’ had to do something to keep all those soon-to-be out of work revenooers (due to the repeal of Prohibition) employed, and MJ was mainly used by what is known today as ‘marginalized’ persons so may as well send ’em after those folks.

              1. *twitch*

                That sort of thing tends to get me going on the idea of what formal banning means and all.. especially since it tends to get into “Washington grew pot” (when the only source we have is him growing hemp, and selecting AGAINST the more pot like plants) territory.

                Probably works rather well on (pardon) ignorant protestant groups who think that when something is formally forbidden, it’s the first time it has come up at all.

                In which case, I’d kinda like to meet their insanely awesome moms, who forbid everything wrong before it became an issue. (Not that they’re not awesome otherwise, but it’s a different flavor.)

                1. Thanks to the article on cloth and such that someone linked a few weeks ago, I learned why hemp and pot are very different. The plants used for the fabric and thread has less of the chemical that results in the high. Washington selecting against the pot-like plants makes LOTS of sense, if he wanted hemp for weaving and ropes…

        3. At work and I don’t have time to explain, but… tell her to read “Southern Ladies and Gentlemen” by Florence King.

        1. My grandma and your grand-ma were sit-tin’ by the fire
          My grandma told your grand-ma “I’m gon-na set your flag on fire

          Talk-in’ ’bout, hey now hey now I-ko, I-ko, un-day
          Jock-a-mo fee-no ai na-né, jock-a-mo fee na-né

        2. Actual conversation with elderly relative:

          “The house has hardwood floors now.”
          (me) “Oh, was that the hardwood that was under the carpet?”
          “No, they had to replace that because they couldn’t get all the blood out.”

          The subsequent explanation wasn’t all that great either. I had NO IDEA that someone’s liver could basically explode, even though I’d known he’d been drinking himself to death.

        3. My mom has this story she related to me about overhearing -as a kid- some of the older women – think, from her mother’s age, to older – talking about the thickness of a brush handle, and ‘more hair’ and ‘better strokes’ and ‘vigorous hand action’ … for ‘painting at night.’

          It was only years later that she figured out that those were euphemisms for sex and penis size/etc and they were comparing their husbands’ skills/dick size. But she remembers thinking at the time “Why would they be painting pictures at night? You get better light during the day.” And thinking that adults were very strange.

      2. I’ve always pointed out the line in the song “Your momma don’t dance and your daddy don’t rock and roll” is baloney. Your momma sure did dance, and your daddy certainly rocked and rolled, and that’s exactly why they want you in by 10. They know.

      3. Not quite a Southern granny, but some of the things I’m sure my maternal grandmother encountered in her days as a doctor would’ve turned a lot of people’s hair white.

        Especially these so-called ‘culturally enlightened’ pretentious dimwits.

    2. Heh, I’ve had a few moments when I’m cruising along in my minivan, which is stuffed full of kids and groceries, dressed in slacks and a button-up shirt, my hair in a bun, looking pretty much like central casting for a total muggle middle-aged mom…and totally rocking out to, oh, AC/DC from the 70s. (BACK IN BLACK!!!!) Or taking my kids and husband to Catholic religious classes, and we’re all rocking out to “Welcome to my Nightmare.” (Alice Cooper.)

      Road trips are eclectic, too. 😀 “Is it fun to listen to? Yes? LET’S ROLL!”

      1. My high school Brit lit teacher had been in the first class back in the early sixties. The segment on Coleridge included the audio retelling by Bruce Dickinson and the rest of Iron Maiden. Ya. I’ve seen the same although some motion was more than desired.

      2. I have fond memories of getting tacitly SCHOOLED at the art gallery where I used to work. The woman who worked before my shift looked like every trailer cliche you’ve ever heard, and when I came in and saw the tip of a paperback spine over the counter, I asked her what she was reading. I was expecting a Harlequin, but she waved a large thud-and-blunder fantasy at me. “Just research. I DM for my sons and their friends on the weekends.”

  16. Testing, testing:

    If the link above caused an image to appear on this blog the testing has been successful.

  17. What have I learned in the last few years?

    If I don’t keep my elbow tucked in, and extend straight from the shoulder before lunging, I’m going to lose.

    The same concept applies to political discussions.

  18. Words have power to shape our understanding of reality, but they don’t have the power to actually shape reality. That is why eventually they fail.

    1. Or, as one book on modern witchcraft put it (and worded differently, many self-help books before that): You do not cast a spell to change the world. You do it to change yourself.

      If you want to change the world, see: Engineering.

      1. And that’s one area where the Soviets were outstandingly successful. Just see how they changed the Aral Sea, or bring a Geiger counter to Priyapit. Now there’s change we can believe in.

        (Now how do I get the tongue unstuck from the cheek?)

            1. Change is always disruptive, and therefore costly (more often in human terms than economic). Change is good when the benefits are worth the cost. And since we generally do not know a priori exactly what the total benefits or final costs will be, we always choose changes based on our, or other people’s, judgement of risk.
              Sometimes the judgement is facile – “I like change for its own sake, so I will ignore what might go wrong”.
              Very often it’s horribly shallow – “I think people without health care should have it, and if it’s provided by government it will help to justify a statist governance philosophy, so why not go for it?”
              Seldom do people make the most objective, sober, well-informed assessments of both benefit and cost they can within a feasible time – and when they do, it’s boring and nobody hears about it, so there’s no example created for the next such decision.

      2. However, I’m convinced that Jobs’ “change the world” formulation was full of crap, and leads people down wrong investment paths.

        To make it work you must correctly identify a big change that would improve the world, and accomplish that change. Each of those being broken up into many smaller steps which involve judgement, are not trivial, and could easily throw the whole effort into destructive territory if one part is wrong, which could very easily happen. You are taking a societal level feature, relating it to the personal level, then changing scale back to societal. A two way trip, which a person might become a great man for successfully doing one way. I think this is more a recipe for screwups.

        I think correct solution is something from an old Book of Common Prayer. To labor truly to make my living.

        In absence of subsidies, the market will pay for engineering that needs doing. An engineer can do a world of good spending their life on unsexy widgets if they are making money doing the widgets.

  19. You have just listed most of the reasons why I no longer wonder why people would try to summon Cthulu to destroy mankind.

        1. Aye. Though is anyone still NOT mad then? Or is it the classic bit of “the mad have no idea that they are indeed mad.”? Which lead to.. So Who’s Mad, Anyway? I see a loop developing.

  20. It’s a slow day here at the home office so between doing the required clicky-clicky to keep my boss happy and trying to follow all the posts on here I was trying to remember a Heinlein quote from Stranger. This isn’t the quote I was looking for but it does an awesome job of explaining so much of what’s happening…

    “You can sway a thousand men by appealing to their prejudices quicker than you can convince one man by logic.”

    1. With the ornery response that what the speaker calls “prejudice” (technically a view that is not based on reason or experience) is more commonly “their existing beliefs,” which do tend to be based on knowledge, reason and experience. Dismissing that as ignorant beliefs tends to alienate the one attempting to appeal to “reason.”

      See also, the definition of conversation as listening until you agree with the speaker…..

      1. People reason themselves into beliefs. Either the beliefs themselves or the rationalization around them. Just dismissing it as superstition or prejudice does a great job hardening the mindset. Especially since one of the common tools has been victimhood.

          1. Or at least you can understand why and mitigate the valid points. No side is ever perfect.

        1. I ran across a person who gave a list of people allegedly injured in Charlottesville. Along with the request they were making for money to pay their medical bills. . . .

        2. Not entirely true. A great number of people’s beliefs are based simply on bandwagon effect and believing what they are told by certain authorities. They think they reasoned themselves into them, but often they simply swallowed them whole, without any critical thinking involved.

          I have reasoned myself into this position, based on experience with discussing people’s beliefs with them, and most of them not being able to form any sort of coherent argument in favor of their position.
          And this is true of a great many of the people on my side of whatever argument, as well.

  21. There is one I think only kind of belongs on the list:

    A conversation involves listening until you understand.

    I understand what you are saying, but at its heart this is true. What is missing when SJW types say “conversation” is the bi-directional nature where you both listen until you understand.

    What they mean by conversation is lecture.

    1. Unfortunately, “lecture” is too mild. It has the connotation of imparting knowledge to the listener. I think it would be more accurate to say, “harangue,” “diatribe,” or “philippic.”

      1. “Agree,” rather.

        This one drives me up a wall.

        “Look, dude, I understand what you argued just fine. I don’t agree, and that is why I systematically refuted each and every point you made on rational grounds.”

        “U Mad?”

        “No, dumb-***, but I’m starting to think YOU ain’t sane.”

      1. Homer Simpson: “Lisa, just because I don’t CARE doesn’t mean I don’t understand.”

    2. It’s good as far as it goes, but it doesn’t go far enough.

      “A conversation involves listening until you understand, and understanding involves abject agreement, even with the most ridiculous self-contradictory nonsense.”

      I’ve had some arguments online where the other side was insisting that I didn’t understand, and I was insisting that they didn’t, since they didn’t notice what they were advancing was wrong.

  22. “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs” sounds neat in theory, but doesn’t take into account human nature.
    Under this system, people would play down their abilities and play up their needs.
    Not very sustainable in the long run of things.

    1. Just insert “…as determined by the Comrades on the Central Committee,” after each theory chunk from Teh Id10t Marx brother above and you begin to see the implementation issues.

  23. *Upper middle class kids living with their parents are the perfect people to lecture us on people who make too much money
    *’Anti-fascists’ wear uniforms and beat their opponents, just like fascists do.
    *The aforementioned kids complaining about the rich can be purchased in job lots of your name is George Soros.

    1. And a gin scented tear rolled down Winston’s cheek as he realized the truth. He truly loved Big Brother.

  24. Heh, heh, heh… remember a few days ago I mentioned that the antifa terrorists were likely to be outed by video and face-matching software?

    Soros’ goons announced jihad against 4Chan, and now 4Chan is doing what 4Chan does…

    “4Chan: doing the job the police won’t do.”

  25. That they really don’t want tolerance – I’m tolerating their bullshit right now; what they want is enthusiasm for their pet hobbyhorse.

    1. First comes the silencing. If you’re not disputing, but not agreeing, they may leave you alone.

      For a bit. If they think you’re not part of the clique, but not against them, you’re not a threat. Yet.

      Once they’ve silenced most of the opposition, *then* they enforce compliance. Once they get you saying things you know aren’t true… you are theirs. Or so I’ve heard.

  26. That in general, this society has lost its critical thinking skills.

    That empty-headed millennials will blindly listen to what some bat-sh*t insane academic says and parrot that bullsh*t without even so much as considering if they should maybe investigate the matter for themselves.

    That if you disagree with, or even mention a fact that doesn’t fall into lockstep with so much as a single syllable of their ever-increasingly insane ideology, they’ll brand you a RACIST/HOMOPHOBE/NAZI and utterly destroy your career, your life, your family, and your future.

    That apparently in order to be a “good person”/”good Christian” you HAVE to let the assholes/evil people run you over and ruin you, and that if you so much as advocate pushing back, then you’re just as evil as the people doing the running over and ruining.

    I know I’ve said this before, but I have to say it again: I’m so glad I found y’all. You make me realize that I’m not insane (well, relatively speaking) and not alone in this crazy, demented, messed-up world.

    1. *will blindly believe what some bat-sh*t insane academic says…

      That’s what I get for commenting when I’m royally cheezed off.

  27. “Their speech is violence and our violence is speech.”

    There’s going to be a shooting war in this country. There’s no stopping that now. I don’t want it, you don’t want it, no sane and rational person on either side wants it. But it’s out of our hands. AntiFa and their ilk see any form of disagreement with them as physical violence against them, and feel fully justified in using actual violence to “defend themselves.” And further, like the above quotation makes plain, they view violence and political speech as one and the same. There can be no negotiation or reasoning with people like that, because their idea of “negotiation” and “reasoning” is to, at best, beat the hell out of their opponents. At worst, they’ll gladly put each and every one of us in the morgue. Soon, we’re either going to have to choose: answer their “speech” with overwhelming “speech” of our own, or roll over and let them kill us.

  28. Power Line’s John Hinderaker draws attention to some … <Iinteresting theories as to what constitutes speech protected by the First Amendment:

    In an opinion piece in The New York Times, K-Sue Park, a race studies fellow at the UCLA School of Law, argued that the ACLU’s defend-in-all-cases approach to the First Amendment “perpetuates a misguided theory that all radical views are equal,” adding that group is “standing on the wrong side of history.”
    Greenpeace attorney Tom Wetterer said the [RICO] lawsuit [brought by the builders of the Dakota Access pipeline] is “meritless” and part of “a pattern of harassment by corporate bullies.” The lawsuit is “not designed to seek justice, but to silence free speech through expensive, time-consuming litigation,” Wetterer said.
    The company alleges that members of the network used torches to cut holes in the pipeline, manufactured phony satellite coordinates of Indian cultural sites along the pipeline’s path, exploited the Standing Rock Sioux, launched cyberattacks on company computer systems, damaged company equipment, threatened the lives of company executives, supported ecoterrorism and even funded a drug trafficking operation within protest camps.


    The First Amendment does not support the “theory that all radical views are equal” — it supports the theory that all views, no matter how radical, have a right to be expressed, and that only by allowing their expression can we properly evaluate which are reasonable.

    As for who is standing on “the right side of History” … we can look to History to see which views have resulted i the greatest body counts, and those are the views holding that there is a “right” side to History.

  29. Passing:

    Brian Aldiss, science-fiction writer behind Steven Spielberg’s ‘A.I.,’ dies at 92
    By Harrison Smith, Published: August 23

    Brian Aldiss, a British science-fiction writer whose inventive tales of climate change, alien civilization and the loneliness of robots — including a five-page magazine story that formed the basis of Steven Spielberg’s movie “A.I.” — helped elevate a genre many critics had long dismissed as mass-market pulp, died Aug. 19 at his home in Oxford, one day after turning 92.

    A daughter, Wendy Aldiss, said he had a stroke in 2016 and had a pacemaker in his heart — “which he loved, because it made him part robot.”

    Mr. Aldiss was part of sci-fi’s 1960s New Wave period, when writers such as Arthur C. Clarke (“2001: A Space Odyssey”) and J.G. Ballard (“The Wind From Nowhere”) wrote books that featured politically charged themes and experimental literary techniques.

    In part, their work was a reaction to the violence and tumult of World War II, during which Mr. Aldiss served in an army signals unit in Southeast Asia and said he returned to England feeling like an outsider.

    “I didn’t like British society,” he told the Glasgow Sunday Herald in 2001. “I couldn’t tell a florin from a half crown. I thought it was all crap, the social order and everything. So as an outsider, I naturally gravitated to the outsider’s literature, which was science fiction.”

    Beginning with the 1958 space-travel novel “Non-Stop,” he wrote dozens of science-fiction novels and hundreds of short stories, including the 1980s “Helliconia” trilogy, about a planet where seasons last for hundreds of years, throwing civilizations into ruin during centuries-long ice ages.

    Mr. Aldiss was hailed as “the Grand Old Man of British science fiction” by Britain’s Guardian newspaper, and he received another stately title — Grand Master, a lifetime achievement honor — from the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America in 2000.

    It was one of several top sci-fi prizes Mr. Aldiss received in his career, including a Nebula Award (given by writers) in 1965 for his novella “The Saliva Tree” and a Hugo Award (given by fans) in 1962 for “Hothouse,” a novel that described a dystopian future in which half of the Earth is covered by a towering banyan tree.

    One possible fan, Queen Elizabeth II, named Mr. Aldiss an officer of the Order of the British Empire in 2005.

    I confess, the only Aldiss story which ever truly captured me was “Let’s Be Frank” — but that’s more than can be said for a great many authors.

    1. N.B. – the headline in the Washington Post print edition is: Science fiction writer helped elevate genre critics dismissed.

      Meh. “Elevate” — pfui. In a pig’s eye.

  30. A few more:

    ** Extremism in the defense of liberty is no virtue, and extremism in the defense of convention (esp. a fresh-minted neo-conventionalism) is no vice. (Apologies to B.G. of Ariz.)
    ** Equal rights apply unequally to people we like, and fail unequally to benefit those we don’t like. This is equal rights and always a positive good.
    Or, put more simply: all people are equal, means some are more equal than others. (Apologies to E.B. in A.F.)
    ** Unintended consequences — aren’t. (That is, not unintentional, not consequences, or maybe just non-existent.)

    Example of the last two: many states inserted the “one man, one woman” definition of traditional marriage into their Constitutions, banning “gay marriage” until Federal court action overrode that.
    But (up to specific legal technicalities) this pretty much has to be a new, Constitutional prohibition on polygamous marriages (of more than two at once), repeating the whole 19th-century federal war on this first American form of alternative marriage (see Morrill Act, Edmunds-Tucker Act, the “Deps” and so on and on) at the state level. [A few Western states had that written in from the start, see above.]
    Was this debated? Did anybody notice? Before, during, or after? Did/does anybody care?
    But nevertheless, “now everyone has an equal right to marriage.”

    And we’re off to see the Wizard: “Pay no attention to that little man behind the curtain…”

  31. two literary allusions:

    1) “some animals are more equal than others.” thus international socialists have more rhetorical privilege than national socialists, plus designated victim-groups. and all have more than non-collectivists.

    2) “When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’

    ’The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’

    ’The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.”

    thus we are seeing a mere power game played by those whom the gods of copybook headings would destroy.

  32. When Picard confessed that at the end he saw five lights but refused to say so, I had assumed that the interregator, frustrated by a hard case and under pressure from his boss, just put in the fifth light so he could check the “get video of subject admitting to seeing 5 lights” box on the form and move on to try and meet his quota for the month.

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