Fifty Shades of Marx – A Blast From The Past From October 2013


Fifty Shades of Marx – A Blast From The Past From October 2013

Yesterday on Facebook, someone took exception to my saying that Marxist ideas are ascendant in the world.  This shocked me so much I didn’t know how to react, and before I had time to explain – I was trying to finish the novel.  No, it’s not done yet.  Long story, but hey HVAC people this afternoon – people were in a big argument over whether or not we’re living in a police state.

I have opinions on that too (duh) but it has nothing to do with the incontrovertible fact that we’re soaked in Marxist philosophy on all sides.

It’s entirely possible, in fact, that my commenter isn’t aware of that, because fish aren’t particularly aware of water.  It takes an effort to become aware of the Marxist premises underlying everything because they’re taken for granted.  No one studies Marx himself, because we assume his theories as proven, and the stuff we live in, all over the world, is dictated by his premises.

This would be a little less damaging if the Hairy Grifter (he was once described as an angry, hairy inkspot) weren’t wrong about … everything, really.

You want to look at the decay of Western civilization?  It’s mostly the unexamined absorption of Marxist ideas.

Now, I’m one of those people who live too much in books and theories, and, as such, I can tell you why they’re absorbed and treated as gospel: it’s because they make internal sense.  This is not the same as having even a glimmer of real world application, of course, but they satisfy the minds of intellectuals by dividing everything into categories and presenting a (false but deceptively smooth) system for historical change and, in general, sounding REALLY plausible.

Take the Marxist theory of value.  It is utter nonsense of course. The idea is that what gives value to something is the labor put into it.  You can see how this would appeal to Marx, or, indeed, to any intellectual.  Laboring forever over a book that sells one copy is now a genuine, bonafide “injustice”.  The book is valuable.  Just look how much work you put into it.

The REAL theory of value, is much messier and doesn’t fit nicely within the pages of a book, even if you beat it with a hammer, because then the blood oozes out all over the theory.  The REAL theory of value goes something like this: something is worth what people are willing to pay for it.

This means if caveman Grog just was LUCKY to be near where the thunderbolt struck dry wood, the caveman could then sell the flaming branches for a year’s worth of hunt.  No work involved.  He just was there.

Our monkey brains want things to be “fair” (Dave Freer tells me fairness is wired into simians, part of being a social species that lives in small bands.  It helps survival.)

The fact that the Marxist theory of labor has buggerall to do with real life – you can spend seventy years polishing a dog turd.  It still won’t be worth a million – doesn’t matter.  It has such BEAUTIFUL internal logic.  (By which you should read no logic at all but an appeal to our back brains.)  It allows serious people behind desks to make decisions on what everything is worth.


Well, let’s say that we’ve got out of mandatory prices in every day goods – the crash was that big when we tried that – but what do you think Obamacare will do but set prices for highly specialized knowledge and services.  And what do they set them based on?  Well, they set them based on how much effort they think is involved.  This is where we get that doctors should be paid like teachers.

It’s also part of the trite, ridiculous idea that professional athletes should make less than teachers, because teachers “work harder” or are “More important to society” or whatever.

It’s all bokum, but it’s penetrated through the society to such an extent that people – with a  serious air of much learning – will tell you that books will be better (of course) if they take longer to produce.  They will say the same about any art work, or discovery REGARDLESS OF WHAT HISTORY TELLS THEM ABOUT REAL BOOKS OR ART.

That last about teachers being more important to society than professional athletes?  Marx again.  We’re supposed to prioritize the good of the collective over the good of the individual.

You want to see a good basketball game or a good wrestling match and are willing to pay for it?  Why you selfish capitalist pig.  Don’t you know the children need better teachers?  We should pay more to the teachers, so they’ll be better.  It’s for the good of society.

This has penetrated everything, too, including literary criticism.  It’s now all “is this book socially relevant?”

What in living daylight this has to do with being a good book (or poem or play) is beyond me.  No, seriously. Look, Shakespeare wrote his “socially relevant” works.  They’re the historical plays and by and large we ignore them.  They’re certainly not among the most watched/read.  Those are the ones where he touched humanity on the raw and took us, despite ourselves, on an emotional ride: Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, Twelfth Night, yes, even Midsummer Night’s Dream and the Scottish Play.

I’m fairly sure if asked about relevance, Jane Austen would think Mansfield Park, having to do with raising kids and the behavior of young women, and the division between classes was the most relevant of her works.  To us it reads turgid and infused with a totally alien morality (unless we belong to particularly strict sects.)  Pride and Prejudice, though, which, again captures humanity in a nutshell?  THAT we have read and watched and dreamed ragged.

BUT publishing is being run according to “relevant” works, which of course means agreeing with the social vision of those in power which is – largely – Marxist.

This is because it is the vision being promoted in college, where they actually DO Marxist literary analysis.  (Even if Marxism had any point of contact with reality, using a political theory to analyze why a book is good or enduring is sort of like using an ax to comb your hair.)

Then we get into sociology/politics/moral/religion, where the idea of collective guilt and collective punishment has taken hold.  And it’s insane.  (It’s particularly insane in Christianity where for the sake of ten righteous men G-d would have spared an entire corrupt city. [He probably would have gone to one, except he could tell the one to skeedadle with his family.])

It’s not just that they assign guilt to people on the basis of what group they belong to.  It’s that they throw people into groups based on characteristics that don’t mean anything.  Take White Males (not mine. Okay, the boys are technically Latin and look it.  But they’re still mine.  You can’t take them.)  I live with three of them, and they’re all very different people.  I have a multitude of male friends, gay and straight (I always got along better with men than with women.  Probably the result of growing up with an older brother and HIS friend group.  In fact, right now I have more women in my inner circle than ever before, and it startles me a little, but I still have more men.) None of them is guilty of slavery, sexism, exploitation.  If  any of them enjoys white male privilege they haven’t done it where I could see it.  Most of them work really hard and don’t get any breaks that they didn’t fight for for years.  In fact, particularly in federal jobs, women are likely to be promoted ahead of them.

Mostly what they get is blamed for the “historical oppression of women” and slavery and stuff that wasn’t happening when they were born, wasn’t happening when their fathers were born, and into which they had absolutely no say.

Now take white women.  Look, do you really think their ancestors didn’t participate in any oppression going among white men?  Why, of course they did.  Good heavens, we had white female queens.  But they’re “victims” because women are in the victim class of Marxism.  And so women now are born without sin and OWED.  No, it doesn’t matter what they’re owed.  Whatever their little heart desires, I guess.  They also always get to claim discrimination when things don’t go their way.

(Were women oppressed?  Some of them, undoubtedly.  Some still are.  Look at Islam and some of the more traditional cultures.  Mostly it has to do with the horrors of biology and the fact women couldn’t control their own reproduction until we had the pill.  But that doesn’t fit in Marxists’ pointy heads, see.)

Entire tribes in Africa subsisted from hunting other tribes and putting them on boats headed for slavery.  But these days anyone born of those slave-selling tribes is considered as much of a victim as the rest, because he’s black and he’s from Africa and therefore he’s a “victim.”  He’s a “victim” even if he was born to one of the Kleptocrats of Africa and his pampered feet never left the limo to touch the ground.

And let’s not get into social classes.  That will make your head hurt.  Is a small businessman, owner of his own business, a worker?  No? Because Marx said the workers didn’t own the means of production?  BUT what if this poor guy paints houses for a living and spends his time schlepping paint and ladder around and working REALLY HARD.  Nope, he’s still not a worker, because you see, Marx’s vision was limited to industrial revolution England and limited is the point.  He wasn’t even very up to date on his reading.

AND if that small business man hires an employee to help schlep the paint cans, he’s suddenly a guilty part and an exploiter.  Even though most small businessmen will make payroll before they pay themselves, and work into the night, while the employee keeps regular hours.

But, you say, Sarah, no one takes the Marxist theory of classes seriously anymore!

Really?  No?  That is why we have people talking about the “one percent” as though they were an homogeneous group?  That’s why we have taxes on people who “make too much.”  (Too much for what?) That’s why our entire tax system is based on redistribution.  Because for a long time it was believed that extreme redistribution was the way to stop communist revolution, which the scientific theory of history said would come otherwise.  This is how the Scandinavian countries got in the trap they’re in, and we too, just later and slower.

And that’s why people can’t be IQ tested the old way, because IQ tests are “inherently racist” – let alone that this theory is based on the idea that every race is alike within itself, and therefore is a racist claim in itself.  That’s why women are given breaks to get into STEM degrees, because even if their performance is inferior to keep them out would be sexist.  Their under performance is because their group are traditional victims!

ALL our society is run according to the theory of classes and designated historical victims.  And our churches.  Don’t get me started on our churches.

There was, circulating on Facebook, the story of this minister, hired by a mainstream congregation, who decided to try a stunt and come to his first service dirty, disheveled and looking like a homeless man.  He then “discovered” that his congregation didn’t “behave like Christians.”  They didn’t eject the man, mind you, but they gave him a seat in the back, and clearly kept an eye on him.

They didn’t ask him to sit up front and treat him as an honored guest, therefore they weren’t Christ-like, and when the minister did his big reveal, he excoriated them, and this got written about and distributed with approval.

Had I had hiring power in that congregation, I’d have called him aside after that stunt, told him that sorry, but the holy book in this church isn’t bound in red, given him his paycheck and a handshake.

But, SARAH, you’ll say. Christ got beggars and…

Yes, indeed.  And Christ’s world was very different.  It was very easy – in fact it was the norm – for hard working people to find themselves starving and destitute.  Without help, without any form of social services, MOST PEOPLE WERE POOR.  Helping the poor, and yes, even the prostitutes (I still wonder what He was up to with tax collectors. Never mind) most people starved or worse.

BUT we don’t live in Christ’s world.  There are layers of government services and private charities.  Most of our homeless are in fact mentally ill, drug addicted or both.

How many of us have NEVER seen a homeless man expose himself/been threatened by a homeless person/been pursued by a beggar yelling curses?  If you haven’t, you must either be very lucky or live in a very small place.

I’m sorry, but people go to church with their families, including small and vulnerable children.  When a dirty, disheveled homeless person shows up, you’re going to wonder what he’s going to do next.  Putting him at the back and watching him isn’t lack of charity.  It’s lack of death wish.  (Not too many years ago, a man shot himself in the bathroom of a church in town.  A homeless, mentally disturbed man.  If they’d watched him and kept an eye, perhaps that wouldn’t have happened.  Before the elections in 2008, two naked men showed up outside the church door of a church in town, supposedly to protest priestly abuse but in fact they were both mentally ill.)

These days, in the world we live in, keeping the homeless at a distance is called “self preservation instinct.”  It doesn’t mean we don’t help them, but we can’t treat any homeless person who shows up, particularly a dirty disheveled one, as an innocent victim who IS NOT going to do something awful suddenly and for no reason.  (Look, the sane homeless aren’t usually dirty and disheveled and you won’t know they’re homeless unless they tell you.  Yes, I’ve seen someone wash AND PUT ON FULL MAKE UP in a public bathroom.  People do that when they care and are trying to find help.)

A priest/minister who doesn’t see that is in fact drinking Marx by the cupful and thinks in terms of classes.  And in the world of classes the homeless are just “victims” and thus entitled to the best treatment REGARLESS of personal safety or the facts of life about most of the homeless today.

I suspect Christ might tell the man a thing or two about causing scandal, in fact.  It was, if nothing else, a piece of self-aggrandizing, showing a lack of respect and priory condemnation of his future congregation based on class.  “They’re comfortable, therefore they must be afflicted.”

SOCIAL justice was never part of the gospel or of any Western religion.  Justice, guilt and sin are individual and expiated as such.  (Yes, ancient Judaism, but it’s different when you’re in a land RULED by G-d.  And even there… ten men would spare a city.)

Only Marx thinks that on the terrible day of judgment in which he doesn’t believe, people will come before their Lord in classes and ranks of standing, and be condemned or forgiven according to things they could do nothing about.

In fact making the homeless into a Marxist victim-class precludes helping them as individuals.  You can’t say they need to be clean or moderate their behavior, even if you offer them help towards that.  Because they’re discriminated against, see?  And heaven forbid you try to help the mentally ill, because then you’re the Soviet Union, incarcerating “dissenters.”  Yay and verily, ask a college sociology professor and he’ll tell you that by standing on the corner and peeing himself, a homeless man is protesting heartless capitalism.  (The same heartless capitalism that allows him to eat at a soup kitchen and gives him clothes and sundries, no questions asked.  You got it.)

And don’t get me into the Marxist view of history.  Faced with the fact that the proletariat has not risen up as the great master predicted, they keep finding surrogates, mostly in third world countries, and treating THOSE as the international equivalent of homeless people.

You know, Somalia is starving because you’re rich, you bastard!

The fact that the aid western countries sent is pilfered or left to rot, the fact that their – Marxist, most of them educated at the Patrice Lumumba university in Moscow – are kleptocrats who line their pockets over those of their citizens, the fact that our surplus of donated goods destroy local industry has nothing to do with it.

You see, Marx thought that wealth was a finite pie.  That meant that for you to be rich someone else had to be poor.  And colleges still teach it that way.  No, seriously.

Apparently knowing that what kept a tenth of the population in bare subsistence in medieval times now keeps ten times as many beyond the dreams of medieval kings means NOTHING to them.  There’s finite wealth in the world, and if you take more than you “need” (from each according… yeah) then someone else will starve.

And those countries are by the way, always victims, because the “colonialists” took their “raw materials.”

No, I kid you not.  Seriously.  They are poor because people in the eighteenth century got gold or iron or cotton or something from them.  That makes them poor forever.  It’s the evil of Colonialism.  The kid’s college Geography book tried to sell that one.  I pointed out to the kid that Portugal was colony and colonizer and if it were a matter of stealing raw materials, then Portugal should be the richest country on Earth.  (And we won’t go into how fair trade isn’t stealing, even if fair trade for the time was something else.)

I’m sorry, Portuguese culture and the made infatuation with various forms of socialism probably has more to do with the mess the country is in then the fact that the Romans took all our gold.  (Which is why the area beneath the village looks like swiss cheese and sometimes vast portions cave after a heavy rain.)  Or is it Portugal is comfortable (relatively) for reasons having nothing to do with the fact it stole piles of gold from South America.  Which one is it?  It makes my head hurt.

None of Marx’s theories stands up to real world examination or real world scrutiny.  And yet you have people running around declaring themselves Marxist and neo-Marxist.  And, inexplicably, people don’t point and laugh.

His ideas have penetrated how things are done UNEXAMINED.  Which is the only way they could penetrate because if you examine them they crumble into incoherence.

The last time I pounded on Marx some twit informed me that it was very useful for literary analysis by which he (she? I don’t remember) meant that it’s a handy self-contained system that you can apply to books and decide what is good and what isn’t by what conforms and what doesn’t.

It makes me think of that mythical king who cut off the parts of men who didn’t fit into his box.

It might be easy to apply, but it doesn’t touch reality at ANY point.

And this is where Western civilization is.  Admitted (and a lot of is admitted on college campus) or not, we’re bound in fifty shades of Marx.

And no one has given us a safe word.

107 thoughts on “Fifty Shades of Marx – A Blast From The Past From October 2013

  1. Hoo-boy! This one’s gonna leave some Marx.

    His ideas permeate our present culture the way plastics permeate the ocean’s water.

    1. You mean, concentrated in fewer places than we thought, originating from fewer sources?

      1. And being used as an excuse to make life more difficult without actually solving the problem (see straws and Ganges)

      2. because the person that wrote the paper that posited teh garbage islands purposefully ignored the fact that the plastics he was discussing were biodegradable?

  2. Fifty shades of Marx?

    Whatever the labels on the pencils, crayons, marker or paints say they all of them eventually turn out to be Dark Drab Despair.

  3. Off topic but not really….

    In the last few minutes I finally summed up something that has been annoying the crap out of me for a long time in a comment on /r/The_Donald.

    The not caring about the truth comment was about the conservative fixation on marijuana. Yes it is generally a bad idea. No it is not the end of civilization.

    Really this is just a specific case of the general problem with conservatives: given a selection of N possible targets you can rely on them to focus on the least dangerous target, and that the attack will be done in a way that makes it as easy as possible for their opponents to point and laugh at them.

    Part of this is just the nature of the problem. For example post-modernist philosophy is extraordinarily difficult to get a handle on let alone fight against unless you have studied it closely. But the average conservative isn’t fighting because they have a deep philosophical knowledge of the problem; rather they have a (often correct) gut understanding that something is wrong. The inevitable result is that they will lump obvious but harmless differences in with true dangers.

    Also throughout most of this war Conservatism has been on the losing side of the technological base. The tide has turned because of the technological change; we truly are in the Second Gutenberg Revolution.

    These issues are in many ways not conservative’s fault. But conservative ideology does not have room within it for those excuses so they are condemned by their own beliefs. And thus I will continue to insist that Conservatism is the only ideology which gives Communism a run for it’s money in the failure contest. Communism promises heaven on earth and creates hell. Conservatism promises to protect what is good in society and folds like wet toilet paper when put up against Communists of all things.

    Mostly I’m sick of people telling me they are holding the line against all that is evil while planning how they can surrender a bit slower than the other guy. It is why I will never give the NRA a dime. And it is why Trump won; because I am not the only one who is utterly fed up with this shit.

    Also frist prost or something.

      1. That was part of a reply chain where someone was going off about it. Actually not quite: they were blabbing about videogames and tried a rhetorical link to pot.

        But my general rant is separate from any particular drug, or even drugs as a topic.

      2. Actually I do have a question since you are in Colorado:

        There are whispers that crime has skyrocketed there, with the TL;DR being that legalization failed etc etc. I would not be surprised to learn that not everything is roses and sunshine, but I do not trust the people who are essentially saying “well the drug war made things worse so now we have to keep it going”. Especially after catching them pulling statistical flim-flam so obvious that even someone with no knowledge of statistics like me could see it.

        What is the real situation on the ground?

        1. Per her and Mr. Sizer, there are definitely more and more aggressive homeless, apparently due to Marijuana being cheaper in Colorado than in California.

          But that doesn’t answer the interesting question of whether there is an actual increase in homeless druggies under legalization, or whether they simply moved.

          So, basically impossible to answer conclusively at this point. Because measuring humans is hard, significant results of this could still be fairly small in terms of population size, and it is an information warfare environment.

            1. We see the impact of non-policing pretty clearly. West of the Cascades, the current District Attorney seldom sees a Hispanic who should be locked up, and is pretty easy on homeless. Over here in the backwards section of Oregon, TPTB seem to have the quaint notion that “if you do the crime, you do the time”. Curiously, our assault and murder rate is much lower than in the West. The Westside authorities can’t understand just why this is the case.

              As a legal-marijuana state, one of the more popular felonies is trying to smuggle dope to less “elevated” states. We have one of the shortcuts to the East, so there’s a lot of sketchy dudes in rental vehicles with an amazing amount of grass therein. Not sure how much gets smuggled to California, but there’s going to be some, since ours is cheaper.

              And yes, since mass grow sites aren’t legal, that’s another thing the local people crack down upon. I don’t know about that aspect of law enforcement Westside.

              And yes, auto accident rates have gone up. Go figure.

          1. The banking problem is very real. Pot places (“Cannabis Dispensaries” if you prefer) are pretty well locked out of the banking system. A lot of business is done in cash, which of course makes them targets. The Brinks car is not going to pull up and transport it, as they do for grocery stores and such, either.
            That has caused an increase in crime, but not personal assault type stuff (unless you’re the poor dude carrying $20,000 to the bank in a bag).

        2. Crime has not skyrocketed except for the democrat governance having imported MASSIVE numbers of homeless to the city centers and treating them as CA does, including trying not to arrest them under any circumstances because some of them might be illegal and we wouldn’t want them deported.
          Other than that and the city centers? Everything is as it was.

          1. Amendment 300, which would have allowed the homeless to set up semi-permanent camp on any city land, failed in landslide. 82% of Denver thought it was a bad idea. That surprised me (I was thinking cactus in my easement, but decided the sprinkler system would suffice) and makes me feel somewhat hopeful.

            1. Denver hasn’t lost its mind. Nor has Colorado. It’s mostly… fraud. But somehow, they only seem to fraud… names. The extra ballots are always for the big seats: president, governor. Not amendments.

      3. in my case it is literally ” don’t care, treat it like cigarettes (incl taxation and age structures, or better yet like alcohol), everyone makes money” and cautioning the fools who think that little microgrowers will make a fortune once Philip Morris and RJ Reynolds can legally grow it are only fooling themselves.

        1. “Treat Pot like real tobacco”?

          The Pot-Heads would hate it.

          Restrictions on where you can smoke your pot just like the restrictions on where you can smoke your real tobacco”.

          Send the school children out to “shame” pot-smokers just like they do with tobacco-smokers.

          Etc. Etc.

          As a tobacco smoker I’d love to see the “cool pot-smokers” have to deal with the shit that I do. 😈

          1. Already is. Doesn’t matter if you are smoking or vamping. Regardless of the content. Still restricted to where you can do it. At least in Oregon. Even our local Eugene political idiots have got that part correct.

            We won’t discuss the homeless parked any place available except public parks … Between sidewalks* and roads, check. Between fences and freeways, check … surprised they aren’t in the medium grass of the freeway.

            * Can’t discuss about “downtown” because don’t go there. Anywhere along bike paths along the river, yes. Along the bike path in the South Hills where the “expensive” NIMBY, estates are going to be located … Hell no. Funny that way …

      4. Actually, Sarah, some of us do….. but not because we care about others smoking it. They want to fry their synapses, great. Frankly, the sooner they die, the better off we will be.

        What forces us to care about it is that we are forced to encounter the users in their daily activities, and we can’t stop them from damaging other people including us. In fact, we are forced to hire them, rent to them, etc. because they will howl “discrimination” if we don’t.

    1. Marijuana may well be one of the big, important issues.

      If stoners’ expectations of legalization are that rapes and murders committed while high are legal. Because the other voters, who have supported or not strongly opposed legalization, have the expectation that murders and rapes will not be greater, and ones committed while high will still be persecuted in the same way.

      You can find just enough evidence for that model of stoner expectations to justify not discarding it.

      If the criminal justice reform advocates are really backers of such a sentiment, then there is a disagreement which risks the consensus underlying peace and civilization in America.

      Caveats known to regulars here: 1. I am an extremely boring fanatic on this subject. 2. I really, quite sincerely, want to kill all of the stoners. 3. My major objections to doing this are on practical grounds. There are minor objections on purely moral grounds, but my level of hatred more than suffices for those. 4. I consider this a handy tactic for arguing against socialized medicine. Most supporters of socialized medicine are also supporters of criminal justice reform, or at least would object to mass euthanizing of stoners and/or petty criminal (druggie) homeless. 5. Some of the youngsters are following the ‘strong horse’ of the left because the right is not attacking the left the way the left attacks the right. Rules for Radicals: point out hypocrisy. The left has many hypocrisies because of the grab bag way they put together dogma. If a conservative is not Libertarian enough to want to abolish the FDA, opposing the legalization of marijuana can be consistent. Tough on crime positions that harshly punish marijuana can be consistent. “I oppose this bureaucracy, portfolio, and remit, but as long as we have it on the books it should be handled strictly in this way” can be consistent.

      1. If stoners’ expectations of legalization are that rapes and murders committed while high are legal

        I have little doubt that there are idiots who will make this claim.

        I have even less doubt that other people will accept the claim at face value as they usually do. Just as the people on both sides of the illegal immigration screaming match can’t seem to understand that illegal immigration is a separate issue from what happens when you make some people a protected class.

        1. Just as the people on both sides of the illegal immigration screaming match can’t seem to understand that illegal immigration is a separate issue from what happens when you make some people a protected class.

          Theoretically, possible.

          In the actual discussion, they’re not separate issues, because they’ve grown up on each other for at least my entire lifetime.

          An illegal does a crime, and if it’s reported, the report is either round-filed or they get a relatively minor punishment, same as any other career criminal.

          If the cops get a report of someone who fits the profile of an illegal, they tend to respond accordingly.

          That’s before the issues of gangs come into it. It’s expensive to take notice of an illegal grow, and those are usually staffed by a known, though minor, illegal with a criminal record.

          1. “If the cops get a report of someone who fits the profile of an illegal, they tend to respond accordingly. ”

            See the Parkland shooter, who was apparently ignored because of his “Hispanic” surname.

            1. I was thinking of the abrupt lack of reaction when the window-peeper and house-creeper at my sister’s was discovered to be an illegal from the known flop-house down the road, and the absolute lack of interest when the back window of their car was taken out after that.

              But yours is much better generally known.

    2. Sorry Ian, but the NRA has as much spine as its members give it. Mine is only one vote, and one voice, out of about 5 million. The fact that some of our organization’s leaders were engaged in hanky-panky is diluting our goal of 2nd Amendment support or bust.

      If you can find a better team to support that, go for it. Maybe NGRA? But you don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. At the very least, the NRA is an obstacle in the road to total disarmament that once they clear it, they come in sight of the unassailable castle walls.

      1. I used to be willing to give the NRA leadership the benefit of circumstance and doubt; they were just so worn down from constant fighting retreats that they could no longer conceive of a win. A somewhat honorable, if inglorious end.

        Then the recent scandal happened, and one detail sticks out beyond all others. They pay a legal firm endless sums of money (not necessarily bad in and of itself). That firm refuses to be audited (worthy of immediate termination). It is ran by relatives (are you trying to look suspicious?). And because all the other parts of the scandal weren’t bad enough people started digging into said firm’s political contributions: an absolute pittance to republicans, tons to anti-gun democrats.

        It’s funny because I had an itch in the back of my head for a long time. “What if they are secretly supporting gun control so there is always a reason for people to join?”, but I dismissed it as unnecessary to explain the situation and because conspiracy theories are corrosive to one’s ability to think clearly. Perhaps I should start digging into HSLDA too, they were the first ones I got the itch about.

        And I don’t agree that the NRA’s political efforts are helping: their entire shtick is to accept that gun control is inevitable, and then to tweak it to be slightly less bad than it could be. Is it truly better to mix sugar into the poison? You cannot win on a strategy of fighting retreat and nothing else.

        (also give us more money: Wayne needs to take his mistress on another international vacation)

        Sorry Ian, but the NRA has as much spine as its members give it.

        This is true, and reveals a problem on two different levels:

        1. The NRA’s internal politics stink of corruption. People have been trying to change the board for a while, but there is zero oversight on the election process. Now other steps are being taken, and the leadership’s behavior will tell us how deep the corruption goes.

        2. Plenty of members think that “they have done their part” by sending donations and that’s it. I’d like to point out that it has been discussed on this very blog of how many people – our hostess among them – started speaking up when Andrew Breitbart died. They no longer had an excuse.

        Also the left somehow manages to motivate people to actually do stuff on a regular basis. “They don’t have jobs” isn’t going to cut it as an sufficient explanation. “It’s all astroturfing” isn’t going to either.

        The right is terrible at supporting its own activism, and it looks like the primary way of solving that so far is to get the center and center-left to agree with the same cause and bring their activism chops to the table. The left taking the express train to loonyville helps with that.

        Which brings us right back around to my original rant that Conservatism as an ideology is a failure: not in idea, but in ability to fight political wars.

        1. I think the fundamental belief of conservativism is that if you don’t bother me, I’ll leave you alone. AKA MYOB. Thing is, people who just want to be left alone are not at their core, people who go out and get in other people’s faces. So yes, in that aspect, conservatives are failures, at least in the first half of the race. The thing is, once you do get conservatives actively involved, you better be prepared to go whole hog, and all the way to the end, or you’ll piss off your base, much as you appear to be pee’d off at the NRA for being limp.

          I, and apparently a number of others here, think we’ve gone beyond the point of reasonable dialog. When the Left come up with their next program du jour, we say, “Yes, that would be wonderful, now how do you make it work?” To which the left claims we have to surrender all rights and all wealth to do it, with no guarantee for success. And every time the conservatives come up with a proposal, with facts, we’re immediately called Nazi’s, fascists, monsters, heartless, beaten, spit upon, etc. and aren’t even listened to. In fact, I expect the definition of conservatives is courtesy and politeness; and the definition of the progressive left is rudeness and self-centeredness.

      2. the problem is, dispersing the NRA’s lobbying power into a dozen rinkydink orgs that most congresspeople have never heard of isn’t going to ‘fix the NRA’ it is going to mean that the people lobbying for the second amendment are going to be the third-tier lobbyists that these orgs can afford and are likely to never get appointments to address their concerns with lawmakers… especially, unfortunately, the ‘no compromise’ types.

  4. We should pay more to the teachers, so they’ll be better.

    Note they recognize that incentives matter: paying more attracts better applicants. They then establish workplace rules that discourage people from trying to excel,paying them according to elements having nothing to do with achieving institutional goals. Notice, also, that their dramatizations do not focus on the good productive teacher who exposes the students to approved ideas for the requisite number of hours per day; instead they focus on “inspiring” teachers who go above and beyond the job requirements.

    Flipping idjits cannot even persuade themselves of the validity of their premises.

    Karl E. Marx, super-genius!

  5. Christ’s world was very different. It was very easy – in fact it was the norm – for hard working people to find themselves starving and destitute. Without help, without any form of social services, MOST PEOPLE WERE POOR. Helping the poor, and yes, even the prostitutes (I still wonder what He was up to with tax collectors. Never mind) most people starved or worse.

    Among the things far too many people fail to realize about first century Judea, the context in which Jesus preached, is that at that time, a great fortune was almost always due to slave labor, political pull, or some combination of the two. For the honest man, even slightly-above-subsistence “prosperity,’ such that you might have no fears for your next meal (but let’s not think about the one after that just yet), was an unstable condition, heavily dependent upon uncontrollable factors such as weather.

    Tax collectors were a focus of hatred in that time because they were nearly all extortionists, backed by the fear of the soldiers who accompanied them. Remember how, when some tax collectors and soldiers asked John the Baptist, who had just prophesied the coming of the Messiah, for counsel, he advised them thus:

    Then came also publicans to be baptized, and said unto him, Master, what shall we do? And he said unto them, Exact no more than that which is appointed you. And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.[Luke 3:12-14]

    Unfortunately, a great many “priests” in our time are as ignorant (willfully or otherwise) of those things as an orangutan.

    1. Yes. Tax “farming” was quite common in the ancient world. Nasty business, closer to a protection racket than honest tax collection.

      1. Which, imo, makes it all the more impressive that a tax collector became an apostle.

    2. Among the things far too many people fail to realize about first century Judea, the context in which Jesus preached, is that at that time, a great fortune was almost always due to slave labor, political pull, or some combination of the two.

      I figure anybody who pulls the “eat the rich” line either believes that’s the only foundation now for any level of security that involves doubting you’d be better off under socialism, or (likely) is pretending to.

      1. Also not likely to be something to spontaneously cry out in the throes of passion.

        For most people, anyhow.

  6. It always seemed to me that with the advent of the stock corporation and the mutual fund, civilization moved beyond Marxism. Think of it as the Hegelian dialectic at work…Old Capitalism was the thesis, Communism the antithesis, modern Communal Capitalism the synthesis.

    Because one way or another, most of us are invested in the stock market…we are ALL Capitalists.

    1. We may all be invested in the stock market, but some of us are more invested than others. As many union bosses and pension fund handlers have learnt, there is an awful lot of money to be made selecting who manages the investments.

  7. There was a story about a statue of a homeless man laying on a park bench. When you looked closely you saw wounds on the man’s hands and feet.

    IE The statue was supposed to be of the Christ.

    One preacher of an “upper-class church” was responsible for the statue and was “preaching Christ wants us to help the homeless”.

    At the time, my thought was that the Christ would be closer to a “middle class carpenter” and He wouldn’t be welcome in that “upper-class church”. 😦

    1. and He wouldn’t be welcome in that “upper-class church”.

      To be fair that is true of most (alleged) churches.

      Hard to accept Christ coming in the front door when Satan stands behind the pulpit.

      1. :Hard to accept Christ coming in the front door when Satan stands behind the pulpit.

        Piffle. Christ had no fear of Satan and even told The Fallen One to kiss His butt (“Get thee behind me, Satan” James 4:7)

    2. And then Jesus pulled into the parking lot of the out of business K-Mart in His beat up old Chevy. And He got out and walked over to the women renting out their bodies for 30 minutes at a go and He offered them fresh baked bread and butter, and barbequed salmon steaks. And the women gathered round and asked who was this strange man in paint-splashed coveralls and sawdust in his beard that he would hand out good food to hookers? And Jesus sat down on His tailgate and began to talk with the women.

      1. Why would anyone put in that kind of work when you can just reeeeeeee at icky people and feel virtuous about it?

        (see also: why humans are generally terrible)

    3. Christ wants us to help the homeless

      This is true for certain values of “help”. Enabling dysfunction was not part of his message, however.

  8. I’ve often wondered what the leftist elites reaction would be to the proposal to create the ‘Affordable Legal Care Act’, universal legal services, fixed price legal fee’s using the same arguments they did for healthcare. After all, unlike healthcare, legal representation is guaranteed by the constitution…so the poorest person should be able to afford the same legal care that the richest elite does, no more $5000 an hour lawyers, their fees are set by the government based on the specific issue and the poorest people who need the services.

    (Actually, I know what the reaction would be, and I’d enjoy watching them contort and headsplode.)
    (Also, I’m against the proposal on the basis I hate more gov intervention, but if we have one, we should have the other.)

  9. White male privilege, the new original sin.

    So what would be our equivalent to the crucifixion of an odd Jewish Rabbi running around to redeem us?

  10. Off topic, but the first time I read Mansfield Park I wrote off Fanny Price as a limp dishrag. Reading it again now that I have grown daughters — and have also read the play she objected to – it’s amazing how she has improved.

    1. If we ever figure out time travel someone needs to go get Jane Austen a typewriter… At least a typewriter. And some antibiotics. How much more could she have written? I recently reread all her novels and was impressed by the way uniqueness of each one. And also understand why P&P is the popular favorite. It’s the closest to a Cinderella romance.

    2. I haven’t read the play she objected to. But a lot of the “this is inadmissible” is only understandable if you GET the regency, which most people don’t.

  11. “Now take white women.”

    Note: A limit of one per blog reader applies. 😛

    1. And pay heed to those of which (whom?) may already be taken: To misquote a great philosopher of the century just past, “Take not my wife, please!”

  12. As far as writers, uh, “emitting”, stories that are steeped in Marxist cant without anyone recognizing it goes there is the occasional writer that is aware enough to play the tropes the audience expects well enough to pull a genuine twist. The businessman is not in fact the root of all, but being set up by someone else, or the revolutionary leftist isn’t the fountain of goodness. Doesn’t happen often, but it does happen.

    Bioshock Infinite was a particularly good example of that. Actually Ken Levine seems fairly based in general.

    1. The only trouble is walking the line such that one doesn’t wall the book once it’s teased that its a Law and Order episode but before the additional layers are exposed.

      1. True, that is a danger. BSI lays it on rather thick. Then after the reveal it directly references the holodomor.

        Hmmmmm. Ok I have to ask: people here often mention hurling terrible books against the wall. It’s just a joking figure of speech right? I mean…. you are just asking to accidentally destroy something aren’t you?

        1. There was a book I actually dropped into the trash can with an expression of disgust.
          All white men were demons, conceived in the last ice-age to torment the (uniformly good)black race.
          Vile racism is vile racism. Into the trash with it.

          1. Was it supposed to be fiction? Can think of some cults that would think that way.

        2. I have literally thrown a paperback against the wall; but that was 40 some years ago when I was living in the barracks still. It was so bad, the author should have paid me to read it; and the publisher should have been charged with a crime against humanity. All I can remember was it was about 2 inches thick, priced accordingly, and was at the Stars and Stripes bookstore sandwiched between Niven and Pournelle, so if I really wanted to waste my time, I could probably look it up.

          1. I have never thrown a book because I am a librarian and thus must treat all volumes with reverence and respect. But there have been moments.

            1. Generally speaking, if I didn’t like a book (and it wasn’t a library book), it would go into the “to be sold/given way pile”.

              But there were a few that I decided to not afflict them onto anybody else so they went into the trash.

              1. Sometimes it is useful to keep a really bad book for future reference. I have a copy of a deliriously worshipful volume of Marx-worshiping crackpottery for that very reason.

                  1. To remind yourself that even at your fevered worst, you can still manage to do better than that?

            2. I would never throw a book against a wall … I would give serious consideration to standing an author against a wall, however.

        3. Once, in college. Had to read some deSade for class. Book later hit the fireplace – first and only time.

          1. Don’t remember the book. But, yes, had one go into the fire. Now, all digital. So, delete works. Then author goes on the “oh hell no” list.

        4. I don’t think I’ve ever thrown a book at a wall, I’ve turned one or two into hamster bedding though.

  13. One thing that always plays at the back of my head, at least when it has a spare cylinder, is that any time someone pushes a law on the argument of ‘it’s not fair’ or ‘just because it was bad before doesn’t mean we shouldn’t fix’ the pusher should receive no benefit from law. For instance, if we want tp make “higher” ed free, no one currently old enough to vote may take advantage of it. And no loan forgiveness or similar. Too often see greed masquerading as altruism. Seems a collective hallmark.

  14. “Take the Marxist theory of value. It is utter nonsense of course. The idea is that what gives value to something is the labor put into it. ”

    Thus under Marx, the LESS you do of something, the MORE valuable it is and the MORE expert you’re considered to be.

    While in the Real World[TM] mostly the opposite is true. (Noting that custom one-offs, eg. great artworks, usually done by someone with vast experience.]

    See also the previous rant about only producing one book per year and insufficiently suffering for your art. It’s all one basket of caltrops.

    [This philosophy is the root of what’s destroyed my profession. It’s not theoretical when it takes away your livelihood.]

  15. i was under the impression that something for sale (object, idea, etc.) is worth what someone else is willing to pay for it.

  16. I love that description of Marxism: A beautiful fantasy that appeals to our internal biases, but has no relationship with the real world.

  17. I’m trying to find a copy of a short-short I wrote “The Nine Righteous Men of Sodom”. Take away was that they spent all their time and energy virtue signaling and never really fixed anything.

  18. “None of Marx’s theories stands up to real world examination or real world scrutiny”

    Part of the problem is that Marxism is a bullshit theory that can be used to “explain” any outcome, so that no matter what happens in the real world the Marxist can reassure himself that it confirms the truth of the theory. This is very useful to most intellectuals, who are not nearly as as smart or wise as they think they are.

    1. Marxism is a bullshit theory that can be used to “explain” any outcome,

      Which is why many of us denounce it as a religion and a heresy.

    2. which is why so many current marxists support the current ‘climate change’ theories

  19. But, SARAH, you’ll say. Christ got beggars and…

    Christ could see into a person’s heart and know their true self. Those of us lacking that talent have to play the odds and make projections based on superficial indicators and experience.

    1. Our culture has also internalized the norms of “you don’t abuse people, even if they’re icky, or obnoxious, or you’re really sure you’ll get away with it.”

      1. Or if it is “for their own good” or if to “save the planet.”

        Frankly, this planet is big enough to save itself.

        1. Nah, “for their own good” is just a malformed version of loving your neighbor– sacrificial love, it’s supposed to be.

          Sort of like how socialism is malformed charity.

  20. BTW: Two data points on elevation of Teh State to Supremacy:

    1: Last week, the California senate passed S.B. 360, requiring priests to violate the seal of the confessional whenever the confession pertains to sexual abuse committed by another priest or employee of the Church. The motivation is understandable — the protection of children is of paramount concern, and an area where the Church has notoriously failed time and time again. But the proposal is, for one thing, unlikely to do any good to this end, even if priests comply; responding to the passage of similar laws in Australia, the Australian Conference of Catholic Bishops observed that “perpetrators of this terrible sin very rarely seek out confession, and if mandatory reporting of confessions were required, they would certainly not confess.” This is not a practical solution to the very real problem at hand. It is a blatant attempt to assert the authority of the secular state over the Church, and a clear violation of the right to religious liberty.
    The Corner at NRO: “California Can’t Win its Confession Fight

    2: The House passed the Illinois Reproductive Health Tuesday by a vote of 64 to 50. The bill is nearly identical to the New York bill of the same name that made headlines in January for legalizing abortion until birth. The Illinois bill includes one important provision that wasn’t in the New York bill. The bill would explicitly repeal Illinois’ Abortion Peformance Refusal Act, which defends the conscience rights of individuals and organizations who object to some or all abortion procedures. It could require Catholic hospitals or pro-life doctors to perform abortions. Because the bill legalizes third-trimester abortion, repealing those conscience protections imposes an even greater burden. Plenty of doctors and nurses who wouldn’t call themselves “pro-life” would still object to assisting in a late-term abortion procedure. Additionally, the Illinois RHA repeals the state’s Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act.
    Washington Examiner: “Extreme abortion bill passes state legislature. Somehow, the uproar is missing

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