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Monday, August 24, 2015

BLACK KNIGHTS


"Heeere I come to save the day!"
-Mighty Mouse

So I'm commenting on a blog about all sorts of stuff, procrastinating, when the topic of Michelle Obama's fashion sense comes up.  This is always worth some laughs because she's as bad at it as I am, and ought to know better.
I noted that she does look pretty good for someone her age, but that a lot of black women seem to be blessed in this way, that they don't show their age.  Its sort of like Asian women; they stay looking pretty young until a fairly old age.
I got two responses to this. 
From a white guy I got "so they all look the same to you???"
From a black woman I got "yep, you should see my mom!"
Now, its hard to tell often online if someone is being sarcastic or not, but this highlighted a serious problem in American culture as I see it.
The black woman had no problem with what I said, she recognized it as being generally accurate and even possibly complimentary.  Now, she's from Africa, so her attitude isn't quite the same as many American blacks, but her response was very reasonable.  This is a recognized fact.
But the white guy, he had to jump in with both feet and make a declaration protecting black women like a knight in shining armor.  Here's my chance to fight racism!  What you said could in some remotely twisted, vaguely connected way possibly be considered racist if you squint hard enough!  I'll save you, helpless negress!  Its pretty condescending, really.
White Knighting is an online term that refers to someone coming to the defense or rescue of a girl who often isn't even present.  How dare you post that picture of her!  The term is used in a derogatory
way, mocking people as if they are thinking she might like me if I defend her!  Which might have some validity in some cases.
But this could be called Black Knighting, where a white guy leaps to the racist argument and assumes bigotry in cases where a black person goes "yeah, ok."  And it happens a lot in modern culture, with white guys trying to out black everyone around them.  
Its a form of contempt and condescension toward blacks, presuming they need help and protecting.  Its a form of social climbing by trying to be the most concerned and socially aware person in the room.  And its driven largely by the fear that someone will say you're racist, so people are trying to get ahead of it by denouncing someone else first.
We've gotten to the point in our culture where its assumed that everyone else is racist, as long as they are not black, and its just a matter of picking the right point at which to yell the word like a social Bingo game.
The white people are trying to out-outrage blacks when it comes to race now, and until that shifts culturally its only going to get... stupider.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

THE ANIMAS EFFECT

"Hell isn't merely paved with good intentions; it's walled and roofed with them. Yes, and furnished too."
-Aldous Huxley

Recently, the EPA went to investigate potential environmental damage from a mine that was closed down in 1923.  Before they were done, the Animas River beneath the mine turned from this:

To this:

Levels of  lead, arsenic, beryllium, cadmium and mercury are up to ten times the acceptable levels that the EPA has established.  Most legacy media outlets are decrying a "mining accident" and not mentioning the EPA at all.  It took almost a week for CNN to mention the EPA as in the article linked above.
Let's say United Allied Mining Consolidated (UAMC), big mining company, had caused this gigantic spill, polluting a popular vacation spot and fishing, boating, and swimming scenic area with millions of gallons of poisons and chemicals.
How long would it be before the EPA had them in court and was fining them for millions of dollars in addition to the costs of cleanup?  How much would this cost the company?  How much would environmentalist groups condemn the action, and how many news stories would there be about the evils of mining accidents and how sloppy they are?
How long would Jon Stewart have done a segment on them, rolling his eyes and mugging for the camera?  How many Daily Kos, Huffington Post, Talking Points Memo, etc posts would there be about the wicked mining company's negligence and evil activities?
As it is, here's what we see at the Sierra Club:
Amusingly, the link they give goes to a page that immediately blames the EPA, not "an abandoned mine" whose ghosts apparently caused the leak, if the Sierra Club is to be believed.
Now imagine if you will, what the penalty will be for the EPA.
Go ahead, I'll give you a few moments...
That's right: nothing. At worst, some sacrificial lamb will be fired.  The cost of cleanup will be put on the shoulders of the taxpayers, although some especially clever and corrupt agency drone may try to sue the descendents of former mine owners for it.
The EPA will not pay a bit for what happens here.  They aren't even being shamed by the people who claim to care most about the environment.
This makes a pretty critical point about economics, politics, policy and culture for me.
I'm what you'd call an environmentalist.  I've posted about this before; I got our church to start recycling old papers, I pick up trash when I go for a walk.  I'm all for cleanup and blocking pollution.  I want us to be wise, concerned, and responsible stewards of the beautiful world we've been given, not rape it for all its worth.
The Gold King Mine is not a nice place.  Its leaking toxic crud into the nearby creek slowly and needed cleaning up.  I don't see where the US Constitution empowers the federal government to take tax dollars and do so with the EPA, but the job needs doing. This massive gush of death into the water is a bad thing.
And for me, its bad when this happens no matter who does it.  I don't have anyone in particular I want to shield from consequences or penalty in this fight.  Big business, small business, private citizen, government, it doesn't matter.  Its wrong and should be punished.
But the fact is, a business faces more penalties and consequences than government when it does exactly the same thing.  They are fined, sued, penalized, and punished.  What's more, the media makes sure they are shamed and publicly humiliated for their actions - and rightly so, that's one of the best functions of the fourth estate.
In other words, businesses are accountable for what they do.  They pay a price when they do wrong.  That's part of the function of a market as well as legal and moral function of a society, when someone does wrong, they pay a price.  It can take a while, and sometimes they get away with it, but there is still accountability.
Contrast that with government.  Politicians can pay a price for enraging their constituents, by being voted out, but that doesn't happen very often.  Particularly the higher up in office you get, the less often there's a price to pay.  2014 was one of the most shocking and extensive bloodbaths in American history, with voters changing the majority party in office in the Senate and heavily increasing it in the House. Yet still, over 95% of sitting legislators were reelected.  This, despite a roughly 14% approval rating of congress.  And its usually a higher reelection level for incumbents.
And while politicians may come and go, people working in the guts of government - staffers, agency heads, secretaries, etc - stay.  They stay through administration changes, party changes, they stay for decades.  They do not pay a price when the nation gets sick of one party or another, one politician or another.
In other words, government is not accountable.  What would ruin a company causes minor shrugs in government.  Watch, and see if there's even a demotion at the EPA for this debacle.  I bet nothing at all will happen.
And that's the key to understanding conservativism when it comes to markets and business.  Leftists distrust business - and that's good, they should.  But they trust government, and that's naive and foolish.  It might even be corrupt, since many leftists work at government.  Chamber of Commerce Republicans like Jeb Bush and Carly Fiorina distrust government, which is good, but they trust business, which is naive and foolish, or even corrupt.
Conservatives should and usually do, distrust both.  But we recognize that while business is accountable and pays a price for its misdeeds, government almost never does, and when it does, its in a minor and meaningless way.
And that's just wise to recognize.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

JUST BECAUSE

“The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born”
-Antonio Gramsci

In the past, I've written a few times about what I think prompted the sudden cultural shift in the 1960s to take place - what drove the Hippie movement - aside from a long march of leftists through the various systems in the USA finally getting traction.
As I wrote in my bit on the new counterculture:
In the 1960s, young people recognized the culture they lived in and found it wanting. There were established traditions, morals, and patterns of behavior that the general public lived by, but were unable to defend or explain. Although culture had been passed down generation after generation, the reasons why things were done were just assumed, not explained. Parents did not think about why they held certain beliefs, and when confronted were unable to teach their young people. Part of this was because of a great failure of the primary foundational force of these cultural norms: Christianity.
People didn't know why they had their worldview - they'd never examined or questioned it - and were unequipped to answer when it was challenged.  Young people often took this to mean that there weren't good answers to their questions and rejected it.  Sometimes the parents agreed.
But when you do this, you leave the culture without a basic agreed upon set of foundations principles and ideals.  I wrote about this as well:
Christianity has been abandoned as the basis for ethical decisions and cultural framework in the west. Without that basic system of ethics, worldview, and law, western culture has been cut adrift in relativism and without foundation. There has been an attempt to replace the foundation of civilization with relativist leftist ideology, but it has no strength its self, like replacing someone's bones with Jell-O. Its very flexible and allows you to bend however you choose, but cannot hold up a civilization.
Our culture for years has been kicking the struts out from under the entire structure and is collapsing in on its self for lack of any sort of skeleton.  In the process, everything is beginning to look chaotic, random, and even insane.
However, its not that there isn't a new worldview or structure of ideals being promoted to replace the old.  They haven't simply burned it all down and forgotten it.  The left believes it has something that answers everything and fixes it all.
This is the one abiding and common theme among most intellectual leftists: they believe they are so smart, so skilled, so right, and so enlightened that they can fix everything they've torn down.  That whatever damage they cause will be easily remedied when they finally have enough power and have gotten everything they want.
THE NEW SYSTEM
And they have their system, of sorts, to replace the old.  That's what's going on right now on a huge scale.  The left has decided that they won, and its time to push through everything they want, no matter how voters think or what the country wants.  They've successfully gutted the old system enough now that they think its time to replace it with the new.
The new is simple enough in principle.  Its based one feelings and looking nice.  Its a system which replaces reason and fact with feelings and perception.  It replaces absolute with relative; objective with subjective.
This new system judges everything by a childish oppressor/victim worldview, dividing everyone into those who have been in charge and oppressing and those who have not and thus are victims.  The system is like Islam in that it is total: it covers religion, economics, culture, entertainment, education, law, and all other aspects of life in a complete package.
The tremors you're feeling in culture right now is the imposition of this new system from above while from below people still cling to the shreds of the old.  Homosexual "marriage" wasn't so much about the less-than-1% of the population that wants to marry.  Demanding everyone celebrate and admire Bruce Jenner's self-mangling "sex change" isn't about the 30,000 or so transgenders in the USA.  This is all just about replacing the old with the new and demolishing all the ideals and beliefs of the past.
The left will at the same time tell you marriage is utterly out of date and pointless in modern society, as it demands you embrace and celebrate homosexual "marriage."  Why?  Because they are being consistent - its not about liking marriage, its about leverage to demolish and render marriage meaningless.
A godless, empty, future of as many orgasms and pleasures as possible in your short meaningless life in service to the state is their future.  That's what they have planned.  Enjoy yourself.  Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow you may die.  They know what they propose is devoid of purpose and hope, so they want to fill it with as many distractions and hedonism as possible so you can forget about it for a while.
A BONELESS SKELETON
The problem is, this new system is lacking in bones.  It can't replace the old system because there's nothing to attach to.  Relativism and endlessly shifting "progressivism" do not allow any real structures to be built.  In real, practical terms, you cannot build for a future you cannot know or predict.  You cannot work on new projects, when you never know if they're going to be declared hateful and bigoted next year.  You cannot research new ideas because you can't know if they will even be allowed by the time they are developed.
And in a culture without any concept of gratitude, constantly self-obsessed, and demanding all without giving any, you cannot expect any sort of functional work force.  In a culture that rejects the old, believes nothing has any meaning, and everything is relative, you can't even educate the workforce or the future.  In a culture that is constantly changing to match the newest ideas of "progress," you cannot even start to develop any plans.
In other words, this new system is utterly self destructive, it is violently, stupidly suicidal.  And in a sad, strange, but all-too-predictable twist, almost none of the adherents to this system can even begin to attempt an explanation for what they believe and why.
Like the parents of the boomers, the left today holds very strongly to certain basic propositions and ideals, and can't defend or explain any of them.  When asked, they become abusive, angry, defensive, and confused.  When they try to promote a new idea, they don't have even the tools to understand how to defend it, let alone any rational basis for doing so.  In the place of persuasion, they use insults.  In the place of conversation, they use demands and attacks.  In the place of reason, they use emotion.  This is not intentional; its all they know, all they have.
So what they have ended up with is tearing down everything the older generations held dear and built modern civilization around for not having any good answers... and replaced it with an ever shifting cthulhuian horror of insanity, and have no good answers, either.
This cannot last.  Cannot.  Its a matter of, I fear, a very short time before it all crashes down.  This isn't because I think they are so wrong, but because they are building a house of cards on a bed of sand.  The slightest wind will knock it over.  Almost nothing will fail to collapse it all.  When you replace what works and what we know with what you wish to be true and what you feel, that cannot possibly continue to function long.
And in the end, we'll have one of two possibilities.  The first, and much less likely - unlikely to the point of absurdity - is that the home schoolers, the traditionalists, the older Christians, and the people who haven't given up on all of it will rebuild and take the reins.
The second, and almost certain, is that a tyrant will arise, promising to save everyone by giving them all the things they want, if only everyone gives up their worthless freedom.  All he will ask is that they kneel.  And in a collapsing society with out structure or meaning, far too many will hit their knees grateful for some sort of order.
God save us from this future, a future that has played out all too often in the past and was predicted as long ago as 400 BC by Socrates.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

WORDS AROUND THE NET

Back when I started Word Around the Net about nine years ago, I was mostly reacting to comments, and trying to highlight the most interesting ones I found on the many blogs I scrolled through each day.  I'd noticed that often, the commenters were more interesting, informative, thoughtful, and useful than the blog posts themselves, or at least as much so.
Over time, the blog developed more into my thoughts on topics, and having read a lot about how to build an audience, I tried to get 4-5 things up every day, scrounging for topics and things to write about.  As a result, a lot of it was, if not filler, at least not the finest and freshest material possible.  There's always a lot to rant and comment about, but rarely anything truly meaningful and important to say.
For years I pushed this model, and built up to around 500 readers a day; not great, but better than about 80% or more of the blogs out there.  The whole thing crashed, hard in 2008 and I lost about half or more of my readers.  Still, I was able to keep the numbers up to around 200 a day most of the time, and then in 2012 I just lost interest.  So did most readers.  And my Google account blew up and I couldn't access my own blog for months.  I lost more readers.  Now I'm lucky to get 75 a day, and usually its lower.
Honestly the numbers don't concern me much any more.  Although I managed to turn my blogging into two paying jobs, they both blew up after a few months and I've never been offered anything more.  I discovered something though: if I post ten times a week or two, I get about the same number of hits.  And I suspect that about half or more of the hits I was seeing on my counter were drive bys, spammers, and search engine visits.  As in: not really readers anyway.
In fact, it appears that I have a core of readers that hasn't really changed much for almost a decade, who waits for content and comes by to read when there's something to read.
So my philosophy has shifted.  Instead of trying to put content up every day or follow a regular tight schedule as I did for years, instead I'm focusing on trying to hit a home run each time I post; trying to post only when something particularly interests me and I have a great deal of passion and something to say about it.
That won't preclude something goofy once in a while, although I tend to use my facebook page for that, or twitter.  But mostly I'm trying to post only when I really have something in me, rather than just to get content up.
And with my other writing taking up so much of the limited energy and time I have to work, the blog sort of waits until I can get there.  So I apologize if you want more stuff on here, but I think blog reading has shifted significantly.
In 2006 when I started, people read blogs.  They'd go to a blog and read its contents each day.  There were avid blog readers.  These days, I think most people use feeds and go to aggregate sites and pick stories to read.  So instead of being a fan of Bob's Big Blog, people are fans of Bob and read stories rather than check each day.
Maybe I'm off base, but that certainly seems to be the way things are going right now.  The age of the blog was about 2004-2008 or so, a tight window when you could get in and really fire up the interest.  Now, blogs are pretty low on peoples' priority list.  They don't fit as well on a phone and let's be honest, not many people are really readers these days.
So, that's an update on what's going on here at Word Around the Net.  Take care, and thanks for dropping by, however you do it.