Succumbing to Contentedness and Mediocrity: Joking about the Ghosts and Shunning the Angels - Or, to Traverse the Haunted Terrain of the Human Heart
~This is A Ghost Story~
Of heaven-haunted, fleshy sting,
my duty is to the living.
all these ghosts
would be unbearable.
“Once there was a girl, much like any other.”
—In Oliver Jeffers’, The Heart and the Bottle, we are introduced and thus follow, mostly via illustration, the life of a little girl. Initially, with every flip of the page, set in motion are she and her father, depicted engaging with the world and the world of ideas: walking through snow-laden forests with little flowers poking through the white blanketing the ground, floating in the ocean, laying in a field looking at the stars, and, most importantly, perched on her father’s lap in his red reading chair. With each illustrious page, the little girl is seen with bubbles above her head, full of wild, enchanting images; the unrestrained imaginings of a child encountering life through investigation, experience, and voracious reading initiated and accompanied with by her father. As the pages turn—the psychological wizardry of curiosity all too relatable—the little girl is elated by each conjuring.
The reader turns another page,
but to abrupt a halt.
the little girl stands—
a limp book in her hands—
studying her father’s empty red chair.
We (the readers) know intuitively what has happened—even a child understands the image’s significance.
“Feeling unsure, the girl
thought the best thing was to
put her heart in a safe place.
Just for the time being.
So, she put it in
a bottle and hung it
around her neck.
And that seemed
to fix things…
Although, in truth, nothing was the same.
She forgot about the stars…
and stopped taking notice of the sea.
She was no longer filled with all the curiosities of the
world and didn’t take much
notice of anything…
But at least her heart was safe.”
–Oliver Jeffers, The Heart and the Bottle
There is a specter over the trees.
Over the buildings.
Over the seas.
Over the way
we all traverse.
Through dark ‘n cold,
the heart, we’re told, in this universe
some spirit makes good
—where the specter, alone, recedes.
“The heart is composed of three major systems, really. It’s like a house. It has a Mechanical system, like the doors and the walls and the structure of your home. The heart is made up of different muscles and valves, and these things have to work in conjunction with each other and timed perfectly in order to pump the blood; but in order to do that…in order to get the structure to move the heart has to have an electrical system that tells it what to do. And that’s the Wiring diagram of the heart that provides for the normal beating, the chambers that beat in sequence so that the blood actually gets pumped through the heart…And [then you have] the Plumbing system. That’s the arteries that actually surround the heart and provide it with blood. And there’s three arteries in everybody: the right coronary artery, the left anterior descending artery, and the circumflex artery; any and all of these arteries can become blocked.” –Dr. David Wacasey
The brain is the quintessential physiological phenomenon; one human brain is more complex than a quasar; yet, in common parlance, in the realm of relatability, at the helm of experience, where all are united in awe and understanding through the heart. It is the all-encompassing metaphor of the human condition: of care, comfort, love, devotion, passion, compassion, refuge, and empathy. It is such an integral element to our communicative devices — this semantic substrate, this syntactical fulcrum — that it has been placed at the center of metaphor in Western Culture, rendered most thoroughly through the works of Shakespeare. But long before him the west came to know in the house of the heart the spirits of emotion. The heart in this sense is indeed a haunted place. And without a legacy of societal understanding, garnered through years (in the western context, thousands of years) of cultural psychological development, a society is left vulnerable to the hauntings. These ghosts haunting the house of the heart, our home of homes, are real. They cannot be exorcised. We can only come to a compromise so that we are not doomed to linger in the longing. Wherever you linger, you longer. “The obstruction is the way,” Marcus Aurelius discovered. Though we cannot make friends with the spirits of emotion, we can make use of their presence. This can only be accomplished through exposure and embodiment of great art for the canvas of American idiom is Shakespearean, it’s Biblical. It’s the culture of Mozart and Horace. Dickens and Hawthorne. It’s the Logos.
I believe stories are increasingly being viewed as simply a protective means. A getaway, not a gateway. Stories can be great works of art. If they are read appropriately, to the point of memorization segmentally, and grokked wholly, wherein the work itself is embodied by the reader, it has the ability to elevate one’s existence. The individual, inspired by the art of great literature, will rise like a phoenix out of the ashes of mediocrity. Stories, great stories, wound you, and through the wound reveal the healing processes, which render you better formed than before. Stories are meant to enshrine wisdom and knowledge and inspire growth through confrontation. Much like breaking down muscle tissue is the means to which it grows stronger, or an immune system is built up through exposure to various pathogens, psychological strength is procured and accrued through challenging life experiences intertwined with works of literature. There has been a cultural shift. It seems as though, increasingly, people are putting away their hearts, for safe keeping. And we are worse for it. We are worse because bad stories are the folly of heady appeals to the heart, and hearts tucked safely away are not safe from the ghosts of emotion, haunting still from inside. The heart and mind need be intertwined, facing the world and all it is made up of. To confront the world successfully, one must strengthen the heart and mind. These stories we are telling each other now are shallow, cynical, and expedient; they don’t strengthen the heart and mind, they simply toughen it up. They are simply a means to get certain people what they want. They are explicit with their condemnations and denunciations. They are anger-driven and therefore there is no real genius in it. The only truth about people’s anger is that they are truly angry. And the less able to think and communicate people become, the more violence will erupt. There needs to be some philosophical foundation for our talk, for our discussions and that’s what competent, well-rounded, educated, historically literate, Logos centered individuals embody and embolden. A Logos-centered basis is what we are as rational creatures. And the main manifestation of rationality is speech. And speech is supposed to lead to some type of rational collaboration among people.
“Culture is when the sword of tradition meets the whetstone of reason. Sparks get thrown up and creativity flourishes in that kind of environment. That’s culture. Cancel Culture is the opposite. It creates a void of conformity in trudging, sloping-shouldered, nose to the ground, NPC boredom where you know everything that everyone’s going to say because free speech only exists on paper and not in the life, mind, and conversation of the community.” –Stefan Molynuex
When, increasingly, you have people who can’t communicate, can’t reason, you have a culture of people who can’t take care of themselves. It is out of this culture that you get ludicrous theories like “Victim Shaming”. It’s not victim shaming to tell victims why they’re victims/how the choices they made led them to becoming victimized. As far as rapes/assaults go, it’s ultimately the aggressor’s fault, but one would be wise to take some responsibility in having made certain decisions that led to being in precarious enough situations where an aggressor could take such advantage. I don’t know anyone who makes the argument that that the victim of rape/assault is solely to blame. I don’t know anyone who makes that argument. Not saying it hasn’t been made, but I’ve never heard it – nor would I ever make that argument. I have witnessed the victims of rape/assault misinterpret the criticism, or worse, misrepresent it which is evil, “thou shalt not bear false witness.” Look, anyone who is genuinely making the claim that it’s all the victim of an assault’s fault clearly is incapable of grokking the nuances of such a devastating, evil action. They aren’t worth listening to. I don’t believe evil exists within the petals of flowers, blades of grass, or moons, planets, distant stars, or circumstance. It’s within us. And only us. A lot can be laid on lack of real-world experience and imprudent decision making, this is how most women wind up in such precarious situations. There are degrees of evil, and one can commit evil an upon themselves by putting oneself in a position that could bring them to harm simply by not being circumspect. All we have are our experiences and how we root them in reality with the help of those closest to us. But even then—it’s still up to us to take care of ourselves. When terrible things happen, whether completely out of the blue simply due to the vagaries of nature (read: the evil of other people) or due directly to bad decisions (read; the evil of ourselves), one must understand that only they can allow it to define them. Not allowing circumstances define you, how you manage circumstances, how you optimize circumstances, and how you actively strive to put yourself in the best of circumstances is the triumph of human agency.
But western culture isn’t breeding human agency, it’s breeding opportunists. Students/Children are becoming experts of expedience; this is the “Cmnd + Shift” age of getting what you want. Bypassing any and all processes. The most potent of these short-cuts to power is, paradoxically, being viewed as powerless. The unsustainable performance of paroxysm is the default of children uncivilized by mature adults. Author/Journalist Douglas Murray, in an interview with Evolutionary Biologist Brett Weinstein, stated:
“[Children default to, ‘what] if I try to use an insincere tool, will it get me through? And part of education [and becoming a fully functional, autonomous, competent member of society, in the world] is the adults turn around to you and say ‘Sonny, there is no way around this. You have to go through it.”
To which Brett Weinstein responded:
“Students are learning. But this is what they are learning: is how to get by through this mechanism [performing powerlessness in order to obtain a position of power, to get what they want]. They’re becoming expert at it. And the question is: what world will we live in as these tools are refined? They are going to be wielded by people in ever-more powerful positions.”
This ultimately is a self-defeating practice. Coalitions form around these mechanisms of power-grabbing; broadcasting one’s powerlessness in order to gain a higher footing in the game inevitably leads to a competition of who is the least powerful-therefore-most-victimized.
“So, it’s always eating itself because of a basic game theoretic instability. These coalitions function when they’re pointed in the same direction. And at the point that they have spoils to divide, they turn on each other.” –Brett Weinstein
This reminds me of the old joke about the Jews gathered in a shul, competing in professing their nothingness in the presence of God:
“One Yom Kippur, in a little shul in Gunnysack, New York, the rabbi stops in the middle of the musf service, prostrates himself beside the bimah, and cries out, “O God. Before You, I am nothing!”
The chazen is so moved by this demonstration of piety that he immediately follows suit, throwing himself to the floor beside the rabbi, crying, “O God! Before You, I am nothing!”
In the ensuing silence, a shuffling is heard in the back row. Saul Blumenthal jumps from his seat, prostrates himself in the isle and cries, “O God! Before You, I am nothing!”
Seeing this, the chazen nudges the rabbi and whispers, “So look who thinks he’s nothing?”
Murray and Weinstein’s conversation regresses to a poignant, and markedly disconcerting revelation. Murray states:
“The problem in our society is the adults have become distracted, or lacking in confidence and have decided to hand over the keys…there’s this vacuum of purpose and meaning… it’s what everybody hopes for, is that at some point somebody is going to stand across their lives and say ‘let me tell you what we’re doing here, and what you should be doing and what would be a life worth living.”
To which Weinstein concludes:
“Unfortunately, the reason that we are in this predicament is that very few people actually reach meaningful adulthood. That the adults are incompetent. And part of why they are turning the reins over to the kids is, not only do they not know what to do—they wouldn’t have the first clue how to figure it out.”
When people lose spirit and meaning, they stop looking to the sky for inspiration and start looking towards the podium for instruction. They look for saviors. With the rise in secularism and the ostracization of religion, new cults spring up everywhere. Philosopher David Berlinski expressed as much rather succinctly:
“The need for religious experience does not disappear. But a willingness to embrace it, like the willingness to embrace certain figures as public poets of their age, that fluctuates with time. And, very often, when public religious experience disappears, or is forced underground, or becomes attenuated, it’s replaced with a lot of frivolous doctrines and dogmas. Everybody noticed in the 20th century that some part of Fascist, some part of Communism represented a religious impulse, an ideological fantasy, a fixity of purposes, a certain degree of fanaticism. It’s being discharged…in the contemporary world with a number of bizarre cults. For the moment, political. But there are sub-cults, a revival of witchcraft, for example, began as a joke and it’s now taken seriously by any number of loopy women. Bizarre beauty products, tattooing, things of that sort…reinforcement of taboos on certain parts of our behavior, and things no longer taboo…The cult of social justice is plainly a messianic cult.”
Secularists around the globe, have found a new messianic and prophetical figure they can genuflect towards in alter of Climate worship. For all their condemnation of religious institution and impulses, they seem to champion science rather religiously, far more than practicing it. And for people who rebel so vehemently against folklore, they sure do tend to resort to a default folkloric simplicity in argumentation.
White Savior Greenwashes Feet of Climate Disciples
With all the concerted efforts the soldiers of social justice put into semantically dismembering white folks they sure do tend to default to white saviors. Greta has become the latest vatic/messiah of the secular apocalypse. This is not the first-time children have been used to promote imminent environmental disaster. Look back to the Earth Summit in Rio ’92 (another time a young girl was used to emote bout the end of the world being nigh). They contrived a sculpture of an inverted pyramid, at the base of which stood a regular pyramid, the two stacked on top of one another, creating the shape and symbolic function of an hourglass, full of soil from 26 different countries was erected, a symbol also utilized by the Extinction Revolution. This obsession with time, particularly the running out of it, is a device to provoke emotional investment. Greta is a willing pawn. A useful idiot. Not that she is unintelligent, she clearly has verbal intelligence and an aptitude for abstraction. But—well, read her mother’s memoir. This book describes a girl whose mother was absent in the home once she hit puberty, and thus turned her instincts of maternal attention to the school system. In the book two episodes are described as a catalyst: the first was watching a video on an island of plastic out at sea and the second was two videos in her sexual education course, and it was an animated depiction; cartoon-like. It was these videos that set her off. She locked herself into the bathroom in fear that she was going to be sexually harassed. She stopped eating and stopped talking. Forcing her mother to come back home. Which is what she wanted, naturally. She was deemed crazy for this by her dad, who tried taking her to psychiatrists before Greta’s mother came home. He couldn’t find any that would take her. *Note: the rate of childhood mental illness in Sweden is through the roof in Sweden. This is a result of the constant social engineering experiments they put the populace through. The latest is Socialism and Sexual Liberation. They were Lutheran before this. In this case, Greta’s mother was a famous opera singer who made more money than her actor husband. So, he stayed home. Well, that didn’t help when she went through puberty and thus the chain reaction began. When her mother came home and was at her wits end with trying to bring things to an even keel, she began speaking with her connections to the Climate Change movement. Greta had mentioned a growing concern with the environment from the video she watched. Mom made some calls. Next thing you know Greta goes on strike, and on the first day, Ingmar Rentzhog just so happens to walk by. The rest is what we have all come to witness transpire. But Greta has her family back which is what children need.
—and the environmentalists have their momentum back…through a new cherubic savior.
“Les juex des enfants ne sont pas des jeux.” –Montaigne
Say what you will about her, I believe she is genuine; i.e. she believes in the movement and those who say they are helping (read: subsidizing) her campaign. She’s voluntarily participating. But she’s naïve, being exploited, and grossly misinformed by technocrats and government funded organizations. Some of her biggest claims are patently false, e.g.: Mass Extinction—a quarter or more are at risk of extinction by 2100 according to the ICUN, but only at a 10% risk, some at 50%, but the actual extinction rate is about 2% every century, “mass extinction” is a slogan—Fairytales of Eternal Economic Growth—you can have “eternal economic growth” on a finite planet; hell, you can have economic growth in the desert with only a few trace elements and some sea water; what we need is sustainable economic growth—Entire Ecosystems Collapsing—this is only true about the coral reefs, a reversable depletion; the mangroves, rainforests, Kelp Forests and seagrass are sustainable—Political/Economic/Cultural Solutions Nowhere in Sight—look to the IPEBS report, there are ample processes and solutions engendering other processes that have been suggested, experimented, and found to be implementable— Additional Warming Hidden By Toxic Air Pollution—particularly concerning SO2 (sulfur dioxide), but there is additional cooling hidden by the soot as well; then there is methane, which is a greenhouse gas that has short-term effects; if aerosols completely vanished tonight, according to the 2018 IPCC report, there’d be a .15% bump (read: increase) from them; however, if we ween off them, as with carbon emissions, we would see a leveling out by 2050 and then a plummet. So, methane reductions aid us there. Soot reductions over SO2 will result in rapid reduction—Barely Any Technology to Pull the CO2 Out of the Air Exists—actually, this kind of technology exists on an industrial scale, though to little effect. Reforestation, CO2 Sequestration Soil, and sea margins like salt marshes will have a larger impact. There is also, and the IPCC refers to this, how to say, cyclical capture-and refuel method: grow trees and plants that inhale CO2 out of the atmosphere, burn the trees for fuel, and then use carbon capture on the exhausts from power stations; this process is already practiced to a degree and if continued, and expanded, could go from zero CO2 to negative CO2—Only a 50% Chance of Staying Below 1.5 C—it’s higher than that, staying below 2 C allows for more leeway, this even according to the IPCC:
“Blow-1.5 C and 1.5 C-low-OS pathways combined show a decline in global net anthropogenic CO2 emissions of about 45% from 2010 levels by 2030 (40-60% interquartile range). Lower-2 C pathways show CO2 emissions declining by about 25% by 2030 in most pathways (10-30% interquartile range).” –full report here: https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/download/#full
The “political and economic solutions nowhere in sight” claim is one of the more detrimental of her bullet points because it acts as the undergirding structure of her call for “panic”. Folks, young and old, and large corporations are far more conscious about their carbon footprint than ever before and are refining their process(es) of reducing it. What needs to be acted upon first is perverse agricultural subsidies and fossil fuel subsidies that fuel non-sustainable economic growth and scorch nature services, and we should replace them with incentives for renewables, sustainable agriculture and what is known as circular growth. What Greta is doing, more ineffectively than effectively, is trying to disincentivize vested interests in the status quo. The real difficulty here is that these processes will look and operate differently depending on the culture. And those cultures will have unforeseen issues and complexities stemming from the transformation and thus will have to extemporize as they go along.
Prudence is fundamental to any process. Respect towards other cultures is integral to implementing the appropriate process. Consent is requisite to the implementation of any and all processes anywhere. Coercion will not work. The process that will engender such progress starts with free markets, which incentivizes ingenuity. Human innovation is sparked not by pressure, but friction; government works by pressure, subsidiarity works by voluntary competition (and being pro-market is not inextricably bound to being pro-business/Big Business). People are incentivized to creativity and productivity not by force, but by incentive-based competition. It’s not a beneficent system—it’s a system the incentivizes beneficence. We are indeed creatures of habit, yes. However, we are fundamentally creatures of incentive. Incentives break our habits. And the right incentives are individually based. This is why governance works best at the local level, in communities, counties, states.
This is where Greta’s youth and emotional investment leads her astray: she believes the “panic” and “emergency” method being championed by those who are producing this show are the appropriate drivers of action, the necessary motivation. They aren’t. They are the drivers of expedience; they render people irrational and susceptible to handing over their liberties and power as individuals. It pushes people into compliance, not companionship. It shoves people up against the wall of default, and our default is an abysmal state of capitulation and mediocrity. Some of Miss Thunberg’s concerns are warranted but the larger ones are simply propagandistic — again, no fault of her own — not because she made them up, but because experts who fuel her arguments are convinced they are true or have a special interest in behaving as if it were.
She is ultimately demagogic; for instance, here claim, “if everyone is guilty there is nobody to blame” is the rhetorical logic of a demagogue, but also, and more importantly, the logic of a 16-year-old, it is tailormade for teens. The logic would stipulate that, say, if everyone in the room contributed to the murder of Caesar, then no one murdered Caesar. It’s bunk. But put that fallacy aside and look at the claim itself, what is being communicated here? What is the thematic focus? What is foundational? “If everyone is guilty there is nobody to blame.” Blame. It’s a teenage blame game, a finger-pointing ploy. Blame-based, not solution-based. And that is pure propaganda. Of course, Greta doesn’t understand that, again, she’s 16. And the reason her viragos are aimed at politicians, businessmen and women, and grown-ups in general is for the same reason. Of course, she would think politics and big money with top-down solutions is necessary—she’s 16, everything in her life is from the top down. However, we should not dismiss her concerns because of quibbling details like her age, or because she is misinformed on a lot, nor even because of her psychological history, though that should be a parental concern all adults should have for her, because once the hype inevitably passes, and the Moloch Media burns all the substance out of her youthful presence, she’ll be left to deal with what psychological withdrawals such dwindling publicity reduces her to. If she becomes suicidal, that’s on us – the adults.
If there is any notion of true evil that everyone with a moral compass can agree on, it’s anything that leads to the abuse and neglect of children. But, as I’ve stated profusely in previous essays, society doesn’t give a shit about children. Turns out the autopsy of Jeffery Epstein reveals he was indeed murdered. The news hits and not a peep out of Washington. And certainly not a peep from the #MeToo movement. Why would they give a shit about children? They’re busy arguing abortion rights (which is a complex issue that is hardly ever discussed with the nuance it demands) and how men should shut up about it. Do you really want to make the argument that if you can’t have babies you have no say so in the abortion debate? What about barren women? What about post-menopausal women? Where is your outrage towards powerful adults pimping out children to other powerful adults? And one of the pimp ringleaders within weeks of being locked up winds up dead? Guards asleep? Failing security cameras? What the fuck world are we convincing each other of? Where is your goddam moral outrage and protests and demands for justice? Consenting adult women used agreed to sex as a means to move up the hierarchical ladder of cinema recognition and the streets explode. But one of the most notorious pedophile arrangers on the planet is murdered in prison somehow the conversation is still about climate change? "Project Veritas" is doing phenomenal work outing legacy news outlets that bury any and all stories about Ole Jeff, the victims, witnesses, photographs of powerful figures (Clinton, Prince Andrew, Alan Dershowitz, the list goes on), incredible evidence exposing this industry and not a word; meanwhile the collective fumes of climate change oratory corrode the ozone when someone questions Greta’s campaign; thousands gather to her defense at the first sign of critique but a pathologist with decades of experience, and a record lauded by those in his profession everywhere, who was present during the autopsy of a figurehead in the billion dollar industry of child sex trafficking reveals that the evidence shows the manner of death was homicide—nothing. Why is Ghislaine Maxwell still out free in the world?! Because society doesn’t give a shit about its children. That may be the greatest of evils. It is the ultimate betrayal. And betrayal is the final ring of Dante’s Inferno.
What Greta is going through is indeed consentual, but at 16 years old she can’t see the magnitude of the exploitation she is being subjected to, which is a form of abuse. Her parents are in too deep. They should have known better. But they wanted to fix their family. And now they’ve been tasked with fixing the world.
It is reasons like this that on a societal level we begin to accept more and more the mistreatment of children and the result is a rust and collapses of civilizational structure. Many of her current detractors come-off as mean-spirited and myopic mostly; thus, they look ridiculous. But there are some who express thoughtful critiques as well. “There are decent people on both sides,” I suppose.
The whole conversation on climate is ultimately a conversation about energy. The important elements regarding energy are:
a) It’s a process (not a solution), something that will have to be managed which means…
b) It needs to be a consensual process
c) It needs to be a reliable process
d) It needs to be a cost-efficient process
And all of these elements must regard two fundamentals:
a) Opportunity costs
b) Unforeseen consequences
If we are going to fund anything governmentally, when we speak of taxes, we need to understand it’s not a moral question; it’s a technical one. Tax systems are complex enough as a technicality, when you have opportunists of every sort chomping at the bit to governmentally fund everything on a moral basis you tie people’s brains in knots.
So, ideally, you want a tax system with low transaction costs (meaning a low cost of compliance) and one that doesn’t distort a lot of economic activity. You want to get enough money to fund your government programs with as little disruption to life as possible. It’s not obvious how to go about doing that, and often our conversations about taxes are really obscuring more fundamental conversations about the things our taxes fund. We disagree about a great many things, and the best way forward is not always self-evident. –Kevin D. Williamson
Ultimately, taking care of the earth is not fundamentally a governmental issue. It’s a cultural one. Individuals can do small things like, oh, I don’t know… using LED bulbs instead of incandescent ones. Incandescent bulbs use nearly 90% of its energy producing heat rather than light. That’s power plants making more power which produces more of that bugaboo carbon. And it’s more expensive on you personally. And on a larger scale? For starters, cease mass migration. Large swaths of people from low environmental consumption ecologies to high environmental consumption ecologies is a recipe for environmental disaster. It is also culturally devastating. This globalist movement is destroying local cultures everywhere. Irony abounds. The paradox of reality is a mystery.
“You try this and you try that, and, ultimately, you arrive at the conclusion, the great oversimplification, that reality is a mystery. The heart of reality is a mystery.” -Malcolm Mulridge
With all of that said, I don’t wholly trust the IPCC; it is a dubious enterprise. This is not an attempt to controversialize the source rather than confronting the source itself. I have confronted the source and I am revealing what I discovered therein. It is part of another archipelagic institution; this one has a funding ratio of $6,800 : 1 (re: Myron Ebell, Director of Global Warming and International Environmental Policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute) with regards to federal financial aid to those looking for the human signal (read: CO2 emissions or human-caused climate change) compared to those organizations that think there may be more to the story. Aside from the blatant dismissal of the findings in relevant science such as, say, solar physics, or oceanic cycles (look into the Pacific/Atlantic Decadal Oscillation); the models utilized are continually proven incorrect with the passage of very little time. More importantly, CO2 is constantly referred to as a toxin. It isn’t. The world thrives off of carbon dioxide. The earth is a complex process. But essentially: visible light energy travels from our sun into our atmosphere (some of that energy gets bounced back into space). The Earth and its oceans absorb some of that energy. The ground is warmed and then it releases some of that heat in the form of infrared radiation back into the atmosphere in order to cool itself. The greenhouse gases traps some of this heat. I know greenhouse gases are another bugaboo term but without them, the planet would be a frozen stone in space and no life would exist on it. The CO2 that environmentalist activists campaign against is essential. Yes, too much CO2 in your lungs will kill you, but so will too much water (and water vapor makes up 95% of all greenhouse gas. CO2 is about 3.6%). CO2 is 400 ppm (parts per million) or 0.04% of earth’s atmosphere. And human activity makes for about 3.5% of all the CO2 emitted each year. The rest occurs naturally.
So, the anthropogenic CO2 has prevented the earth from cooling itself only about 1%. This doesn’t mean there aren’t any effects, but it also doesn’t mean that it’s responsible for catastrophic warming, or frankly that it’s even bad. Compared to the vast majority of earth’s history, temperatures are very low. 300 million years ago, during the Carboniferous period, was the closest period climate-wise to our current one. And that was a period of major cooling; the CO2 was at 350-400 ppm as carbon was pulled into the earth. Ironically, this is what lead to the formation of coal that we burn today which releases the that CO2 back into the atmosphere. (Oh, the cunning of reason.) The climate activists want us to drop our CO2 levels. Well, when that happened at the end of the Carboniferous period, plant diversity plummeted and nearly turned the earth into aforesaid frozen stone, killing almost everything on it. What saved the earth was something, indeed rather small, but large in number: termites. Which are the culprits of about 2% of all the CO2 in our atmosphere. Now, proxies (indirect ways of measuring climate in atmosphere by looking at things like tree rings, ice cores, and fossils—granted they are only approximations, they are indeed great indicators; giving us the gist of chapters in the story of history, rather than individual pages) that go back hundreds of millions of years. Data derived from these proxies make our climate conditions look much less alarming than journalism, Greta, Leo, and Bernie do. 500 million years ago, for instance, during the Cambrian explosion, CO2 levers were about 17times higher (~7000 ppm) than they are currently. And this is the period when life really began on this planet. A majority of the life that sprang out of the first, say, 40 million years of this era are still around today. 55 million years ago during the PETM period, an incredible amount of CO2 and methane erupted into the atmosphere. The CO2 levels double in a rather short period of time Temperatures rose 5-8°C. Far warmer then than it is today. If you think is irrelevant because ours is happening fast you are mistaken. That increase occurred over 13 years (probably due to a comet striking the earth)., we’ve had 1° increase in the past century and a half. A lot of that warming came from methane but records from, get this, pollen fossils suggest this increase in heat and CO2 also boosted biodiversity in very little time. Particularly, primates. Due to the warm and humid conditions. Forgive me if I don’t rush to the streets with my carboard sign and join your protest if the temperature of earth goes up another degree. 900-1300Ad (Roman-Medieval periods) also experienced heat spikes. And this period is considered a “global” warming period because warming occurred in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres of the globe (here’s lookin’ at you, glaciers in New Zealand). During this period populations increased. Stories from when the Vikings colonized Greenland depict sailing through the arctic ocean, where there are permanent icepacks to this day. And they could cultivate things like grapes where today we can’t (because it’s too cold). Those tree ring proxies suggest it was 1° warmer then that it is now. That is to say, humans not only survived these periods, we flourished.
According to ice core proxies there was a reveal that there was a 600-800year lag between temperature and CO2 increases (i.e. CO2 was a product of the heat, not the producer). The lag is a result of the warming of oceans which eventually releases methane and carbon into the air like a glass of champagne. It could be said that the CO2 rises we are seeing are a continuation of this lag time release from the Medieval warming period that ended 700 years ago. We also had a little Ice Age that ended roughly around 1850. This factors into a rise in CO2 that is completely separate from human activity. It’s when things get cold that things get bad. Around 1800 years ago CO2 fell to about 180 ppm which is just 30 ppm above what is required for earth to sustain life. Put another way, if you have low CO2 levels, 50% of plant life is gone within one generation. Greenhouses actually increase concentrated CO2 levels to about 1000 ppm and this increases photosynthesis ~50%. When we have increases in CO2, which we do have now, you have increased plant life, you have a greener planet. Over the last 100 years, plants have been growing faster than they ever have in over the last 54,000 years. Increased heat also leads to increased precipitation. More vegetation begets more transpiration which begets more rainfall, which begets for vegetation (cue Lion King music: the Ciiiirrrcllle of Liiiiiiiiffffeeee). Heatwaves have not increased. Droughts nor floods have not increased. Hurricanes have not increased. Tornadoes have decreased since the 1950’s. Wildfires have not increased. What we saw in Brazil and Bolivia is known as the “fire season” – it occurs every year and is increased during hotter and dryer years (as this year has turned out to be, as compared to 2017 and 2018 which were rather humid and rainy). The intentional burnings come from a lack of property rights. However, the inhabitants must engage in some form of economic activity in order to provide for themselves, their family, and communities. And if they do not have the legalistic and economic structure in order to do so, they take to their own measures. And what happens in California is due to poor forest management—Trump is right to criticize California for this. Global biomass is predicted to increase 40% by the end of the century. Increased temperatures engender longer growing seasons and faster growth rates for plants. Longer growing seasons means more CO2 in the atmosphere will be metabolized by these plants. Plants currently are converting 31% more CO2 into organic matter than prior to the Industrial Revolution. Each acre of land is producing far more food today than it was 100 years ago. That’s awesome. Our current temperatures are well below several the natural temperatures of several interglacial periods. Again, it’s cold temperatures that take out humans. We can’t grow food in the cold. And our bodies suck with cold temperatures. If anything, there has been a steady pattern of decrease in CO2 that could have put us below the threshold had mankind not released some of the carbon back into the air.
This is good news. But it’s met with hostility. It’s denounced. Dismissed. When you divulge good news and people’s impulse is to jump on the opportunity to say “yeah, but…” that’s bad. However, when you deliver bad news and people’s instinct is to jump on the opportunity to say “yeah, man…”, that’s near impossible to surmount. The goal is to have those reversed. We are propagating generations of cynical “yeah, mans” and these are the type of people who will hand over their powers as individuals to oligarchs and tyrants and technocrats who think they can fine-tune everything. Instead of becoming a competent individual they’ll simply become a smartass who waves off responsibility to the types of people who create and adhere to things like climate models, and those who fund the exercise. The cynical “yeah, mans” enable the fine tuners. The fine tuners are the kind of people who generally view things like “economy” as a machine rather than a phenomenon. They see economy as a human construct, not a force of nature. Economy is something that emerges from people’s inter-dealings and trades with one another. Economy is not a computer where outcomes can be organized and dictated. Economy is a natural law that we built our system around; or better, integrated our system with. The system operates best according to laws of nature we derived from thousands of years of experimentation. Those who view Economy as a machine, look at nature the same way. They believe mere human presence and contrivances have mechanized the earth in such a manner that it is now something that can be tweaked. A dial put somewhere, turned one way or the other and something as colossal as climate can be turned up or down; we just currently have our atmospheric thermostat turned up too high. And the institutions that profit from these “findings” and reward the “experts” sustaining the institution; not necessarily for being honest and doing the best work in their field, but for their models illustrating what they wish to see. They are rewarded for telling the right story. For wagging the god of perception.
There is a phrase dating back to the 1870s, “the tail wagging the dog” which is more widely known and used in its terse form, “wag the dog”. It is an expression used to indicate a reversal of proper roles, or a backwards-handling situation; a smaller, less important piece of a whole controls the larger important one). It is most commonly used as reference to a distraction, particularly a political one, and usually by using military force. A book by Larry Beinhart, titled with this very phrase, was published in 1993 and its film adaptation was released in 1997. The plot centered around diverting attention away from a scandal involving the president’s inappropriate behavior toward a girl scout in the white house, and the DOJ attempting to cover it up by creating a fake war in the press. The phrase is mostly understood and used to denote that what you’re seeing is not the real story. It’s an entertaining distraction. A red herring.
(Interesting note: The film hit theaters a month before Bill Clinton’s sexual relations with then-intern Monica Lewinski broke news. A, dare I say, spooky detail in the film is when Robert DeNiro’s character first enters the white house, there is a large photograph within frame of one of the shots.)
If you look into Greta’s origins, you will find powerful organizations who have been working away at crafting the most potent stories to garner support. Look into organizations such as Rentzhog’s, We Don’t Have Time. Spot the ties, spot the lies.
“How is it possible for you to be so easily tricked by something so simple as a story, because you are tricked? Well, it all comes down to one core thing and that is emotional investment. The more emotionally invested you are in anything in your life, the less critical and the less objectively observant you become.” — David JP Phillips, We Don’t Have Time board of directors, “The Magical Science of Storytelling”
Notice this says nothing about the story being true, the story in this sense just effective in garnering emotional investment. It’s about persuasion. Much like lawyers: the truth is not fundamental; the truth is not the goal. The goal of a lawyer is not to make known the truth, but to prove a case can be made in favor of their client. The prosecution, for instance, has to convince a judge and/or jury that they have a case, not the truth. If they have a case against the defense then they argue the case, regardless of what the truth may be. Same goes for the defense but the prosecution has the more difficult task: the burden of proof. The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the case being made leads to a logical conclusion – that what has been presented to the court, and how it’s been presented, can render a judgment in favor of the prosecution. In Politics and Law, the truth is merely in production. Stories piled on stories distorting the truth of reality and history. Does anyone else see the irony of nonviolent green revolutionaries utilizing wartime rhetoric to rally the troops of climate activism into rebellion in effort to combat the scourge of anthropomorphic climate change? The sublimity of irony is the ultimate reality. When one asks the detractors of some illusory “white man’s system” what they aim to use to replace it? They contrive a noble gaze towards—Scandinavia. And then, with exquisite irony, shut down any repost by calling you a fascist for disagreeing. And Tweeting your picture next to Hitler.
“[Karl] Loewenstein argued that fascism was not an ideology but a technique, which it is—one that is independent of any particular policy content and that can be made to serve any political agenda, from Hitler’s psychotic Jew-hatred to Mussolini’s romantic corporatism to Stalin’s “scientific” socialism to Antifa’s self-professed antifascism. The classical technique of fascism described by Loewenstein relied on exploiting nationalism or other appeals to solidarity, together with newly available forms of media and communication that could be harnessed to achieve “a supersession of constitutional government by emotional government.” One wonders what he might have made of 21st-century social media: “The technical devices for mobilizing emotionalism are ingenious and of amazing variety and efficacy,” he wrote, “although recently become more and more standardized. Among them, besides high-pitched nationalist enthusiasm, the most important expedient, perhaps, is permanent psychic coercion, at times amounting to intimidation and terrorization scientifically applied.” -Kevin D. Williamson
Such fascist techniques are demonstrated innumerably today, and the expedient realm of social media is where such methods are being tested and perfected; a virtual laboratory honing and exacting a new mode of tyranny, one pixel at a time. When you democratize opinion in an age of avatars, everyone is spokesperson for some artless sense of selfhood, entitled to their virtual truth.
“…the project of Facebook and Twitter (if Twitter seems like more of a sewer than Facebook, it is because Twitter is designed to be a sewer, while Facebook devolved into one) and the cultures related to them is simply to replace some of those “many sorts of inequality” with other sorts of inequality more amenable to them. For example, people who complain that wealthy people deploy their fortunes to political ends characterize this mode of political advocacy as “undemocratic,” since it is not the case that all people have equal access to money. And it is undemocratic. But not everybody has equal access to the editorial pages of the New York Times or the Washington Post, either. (Bad as the Times’s opinion pages are, think how much worse they would be without the mediation of editors.) Not everybody has Taylor Swift’s celebrity, which is a political force more formidable than a mere billion dollars. Money is not evenly distributed throughout society. Go outdoors and you’ll see that intelligence isn’t, either. Neither is celebrity. Neither is popularity. It is only the advantages enjoyed by other people and parties that are judged “unfair.”
Willner’s complaint about Facebook’s betrayal of its “democratizing” ideals begs the question. It is not at all clear that “democratizing” speech was ever a good idea, that it has created any real value, that it has improved our political discourse, or that it has fortified and improved our democratic institutions. In fact, such evidence as we have points in the opposite direction. The political culture cultivated on social media has made our discourse and our politics more hysterical, less responsible, more emotional, less intelligent, more performative, less considered, more oriented toward the demands of tribalism, less orientated toward the duties of citizenship. This is not because social media lacks hierarchy but because they are under the command of the kind of hierarchy familiar to the junior-high cafeteria.
American mass democracy has failed — and look around you if you doubt that it is a failure — for the reason alluded to above: because we want to make moral absolutes out of procedural conveniences. In the American practice, democracy is intended to be procedural. It is a very important procedural consideration, in fact an indispensable one. But it is not a good in and of itself. It is only a means, not an end. –Kevin D. Williamson
The world is not dying, it’s evolving. In fact, that’s the only thing world does: evolve. Earth is far more complex, nuanced, adaptive, and sublime than we can possibly fathom. Do you know how the Amazon Forest is mainly fertilized? Phosphorus clouds from Africa. Fires from arson, wildfires, combustible engines…This is what Hegel meant by the “cunning of reason” – you have an intention and you bring about the exact opposite of your intention, but for the better in unseen ways until they manifest. The World, the Earth, is going to fine. We are the ones who need to contrive certain conditions in order for us to continue existing, not nature. Our fuckups contribute to the immune system of the natural world. Nature exists in a perpetual state of refinement; part of that refinement process is destruction. This notion of Gaya, or Mother Nature is not only misleading, it’s disingenuous. That we are intrinsically part of nature but separate from it when harming it. We are part of nature and nature destroys itself all the time. Nature is self-devouring. This is where the concept of Uroboros comes from. The most natural thing we can do is evolve and devolve. But human beings have something different, something special, something utterly unique as far as we know, in all of the universe: articulable concepts of universals and choice. We have the capacity to choose our actions. To consciously make good. We can only do this successfully by seeking the transcendent. Our spirit incentivized by ideals while our actions work in accordance with reality; percept over concept. This can only be done on an individual level; those individuals lead by example, utilizing the wisdom of the past enshrined in the cultural legacy. Information is revealed through scientific processes. Wisdom, through art. The greatest treasure troves of wisdom in the west are the western canon. Through it, one becomes the phoenix; rising out of the ashes of mediocrity; the transcendent agent that leads not with contempt, but composure. Radiating grace.
The collective voice of the mediocre masses is a whine, a wail, a virago of hysterics. The challenge of the western revelation is that it is inherent that one is indeed an individual, and therefore can rest solely on the laurels of individuality without any regard to being an informed and responsible individual. The world is full of mediocre people. 7.7 billion people in this world—7.6 billion of them are mediocre, at best. The exceptional are truly exceptional. Say what you will about President Donald Trump, what he has achieved in his life is exceptional, in fact he has done so by being a rather exceptional individual. He is not a man driven by morality, he’s an artist; artists are amoral. He is not a man driven by truth, the truth just happens to arise through what he does, however crudely. He is a man driven by relish. By zest for living. He is driven by pure intuition and it is this trait that has catapulted him into the stratosphere of success. He’s an artist, and he trusts his instincts. Not only does he trust his instincts, but his instincts are often right, and when he misreads them because he’s listening to too many people or simply has an instinct that doesn’t quite land, he can maneuver better than anyone opposing him. This aptitude puts him ahead of every one of his political opponents, currently. If Trump’s critics wish to even be able to compete with him they must A) realize this innate ability of his and B) toss their scripts and go with their instincts; not just embark on some donor-placating, base-pleasing litany of slogans. If Trumps political opponents wish to beat him they must talk about real things that really matter that are hard to talk about, and that ain’t systemic racism, or sexual identity, or white supremacy, or healthcare, or climate change (all of which are argued to only be solved with distention of governmental powers). And when you do hear real issues like immigration (lawful and unlawful) brought up, they are approached from the wrong angle with platitudinous soporifics that would put even the most high-strung insomniacs to sleep. You have not heard mentioned once in any of these debates the nearly incomprehensible debt and unfunded liabilities, or the changing demographics in the US — no, this is not a “browning of America” argument, it’s a genuine concern that need be addressed: American culture is European culture, it’s the Bible and Shakespeare and Aristotle. “What happens to a culture and country when the majority demographic, the very demographic that created the culture, becomes a minority?” This needs to be taken on in public discourse as a topic of serious import, with real repercussions that can be anticipated, if discussed; it can also prepare us to face the “unknown unknowns” of this matter. It's not racist to inquire upon real-world effects of demographic shifts.
I abhor the term “Culture War”, it’s an awful sound and provokes all the wrong inferences from those who hear it. However, it’s gotten to where this is the correct expression. I used to employ the expression “cultural concerns”, for it is intuitively uniting and we need to discuss these cultural concerns with the spirit, and aim, of unity. But it simply doesn’t rise to the reality. There are grave issues that simply aren’t being addressed in the name of such anti-thought concepts like “diversity”. Say what you will about IQ (I believe it is a thin index for something as complex as “intelligence”), it is the leading predictor/indicator of individual and cultural success. The more you look into the data regarding ethnicity and IQ, the more you find heartbreaking disparities, with patterns that stretch worldwide. What does this mean? No one will ask the question. And we suffer not only our inability to bring the discourse to the table but so does the cowardliness of our “leaders” when they won’t even stand to say we should at least look into the data and understand what it means. He who asks these questions is traversing the haunted terrain of percept, not floating in the clouds of concept. The military won’t take anyone with an IQ below 83. The national IQ in America, currently, is 98. Guatemala’s is 84. Somalia’s is 68. We have had six rounds of debates for the 2020 Presidential Candidates. Not once was anything like the effects of mass immigration mentioned, it is a bunch of obsequious genuflecting at the altar of “asylum seekers”, “refugees” and “dreamers.” Both, lawful and unlawful immigration need to be discussed. Lawful immigration alone ranges from just below to slightly over a million immigrants granted citizenship every year; along with countless non-citizens crossing over and/or residing within our borders unlawfully, is an issue that our elected “officials” should be discussing. But not only will they not discuss it, they condemn the discussion; they condemn the topic; they condemn the person who wishes to have a discussion on this topic. So, what do we get to talk about?
You want to know what the number one cause of death on school campuses is? It’s not guns. It’s sudden cardiac arrest. If you’re going to make arguments against semi-automatic weapons like AR-15s, at least know that AR doesn’t stand for assault rifle, it’s an abbreviation for ArmaLite, the name of the company, founded 1954 in Hollywood, CA, interestingly. AR-15s and AK-47s are not weapons of war. They are sports and hunting rifles. AR-15s are the most common hunting rifle and are the most efficient instrument for farmers who have to deal with the millions of wild hogs nationwide that do nearly $1.4 billion in crop damages every year. These creatures are big and brutish. It requires a lot of firepower to deal with them. M4s and M16s are weapons of war. If you want a discussion about those, I’m all for it. The second amendment is not only protection of you and your family and personal property, but more important it protects the rights of the citizenry to band together and give a big third finger to an oppressive government. The people may be out armed, but man, how do you think our allies would look upon such tyranny if the most powerful military force on the face of the earth, funded in full by the citizens they protect, turn their tanks on those very citizens. It would be devastating. That would be a 3rd World War. And that’s if the military would even adhere to such orders. I could see the army taking arms with the people rather than orders to take on its people. You don’t have a bunch of Manchurian Candidates in the military, you have volunteers. You have sons and daughters who see in the citizenry mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, cousins, nephews, nieces, aunts, uncles, grandparents, children, and neighbors. That may be giving a little too much faith in humanity. But my faith is backed by reason, and that being the US Government does not want its allies nor its enemies witnessing the turn of the tanks on the taxpayers.
“Civilians want some ambiguity, at times, because in ambiguity can be an opportunity to stop a fight or delay something. The military always wants no ambiguity; we would like absolutely no ambiguity on a mission, it’s understandable. But remember, as you try to balance those two polarities, the civilians are in charge; you don’t want the military making those top-level decisions—that’s not what a military in a democracy does.” –Gen. James Mattis
However, all of this changes when the State is the ultimate authority, when the polity is reversed and the people are no longer the sovereign souls as they are considered now by God and Law. When the Constitution is rendered irrelevant, in a polity run by the State, the citizens are not trusted by the State. In a polity run by the people, the State is not to be trusted. The 2nd Amendment is one of those Non-Negotiables of the Constitution. If those running for office, and their supporters, are worried about mass shootings, then repealing, tweaking, or slowly whittling down the 2nd Amendment is not the answer.
The answer is not in the Constitution. The Constitution is a caveat. An enumeration of powers for a limited government, not an enumeration of rights. An enumeration of rights literally makes no sense. An enumeration of rights means a list of rights. And the logic there would be what is in the Constitution is a right and what’s not, isn’t. But an enumeration of governmental powers is precisely that—what powers are listed are all that the government has. If we wish to see a decrease in mass shootings, we have to address the real problem. The word that describes the reality of such heinous acts, but also describes the reality of our time is “misanthropy”.
Misanthropy is not a word you will hear or read in the news. It is not a word you will hear any representatives using. It is not a word discussed in universities. And that’s because it is not a political word. It serves no partisan interest; therefore, it might as well not exist. It is a word that describes what happens to people when the rhetoric turns cynical. The rhetoric turns cynical when people are straining for new ideas and can’t come up with any because they have dismissed the past or believe there is no past to draw from; People become atomized. The feel they’re in a horrible situation. They feel there’s no way out. And in the frustration, they pick up a gun and start shooting people. That’s misanthropy. It happens when cultural discourse is loomed over by the rhetorically conjured specters like “white supremacy”. Particularly, the rhetorical “rise” or “resurgence” of it. The latest hullabaloo being a few school shootings that took place in the past few months. This has confirmed in the press and academia and Washington that there is a resurgence of Hitlerian fascism; loner white boys donning the militant gaze of Nazis mixed with the tight-upper lip and flared nostrils of sexually frustrated white boys with a fetishizing nationalism. This isn’t an epidemic of white nationalism. This isn’t a resurfacing of fascism. This is an attempt at magic words that conjure realities the magicians of propaganda want you to see. It happens when people see that no one is having a real conversation. When the aspiring leaders of the world hit talking points instead of hashing out ideas. When the spirit of a nation is spearheaded by a bunch of coached opportunists robotically promising the world as they wag the god of bureaucratic proceduralism.
So, what do we have? Harris’s authoritarian promises to circumnavigate congress on practically every policy proposal. Buttigieg, smart as he is, going off on his own exegeses, hurling cringe-inducing biblical hermeneutics that anyone who’s familiar with the Bible would see as, at best, weird, and anyone who is both deeply religious and familiar with the text itself would spot as heretical in both interpretation and disingenuousness. Warren’s refusal to admit that she will raise taxes on the middle class (not to mention the incessant lies about her past); she’s smart but she’s disingenuous in so many categories that her only genuine trait is that she often comes off as the teacher who stands akimbo in the hallway, deriving a dark delight in being able to tell students they are tardy and have to get a pass from the administrator; saying this as she closes the door in your face. I can almost see her through the narrow glass window gesturing towards the door, mouthing, now that’s what happens when you aren’t serious about my punctuality policy. Bernie Sanders, the near octogenarian fresh out of the hospital from a heart attack, promises to make all debt disappear and all healthcare free. His method in doing so, legislating everyone to pay for it via taxes. He’s vague on the math but ensures us that taxes on Wall Street transactions should cover it, which, I can’t begin to describe… the audits alone would be a colossal time and monetary expenditure; the rest comes from a wealth tax he and Warren are in agreement upon—which, again, another leviathan auditing process that would happen yearly on a scale no one seems to be registering. To prevent, or "compensate", for billionaire and millionaire flight (i.e wealthy individuals taking their wealth abroad), these millionaires and billionaires are taxed if they leave the US (look, I'm no shill for the rich but this is a purely tyrannical policy, one of many that set a precedent bearing no limiting principle), which they will in droves if there are no tax incentives to stay. And who do you think will be left to fund these trillion dollar welfare, healthcare, and environmental programs? Biden, who doesn’t even seem as though he wants to be running, has nothing to say about entitlement programs like social security being near insolvent; then there are the growing hiccups in his own past, and one truly unforgivable spin on the real-life tragedy surrounding the death of his first wife and daughter. He, to this day, claims a drunk driver killed them. The driver was not drunk. Biden’s wife (with Joe, their two sons, and their daughter in the vehicle) missed a stop sign and drove through an intersection, an oncoming truck (who did not have a stop sign) struck her. Authorities ruled he was not at fault. The truck driver has since passed away, and his family still has to keep telling Ole Joe to stop dragging the man’s name through the mud. These candidates and the "ideas" they espouse will not beat him. The Democratic party knows none of these figures can hold their own on stage with President Trump. That's why Impeachment is being championed. Not because it's real, but because it's expedient; a last attempt at getting rid of him before the election. More on this momentarily. But frankly, maybe just the thing the Democratic party needs in order to get their shit back together is to lose to a figure like Donald Trump, twice in a row. They're scattered because they’re fighting an incumbent who’s scattered. Trump is just better at it. He sets his own terms by adapting more efficiently to the volatility of political climates; or better, Trump is the weather responding to the political climate; his opponents, a string of islands in his wake. Is this good for the Oval Office? Does this mean he is fit for it? Probably not. But he’s there. He was voted in. And at this rate he will be re-elected. Because he’s shaking up the status quo without destroying it—and the lack of destruction speaks for the structural integrity of the system more than it speaks for Trump’s
Donald Trump reminds me of a poem by William Blake, “I Ask'd a Theif to Steal Me a Peach”:
I ask’d a thief to steal me a peach:
He turn’d up his eyes.
I ask’d a lithe lady to lie her down:
Holy and meek she cries.
As soon as I went an angel came,
He wink’d at the thief
And smil’d at the dame,
And without one word spoke
He had a peach from the tree
And twixt earnest and joke
Enjoy’d the lady.
Trump reminds me of the angel in this poem. Trump appeared at the right time. Not necessarily that he knew it was the opportune moment to swoop in, but that when the intuition hit him, he just did. There’s an element of blamelessness in his actions in Washington; like he’s gotten the better of its ineptitudes and reticence (as well as that of those who work within it) while capitalizing on its fruits. He seems acutely aware of himself, his impact, and what he can get away with. Everything he does betrays a mind operating perpetually “twixt earnest and joke”.
(It’s peculiar. The angel in this poem also makes make think of Bob Dylan. Another showman acutely aware of himself, only his perpetual suspension “twixt earnest and joke” renders an inscrutability; he too achieved incredible acclaim by doing what came natural to him, with seemingly little to no effort, as he rebelled against the status quo with an unconventionality that would constantly make you dismiss him. Peculiar still. The same year Donald Trump was elected President, Bob Dylan (a musician) won the Nobel Prize in Literature. These polar opposites, somehow akin, seem to know where to be, or just are there, when they need to be there; the timing is always right even for their blunders. I can see why the religious community, particularly Christians, would perceive in the arrival of Trump an element of providential intervention; many felt that way about Dylan too. They embody some bizarre medium between showman and shaman.)
In the meantime, these candidates will just keep talking. Conjuring the illusion of control by wagging the god of executive power. Trump lies too; his are impulsive and harmless, though often annoying. They are braggadocio and everyone knows when he’s lying. But Trump also tells these huge truths that his opponents pay no attention too. Trump got flack for saying something nice about Epstein back in the 90’s but they completely dismiss his rather Falstaffian, or Touchstonean, quip, “he likes women as much as me, but he likes them on the younger side.” No one said a thing then, nor now. Trump does this all the time and hardly anyone listens to that, they just focus on the boastful bullshit. Trump knows this and that’s why he does it. He’ll tell the truth, and no one pays attention, or they dismiss it. So, he’ll boast to fill the gaps in airtime and troll the media. That’s show business. That’s politics. Politics is show business. Trump gets that the way most jovial public personalities do:
“Well, I know that show business is just a money-making joke. And I’ve always liked telling jokes.” –Dolly Parton
Trump’s a force of nature whirling through a production set. The difference between his lies and these other lies is simple: he doesn’t have calculative lies. He’s a bullshitter. All tradesmen are bullshitters. It’s part of their maneuvering abilities. So, we’ve ultimately come down to the nation saying, “we got a better liar than you do.” On the stage of the democratic debates, the key theme of every single candidate is not solution-based, it’s blame-based: “Trump is evil!” And the crowd cheers. I hate that I have to stand up for a bullshitter. But I hate worse that I have to vote for a bullshitter lest calculated liars enter into power.
“The United States has become an empire of lies. We are governed by liars chosen on the basis of lies, and the worst partisans have begun openly to admire the lies, so long as they are skillfully constructed and delivered. The lowest among us enjoy being lied to and celebrate it. Entire political careers are based on lies — and policy initiatives, too…The Democrats are ready to go into November with nothing better to say for themselves than, “Our liar is better than their liar!” It is doubtful they will even be morally conflicted about that. But the nation will be worse off for it, inasmuch as democratic assumptions built on a foundation of lies must necessarily be unstable.” –Kevin D. Williamson
I’d rather it didn’t matter who occupied the oval office. I’d rather it be that the President didn’t have so much power, which has become the case incrementally over the last century. Washington still belongs to congress, if they can get their shit together and reach a consensus—but the “wisdom of the people” somehow finds it wise to vote in figures who literally campaign on not associating with other elected officials who are ideological oppositions. That’s as stupid as it gets. The only reason we put these people in such positions of authority is to have them hash things out with one another no matter what they believe. Exceptional men, like Lincoln, knew the best governing bodies are made up of a “team of rivals” who will build relationships and strong foundational ideas out of competition; a fruitful friction that births new and lasting policy which in turn increases freedom and enhances our notions of personhood. Exceptional people are rare. They are becoming rarer. The cult of identity is right in their claim that the carriage of human history is reined by a few people. Where they are wrong is everything else. This is not a cabal of oppressive, mean-spirited men who wished to keep a certain group of people with a particular epidermal layer of pigmentation in power. The latest manifestation of this pernicious philosophy being the fall of Medieval literature in the humanities. It’s now regarded as a white-supremacist institution propagating some white agenda of superiority; that all of European literature and art was stolen from every geography populated by darker hues of epidermal expression. That the west is a white empiracist regime led by some cabal of calumniating Caucasian conspirators. Ghost riders holding the reins to the equipage of human history. What the west is, is a great synthesis. Something happened in Europe that gravitated together all the discoveries of human history and alchemized them. This claim of white thievery is at best mistaking inspiration for theft, influence for plagiarism; at worst, misrepresenting it. Whenever one engages in any form of production they are practicing a synthesis of all that they have experienced, gathering from the chthonian depths of their psyche, reaching into the recesses of their mind, which is practically infinite, conjuring the power to articulate the abstractions therein, and produce something refined, beautiful even, whether for pleasure or pedagogy. A great synthesis happened in Europe that catapulted human beings into a prosperous and enlightened species of being. Liberty was realized through an understanding of orderliness. And through the arts and sciences in Europe, Ordered Liberty has been in a perpetual state of refinement ever since. The western epiphany was: Individual Liberty is the Fruit of Order. There will always be both serious inquiries from exceptional persons, as well as some dopy mob with a grievance, about the order aspect of liberty because we evolve and, unfortunately, controversy is not only a currency, but a campaign of purpose that never quite reaches an election because the campaign always encounters nature’s electoral reality—which has no favorites, only what is, what improves, and, therefore, what lasts. This is the proverbial, and perpetual, ought vs is dilemma. The west is fundamentally an is-based society, but we will always be subject to, for better and worse, the oughts.
“Things are matter of fact. Look, this is a very deeply embedded principle in western philosophy: Things are the way they are. What is, is what is. The way they ought to be imposes on the structure of reality a completely ethical idea. And, as one would imagine, you can’t derive one from the other. Doesn’t mean one is less secure, or intellectually less satisfying, I would suspect that some principles that we take for granted are more compelling than anything we discern in the natural world: thou shalt not kill is far more compelling than the law of gravity.” –David Berlinski
The literature, art, science, philosophy. It’s not some taxidermy bird on a shelf. It’s a living, breathing, warbling creature in the palm of your hand. And this ungrateful postmodernist tribalist movement of identity elitism has taken that bird in the palm of its hand and squeezed it to death in a bitter fist and said, Look! See?! There’s no life here! And thrown it at our feet. It says we are simply chaotically cobbled cells, not ephemeral flashes of fleshy cosmic thought. This isn’t committed truth-seeking. This is the ingratitude of Social Justice Quixotes lancing after the windmills of “White Supremacy!” A revanchist academy possessed by phantom grievance claims pawned off as scholarship. So quick to blame rather than discover and solve. These spiteful spirits of academe and social justice activism condemn ad hominem not because they are victims of it, but because it is so ubiquitous in their own cynical philosophy, it is their core principle they are projecting. Essentially a hatred for the very foundational creators of western culture; that straight white people, are bad people, and always have been. It is a philosophy birthed out of resentment, therefore there is no genius in it. This is why it will never find what it claims to be striving for: Utopia. For it is a not place, a “nowhere”. It’s a ghost town.
We democratize the voice of the people and, somehow, we are surprised that it is not a song, but the whine. And that’s because no one looks to ancient wisdom enshrined in art anymore. No one looks to works of western antiquity. Ordinary people live ordinary lives and, increasingly these days, these ordinary people are becoming bitter, in large part as a result of their own choices and this has been exacerbated by the digital age; social media. When human beings first began operating in communities, they were exposed to some people being better than others, better than themselves; comparisons and competition came into play, hierarchies naturally stacked up and our self-conscious mind began registering its own limitations. Depression, anxiety, doubt, these are forces of nature. These are devouring forces — Darwin was right, to a degree. I have my doubts about Darwinism as a whole, and Darwin in general; the more you read into Darwin the clearer his myopia and parochial-mindedness becomes, not due to lack of intelligence, he was a genius, but because the toolbox he had to work with wasn’t sufficient; the man just didn’t have all the tools necessary to come to such absolute conclusions and we are proving this more and more every passing day — We are experiencing a new sense of contrast exposure, but this exposure has a near in-circumnavigable quality, it’s practically ubiquitous. And the less we admit how contrast and superior qualities are not a new phenomenon, let alone a constructed one, but in fact, an inextricable feature of nature’s refinement process, the more absurd concoctions we will fall for as they pour out of the rainbow classrooms of academe and the diversity-driven conference rooms of the HR departments.
Ordinary people tend to be just that, ordinary. And I don’t trust the “wisdom of ordinary people.” Now, I’m sure most people are practical in a narrow sense, and indeed are grateful for many things, but you select at random any person, give them a platform, put them in front of the world, and they’ll express, with what limited vocabulary they can muster, how they really feel, and it won’t be a “thanks” (and they’re partly justified in this). Listen to Trump whenever he is in front of people. Though, narcissist he is, he never misses an opportunity to thank people. Mark how many times he says “thank you” in a speech, or at some gathering. Take note how many times he goes out of his way to thank the soldiers, cops, firemen surrounding him. He’ll actually go shake each hand of servicemen and share a few words with them; he will mark on any and all individuals that are currently helping him and have aided him along the way. Watch him run after a hat that has blown off a marine’s head and attempt to replace it, patting him on the shoulder. That’s Trump’s instinct: to get the hat. That’s the instinct that has put him at the top. This is a man who shows his gratitude when put in the spotlight. This is a man, when put in front of the world, defaults to thanks and then cuts a joke to loosen up the crowd. He’ll be crude. He’ll be vulgar, even. So was Falstaff. He has a convivial spirit. Trump would rather be jocular than be jousting, though he isn’t one to back down from a scuffle, that’s his keen intuition on human nature: it’s volatile, so, ‘Be grateful. Bring laughter but be ready to bring a fight.’ Though it isn’t obvious in the fine grain of his life, nor is it for any exceptional figure, but the successes therein have been the result of a lifelong grateful outlook. Now, has Trump read Shakespeare? Of course not, he’s not an intellectual, and has no poetic impulses — although, he does have a gift for aphorism, a talent developed from a lifetime as a tradesman — his intuitive nature is one of playfulness, a childlike quality which is only sustained in adulthood through gratitude. It is this grateful predisposition that engenders an incredible accessibility. This speaks to people on multiple tiers; there is an innate neighborliness to his communicative habits. And the same way he doesn’t hide the fact that his guard is up when he’s at a press conference, he doesn’t hide that his guard is down when he’s at a rally, or descending Air Force One to greet those who protect him and his family.
Trump’s accessibility is an essential trait regarding his appeal to middle America; his compulsion towards throwing back at you what you dish out is another; it rings true to blue-collar America. Those are his kinds of people. People who work with their hands, and not just their fingertips. But what registers the most with his supporters is the mere fact that he’s having fun. Donald Trump is having a ball doing all of this, including the battles with the press, politicians, celebrities, academicians, foreign leaders and sometimes even his own colleagues. The press tries so hard to make it as though he’s nervous, or angry, or scared. He’s outplaying everyone because he’s out playing; he’s having fun. He’s a cheerful person at his core. This man has real joy beyond politics and fame. None of his opponents seem to possess this joy and cheerful disposition, they aren’t enjoying being part of the process. This puts him ahead of any and all his competitors. You see this in his public appearances. He intuits when things are getting stale and thus proceeds to add his own flare of fun; sometimes it lands, sometimes it misses, but he persists merrily, nonetheless. He has a keen eye for those who are joyful and those who are miserable. This may be why he likes hanging out with celebrities, because they are either joyful, or they are miserable. The joyous ones he embraces. The miserable ones, he pokes fun at, trying to shake them up. He understands it’s all a show. Constantly reminding people that there are cameras and lights and angles and narratives. To a degree, we have always been aware of the theater of politics, but no sitting President has ever made it so explicit. The script of Washington’s political theater is comfort jargon. He doesn’t speak that. He seems incapable of speaking the language of Washington elitism that has cultivated the, to borrow Nietzsche’s term, “regulatory fiction” which is designed to distend governmental power while containing it within a minority of certain persons (government officials and their donors) in a certain place (Washington, DC). It’s a language of control, in both senses of the word “control”: 1) the illusion of being in control and all is taken care of by folks who know what they are doing and 2) controlling those who are outside of the elite circles. What really broke the fourth wall of everything, however, is not just that Trump broke the code, in doing so he revealed the media’s partisan, ideological, and financial interests—also in both senses of the term “interests”: what it preferred and what it was profiting from.
"State power, no matter how well disguised by seductive words, is in the last analysis always coercive physical power…[which] works ceaselessly to enlarge that power." –Felix Morley
To conquer the soul the state must dispirit the body; convince the people of their helplessness.
"The essence of tyranny is reliance on external, as opposed to internal, compulsion." –Felix Morley
So, an example of the language of control, say, with the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi would be the Washington Post’s headline: “Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Austere Religious Scholar, dies at 48.” Even the final headline “…Extremist Islamic Leader, dies at 48.” The editors of the language of control couldn’t even bring themselves to calling the leader of ISIS a terrorist, nor could they admit this was a good thing. Even the descriptor “dies” harkens more to how celebrity deaths are announced to the world, not terrorist leaders who kill themselves while being chased by our military.
Now, breaking the language of control would be Trump saying, “the United States brought world’s number one terrorist leader to justice…The thug who tried so hard to intimidate others spent his last moments in utter fear, panic, and dread, terrified of the American Forces coming for him.” It’s precisely the message you want to send to the world, particularly those who followed under al-Baghdadi, or anyone in a gestational period of radicalization. It’s crass. It’s brutal. It sends the correct message and describes what happened. Now, frankly, the same way I’d rather see a football player score a touchdown and not spin the football and breakdance, I would rather just see a headline in the news that says we got him. Because that’s the job. On to the next. But the language Trump used describes the reality even with the explosive flashes of his own rhetoric (re: “he died like a dog…whimpering, screaming and crying.”). Only cowards run into tunnels with dogs and children (particularly your own dogs and your own children) and sets off an explosive device. Alive, he was a ghoul. Dead, he’s a corpse. Or what remains of it.
People are losing the ability to distinguish between language used to conjure realities and language used to describe reality. The utility of language is descriptive, though it can be used, and thus has been, to good and detrimental effect, to conjure. Just because you are using language doesn’t mean you’re describing reality. Just because you are using the appropriate words doesn’t mean you’re describing reality. Just because you’re making sense doesn’t mean you’re describing reality. In this age of concept, the American, and notably, western, populace is losing touch with percept. Theory reigns supreme. Influence of emotional appeal stands paramount.
“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.”
–Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass