Why the quantum leapers didn’t leap…

“Let’s go over to the bridge. You four jump off. If you don’t all die, you’ll have made Physics history. You’ll have proved the injustice of chaos. Just think what a victory that’ll be over order.”Photo by: Ray

A Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Willie story

Queens, New York. April 9, 1985.

“Merlin Be Praised!” Nerf toasted. The four men hoisted their glasses high, then downed the drinks in one gulp.

I just sort of wander into these things, I don’t know why. I guess Merlin would call that a paradox. I won’t tell you what I’d call Merlin.

I met the Quantum Leapers in one of the cocktail lounges at La Guardia Airport. I was early for a flight that had been indefinitely delayed, and I find that time seems to pass faster (another paradox!) when I don’t spend it scowling at a clock.

“Waitress!” Steverino called. “Another round.” He sniffled. Steverino looked like his nickname: Mr. Hollywood, or maybe Mr. Miami. He spoke incredibly fast, and while speaking, he glanced all around the small lounge. “Merlin, get her to tell me where the Men’s Room is.” He snuffled.

“Don’t worry, ’Rino,” Merlin replied, almost motheringly. “We’ll find a Men’s Room for you.” Merlin was shaped like something made of plastic trash bags, all random bulges and drooping sags of flab. He had a sparse beard, and his thinning hair looked oily. His clothes would have welcomed the miracle of surfaction, I’m sure; that’s laundering, for the benefit of those uninitiated in the higher mysteries. He winked at the one called Arsob. “Arsob, you’ll help Stevo find a john, won’t you?”

“Sure thing, Steve,” said the one called Arsob. He brushed at the lapel of his double-breasted jacket. He was very well appointed, though his glasses made him look slightly insectile. His smile was one of tolerant amusment. “After all, if a friend in need isn’t one indeed, I don’t know what is.”

“That’s right,” said Merlin. “You don’t know what is, if anything.”

Nerf said: “Merlin knows everything!” Although all four were physicists in their late twenties, Nerf was the only one to look the part. He wore (more…)

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We can #StopGunViolence by teaching young men appropriate authority. Ask Anthony Johnson to help.

Me, me, me at #T21C.

Me, me, me at #T21C.

Another month, another mass shooting. Are guns the problem? You bet. Guns in the hands of under-fathered, over-medicated, involuntarily-celibate, universally-rejected young men. Take away the guns (in your dreams) and these boys will kill with knives or cars or bombs – or car-bombs. If there is only one way for them to get your attention…

The moral philosophy explored here will fix all of this – in time. But right now, when everyone wants to do something to #StopGunViolence, here’s something you can do:

Entreat Anthony Johnson to release the remaining two videos he has of me speaking.

That sounds both vain and self-serving, but it’s neither. I don’t know if my vanity comes in at none or total, but, either way, it has nothing to do with you. But I know what you don’t, so the loss here is yours, not mine.

Why am I so arrogant as to insist that it’s a loss? Because I’m talking in both videos about ideas that will serve to cultivate appropriate authority – leadership. All young American men, not just the ones dying to be on the TV news, are missing out on the mastery of leadership skills they could have and should have learned from their fathers – had they been lucky enough to have full-time, vigilant, self-responsible fathers.

Our young men are over-medicated, involuntarily-celibate and universally-rejected because they are under-fathered – and, correspondingly, over-mothered. We can’t give them back their dads, but we can help them learn the lessons their fathers should have taught them.

Oh, yes, they’re not all like that. Or, at least, they’re not all all-the-way like that. But play the song “Creep” in a room full of boys and watch the nodding heads. Radiohead produced an anthem for the victims of divorce culture.

And guys a lot like that are the young men I got to talk to, thanks to Anthony Johnson of The 21 Convention. I spoke at his events in Austin in 2012 and in Tampa in 2014, and I did an interview with Anthony and Socrates from ManningUpSmart.com in Orlando in 2013. Just (more…)

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When do I give up on my marriage? And how do I know if I should?

When should you give up on your marriage?How about never?Photo by: Clyde Robinson

There is no theology in an atheist church, but still I would love to give my catechisms a big, fancy theological name, something like Iconoclasticism.


I run an atheist, egoist, anarchist church devoted to the lifelong adoration of one’s own life.

I champion complete chastity before marriage and exclusive fidelity thereafter – all in pursuit of the very best love any human being can make: Storgic love, the enduring love of families.

I insist that the essential component in every succeeding family is the father, that it is his steady hand that cultivates self-responsible adulthood in his children, that his absence is the source of every social chaos, and that Western Civilization will only be redeemed when fatherhood is reestablished in its inescapable preeminent leadership role in the family.

There’s more, tons of it. I am an iconoclast on everything – not for the sake of self-induced iconoclasms, but simply because everything I see is upside down. Indeed, I believe I can summarize my entire life in seven simple words:

If I’m not crazy, everyone else is.

Another man might rebel against those possibilities, but I figure I win either way: I don’t hate being wrong. Discovering and correcting my own errors is how I learn best. But I do hate being dependent on other people – and I think all-but-all-of-them are ass-backwards in their thinking anyway.

All of which makes me immensely popular – with no one. I know how to be happy all the time, and no one else does. I know how to make make marriage an endless ecstasy, and no one else does. I know how to fix everything, and – obviously – no one else does. In a non-ass-backwards world, my particular brand of magic beans would be doing a land-office business. But this is not so in our current environs.

So: Let’s stretch out even more iconoclasticity by taking away yet another scared dogma of modernity, the idea of divorce as a value.

David Brodie asked a couple of questions about the idea of “working at” your marriage: (more…)

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What’s the BEST thing Steve Jobs made? That would be you. So think different. Do better. And thrive.

[Today is the anniversary of the death of Steve Jobs. This is me writing in 2011, when he annouced his retirement from Apple. –GSS]

Steve Jobs announced his resignation today as CEO of Apple, Inc. From that one little tidbit of information, we can foresee a long, slow roll-out of “news” content.

Tonight and tomorrow we’ll see the newsy stuff — Jobs’ biography, his history with Apple, his successor, the product pipeline and the financial portents of the whole interconnected circus.

Tomorrow and later we’ll have reaction pieces, starting with phony tributes and leading to phony trashings.

The real ugliness will await the magazines — paper, video and virtual: Steve Jobs was a brutal boss. Steve Jobs was a techno-pirate. Steve Jobs was unfair to mediocrities!

Everything you read or hear about the man in the coming weeks will be defensibly true in some kind of you-could-look-it-up fashion. And every bit of it will mean nothing, the endless, senseless mastication of trivial details with not a shred of meaning to be found in the mash.

So let’s cut to the chase: Here is what actually matters about the working life of Steve Jobs:

With one incredible product after the next, with one brilliant strategic move after the next, with one astounding financial milestone after the next, the most wonderful thing Steve Jobs made in his working life was:


Don’t believe me? Let’s look at the record.

Start with an obvious proposition: Steve Jobs has made you amazingly richer. You don’t have to own Apple stock — but bully for you if you do. But Apple’s products — computers, music-players, phones and software — have enriched your life in hundreds of ways.

Better, faster, cheaper, always — always the very best of capitalist efficiency. But almost always categorically better. The products that Steve Jobs brought to market redefined those markets.

So you owe Jobs not just for your Macintosh, but for all of modern desktop, laptop and notebook computing. Every high-end phone was designed, essentially, by Apple, as are all of the ephemeral tablet computers.

Before Steve Jobs pioneers a new product line, the competition is superficially different and uniformly lame. Afterward, everything looks (more…)

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Attn. Yaron Brook: Your shameful silence on abortion spotlights the Ayn Rand Institute’s intellectual bankruptcy.

Objectivism has always been at war with the obvious, uncontested facts of human gestation. That war is now all the way lost. You’re not clipping your toenails, you are murdering your own child. Who knew?Photo by: Morten Liebach

As I write this, thirty-seven seventy-eight days have passed since the first of the Planned Parenthood infanticide videos was posted. In that time, I’ve written more than a dozen posts on the fallout. How many essays, do you suppose, has the Ayn Rand Institute posted?

The think tank built to champion the views of strident abortion proponent Ayn Rand has offered up precisely zero observations on the videos.

I find it easy to fault them for this: A casual disregard for the lives of other people is the soul and substance of ‘asking another man to live for my sake,’ number two on John Galt’s short-list of cardinal sins. But at the same time, I do understand their paralysis – plausibly better than they do.

First, Ayn Rand’s anti-objective “piece of protoplasm” claim has now completely fallen apart. Objectivism has always been at war with the obvious, uncontested facts of human gestation. That war is now all the way lost. You’re not clipping your toenails, you are murdering your own child. Who knew?

Second, and much worse, Ayn Rand’s defense of abortion is rank utilitarianism, a puerile hit-’n’-run rationalization for evil. It’s hard to blame the ARIvians for being unable to defend this atrocious rhapsodization of atrocity.

Third, and still worse, by championing infanticide, Ayn Rand made war on the putative egoism she sought to promote. People who uphold abortion lead miserable lives in the end, but the attendant abortion culture retards all human flourishing. There is nothing more “anti-man, anti-mind, anti-life” than slaughtering innocents for convenience.

There’s more. Ayn Rand was a Cautious Tyrant by the end of her life, and the Ayn Rand Institute is built in her image and likeness. It cannot do anything even remotely like admitting error, even though its ignominious silence is itself a resounding confession of intellectual bankruptcy.

Oh, they don’t know they’re being called out? Wanna bet?

There is really (more…)

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The Benedy Benediction: Deploying fiction to set children on a better course – for life.

Here’s a radical notion: How about we show them better maps?Photo by: Leo Hidalgo

I’ve been talking to Brian Brady on Facebook about an epiphany I had last week:

I want to talk to eight-year-olds.

Wait! Don’t call the Kiddie Kops just yet. I don’t have creepy designs on children. I just want to take over their minds.

No. Really. Wait. There’s more. A lot more.

Stipulate that everything I say is true: Civil society is breaking because rational egoism is broken because fatherhood has been eviscerated from modern families. Quibble me no quarrels and take it as given that what got us here was Hoplite fatherhood – father-led families – and civil order is collapsing in a chaos cascade because fathers no longer lead their families to ever-better destinies.

That much is curable, surely. It’s what I’ve been talking about for two years, deploying the story arc of the benedy – in which the action of the story moves from worse to better – to help people improve their lives. At Church this week, I sing the praises of the film Chef as an excellent example of an egoistic benedy – an individual becomes a better person, and, in consequence, his whole world comes to be better. I love that story. I could reap it – and sow it – every day.

But: There are complications. Adults don’t like to change. I define adulthood by relationships, when you wake up to the fact that you owe responsibilities to your family, you are not just owed tributes from it. But another definition of adulthood is the young person who has matured to the point that he believes he is beyond thinking, that there is nothing of value left to be learned. Labradors are always puppies, but some dogs just get lazy. That’s the way life runs, and there’s not a lot you can do about it, not by then.

But if you can get to the puppies while they’re still puppies, you just might-could get somewhere…

And that’s my big-duh! epiphany: That I need to be selling the ideal of Hoplite fatherhood to the people who (more…)

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“Shake it off, shake it off, shake it off!” Cultivating truth in a raucous cacophony of silent lies.

Mostly vampire bait is an incipient vampire, after all. Miraculously dyschristened at the fount of new age wisdom, feeding life to death to become the death that feeds on life. And I walk among the walking dead listening to the words nobody said. But there are times when silence just won’t do, even if words won’t do any good either. And everybody knows: Everybody’s gotta take a side.Photo by: swong95765

A Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Willie story

May 24, 1997

Mostly it’s my job to hear the words that are not said. I crave the nattering chickadee’s chatter, so it must seem, but every little squalid scene that attracts my attention begins in a raucous cacophony of silence, and it’s the pronouncements no one dares to utter that ring so ragingly in my ear. I listen to the pauses, the omissions, the captured breaths that cultivate lies and poison precious truths. I write what does get said, because that’s what there is to write. But it’s what doesn’t get said that matters.

And it’s a job I can get enough of, sometimes. I was sitting in a Taco Bell, waiting out the always-late number seven bus in a space somewhat less depressing than the bus-stop outside. But it wasn’t much less depressing, because the cacophony of silence was too loud even for me.

I was watching an incipient divorce, a very married couple silently not having a fight over lunch. He was eating big and pretending nothing was too terribly wrong. She had nothing, not even a cup of water; she sat there folding herself into thirds, lengthwise along the spine, so as to simulate disappearance. He was eating large and moving large and ignoring her with a large performance of an immense indifference, and her face, at first just pouting, turned a whiter shade of sulk. He was trying to be just anybody, any old body at all, and she was trying with all her might to be nobody. I wanted to slap them both.

Instead, I got up and strode out to the bus-stop. Kinda cool, kinda dry, kinda sunny and the air (more…)

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