Unless you have a boat of your own, there is no liberty on an island…
It’s late in the day. You’re hot, tired, cranky. Up ahead on the right there’s a Dairy Queen, and for every reason you should not go there, there is one simple objection: You really feel the need for a little indulgence.
So you pull into the drive-thru. And you wait. And wait. And wait. And the kid running the joint can’t take your order with any competence. Nor can he assemble it correctly. Nor can he make change. And, of course, no one under the age of 25 can even conceive of using a napkin while eating.
What should have been a treat has turned into a huge disappointment. A waste of time and a waste of money but still worse a waste of your serenity and a total loss on your investment in anticipated joy. This is the DQ experience, all but uniformly, a triumph of anti-marketing: Eager, avid patrons are turned into lifelong enemies one botched transaction at a time.
This is kinda like my experience with Liberty Island Magazine, a brand new literary magazine devoted to “conservative” art, with “conservative” rendered in scare Continue reading
A Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Willie story
I walk and I watch or I stand still and I watch, or, at the airport, I sit and I watch. My own flight was delayed by storms back East, and I’d had plenty of time to watch Timmy’s daddy pacing back and forth, his hands roaming everywhere, checking his beat-up old watch, checking the status board, sitting down, standing up, chewing stick after stick of gum. He looked like a man awaiting the delivery of a child. When Timmy approached him from the jetway, I realized he was.
“It’s Tim,” said the boy, almost a man. He was about fifteen, tall and skinny, all bones and sinew, not an ounce of meat on him. He wore a jeans jacket with the sleeves torn off at the shoulders and, beneath it, Continue reading
1. Liberty Island Magazine is having a writing contest, kinda like an amateur contortionist’s exhibition. That much interests me not at all. Casual writing is not that much different from casual sex, in my estimation, hugely likely to cost more than it’s worth and not to my liking in any case. But, while the idea Liberty Island is promoting is dumb and counter-productive and wasteful of whatever talents the entrants might have, I have an idea for a much more substantial, beneficial writing contest.
2. Speaking not of farce or satire but of the plot structure in which events move from worse to better because the hero learns, deploys and masters new ideas, comedy is the only art that will redeem Western Civilization. In that light, I see Liberty Island’s means as being opposed to its ends. Conservatives and libertarians will only get what they want when many more people live up to middle-class ideals and values, hence the only art that can Continue reading
This is egoism in action, remaking your world the way you want it.
The video illustrates pellucidly why the idea of agape as self-sacrifice is incorrect. The love expressed this way is entirely egoistic: I am rearranging the universe to more closely reflect my values. This is the way I want things to be.
I love the way it shows things changing over time, too. That’s good art. This is the comedic form at its finest, redemption as new ideas are cultivated through time.
Fine print: Stipulating that what you’re doing is actually good and that you’re not betraying your own interests in someone else’s behalf, this kind of thing can be a self-loving expression of benevolence. I think the video dances that line perfectly: I’m doing the right thing by particular people (and animals) I know and trust to do the right thing in their turn. Fully-conscious benevolence is potentially an everybody-wins transaction. Dial back either consciousness or benevolence, not so much. As with everything else, it’s the motive of the actor that matters. But I really love the idea of each one of us husbanding a better world for himself. Big things are made of little things over time.
I think it’s a Continue reading
I like to personify my thinking. I do this anyway, in the silence of my own mind, playing out my conjectures like a 4D movie – like the set of long-term transactions that human relationships are. But I like to do it in persuasion, too, because I think it is a very effective way of understanding the transactional impact of ideas.
So: I give you Pammy and Dan:
I’ve written more about this phenomenon, actual selflessness, notably in Man Alive and How you came to be enslaved — and how you can free yourself.
Another short clip from the interview I did last August with Anthony Johnson of The21Convention:
Mind what goes into your mind:
What animals (and ‘artificially-intelligent’ software) do is not intelligence but pattern-matching, a cargo-cult-like analogue to inference with respect to proxies. They don’t know if their proxies are rational (proportionate to all known facts) since they don’t actually ‘know’ anything. This is why your dog scratches at the kitchen floor before laying down, because he can never discover that ceramic tile cannot conceal snakes and bugs. It’s why he barks at doorbell rings coming from the television.
Bring me your cleverest dolphin and I will show you how easy it is to fool, compared to an 18-month-old toddler. The toddler is also largely an animal in his cognition at that age, but both the dog and the dolphin lack the human brain, so neither one can ever develop actual intelligence, informed discretion, free will, reasoning and choosing in proportion to thoroughly-understood facts in abstract notation systems. No animal but the human animal can do any of these things.
I’m very fussy about terminology, because that’s how distinctions are made. Using the word intelligence to describe pattern-matching is an error, in my opinion. Conflating the two Continue reading
I had a killer first quarter, secular arguments about marriage, chastity, life and death — and about the nature of secular arguments as such.
- A happy, working family will be led by the father. Marriages work when the husband asserts his leadership responsibilities, and they fail when he abdicates on that role.
- Chastity rules! Sex outside of the active pursuit of marriage will impair your chances of finding (and keeping!) your ideal perfect spouse, and indiscriminate sex will gradually grind your self away to nothing.
- You can go to church, but leave god at home. If a moral proposition is actually true and useful, it can be proved rationally, butressed by evidence that can be examined in detail by any observer. I am demonstrating this notion by means of the secular proof of everything that matters. Meanwhile, we go to church to be regularly reminded of the values and virtues we live by, and this is what I am endeavoring to do. You could help.
- Poetry is leadership. We flail about aimlessly because we have thrown away the map by Continue reading