I am involved in a new podcast. It has only debuted on SoundCloud, so far, but it will roll out to the usual podcast publishers, such as iTunes and Stitcher and Google Play.

Note, “I am involved” means that I facilitate. This is Paul Jacob’s show. In 1999 he began making radio spots, and kept them going for a decade. I was at Liberty magazine at the time, and knew nothing of them, but one does catch up eventually. Which Paul has done — “catch up” — by re-entering the audio/video realm with this new project.

SoundCloud is a superior hosting platform for audio, and I have been using it myself for a long time, if in an excessively humble way. Stay tuned for more podcast projects from me.

The second of Paul’s podcasts put up on the audio streaming service.
Last weekend’s episode of “This Week in Common Sense.”

Which is the more complicated: for a right-wing person to understand a left-wing person or for a left-wing person to understand a right-wing person?

as answered on Quora:

It should be easier for a left-winger to understand right-wingers, rather than vice versa — based on a quick glance at the two ideological approaches.

Why? Well, the most sense I can make out of the left/right duality is this: the right emphasizes defense of self or in-group from the threat of other or out-group; the left emphasizes defense of others from self or out-groups from in-group.

By leftists’ very nature, you would think being open to new thoughts and alien (“outside”) ideas would entail more sympathy for rightists than rightists would have for them. And that was once the case.

Not any longer. Few leftists today can pass an ideological Turing test — but most non-leftists can.

This has been noted for some time, including by careful psychologists such as Jonathan Haidt.

What happened? The left captured the commanding heights of the culture, particularly major media, entertainment, and academic institutions. Everybody is more than familiar with leftist arguments. But leftists, em-bubbled in their institutional safe spaces, have been coddled. And they are therefore, to an astounding degree, pathetically and witlessly unaware of arguments against their positions.

Further, the types of people who adopt ideas based on social status have inverted. When I was young, it was late adopters who were “conservative,” and early adopters who dared buck trends who were leftist.

Nowadays, those people who by nature are culturally conservative adopt not traditional morality and politics but “progressive” morality and politics — because they are at the cultural center. And many of the folks prone to be early adopters now flock to perceived anti-leftist dogmas and positions.

It is quite hilarious.

Of course, both of the human propensities I identify as “left” and “right” are necessary and good for life in an extended order of civilization. But the vices of both — at the extremes, where sacrifices are insisted upon and ritually made — are quite dangerous:

right-wing vice: sacrifice of others to self, other groups to in-group and its hierarchies

left-wing vice: sacrifice of self to others, in-group to out-groups

We will see if our civilization will figure this out. And we will get over this stupid squabble between two necessary human propensities.

twv


N.B. The illustration for this post is of two covers of a great book by a Catholic theologian. In it, he invited readers to go beyond the mere aping of another’s way of thought, but to “pass over” to theirs. And then come back, with greater understanding. “Passing over and coming back, it seems, is the spiritual adventure of our time.” This has not proved to be true. In politics, it has definitely not been the case, otherwise more folks could pass an ideological Turing test. John Scribner Dunne was not talking politics, of course — his interest was in religion and spirituality — but it is curious to see the political crowd most apt to decry dogma and boast of being ‘spiritual but not religious’ fail utterly to avoid dogma and foreswear spirituality.

My biggest political heresy might be this: I don’t believe that fascists are more evil than socialists.

Epistle [rough draft]

And so, my leftist friends, comes the reason you are uncomfortable when I talk politics: I don’t believe that because you SAY you have your heart in the right place and want to help ”the poor” or “the workers” or “the marginalized,” that means that you DO have your heart in the right place. Wanting to help A and B and C does not absolve you of your willingness to marginalize, exploit or even kill D and E and F. A modern “democratic socialist” is pretty much in the same camp as a fascist or Nazi in this regard. They just have different groups to back and different groups to attack.

Furthermore, intentions don’t matter as much as everybody seems to think. You may embrace Ideology X at time T1 or T2. And you think you do so for good reasons. But ideologies do not work out as planned. At times T3, T4 . . . Tn the plans and procedures take a turn. We know how socialisms of all stripes work, now. We know where greater government — total State — goes.

It doesn’t go to sweetness and light. 

Besides, it is a myth that Nazis and fascists had malign intent all around and socialists had (and have) benign intent all around. Do you think that fascists thought of themselves as “bad people” in the heyday of Mussolini’s brand-spanking new alternative to liberalism, or that the Nazis thought they were against civilization? No. They thought themselves good people just like anybody else does. Further, I have never met a socialist who did not want to dispossess the ”wealthy” (defined somehow) and thought that this should be done by decreasing state power. So no matter who socialists say they want to help, they quickly and quite vindictively begin their expropriation agenda when they get power. And when their programs inevitably fail to live up to predictions, then decisions must be made: double down on socialism or move back from socialism. It’s “liquidation of the Kulaks” or its a retreat to some muddier, more limited system like multi-party “democracy.”

So, my leftist friends, what reason do we have to trust that you will give up power? The moment Donald Trump got elected, the talk switched to impeachment. There has been an impeachment movement from before he took the oath of office.

I am not saying this to defend Trump, or even say he’s not a fascist (though I think that’s absurd — but I could be wrong). I’m saying you NeverTrumpers and impeachment-from-the-getgo folks have tipped your hand. You will not accept defeat from your utopian dreams, you will not accept the republican form of governance. When you say things like “Trump will not step down if he loses the next election, you seem to be projecting your own itch for never-e ding power onto someone you do not like, who offends your sensibilities.

This makes you evil.

Sure, you can repent. But you cannot do that while you support impeachment for silly, murky or partisan reasons. You can choose not to be evil. But you have to give up a commitment to ever-growing state power.

That is, you can choose NOT to act like socialists and fascists. You can relinquish your one-party rule hankerings.

But I don’t think you will. And if you don’t, that makes you no better than a brownshirt or a blackshirt.

I am not one of those anti-leftist theorists who think that the moral particularism that fascists and some right-wingers wear on sleeve is any better than your fake universalism.

And it it fake. That’s the key. I have spent much of my adult life thinking about just how fake it is.

I suppose I should write books about this, but the fake universalists who call themselves “socialists” won’t read such books. I mean, there have been very persuasive books in this vein already, by folks such as Herbert Spencer, Ludwig von Mises, F.A. Hayek, Thomas Sowell, et al. And most leftists have never opened masterworks like The Man versus the State (“too confrontational!”) and A Plea for Liberty (“what? who?”) and Socialism (“too long”) and The Road to Serfdom (“debunked!”) and The Fatal Conceit (“we’re still here, so it can’t be fatal!”) — or hundreds of others with titles like The Vision of the Anointed (“Tom’s an ‘Uncle Tom’ ha ha!”).

So, yes: I do not believe that fascists are worse than socialists, racists worse than communists. I suspect that the latter ideologues of these two pairs might be worse than the former. One reason is that socialism and communism are inherently dishonest, and in The Lie is the foundation of evil.

Which is why leftists these days concentrate on “hate” more than dishonesty. For it distracts us from where all ‘socialisms’ go wrong: in the unfolding of plans for concentrated control, and their inevitable end (if not abandoned) misery and death.

twv

According to Steve Scalise (R-La.), every other impeachment inquiry in the House has had bipartisan participation, and had made room for responses by the target of the impeachment.

None of that is happening now.

Now, Republicans generally are decrying the ‘unfairness’ of Adam Schiff’s efforts. But I do not see in the Constitution any real direction for how an impeachment should proceed. The complaint seems to be just about tradition. Surely the Democrats are within their bounds to proceed as they are — as foolish as that may be.

The question of ‘unfairness’ is especially idiotic, it seems to me. The place for a defense from the President is in the Senate trial, not in the House impeachment.

Were I a Republican, I’d drop the umbrage and take up laughter. The House Democrats are doing this wrong — IF (and that ‘if’ could not be bigger in iffiness were Facebook to allow me 122-point type) they want to get rid of the President. But that is almost certainly not what they are trying to do. They have to save their reputations, especially after the debacle of RussiaGate and the inanity of The Ukrainian Phone Call charge. Perhaps more importantly, they are desperate, considering the pathetic nature of their presidential hopefuls — Elizabeth Warren in the lead!!! The very idea!!!!

But we will see. 

Incidentally, every time the Prez tweets about ‘unfairness’ I wince. Winners don’t bitch about unfairness. Losers do.


The sophisms of statism are fairly easy to understand. They come from the common errors and biases of limited human perspectives.

One of the most important of these is the problem of dispersed costs and concentrated benefits. Others include opportunity cost (in which we cannot see what was not chosen in any act or policy, no matter how important the given-up opportunity was in leading to the choice), the social science equivalent of the pathetic fallacy (in which we impute all social order to society-wide intentionality and planning), and over-reliance upon handy-dandy cognitive categories (which we then reify, treating as operative in the real world as causal agents that explain social events rather than as patterns of results that need to be explained). The superficial sense that statism makes is a matter of limited perspective, and the illusions of those limited relations. Think of it as parallax.

Statism is akin to the Flat Earth doctrine. We cannot see the roundness of the Earth from where we normally walk and sit or stand. Just so, piecemeal statist policies have the everyday common sense that the Flat Earth explanation has. 

But, just as there is something worse than mere statism, there is something stupider than Flat Eartherism.

And that is Flat Moonism. 

The three-dimensional roundness of the Moon is shown during its phases, by the curved shadow on its surface — while it might seem a flat disk during its Full phase, in all other phases but the New the spheroid is quite evident. Only rarely, when in eclipse, is the round-edged nature of the Earth evident in the same perspective — and only after one has watched lunar eclipses from different locations and at different times is the three-dimensionality of the Earth’s roundness directly observable, for ease of extrapolation.

So while Flat Eartherism should be seen as a tolerable error among the naive and unlearned, Flat Moonism is just stupid. 

And what is the Flat Moonism of social thought?

Socialism. The doctrine of the Total State. Communism, if you prefer.

If statism be the Flat Earth fallacy, socialism is Flat Moonism — the evidence of socialism’s failure being ready-at-hand at almost any moment. There is no excuse for a careful observer of social life to be a socialist.

Lunacy!


How do you define “government bloat”?

It’s easy for someone like J.H. Levy, the fin de siècle economist from Britain. He argued that there should be no more government than is required for “freedom to be at a maximum.” 

But how can a person who thinks there are no natural limits to government regard bloat?

Bloat is more than is necessary for good operations. But if everything and anything may be done, what is bloat? 

You see, it is commonplace, in our time of barely restrained government, to pass new laws and erect new government programs not only without destroying old ones, but also without specificying what success or failure may be. Any program or law that gains a constituency of beneficiaries is therefore “necessary,” because no metric has been advanced to judge them. And since every program benefits SOMEONE, what is bloat?


What are the biggest, most neglected stories right now?

My nominations:

1. Deficit growth and debt ballooning. Trump and the Republicans somehow prove once again how much Republicans like spending.

2. Google caught admitting (behind closed doors) to working to hack the next election. An astounding attempt to game the system by rigging Google’s market dominance in search and online video. Yet almost no one talks about this.

3. Two branches of the U.S. military have admitted that military craft almost routinely encounter astounding physical craft not of any publicly known design or technology — that is, UFOs that are truly U for Unknown or Unidentified. These admissions mark a new turn in how our government handles UFOs. It is almost certainly the biggest story of our time, for whatever the explanation is, it tells us something that transcends normalcy. Something VERY WEIRD is going on. It could mark a civilizational moment. Yet people treat it as a curiosity at best. Sheesh. It solidifies my suspicion that humans are programmed irrational creatures, or at least beings of such limited intelligence and courage and astounding commitment to maintaining ideological stasis.

All in all, these three stories show that moderns in general and Americans in particular are quite narrow-minded, incurious fools.

So what stories compare?


My first nomination for a Fourth Big Story would probably have something to do with America’s relentless warfare posture, despite policy incoherence and repeated negative outcomes.

Another nomination is the possibility that our planet goes through repeated, cyclical catastrophes of an extraordinary violence . . . and we may be nearing one that HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ‘MAN-MADE GLOBAL WARMING. My deepest suspicion is that Anthropogenic Climate Catastrophism of the “global warming” variety is a psy-op designed to distract us from the science that is accumulating to demonstrate such catastrophes.


And we should share procedures of inquiry and challenge.

Rep. Katie Hill’s tattoo — placed in her bikini-bottom region — sure looks like an Iron Cross to me. And, I suppose, for this alone she should probably resign.

Detail of a photo published by the Daily Mail, of Rep. Hill. Note, also, the bong.

Now, I have always thought of it as a more broadly nationalistic symbol, rather than merely Nazi, because it was used by the Prussian state and the German Empire, earlier. But by the logic of earnest leftist iconoclasm, only the Nazi symbology counts! And, I confess, it would take quite a lot of evidence and careful argumentation to accept a broader Germanic interpretation as the motivating factor for a contemporary American to adapt it as personal decoration. So, she should be reviled by the PCers. Just to be consistent.

The Iron Cross strikes me as more univocally Nazi than the Confederate flag be racist, but there is room for disagreement here.

Of course you should be able to fly any flag or wear any tattoo you want. But people are also allowed to avoid you and fire you for what you fly and wear, so there’s that.

And the sexual misconduct and general level of creepiness justify, I guess, her resignation from Congress.

twv

One week, House Democrats engage in impeachment inquiries of President Trump, excluding Republicans from even witnessing the proceedings.

The next, they complain that the President excluded them from being briefed on the Baghdadi raid.

“President Trump pointed his finger at House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff,” begins Carlin Becker’s Washington Examiner account of the Baghdadi biz. The president, calling Adam Schiff “the biggest leaker in Washington,” explained that “[w]e were going to notify them last night, but we decided not to do that because Washington leaks like I’ve never seen before.”

Whereas leaking was the word on Trump’s lips, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi inveighed against him merely for excluding her and her gang from the big story.

And so soon after the whole secret-proceedings-in-the-basement brouhaha!

This is not just hypocrisy. Another word seems warranted. Ultra-hypocrisy?

How about estoppel?

That is an old legal principle barring someone who has made a claim from denying it later.

Estoppel also bars folks from prosecuting someone for doing something they themselves have done to that someone. It thus reflects a very robust notion of fairness, which can be extended to fundamental rights — as one legal theorist has argued, “an aggressor has endorsed the rule that aggression is legitimate because he is committing aggression,” and therefore has no cause to complain. If aggressors wish to prohibit other folks’ aggressions, they must accept their own as also unwarranted, and are “estopped” from making the claim against another.

Thereby a general principle for society emerges. Broadly, this principle might have some bearing on American foreign policy. On a more humble level, though, it serves as an explanation for the muted outrage at Trump’s selective consultation.

Live by exclusion, die by exclusion.

twv

What are some “politically correct” opinions or terms that makes you roll your eyes when you hear them?

…as answered on Quora….

I am going a bit “meta” with my list:

Woke. It means the same thing as “red-pilled,” but the people who use the term seem somnambulant to me, walking around the world not really understanding the reality of what they see, easily moved to herdish behavior.

“Woke” is a silly term. I often roll my eyes upon hearing it from an earnest leftist.

Gender. Most people mean “sex” when they say it. I know what gender theorists say they mean by it, but their pet term is incoherent. So most people who use the term just look like prudes who cannot bear to use the word “sex” because it is causes twitters and giggles and also because they are trying to pretend that biology is not of prime importance. These folks are mostly in denial about reality. They are asleep at the wheel of thought, far from “woke.” There is a deeper problem with “gender”; in fact, there are two: (1) the notion that gender is a “social construct” is offered as a dogma, with the idea of individual construction of one’s own gender being offered as salvific — without realizing that individual construction is part of the whole social constructivist process, and is indeed part of the problem; (2) “gender” is a categorizing concept, but individuation — the individual’s development of a sense of personal identity — is multiform, making the categorization idea behind “gender” a red herring . . . that is, there must be an infinite spectrum of personal and social adaptations to sexuality, and concentrating on falling into categories is something of a lie. Indeed, it is just another example of the left’s relentless collectivism, where group matters more than the individual.

I snort when I hear anyone use the word “gender.” Well, I used to. The word is so ubiquitous that my snorter is sore.

Prejudice plus power. This revision of the two almost universally accepted definitions of racism previously in use — which are the simple, everyday “hatred of or discrimination against persons on grounds of race” and the more philosophical “giving undue weight to matters of race, usually by applying some statistical or imputed group characteristic to individuals regardless of their individual applicability” — allows its users to engage in actual racism against people they believe (or pretend) have power. But the witless politically correct herds do not understand that power is not a simple thing in society, that almost everyone has power of some sort. A politician has political power, a magnate has the power that comes with wealth, a beautiful person has powers of attraction, the intelligent have powers that include but are not limited to knowledge and wisdom, and I have power to command the wealth I possess to exchange it on the market for the goods I wish to consume. These are all powers. And so too is the power that a mob commands, the power that a gun exerts in expert hands, and also the knife or bludgeon as wielded by a thug. Anyone can have power, and anyone can be a racist towards anyone else. “Prejudice plus power” is a schema for racism and other isms that show its users to be not very bright. But, because they are in an ideological mob, they exert a kind of social power that keeps this stupid dogma secure in the culture.

Such is political correctness.

White supremacy. Now here we have a term of opprobrium used by the “woke” politically correct mobs. Its users are vague as to its meaning. Is white supremacy a policy that keeps whites in power regardless of their demerits, or is it the belief that whites are racially superior?

It is not a term that white racists use for themselves. It is a term placed upon them. Look, I know racists of many races. I have inquired. Every white racist I have known is more than willing to recognize that individuals of other races are in fact superior in many ways to their very own dear selves; further, they readily recognize that, on average, blacks of West African descent tend to be physically superior to whites and that East Asians tend to be smarter than whites. Their racism does not seek to dominate other races, either. I have known no racists who wished to reintroduce slavery, or conquer other nations in foreign lands. Indeed, the confessedly white racists I have known tend to be against imperialism. It is the heart-on-sleave anti-racists who want globalist imperialism, White Man’s Burden and all (though they would never use that old phrase: how gauche!).

What the white racists whom the politically correct left hate are is, in truth, white separatists, not supremacists. Ethnonationalism is their game.

But “white supremacy” is the politically correct term. It is necessary. Why? Because leftists must hide from themselves and others the actually (not politically) correct idea of separatism. And why must they do that? Because it would be uncomfortable honestly to confront all the black separatists in their midst.

Further, by calling others white supremacists, their own supremacy — as whites — on the left might become obvious.

And so, also, they whip up their rather sick suicidal racism, which we now witness on the left in the ubiquitous phenomenon of white anti-white racism.

Of course, alt-right white ethnonationalism might make sense in Finland or Estonia or Hungary or some other Old World country, as ethnonationalisms are the rule all over the world, in Arabia and Japan and in most African countries. And almost no one really bats an eye. In America, however, ethnonationalism as a political agenda is silly and dunderheadedly stupid.

But a kind of white supremacy is a problem — the kind held to by the politically correct left. Leftists apply their idea of multiculturalism and forced ethnic diversity only against white-dominant nations. And why do they do this? Could it be because they actually do believe that whites are superior to darker skinned people? They believe that white nations must hold to standards they do not direct against others, because they think those others are benighted and in need of rescue. By the Supreme Whites. That is, the Baizuo, the White Left.

Political correctness is a moral disease of intellectual cowards and herdish bullies.

There are many more ugly, destructive politically correct concepts.

But these few get to the heart of the matter, I think.

twv

As House Democrats hide underneath the capitol cooking up a cockamamie impeachment case, and as Hillary Clinton publicly contemplates running again, Attorney General Bill Barr has officially switched the inquiry into the origins of the ‘Russia hoax’ to a criminal investigation.

This could get fascinating, bigger than Watergate, with the partisan shoes switched.

Hilarious.

For a real fun time, watch Rachel Maddow ‘react’ to this. For somewhat more sober discussion, here is the New York Times coverage, in part:

For more than two years, President Trump has repeatedly attacked the Russia investigation, portraying it as a hoax and illegal even months after the special counsel closed it. Now, Mr. Trump’s own Justice Department has opened a criminal investigation into how it all began.
‘Justice Department officials have shifted an administrative review of the Russia investigation closely overseen by Attorney General William P. Barr to a criminal inquiry, according to two people familiar with the matter. The move gives the prosecutor running it, John H. Durham, the power to subpoena for witness testimony and documents, to impanel a grand jury and to file criminal charges.
… The move also creates an unusual situation in which the Justice Department is conducting a criminal investigation into itself.
‘Mr. Barr’s reliance on Mr. Durham, a widely respected and veteran prosecutor who has investigated C.I.A. torture and broken up Mafia rings, could help insulate the attorney general from accusations that he is doing the president’s bidding and putting politics above justice.
‘It was not clear what potential crime Mr. Durham is investigating, nor when the criminal investigation was prompted. A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment.
… Federal investigators need only a “reasonable indication” that a crime has been committed to open an investigation, a much lower standard than the probable cause required to obtain search warrants. However, “there must be an objective, factual basis for initiating the investigation; a mere hunch is insufficient,” according to Justice Department guidelines.

For the record, I hope the Democrats go on with their insane impeachment course. It is too funny to maintain composure.

But about Hillary?

On the one hand, a rematch would be entertaining, sure, and all sorts of dirt could come out to the fore.

On the other, if I were looking for a stable U.S., and some dignity to the union, I guess we should urge her not to run.

Personal opinion: it is probably too late to save the union, and we might as well have fun watch it unravel as its corrupt leaders satirize themselves in public.

The Sigil of Scoteia*

I quite fixedly believe the Wardens of Earth sometimes unbar strange windows, that face on other worlds than ours. And some of us, I think, once in a while get a peep through these windows. But we are not permitted to get a long peep, or an unobstructed peep, nor very certainly, are we permitted to see all there is — out yonder. The fatal fault, sir, of your theorizing is that it is too complete. It aims to throw light upon the universe, and therefore is self-evidently moonshine. The Wardens of Earth do not desire that we should understand the universe, Mr. Kennaston; it is part of Their appointed task to insure that we never do; and because of Their efficiency every notion that any man, dead, living, or unborn, might form as to the universe will necessarily prove wrong.

Richard Fentnor Harrowby, a character in (and narrator of) James Branch Cabell’s The Cream of the Jest: A Comedy of Evasion (1917), Ch 28 : The Shallowest Sort of Mysticism.

* The coded message on this “sigil” (which can be found as an illustration in every edition of this novel) is “James Branch Cabell made this book so that he who wills may read the story of mans eternally unsatisfied hunger in search of beauty. Ettarre stays inaccessible always and her lovliness is his to look on only in his dreams. All men she must evade at the last and many ar the ways of her elusion.” The sigil was designed by the author, as was the simple code.

I agree with this characterization of the current impeachment mania by Scott Adams,especially his characterization of Trump’s enemies’ cases as “crazy shit.”
You have been “hypnotized” by the Deep State, you who demand Trump’s ouster based on Russiagate or the Ukraine Phone Chat or the president’s reactions to investigation.
More controversial is his thesis that “The public does not form opinions. Their opinions are assigned to them.”
I try to form my own opinions, occasionally even by looking at the facts, such as they can be determined. For this reason, my opinions seem very strange to most people.
Adamss idea that Matt Taibbi and Glen Greenwald are the only people whose opinions have not been assigned to them by the media is preposterous, of course, but I take it merely as hyperbole.
However, caution: people do choose who to listen to. If usually for irrational, tribal reasons. Which is why it has been vitally important for the CIA to envelop the media world in vast networks of influence, starting with Operation Mockingbird and continuing with placement of former interns (like Anderson Cooper) and even progeny of agents (that Morning Joe lady) in positions with star power and the imprimatur of Cultural Acceptability. The influence at this level is enormous.
The hiccough? The growth of new media. Which got out of the grasp of our Master Psy-op-eratoves. Hence the ideological crackdowns and game-rigging by what Michael Rectenwald calls “The Google Archipelago.”

I am reading this now. A review, perhaps, to come.