Richard Grenell, the new Acting Director of National Security, late of the Ambassadorship to Germany, is being attacked by Democrats for incompetence, lack of credentials, etc., but not heralded for being ‘openly gay,’ for what it is worth. I know, I know: had a Democrat appointed a similarly credentialed leftist, the hosannahs of wokitude would skirl and keen heavenward incessantly. Oh, well.

He used to be on Fox News, during the brief period I watched the channel. He seemed like a moderately reasonable conservative of the War Party, and not as egregious as the horrid John Bolton. Seemed staid and acceptable; has proved Plausibly Promotable.

I see no evidence for the charges of incompetence or lack of preparation I read on Twitter. I am not saying he is competent — I would not know — but he looks like yet another ambitious Beltway Operative to me. 

The deference Greg Gutfeld showed him was over the top, but I never got Gutfeld’s war policy mania. Which is no surprise, since I consider the very pool itself a swamp, not swampish because of the partisan inhabitants thereof.

But if Grenell orchestrates a UFO disclosure and forces the CIA to come clean on the JFK assassination, hosannahs shall come forth from my very lips.

twv

If Bernie gets the nomination he seeks, then we should overturn Tim Russert’s psy-op and label, as traditional, the GOP ‘Blue’ and the Democracy ‘Red.’

My own color would remain off-spectrum; perhaps, per David Lindsay, ‘Jale’ or ‘Ulfire.’


If environmentalists really believe the world is ending in 12 — no, that is so last year: eleven — years, I expect lots of savvy folk to renegotiate their mortgages to obtain lower rates in exchange for a balloon payment due at the end . . . after our prophesied enviro-Armageddon.


Of course, as is often noted, were catastrophic global warming with massive sea-level rises and hurricanes abounding really in our future, in-the-know folks like Barack and Michelle Obama would not be buying multi-million-dollar beachfront property.

Climate change cultists would head for the hills.


My checkmark for Tulsi will not be counted, for I cannot honestly say I prefer the Democracy or am a Republican. So this goes into the trashcan.


The Following Comment Led to a Debate Requiring Me Actually to Order a Book on “Gender Theory” — Sad Day

I have a different take on this [joke image below], as many of you know: while gender is said to be a social construct, the very idea of gender is an ideological construct, and I reject the groundwork ideology on multiple grounds. We can pretend there are four genders or a thousand, and it doesn’t matter. What matters is sex, and how we handle it. So, this joke is not quite as funny for me as it may be for some others.

If you admit the official definition of gender, though, you cannot then decisively state that there are only two. The word you are looking for is sex.

But because we were all timorous/obnoxious children once, we tend to wince at that word, or blush, or guffaw, so we have unthinkingly let ‘gender‘ gain ground as a euphemism, wreaking havoc on thought and culture.

Still, marginally funny joke. But of most interest as a sign of the times.


I will not be using this on my tombstone:

Epigraph to In the Valley of the Kings (2009), by Daniel Meyerson.

This epigraph is more apt for me:

With the majority at last.

twv

A meme/joke passed around on Facebook.

I have a different take on this, as I have tried to explain before: while gender is said to be a social construct, the very idea of gender is an ideological construct, and I reject the groundwork ideology on multiple grounds. We can pretend there are four genders or a thousand, and it doesn’t matter. What matters is sex, and how we handle this biological binary division.

If you admit the official definition of gender, though, you cannot then decisively state that there are only two. The word you are looking for is sex.

But because we were all timorous/obnoxious children once, we tend to wince at that word, or blush, or guffaw. This we have unthinkingly let ‘gender’ gain ground as a euphemism, wreaking havoc on thought and culture.

Still, marginally funny joke. But of most interest as a sign of the times.

twv

Foreword to the LFB edition of David Hume, Of the Original Contract
(rel. 3/3/2016)
. This ebook edition is, as of mid-February 2020, still available on Apple’s ebook platform: search for “Timothy Wirkman Virkkala” + Hume + “Of the Original Contract.”

Society runs, to some extent, on myths. 

The word “myth” derives from the Latin word mythus, which itself derived from a Greek word, muthos. It usually refers to origin stories, especially those traditional legends that help shore up a people’s beliefs about their place in the world. Because other folks’ origin stories strike us as fanciful nonsense, a secondary meaning grew up: “a widely held but false belief.” A word of caution here, though: because something serves as a myth, or even appears fantastic, does not mean it is untrue. There can exist, as theologian C. S. Lewis argued, “true myths.”

When it comes to politics, all these usages are relevant. There are myths and there are myths. We are united by the stories we share; we are divided by stories some dismiss as whoppers while others hold sacrosanct. And here is where careful thought must begin; as philosopher Karl Popper put it, “science must begin with myths, and with the criticism of myths.”

David Hume (1711-1776) was a Scottish philosopher, historian, economist, and essayist who may be seen as one of the first of the great myth-busters. In his writings on politics, Hume confronted myths head on, testing them on several levels of analysis. No better example of this can be found than in the present essay, “Of the Original Contract,” originally published in 1748.

In his day, two factions dominated politics, Tory and Whig. In the previous century, a monarch had been deposed and then, after an experiment without the monarchy (including a time without a legislature), the monarchy was restored. In an earlier essay on Britain’s political parties, Hume characterized both parties as demonstrating a love of liberty, adding that the Tories loved the monarchy even more than liberty, and that they tended (as before the Revolution of 1688) to emphasize the general principle of passive obedience to the monarch. Whigs, on the other hand, “without renouncing monarchy,” would be more “apt to think that every part of the government ought to be subordinate to the interests of liberty.” 

And yet Hume recognized that distinctions between the two, between “the parties of court and country,” were muddied by other factors. No conceptual scheme could be neat and tidy. We are familiar with such problems today, especially those that complicate the persistent one-dimensional directional metaphor of political ideology common since the French Revolution, between “right” and “left.”

Both parties had their myths, both of which Hume regarded as somewhat awkward and ill built. 

By attributing government to God, Tories tended to render government “so sacred and inviolate, that it must be little less than sacrilege, however tyrannical it may become, to touch or invade it, in the smallest article.” The Whigs, on the other hand, saw government as founded upon a social contract, from which they drew the conclusion that “the subjects have tacitly reserved the power of resisting their sovereign, whenever they find themselves aggrieved by that authority, with which they have, for certain purposes, voluntarily entrusted him.”

For Hume, both systems possessed merit, but not the merit each attributed to itself. Further, he argues that both parties demonstrated prudent practical consequences — but not at their extremes.

Thus David Hume positions himself as a political moderate.

He spends little time on the Tory myths, however. He notes, simply, that the workings of God to establish government must be seen as providential, behind-the-scenes in some way — “not by any particular or miraculous interposition” — and that, therefore, no sovereign could claim anything like a vice-regency, as God’s stand-in. Unfortunately, Hume does not stop there, and the several sentences that follow are themselves worthy of the kind of attention he reserves, in the rest of the essay, for the Whig theory of the social contract. (Most likely, Hume’s secret status as an apostate led him to refrain from extended public analysis of the workings of a Being whose existence he himself doubted.)

Hume initially addresses the Whig idea of government as resting upon the consent of the governed — an idea stated with classic clarity in the previous century by British philosopher John Locke — with a sort of cautious acceptance. Locke had taken Hobbes’s notion of life of man “in a state of nature” and upgraded it. Whereas Hobbes saw life without government as necessarily one of conflict, and, therefore, as “nasty, brutish, and short,” Locke, with some claim to realism, saw pre-political social life as more or less harmonious and co-operative, but subject to certain “inconveniences” that led to the establishment of government. Hume, in turn, went part way in Locke’s direction. He even begins with a kind of state-of-nature theory, imagining a pre-institutional setting for humanity, judging man’s “natural force” — power of muscle and brain — as nearly equal, meaning that any subordination of many to a few as requiring consent.

But he doesn’t let this analysis go on for long without qualification. Hume does not see the consent of a people to a chieftain, for example, as explicit. Instead, it is a kind of accommodation: with small instances of acceptance of superiority giving rise, gradually, to a “habitual, and, if you please to call it so, a voluntary, and therefore precarious, acquiescence in the people.”

We now know, from investigation into our animal cousins in wolf packs and ape troops, that the establishment of hierarchies in the simplest societies is often a matter of contest, the play of aggression and counter-aggression. The acquiescence of females (on the one hand) and beta and gamma males (on the other) to the dominant, alpha male does not nearly so closely resemble explicit contracts, and is not anywhere near so civilized as admitted even by Hume.

This amendment to Hume’s analysis only strengthens his main point. There is scant evidence, he argues, for any government to be founded by contract: “we find, every where, princes, who claim their subjects as their property, and assert their independent right of sovereignty, from conquest or succession.”

Not only is there no evidence for a historical “social contract,” original and binding on everyone, but the bulk of humanity seems to accept government as binding even though aggression is at the basis of governments they encounter, and grow up in.

So, why do the many acquiesce to the dominance of the few, particularly those in government? Elsewhere, Hume established this as the basic puzzle: “Nothing appears more surprizing to those, who consider human affairs with a philosophical eye, than the easiness with which the many are governed by the few.” Since there are always many more subjects than rulers, he reasoned that it must be opinion — not force — that effects this great accommodation that allows for dominance by the few. Popular opinion. In the present essay he identifies, but does not concisely name, a driving factor of opinion: fear. Hume argues that the specter of “a total dissolution of government” is the most terrible of all events, and that people prefer the dominance of the few to the liberty of the multitude.

The observation is undoubtedly correct. People tend not to trust each other very far, absent some force to restrain their rapacity. This likely derives not merely from observation of others, but also from history and rumor and fiction, as well as from introspection — not all of it reliable — about fantasies of dominance and criminality and bloodlust and revenge. It is easy to abstract from one’s own darkest thoughts and impute them to others. And it is not entirely irrational.

Yet the possibility that human beings can co-operate without aggression is not lost on Hume. He admits that contracts are ideal. He even admits that contract is “one just foundation of government.” But there are other foundations, which have pertained more often than not.

All through Hume’s essay there exists an interesting tension, one that the reader may be cued by other writings of the author to notice: between fact and value. The value of a government somehow confined to contract — to defending a society based on contracts, criminalizing and opposing duress and aggression and fraud — is not lost on our skeptical Scotsman. But the history of government loomed over all else, for him, as a matter of fact. There could be no doubt: governments traditionally have been agents of aggression and counter-aggression — duress that in a court of law would spoil the authority of any defendable contract by private parties. 

We can accept this as a fact — and all the particular facts that Hume parades before us. But he may have missed something. The social function of the myth of the original contract may have been mainly to elicit attention to perfecting government in the direction of contracts, of restraining rapacity in government, of tying it down to justice seen as requiring contract and not domination through coercion. Could it be that it is not as a fact that we should approach the idea of an “original contract”?

Hume himself most ably articulated the distinction between fact and value— that is, between is and ought — in his Treatise of Human Nature

In every system of morality, which I have hitherto met with, I have always remarked, that the author proceeds for some time in the ordinary ways of reasoning, and establishes the being of a God, or makes observations concerning human affairs; when all of a sudden I am surprised to find, that instead of the usual copulations of propositions, is, and is not, I meet with no proposition that is not connected with an ought, or an ought not. This change is imperceptible; but is however, of the last consequence. For as this ought, or ought not, expresses some new relation or affirmation, ’tis necessary that it should be observed and explained; and at the same time that a reason should be given, for what seems altogether inconceivable, how this new relation can be a deduction from others, which are entirely different from it.

In this famous passage, Hume cautioned that, by not attending to this distinction, philosophers get caught up in “vulgar” errors. The literature on this observation — which has been dubbed “Hume’s Guillotine” (clever) and “Hume’s Law” (yawn) — has become vast. Philosophers have designated the rhetorical move from is to ought as “the Naturalistic fallacy,” for example.

Another way of looking at “Of the Original Contract” is to consider another offshoot of Hume’s Law, the “Moralistic fallacy.” For too many people, ought influences their notions of is. Things “should” be this way or that, and so they pretend that they are that way or this, the better to bolster their prejudices. One can commonly observe this, today, in the intersection of political morality and biology. For instance, it is a characteristic dogma of our age that people “are equal,” in some very literal sense, not the very narrow and artful sense that Whigs in Hume’s day meant. So our contemporaries, believing that people should be “treated as equals” or “possess equal wealth,” can often be witnessed resisting scientific findings about the inherent genetic differences among not only individuals and groups. (We, today, are perhaps over-sensitive about matters relating to “race” and ethnic groupings, because these groupings have had so much to do with conflict in the past.) Thus they let their moral ideas utterly rule their appraisal of the facts. We may call this the Ought-Is Hegemony, but “Moralistic fallacy” does nicely.

The Moralistic fallacy could be at play in the notion of a historic social contract. Its theorists have valued contracts highly. The peace and co-operation demonstrated by a society made mostly of contracts? More than merely charming. Our contractual dealings have an order and friendliness and mutuality about them that our political and legal dealings do not. The accumulation of mutual advantages through such exchanges seems the very source of progress.  

But that provides no valid reason to pretend that, once upon a time, government was founded on contract, and therefore can be re-made because of the obligations of that contract. That is a fallacy.

Hume was right. 

But, as mentioned, his more general conclusion is almost certainly too rash. The Whig notion of a social contract may be fictional, but that does not mean that the values for which radical Whigs concocted to bolster their story could not be valid.

Hume’s prophecy, at the end of his essay, has certainly been shown to be unfounded: “New discoveries are not to be expected in these matters.” Explorations of the possibility of voluntary contracts to subsume even government have not only yielded new discoveries, they’ve engendered whole new disciplines, such as constitutional economics (a part of Public Choice theory). There may be even more than mere interest, but hope, in further work in this area. 

Regardless, Hume’s influence on later liberal (“Whig”) thought can be seen in the fact that most of the leading liberal thinkers in the centuries immediately following Hume’s critique abandoned the notion he attacked. For Henry David Thoreau, Herbert Spencer, and Gustave de Molinari — to name just three — a progress in chaining the institutions we think of as “political government” to exacting, duress-free contracts provides the key to civilization’s advance. 

That the world’s governments have not yet discovered this may be seen as tragic or a comic. Readers of Hume’s essay will likely guess, as I do, that Hume would have seen this stunted progress as in keeping with the usual course of history, government authority resting, as it has so far, on popular acceptance of coercion, aggression, and hierarchical power.

Timothy Wirkman Virkkala*
January 2016

BIOGRAPHY: David Hume (1711-1776) was a Scottish philosopher, historian, economist, and essayist whose influence on modern thought has been vast. He wrote a popular multi-volume history of England, but is best known, today, for his philosophic work, A Treatise of Human Nature (1739) and two inquiries, one on morals (1751) and the other on human understanding (1748). Several of his short treatises on economics have been republished by Laissez Faire Books, with forewords by Pierre Lemieux and Timothy Wirkman Virkkala.

The most idiotic story of the week: first, Bernie Sanders is told by U.S. intelligence that Russia is planning to aid him in the upcoming election; next, the story leaks to the Washington Post, which runs with it; and finally, Bernie confirms the “disclosure” and bothers to repudiate the alleged support.

“Unlike Donald Trump, I do not consider Vladimir Putin a good friend,” the statement [from candidate Bernie Sanders] said. “He is an autocratic thug who is attempting to destroy democracy and crush dissent in Russia. Let’s be clear, the Russians want to undermine American democracy by dividing us up and, unlike the current president, I stand firmly against their efforts, and any other foreign power that wants to interfere in our election.”
Sanders on Friday called the interference an “ugly thing” that is attempting to “divide us up.”
“That’s what they did in 2016. That is the ugliest thing they’re doing, is they are trying to cause chaos, trying to cause hatred in America,” Sanders told reporters. “It is an ugly business, and all of us have got to say, ‘Sorry, you are not going to do this in this election.’”

Myah Ward, “Sanders condemns Russian interference in 2020 elections,” Politico, February 21, 2020.

As if advocating for socialism wouldn’t be divisive in America!

Also, the disclosure seems more like a psy-op than anything else. What is the evidence that Russians were trying to tilt the scales to Bernie? The agents who told Bernie this — couldn’t they be playing him? Isn’t this likely? Leaking the story to the American public a week later strikes me as a way to throw a monkey wrench into Bernie’s campaign — we’ve been so programmed to freak out about Russian election interference that this whole scenario looks like campaign dirty tricks from a Deep State cabal.

The real electoral threat lies in the easily compromised electronic/digital voting systems, systems designed and implemented by Deep State contractors. The fact that almost no one mentions these in-jeopardy systems strikes me as a tell — that people do not care for the integrity of their electoral systems, and merely aim to use the issue as a partisan bludgeon.

That Bernie reacted as he did could be a sign that he is either not very bright or not very serious, or perhaps is, as evidenced so often, a coward in the face of power.

His response should have been eyerolls, and to call attention to multiple levels of psy-ops. That he chose merely to flail at Trump in a pathetic fashion shows just how little imagination and perspective he has. Maybe he cannot conceive of how deep the fakes run.

He is a naïf — like most socialists are. No surprise, there. After all, if adopting socialism, you must be either naive or evil.

Or both.

twv

Why is communism associated with atheism and right wing (capitalism) with theism?

…as answered on Quora…

This can seem puzzling, since some of the most socialist-minded people I know claim to be theists, and the modern libertarian movement, which advocates laissez-faire capitalism with the most reason and vigor, is majority atheist — or at least was, when I was involved (three decades ago) in polling its ranks.

But some of this is historical happenstance. Maybe. Communism/socialism/collectivism grew out of the ferment of the French Enlightenment and Revolution, and that was filled with thinkers who were atheists or at least “flirted” with atheism. Defenders and refiners of the emerging capitalist order, on the other hand, tended to arise out of the Scottish Enlightenment. These people included pious Christians and, more famously, cautious skeptics of theism — David Hume being the most famous, and his friend Adam Smith being even more circumspect than he.

Contrast these two versions of the Enlightenment. The French were more in-your-face, often challenging all establishments at once. The Scots and Englanders and Americans, on the other hand, appealed to the Christian majority, trying to get them to move towards liberalism rather than continue to defend the ancien régime. And there existed Christian dissenters, after all, who got along fine with the more secular liberals, perhaps because they were both trying to peel back the authoritarian state. The French, on the other hand, demonstrated less of a gift for compromise. Indeed, when the Revolutionaries gained power, not only did they disestablish the Church, they stole, er, confiscated, its property and set up a land-backed bond paper issuance that became a fiat currency that then hyperinflated which in turn drove the French people crazy, ushering in the Terror. The British liberals — the Whigs, chiefly — were more interested in a rule of law, in peaceful and mutually beneficial relations, and were reform-minded, not revolutionaries by temperament. Even the American Revolution was more a secession movement than civil revolt, one that relied as much on a nuanced interpretation of tradition than a complete overthrowal of established powers. The founding generation of Americans defended an ordered liberty, not a manic passion to remake the world over, anew, through massive State action.

This divorce in temperament between the two movements has something to do with the split that we see today. Hume was basically an atheist, but carefully hid his beliefs while he lived. Denis Diderot and the Encyclopedists, on the other hand, did not hide their atheism, now, did they?

This carried on into the 19th century. Herbert Spencer, Britain’s most principled liberal and proponent of free markets, was basically an atheist. But he hated the term. He deliberately wrote into his metaphysics a rather mystical component, an appreciation for the Unknowable force that lies underneath all reality, and he insisted that this doctrine disqualified him from the dread label atheist. But, in France, the rising radicalism for “anarchy” and for socialism sported that great misotheist, Pierre Joseph Proudhon. Meanwhile, also in France, the French Liberal School of economists carried on a sort of pious Deism, which can be seen in the works of both Frédéric Bastiat and Gustave de Molinari (who, though Belgian, worked in France, when allowed by its government, and edited Guillaumin’s Journal des Économistes).

By the time you get to Karl Marx, it is apparent that “the revolutionary” just seems to fit better with atheism than theism.

And by this, I mean, memetically, by the mere association of ideas. Not as a matter of truth. (It might be helpful to repeat Scott Adams’s mantra: in some important sense “the facts don’t matter.”)

Whether or not there is a God, or many gods, or none, does not have a logical relationship with the State or any of its policies.

And it gets especially weird when you go back in history and realize that most rulers identified themselves all-too-literally as deities. All this seems ridiculous to us now. But it did not then.

And this is also at play: those who reject any kind of a deity, and, moreover, hate the very idea of a God, tend to compensate with advocacy of some form of statism, seeking to aggrandize the institution of secular power, doubling down on the prestige of government. Politics becomes their religion, the State their Messiah.

I find this absurd. I really feel no commonality with extreme statists — socialists and communists and the like — and would rather that, if people must believe weird things to get by in this weird world, let it be by some fanciful, fantasied deity that allows them to resist the temptation to deify that “coldest of all cold monsters,” the State.

In other words, let us steer clear of the great and manifest evils of communism, state socialism, and all political forms of collectivism. If not “by any means necessary,” then at least by mostly harmless made-up theology.

twv

J. Sheridan le Fanu’s short story “Dickon the Devil,” which can be found in the third volume of The Collected Supernatural and Weird Fiction of J. Sheridan Le Fanu (2010), is a typical spook story of its period, the second half of the 19th century. It has scant drama, and is not dramatically told. The idea, I guess, was realism of presentation, to set the stage for the eldritch element — the indirect method.

The story first saw print in 1872. I cannot say I think much of this one, but
I will try others. Maybe I will even give the humungous novel included in the volume mentioned above, The House by the Churchyard, a go.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell was in the news this week. “There is nothing about this economy,” he insisted, testifying before a congressional committee, “that is out of kilter or imbalanced.”

I do not believe this.

I readily admit, I did not glean my opinion from a deep study of current trends. It became obvious to me as the egregious Stephen Moore listed what he believes is so great with “the Trump economy” a month or so back. That statement, which I cited on my Facebook* page, lays out the basic features of a malinvestment bubble. It is elementary. Not all that obscure.

I assume that if the Democrats choose Bernie Sanders to do battle against Trump, the Federal Reserve will work mightily to postpone the bust — an explicit socialist is just going ‘too far.’

But if Democrats choose one of their billionaires or Buttigieg, I suspect the Fed wizards will ease up on all their easing, so to speak, and let the bust come before November. Buttigieg, especially, is the kind of person that insiders want: CIA-nurtured, Deep State-approved, and sporting a commie father (for that frisson of unhinged radicalism and necessary roughness, and as a sign of a willingness to betray the last shred of the Constitution) — quite controllable!

So, if you want to postpone the bust that is just waiting** to happen, push Bernie. If you are ready for the Big One*** — the shock to the system that will make 2008 seem like a mouse’s squeak — then urge the Democrats not to go too far off reservation.

twv

* On Facebook, December 8, I wrote the following:

On the Rubin Report, Stephen Moore enthused about the current economy. And it really is a boom time. But I was amused by (and stopped listening after) Moore’s summary: record low unemployment, with millions of job position unfilled; record low interest rates; low inflation rates, by which he meant a fairly level CPI (consumer prices being the braindead definition of inflation).
He seemed oddly ebullient. He seemed unaware that according to ABCT the situation is a bubble filled to near-popping point.
It is gonna be a doozy!
How could it not?

** Tom Ozimek, writing for The Epoch Times on the 11th, reported on Fed Chair Powell’s inflation-targeting problems:

*** My general view appears to be not too far off Peter Schiff’s.

The New Hampshire primary results are fun to look at.

  • Bernie: 76,324 (9 delegates)
  • Pete: 72,457 (9)
  • Amy: 58,796 (6)
  • Donald: 129,696 (22)
  • Bill: 13,787 (0)

Trump blew away Weld: no contest, you might say. But that was arguably a fake race, since Weld’s campaign is one step from Vermin Supreme’s. So what is significant is that Trump, to all extent and purpose running unopposed, blew Bernie out of the water.

Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren — the dottering goofball and the shrill harridan — gained no delegates and proved their campaigns basically over.

Now, really what is at stake amongst the many Dems? The radicals vs. the moderates. Though the radicals have passion, theirs is a doomed cause, unless a financial collapse happens. A long shot? (I hope.) I expect to see a McGovern 72 repeat, if Bernie nabs the nomination. Perhaps worse.

Centrist Dems yearn to knock Bernie off the perch, and they now have only three options: Pete, Amy, and . . . Michael Bloomberg, who was not even trying in this primary, but can parlay mucho moolah.

Bloomberg is a nonstarter, though, no? He is a repellent figure, a bossy billionaire with weird racial and civil liberties baggage — in the age of marijuana legalization, he has made news by opposing it; his apology for his beloved stop-and-first gun control program, pathetic because hollow. And he has attacked consumers’ ability to get their Big Gulps. I suppose the food puritans on the left might get on board. But a short, whiny, supercilious Jew can hardly play well outside of a few coastal enclaves of whiny Bluery.

Pete Buttigieg is the best bet for immediate success, but, once again, how wide would his support be? White Americans wanted a Black Messiah, so Barack Obama filled an important ‘social justice’ need. I doubt that many Americans have an equivalent yearning for a gay man in the White House. Besides, the deep background of his support seems awfully CIA/Deep State, and his father was a commie. An Ugh Factor is strong here. Besides, his mayoral background is not impressive, and he has had the temerity to have once been nice to Tea Party folk — so the socialist radicals in the Democracy cannot have that. A Mayor Pete at the head of the ticket would send Bernie Bros into the Green Party.

Amy Klobuchar is a strange case. There is a personal unpleasantness about her, and she has less sex appeal TO HETERO MEN than does Mayor Pete [heh]. She often seems uncomfortable in public. Her ideas meander in a delta of indecision, but she can pull off seeming moderate, which might work for many folks who want an alternative to Trump, but the idea of her holding her own against Trump in a debate seems preposterous. Her biggest pull is the Innocuous Play. And the sexist/anti-sexist Woke Woman Vote. I am not sure she can do it.

Presumably Biden voters will go to . . . Amy and Pete. Warren voters will go to . . . Bernie and Amy. But if Pete and Amy stick to battling each other, it’s Bernie’s to lose.

This is no time to be a Democratic follower. Frustrating, it must be!

Well, welcome to my world, folks: there has never really been a satisfactory presidential candidate for me. Not since Grover Cleveland, and he just barely squeaks in to my approved realm.

Suffer, suffer — in your suffrage.

twv

A few days ago I heard but had not bothered to confirm that only Chinese people were being killed by the coronavirus. Being a science fiction reader living in our stefnal age, my first thought was pretty obvious — and straight out of Heinlein: biowarfare.

And it is not as if biowarfare had not been rumored, for weeks now.

Yesterday, Scott Adams (on his Periscope vlog) drew out this line of conjecture explicitly, speculating on who might wish to kill millions, perhaps billions, of Chinese people, using bioweaponry, and why:

Scott Adams’s talk is important for several reasons. . . .

First, he figures the probability on the bioweapon angle as very low. One reason that he gives for a low probability rests on the commonplace that is coincidence. He says it is likely “just a coincidence” that an outbreak would occur near a viral research/bioweapons research laboratory. I suspect it is not. Near a bio-research laboratory is where you would expect accidental leaks to happen. Where viruses are bred, studied and stored is where they might break out into the general population. Since in research even non-weaponized viruses are studied, any could break out of the confines.

We do not need to go to conspiracy, though conspiracy is also a possibility — we’ve all read Greg Bear’s Blood Music, right?

So I would not relegate a non-conspiratorial outbreak of a contagion near a research facility as being just an example of a conspiracy. I would not even say it is more likely to be mere coincidence.

But also, were I a murderous conspirator unleashing a weaponized virus, I would also likely wish to let it out near someone else’s biolab, merely to confuse the targeted population.

Second, Adams goes through a Likely Suspect list, and he does a pretty good job. Yet he gets one thing very wrong, I think. He dismisses the idea that the U.S. could be a likely bioweaponry/genocide suspect. I do not dismiss the idea. “Our” Deep State is extremely rogue, and would do anything to maintain its advantage. China is horning in on a very important space-oriented arms race, and the Deep State might stop at nothing to nip that in the bud. Killing thousands or millions? Well, sure: look up Operation Northwoods. Deeply embedded statists could probably cook up a plausible, half-earnest rationale to justify almost any enormity.

They have in the past.

Third, “goodness” — Scott runs through possible justifications of biowarfare to test the possibility of warfare, using the “Never Again” mantra as the hook upon which he hangs his hat. He says that many, many people — including himself — would, if given the opportunity, use genocide to retaliate for someone else’s program of genocide . . . as well as to prevent further genocide. Yikes. Does he not see the trap here?

This reasoning rests upon the idea of democracy — a very low-level democracy, admittedly, since China isn’t one. As both Étienne de La Boétie and David Hume observed, the number of people who actually govern are smaller than the ranks of the governed, so even tyrannical government rests upon a kind of consent of the governed — an accommodation to governance, let’s say. And since the masses let their governments do outrageous things, they are, themselves, morally responsible. And if the crimes committed by the governors are worthy of the death penalty, then the people themselves are worthy of same.

People should carefully contemplate this line of thought. Adams’s speculations in the moral realm do more than suggest a justification of all kinds of horror on the dubious basis of preventing other outrageous moral horrors. Further, Adams’s line of reasoning is the common line of reasoning on such matters, and it completely demolishes our umbrage taken at terrorists and mass murderers. It is a prescription for never-ending war, dominance, and mass slaughter.

Everyone should pull the strings on his speculation, here.

To unravel the argument.

Fourth, take a breath. What he is talking about is something he breezes right through: mass murder as an apt revenge for other mass murder. But it is indeed more than that. His logic could also “morally justify” preëmptive mass murder.

Now, I’m not saying that he is not ably reflecting common-sense statism. Indeed, that is the reason his speculations are important. They are how humans often think and judge. But I am saying he perhaps (and without intending it) provides an apocalypse of statism itself — a revelation of its core character, its quiddity.

A robust common sense would have to reject statism to remain sane.

Thankfully, the odds for the Coronavirus As Bioweapon are likely as Scott Adams puts them: very unlikely. But we should consider the outside chance. And, alas, he appears to be correct: no fact we now possess falsifies a bioweapon possibility.

twv