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re: The Hunter Biden Laptop Leaks

…missive posted to Facebook….

Facebook and Twitter are prohibiting discussion about Biden corruption by disallowing linkage to a certain N.Y. P o s t article.

So, my benighted Democratic friends, you copacetic with this?

Do you feel protected?

Are you breathing a sigh of relief that you do not have to deal with major information about your party’s corruption?

Proud of the fact that the only way your side can possibly win is by rigging the game against your opponents?

Glorying in the de facto censorship, and itching to place more once your side gets in full power?

Is this the future you see for America and the world, a sort of Stasi-state crackdown on free speech and debate?

Love what your party has become?

Itching to mark your ballot to end freedom in America forever, doing your part for technocratic socialism?

Place your mask over your eyes and ears, too, Democrats!

By no means do any research that reveals the evil you have embraced.

twv

Herbert Spencer’s ten-volume Synthetic Philosophy.

What are the sociological arguments against socialism? (Not economic) I guess one of the stereotypical ones is ‘makes people lazy and unwilling to work.’ ‘Infantilises people.’ What others can you think of?

The question was asked of libertarians in a private group on Facebook. Many interesting answers were given. But I see a lot of talk but no mention of actual sociologists.

Two should immediately come to mind, for at classical liberal theory’s last gasp stands two pioneering sociologists who could very much be called libertarians: Herbert Spencer and William Graham Sumner. Both argued against the rising intellectual and political movement in their day, and both brought a lot of intelligence to the debate. I can imagine Sumner being a favorite, in part because of his more vigorous prose, but I just want to sketch Spencer’s arguments as they appear in the latter chapters of The Principles of Sociology: Part VIII, Industrial Institutions.

In the 22nd chapter, titled “Socialism,” Spencer began, ‘Some socialists, though probably not many, know that their ideal modes of associated living are akin to modes which have prevailed widely during early stages of civilization, and prevail still among many of the uncivilized, as well as among some of the civilized who have lagged behind.’ After giving a number of examples of primitive societies in then-recent history — citing the ‘aborigines of North America’ and their system’s brake on thrift and industry; the affable and easygoing ‘Croatian house-communities’ whose high rates of child mortality and lack of education (with the ‘children unkempt and neglected’) and industry still-born because of the share-out ‘sub-divisions’ of communal work but whose group orientation was spurred by the rigors of defense and warfare — Spencer concluded like this: ‘Hence the socialist theory and practice are normal in the militant type of society, and cease to be normal as fast as the society becomes predominantly industrial in its type.’

He of course admitted that a ‘state of universal brotherhood is so tempting an imagination, and the existing state of competitive strife is so full of miseries, that endeavours to escape from the last and enter into the first are quite natural — inevitable even. Prompted by consciousness of the grievous inequalities of condition around, those who suffer and those who sympathize with them, seek to found what they think an equitable social system.’ But then Spencer turned his attention to the many attempts to set up better systems, the utopian community movement — the ‘experiments in living,’ as J.S. Mill characterized them, the movement with which I started my own political inquiries over four decades ago. There he found failure after failure. Problems identified by the sources he cited include

  • too much ‘diversity’ of opinion to make coördination of labor anything like efficient
  • grumbling and frowardness
  • recognition that lack of rewards for extra work must entail general low performance
  • fights on the job, sans punishment; violent discord

Utopian communities rarely sported any kind of success. Spencer regarded it a plain fact that ‘human beings as now constituted cannot work together efficiently and harmoniously’ in the ways proposed by socialist reformers. And he noted that socialists rarely admit this obvious truth — or, ‘if by some admitted, then it is held that the mischiefs arising from defective natures may be prevented by a sufficiently powerful authority—that is, if for these separate groups one great organization centrally controlled is substituted.’

But such resort to force, Spencer argued, would not be sustainable.

He rested quite a lot on what he calls ‘the general law of species-life’ which has it ‘that during immature life benefit received must be great in proportion as worth is small, while during mature life benefit and worth must vary together.’ But ‘collectivists, socialists, and communists,’ ignore this ‘distinction between the ethics of family-life and the ethics of life outside the family. Entirely under some forms, and in chief measure under others, it proposes to extend the régime of the family to the whole community.’ Spencer here pushed a theme we encounter later in F.A. Hayek, who, incidentally, pointedly never read Spencer’s work.

‘The socialist does not ask what must happen if, generation after generation, the material well-being of the inferior is raised at the cost of lowering that of the superior. Even when it is pointed out, he refuses to see that if the superior, persistently burdened by the inferior, are hindered in rearing their own better offspring, that the offspring of the inferior may be as efficiently cared for, a gradual deterioration of the race must follow. The hope of curing present evils so fills his consciousness that it cannot take in the thought of the still greater future evils his proposed system would produce.’

Spencer went on to argue that ‘people who, in their corporate capacity, abolish the natural relation between merits and benefits, will presently be abolished themselves. Either they will have to go through the miseries of a slow decay, consequent on the increase of those unfit for the business of life, or they will be overrun by some people who have not pursued the foolish policy of fostering the worst at the expense of the best.’

We see that today, even in our own semi-socialist Euro-American context. I just finished reading Edward Dutton’s book Why Islam Makes You Stupid … But Also Means You’ll Conquer the World, and his careful speculations add to Spencer’s sociological argument. Dutton follows Spencer, by the way, in advancing a kind of theory that is a no-no among academic neo-Darwinists: group selection theory.

Calling the ‘doctrine of the socialists … psychologically absurd,’ Spencer argued that it ‘implies an impossible mental structure.’

The socialist society ‘must be composed of men having sympathies so strong that those who, by their greater powers, achieve greater benefits, willingly surrender the excess to others.’ Spencer queried the nature of this altruism: ‘The intensity of fellow feeling is to be such as to cause life-long self-sacrifice.’ But what of the beneficiaries? What must be the attitudes of those be? They gain at their betters’ expense. How can they share the same moral attitudes, then, under such circumstances?

Spencer calls this ‘contradictory,’ and the ‘implied mental constitution … an impossible one.’

Then the rubber really sticks to the pavement ‘when we recognize a further factor in the problem — love of offspring. Within the family parental affection joins sympathy in prompting self-sacrifice, and makes it easy, and indeed pleasurable, to surrender to others a large part of the products of labour. But such surrender made to those within the family-group is at variance with a like surrender made to those outside the family-group.’

You see what is coming, though, don’t you? A ready and old communist solution: ‘Parental relations are to be superseded, and children are to be taken care of by the State. The method of Nature is to be replaced by a better method.’ Spencer was obviously not impressed with this, and related it to the aforementioned ‘general law of species-life’: just as ‘socialists would suspend the natural relation between effort and benefit, so would they suspend the natural relation between the instinctive actions of parents and the welfare of progeny. The two great laws in the absence of either of which organic evolution would have been impossible, are both to be repealed!’

So you see that Spencer is — in addition to be a structuralist, functionalist, and a general systems theorist (see Jonathan Turner’s terrific little book on Spencer’s sociology) — an evolutionist. He has thus been attacked as a dread ‘Social Darwinist,’ but see that he is not talking about letting people starve. He was a forerunner to sociobiology, and the likes of that “Jolly Heretic,” Edward Dutton, whose works are certainly thought-provoking.

Now, Spencer readily conceded that something like socialist arrangements might work in some simple societies. ‘It would not be altogether irrational to expect that some of the peaceful Indian hill-tribes, who display the virtue of forgiveness without professing it, or those Papuan Islanders among whom the man chosen as chief uses his property to help poorer men out of their difficulties, might live harmoniously under socialistic arrangements; but can we reasonably expect this of men who, pretending to believe that they should love their neighbours as themselves, here rob their fellows and there shoot them, while hoping to slay wholesale men of other blood?’ Spencer thought that character is an important aspect of social evolution, and that character changes according to circumstance. Most importantly, above the tribal level, and that of chiefdoms, the militant mindset predominates before we ever really get to the industrial mindset, and that the attitudes of militancy that might spur some to dream the socialist dream themselves militate against such a dream.

Now, what is really ‘at issue between socialists and anti-socialists … concerns the mode of regulating labour.’ Earlier in his big book he ‘illustrated in detail the truth, emphasized at the outset, that political, ecclesiastical, and industrial regulations simultaneously decrease in coerciveness as we ascend from lower to higher types of societies: the modern industrial system being one under which coerciveness approaches a minimum. Though now the worker is often mercilessly coerced by circumstances, and has nothing before him but hard terms, yet he is not coerced by a master into acceptance of these terms.’ That is, the general condition of hardship remains from difficult, pre-capitalist times, specific terms of hardship are not, in a mostly free society, themselves coerced.

This is, of course, a distinction modern leftists refuse to acknowledge.

Spencer saw a parallax view problem, here: ‘while the evils which resulted from the old modes of regulating labour, not experienced by present or recent generations, have been forgotten, the evils accompanying the new mode are keenly felt, and have aroused the desire for a mode which is in reality a modified form of the old mode. There is to be a re-institution of status not under individual masters but under the community as master.’

Spencer also insisted that a ‘complete parallelism exists between such a social structure and the structure of an army. It is simply a civil regimentation parallel to the military regimentation; and it establishes an industrial subordination parallel to the military subordination. In either case the rule is — Do your task and take your rations. In the working organization as in the fighting organization, obedience is requisite for maintenance of order, as well as for efficiency, and must be enforced with whatever rigour is found needful.’

So, the socialists’ perennial recourse to force upon the failure of their schemes entails quite a lots of regimentation. And with regimentation ‘must arise a new aristocracy for the support of which the masses would toil; and which, being consolidated, would wield a power far beyond that of any past aristocracy.’

But that specter of what was later called totalitarianism, along with its necessary inequalities, does not faze socialists. ‘Just as the zealous adherent of a religious creed, met by some fatal objection, feels certain that though he does not see the answer yet a good answer is to be found,’ Spencer explained, ‘or just as the lover to whom defects of his mistress are pointed out, cannot be made calmly to consider what will result from them in married life; so the socialist, in love with his scheme, will not entertain adverse criticisms, or gives no weight to them if he does.’

The dream must go on for the besotted. ‘He will continue to hope that selfish men may be so manipulated that they will behave unselfishly — that the effects of goodness may be had without the goodness. He has unwavering faith in a social alchemy which out of ignoble natures will get noble actions.’

In the next chapter, Spencer turned to the problem of individual ownership … self-ownership … the individual’s ownership of himself (or herself). But Spencer is a sociologist here, not a radical libertarian, and his point is to explore such issues to understand the ebb and flow of social change.

‘There is small objection to coercion if all are equally coerced; and hence the tendency to regimentation reappears in one or other form continually.’ Equality thus can breed not only liberty, but illiberal suppression, as well. This is a key observation, and helps us understand not only tyrannical systems but liberated ones. ‘Along with increases in that direct State-ownership of the individual which is implied by use of him as a soldier,’ Spencer explained, carrying the thought over to ‘observe the increase in that indirect State-ownership which is implied by multiplication of dictations and restraints, and by growth of general and local taxation.’ 

In the late 19th century, when Spencer was writing these final chapters to the final segment of his magnum opus, France and Germany were militarizing heavily. This led, a decade after Spencer’s demise, to a continental war, the First World War. And ‘with extensive ownership of the individual by the State in military and civil organizations, there has widely coexisted advocacy of that ownership by the State to which socialism gives another shape,’ Spencer recognized. But in his somewhat more liberal England, ‘with approximation to the continental type in the one respect, there has gone a growing acceptance of the continental conception in the other respect.’

What began as a middle-class Fabian movement grew enormously. 

It is worth mentioning, though, that during this same period the ranks of self-identified ‘individualists’ also grew, according to Wordsworth Donisthorpe in Law in a Free State, published within the year of the edition of Principles of Sociology that sits by my side. Apparently the fin de siècle was a time, like now, of ideological polarization. And the result was war, from which the individualists did not recover, but the statists did, in several forms: fascism, social democracy, progressivism, and socialism.

But that was a few decades later. Towards the end of Spencer’s life, socialists were urging the ‘ultimate absorption of all kinds of fixed property’  and advocating general strikes ‘against rents as an immediate method of procedure’ as well as showing ‘an absolute disregard of all existing contracts, and, by implication, a proposed abolition of contract for the future’ — all of which Spencer saw as a ‘return to the old system of status under a new form.’

Like Hayek after him, Spencer regarded socialism as atavistic.

‘For in the absence of that voluntary cooperation which contract implies,’ Spencer explained, ‘there is no possible alternative but compulsory cooperation. Self-ownership entirely disappears and ownership by others universally replaces it.’

And the political incentives towards this end sound eerily similar to today’s partisan/bipartisan lurch towards ever-bigger government. ‘Naturally the member of parliament who submits to coercion by his party, contemplates legal coercions of others without repugnance. . . [B]eing the creature of his party and the creature of his constituents, he does not hesitate in making each citizen the creature of the community.’

And socialists, in this kind of environment, have a field day, gaining converts. I mean, the promises! But, as Spencer observed, the new convert ‘is not told that if he is to be fed he must also be driven.’

Spencer did not predict revolution, though, despite how often it was advocated: ‘A sudden substitution of the régime proposed for the régime which exists, as intended by bearers of the red flag, seems less likely than a progressive metamorphosis.’

But the end-game seemed obvious: ‘a state in which no man can do what he likes but every man must do what he is told.’

Spencer lets bitterness creep into his treatise: ‘An entire loss of freedom will thus be the fate of those who do not deserve the freedom they possess.’

But how long would the new, collectivist social state last? Spencer did not predict. But he did guess, in his last chapter, how the new socialist order might end. Such orders end, sometimes, with a ‘sudden bursting of bonds which have become intolerable may in some cases happen: bringing on a military despotism. In other cases practical extinction may follow a gradual decay, arising from abolition of the normal relation between merit and benefit, by which alone the vigour of a race can be maintained. And in yet further cases may come conquest by peoples who have not been emasculated by fostering their feebles — peoples before whom the socialistic organization will go down like a house of cards, as did that of the ancient Peruvians before a handful of Spaniards.’

Now, Spencer is often castigated as an advocate of necessary unilinear progress, yet he was, at the end of his sociological work, explaining ‘retrogression.’ 

He tried to paint in landscape, not minute portraiture: ‘if the process of evolution which, unceasing throughout past time, has brought life to its present height, continues throughout the future, as we cannot but anticipate, then, amid all the rhythmical changes in each society, amid all the lives and deaths of nations, amid all the supplantings of race by race, there will go on that adaptation of human nature to the social state which began when savages first gathered together into hordes for mutual defence—an adaptation finally complete.’ He understood that his basic perspective is, to most people, ‘a wild imagination.’ But evolution was not the whole of his Synthetic Philosophy, not the whole of his famous schema, for he insisted that the ‘cosmic process brings about retrogression as well as progression, where the conditions favour it.’ Contra his critics, he asserted an obvious point: ‘Evolution does not imply a latent tendency to improve, everywhere in operation. There is no uniform ascent from lower to higher, but only an occasional production of a form which, in virtue of greater fitness for more complex conditions, becomes capable of a longer life of a more varied kind.’

But he did insist that there are indeed higher forms that can be distinguished from lower forms, the higher ones corresponding to ‘greater fitness for more complex conditions.’

And socialism is not that highest form.

Liberty is.

twv

In my arguments, chiefly against the left, these days, I often do not get argument in return, I get counter-assertion, restatement, and laughing emoji reacts.

Arguing against these approaches pointlessness, and usually I just roll my eyes. But one must occasionally make a stand for reason.

A neighbor of mine is an old progressive. I would say he is an “un-reconstructed progressive,” but that would be wrong. All the old progressives I know do the pomo thing: racism, sexism, classicism, partisanship, relentless promotion of big government. Here is a typical Facebook interchange:

Now, my neighbor’s name I have obscured in black, his friend in red. The linked article was inapposite, so I responded:

Notice the only responses? Laughing emoji. I did not say anything funny, and my criticasters merely pretended not to be agelasts.

Then, not long after, my neighbor offered up another lame “meme”:

And here we get some argument, at last:

I leave laughter for other occasions: on the issue of group violence I am a stickler.

And even Paul Jacob strikes me as bending way too far backwards for the forces of chaos:

I give him some pushback, for I do not really agree with his general perspective: mass violence cannot easily be met with normal police action. It is warfare — Portland’s mayor calls it “urban warfare,” but more than implies that the federal government started it . . . which it did not.

Actually, Paul himself champed at the bit of this nonsense on Wednesday:

Cops vs. Mobs, Tyranny vs. Law?

“He was stuffed into what may have been a rental van operated by unmarked federal agents,” explained Cato Institute’s Patrick Eddington, “and taken to the federal courthouse, where he was interrogated without counsel. He wisely refused to answer questions and was then subsequently released without any kind of charges being filed.”

Eddington concluded: “I think most people would call that kidnapping.” 

The “he” — detained and questioned by federal agents* in Portland, Oregon — is Mark Pettibone. Whether the van was rented is irrelevant, nor do these agents or their vehicles require any marking.

And criminal suspects can lawfully be held for questioning. 

“So that we understand how police may remove someone from the streets,” Cato Daily Podcast host Caleb Brown adroitly offered, “we understand that they need to identify themselves. . . . that people who are placed under arrest retain certain rights to communicate with the outside world, to assert their ability to have a lawyer present for questioning.

“It seems that perhaps,” added Brown, “asking for a lawyer was the trigger here” resulting in Mr. Pettibone’s release.

Eddington agreed, but then announced that it “really does have the feel of Argentina or Chile in the 1970s, with the disappearances that took place. The only thing lacking was Mr. Pettibone being murdered by those agents.”

That is one big “only”!

“This is being done essentially to try to suppress protests in this country,” argued Eddington. “It has nothing to actually do with protecting monuments.” 

“We’re talking only about violent rioters,” Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli told NPR. “We’re not talking about actual protesters. We’re not seeking to interfere at all with anyone peacefully expressing themselves — period, full stop.”

Following the rule of law means protecting peaceful protests. And welcoming an investigation into the federal role in Portland. More concerning than Mr. Pettibone’s detention is the continued use of so-called non-lethal weapons, which seriously injured a protester weeks ago.

But the rule of law also means protecting Portlanders and their property against violence and destruction. And welcoming an investigation into the state and local dereliction of duty in Portland. 

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

* The Department of Homeland Security acknowledged that agents with the CBP (Customs and Border Protection) were “cross designated to support FPS” (the Federal Protection Service) in Portland “because of the demand for more manpower in light of the violence.”

So here Paul is resolute in opposing what I object to, the way our dominant culture bends over backward to cover for leftist mass violence strikes me as part of the post-modernist mind-rape that constitutes the psy-op of the Deep State and the old, old memeplex that is totalitarianism.

If it were not so dangerous I would laugh.

Maybe I will laugh at it tomorrow. Right now, eyerolls only:

Charlie Day Eye Roll GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

About once a week I catch myself posting to the wrong page on Facebook, to the wrong audience.

Usually I catch before I post. Sometimes after. That is embarrassing.

This sort of lapse is unfortunate when you post for different reasons, sometimes exploring an idea that most people find threatening or “offensive,” or when engaging in some irony or japery that most won’t get, or merely out of place, as when one discusses philosophy on an animal appreciation page.

When I worked at Liberty magazine, decades ago, much of the badinage there could not take place outside the rooms of that business. And shouldn’t. And some of what was said probably shouldn’t have been said. But most sins of speech were venial sins.

None of this is about First Amendment rights to free speech. But it is about a kind of free speech, and the erosion of the idea from public culture. 

Though the current “cancel culture” that says we must terminate the employment of anyone who says things we don’t like — no matter how legal — is mostly alien to me, I guess I can see why some people fall into this. Could it be because they want not an open arena of adults “agreeing to disagree,” but safe spaces where their ideas aren’t challenged?

Right now, one half the country has become increasingly intolerant while preaching tolerance; the other half has become increasingly tolerant of intolerance, because of the intolerance of the professedly tolerant. Generally, I’m on the side of the latter, not the former, because I cannot stand Ms. Grundys, and, like John Stuart Mill, think the culture of an open society should be generally tolerant, not “repressively tolerant” as in neo-Marxist nutbar Herbert Marcuse. 

But it is apparent that now is a Marcusian moment, not a Millian one. 

I realize that, in today’s environment, I am almost unemployable in a normal job that is subject to pressure by the woke mobs. This gives me pause.

Not long ago, a woman was fired by a private company for her very non-business-related posting of the “all lives matter” slogan on her Facebook page — and the Libertarian Party presidential candidate Jo Jorgensen cited, to a C-Span audience, this sad and intrusive event as an example of businesses resisting discrimination. How deeply messed-up this is? Hilarious. Which is why I’ve been joking about this with a few friends today, making elaborate goofy arguments back and forth. But the truth, all kidding aside, is that Jo Jo doesn’t understand the current cultural climate. De-platforming, doxxing, and similar bullying events are not examples of companies being “against discrimination.” (For one thing, the lady fired was truly against discrimination by saying “all lives matter”! There are many levels of hilarity here.) It is about kowtowing to pressure groups, to intransigent minorities.

First-Amendment free speech rights cannot long last in a society where one group is given license to prescribe the speech for all.

That is the current situation.

What we are witnessing is an ideological monoculture aiming for hegemony over the open society.

I prefer multiculturalism, actually, and free association, and think I could demonstrate, if required, how cultural diversity requires a small government and a general right of free speech and free association. But those who pretend to be multiculturalist are now pushing a political monoculture and are poised to use hate speech laws (as in Europe and the British Commonwealth nation-states) to proscribe free speech.

The idea that we should, as a courtesy, target our comments to the most receptive audiences is not a problem. But that we do so out of fear is a big problem.

We truly do live in interesting times.

twv

I know worrying about “foreign interference in our elections” is so Last Year, but as I was reading a missive from Gab.com entitled “Who Is Gab For?,” I realized something: Big Tech de-platforming and censorship is foreign interference in “our” elections:

American values are foreign to Silicon Valley because three-quarters of Silicon Valley workers are from foreign countries with foreign values. Would American workers unilaterally censor fellow Americans at the behest of a corporation? Perhaps, but there would undoubtably be a few more dissenters and whistleblowers.

I know that when I get crunched for a post on Quora or Facebook, it does not feel like Americans doing the crunching.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

The letter from Torba:

Gab is an anti-establishment company.

The establishment is our enemy because the establishment is the enemy of Truth.

This includes establishment “conservatives.”

Gab is not being built for the establishment.

It’s being built to dismantle it.

Our terms of service have always been unapologetically American and place the First Amendment above all else as a guiding principle when it comes to content moderation. This is something most “woke” American companies won’t do. This is something the vast majority of politicians would never endorse. This is something Silicon Valley will never do.

American values are foreign to Silicon Valley because three-quarters of Silicon Valley workers are from foreign countries with foreign values. Would American workers unilaterally censor fellow Americans at the behest of a corporation? Perhaps, but there would undoubtably be a few more dissenters and whistleblowers.

Gab is the only technology company in the world brave enough to authentically stand against Big Tech tyranny and offer people a real choice.

Gab gave birth to the free speech software movement in 2016 and is the de facto market leader when it comes to alternative technology. Not only did we build an open source social network, but also a web browser, a news aggregator, hosting infrastructure, email infrastructure, our own ecommerce platform, and much more.

While our terms of service are crucial and the technology we’ve built is impressive, Gab is nothing without our community of people. Gabbers are not just “users.” They are our shareholders, customers, donors, volunteers, and warriors.

Many Gabbers have been with us since August of 2016 when we launched. They’ve seen our story unfold and have stood by us through attacks from every mainstream media outlet in the world, every far-left activist organization in the world, every major tech company, foreign governments, and worse.

Gab stood boldly in front of the entire establishment machine and dared to say: NO.

Gabbers are smart people.

They aren’t easily led astray by talking heads or “influencers.” They aren’t fooled or persuaded by gimmicky marketing slogans or smooth-talking politicians. Gabbers are thinkers and Truth seekers. Above all else: they are good, honest, hard working people who love their freedom, country, and God.

Gab has earned their trust through trial by fire.

Not one person in the political establishment–including the Conservative Inc crowd that loves talking about free speech and Big Tech bias–embraced Gab. Not one of them defended Gab. Many of them even attacked Gab and cheered as we were attacked by the media and Big Tech. These people are hypocrites, liars, frauds, and enemies of truth.

The mainstream media has never covered Gab in any objective way or with any form of journalistic integrity (with the one exception being Tucker Carlson.) From the moment Gab launched we were smeared, defamed, and attacked by the marxist propagandists who call themselves as “journalists.”

None of this mattered to our community.

What mattered is that we stood our ground and most importantly: we refused to ever give up and kept fighting back.

So who is Gab for?

Gab is not designed to prop up narcissistic “influencers” who already have a big microphone courtesy of their oligarch masters.

Gab is not being built for politicians to whisper sweet nothings full of lies and deception to the masses.

Gab is for everyday people who feel that they no longer have a voice—both online and off.

We invite them, and you, to speak freely.

Andrew Torba / CEO, Gab.com / July 9th, 2020

Well, not a “study” so much as merely an example:

So basically Facebook blocks all Brighteon videos. I had merely been trying to share a Styx vid on John Bolton.

How should I express my contempt for the people who run Facebook? They block a whole video source. Because it contains work by people excluded from other sites, such as YouTube and Vimeo. Apparently. (I have not read any of the stories about this.)

I have an account there, on Brighteon. I am trying to upload a video right now. I have not had much success on Bitchute — I upload a video and then it never shows up. But Brighteon hasn’t published my video yet. Says it is “under review.” What? We’ll see how this develops. Finding alternatives to Institutional Evil is a problem. (I have written about it before.)

So, I am abandoning Facebook again for the weekend. I’m on Gab: @wirkman.

And here is me, years ago, irked not about Facebook but by John Bolton:

I make at least one error here. Maybe a big one.

…from the last few days on social media….

As anyone may have noticed, I’m not very big into “protests.” I turned on the idea of mass protest pretty thoroughly when I stumbled into Seattle’s 1999 WTO protests by accident, and then watched (from a safe distance) as the protests spiraled into mass violence.

Since I also opposed the WTO, you might think I would have been simpatico with the protesters. But no: they were mainly left-anarchist poseur hippie boys and their earnest, professional girlfriends, spouting contradictory and incoherent gibberish, unlearned and anti-factual and rather stupid.

The biggest difference never receives official attention: “right-wing” protests almost never lead to violence, “left-wing” protests almost always do. 

This wasn’t always the case, and much depends upon how you define left and right, which I blogged about once again today. But in recent memory, left-wing protest tends to lead to rioting.

Remember just a few months and then weeks ago normal Americans — mostly but not all white — were promoting the Second Amendment in Virginia and then protesting the lockdowns in Michigan? In both cases the major media freaked over the weaponry on display. But there was zero to scant violence, during and after.

The main complaints were “I saw a Confederate Flag!” and “They aren’t social distancing!”

But media folks — they don’t mind seeing commie and anarchist flags, pointing their cameras elsewhere, and I haven’t heard any umbrage taken about the protesters in Minneapolis not wearing medical masks.

There were mask-wearers, of course, but those appeared to be rioters — and the Men in Black who were instigating mayhem.

So, one reason there may be violence associated with left-wing protests is that right-wingers sabotage them. But that isn’t the full story, for the anarchists at the WTO riots, and antifa and BAMN at more recent protests, are very, very left-wing, and very, very violent. 

And do a lot of instigating.

While being institutionally supported by George Soros.

Further, masses of leftists seem more violent than masses of rightists.

The lack of objective reporting by the press is interesting. 

It could be ideological: we rah-rah our side, we boo their side! 

But it may be more craven: the media likes to cover violence, so encourages the protests that give corporate heads the stories that help with the bottom line.


I have never denied that SARS-CoV-2 is extremely dangerous. Why, it makes even the uninfected go mad.


Does it need to be said? No matter who instigates a destructive riot, riots are bad. No matter who casts the first stone, so to speak, does not let off the hook the second thrower, or the third, or the fourth. We can make judgments about people who attack innocent people and their property. Condemnation is the standard, traditional, and quite justified judgment.

“Outside instigators of violence” should worry those who think their protests are legitimate. If they go ahead and protest, and do not patrol their ranks, and their peaceful protest breaks out into looting and arson and street violence, then that’s a tragedy. If, however, every time a protest of your cause ends up that way, and yet you organize protests, you become complicit (to some extent) in the horrors of the crime wave.

I have seen credible (but not certain) accusations of instigation to violence in Minneapolis and elsewhere of undercover/off-duty police and of antifa and other anarchist groups, and much speculation about criminals, political groups, etc. What if it were a perfect storm of influences, from left, right and center?

Would it matter to protesters? If what they do is set off violence, then what they do is at best counter-productive.

Something other than protests need to be thought. I have suggestions.

But because they are rational suggestions, irrational people will not engage in them, now, will they?

Defending “peaceful protest” is fine, but if it always ends up violent, the defenses are inapposite.

Remember Martin Luther King, Jr.? Somehow, he took a lot of care to make his marches peaceful.

Today’s protests generally repudiate the principles of MLK. Yet everyone claims to admire him.

Par for the current course, though: seemingly earnest pieties are regularly repudiated in action.


Were you aware that notorious pick-up artist Roosh V. has repudiated his past and now preaches traditional Christian ethics?

I first became aware of him as he began undergoing his transition. It has been interesting to watch. I was of course aware of “the game” for many years, but had never really followed it. Roosh, however, is an interesting case.


So, the challenge is here: the famous anti-HCQ study is probably a fraud.

I had seen someone else make the case yesterday. On Twitter or Gab. Somebody else other than this linked author who deals with data on a regular basis was utterly incredulous about the data set described:

If you’re following at all the search for COVID-19 treatments, and possibly even if not, you will have seen the flurry of media coverage for the observational study in The Lancet ‘Hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine with or without a macrolide for treatment of COVID-19: a multinational registry analysis. It made the news not least because hydroxychloroquine is the drug President Trump says he is taking in the belief that it will reduce his chance of catching COVID-19. This view is not backed up evidence until some randomised trials come in. Getting in before the trials, the Lancet study used propensity score matching to try to control for the non-random treatment. It found that taking hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine were associated with an increased risk of heart problems.
I am highly skeptical of the powers of hydroxychloroquine with relation to COVID-19 (‘skeptical’ in the sense that I have suspended judgement for now – there simply isn’t evidence either way). But I want the test of its properties to be done properly, with random controlled trials. And if we are to use observational studies (which I do not object to, they just aren’t as useful as an experiment where you can manipulate the treatment), they have to use real data.
The data in that study, and in at least one preprint on a second treatment, were provided by an Illinois firm called Surgisphere. Allegedly the data represents the treatment and health outcomes of 96,032 patients from 671 hospitals in six continents. However, there is simply no plausible way I can think of that the data are real.
I’ll say that again – I believe with very high probability the data behind that high profile, high consequence Lancet study are completely fabricated.

Peter Ellis, “A health data firm making extraordinary claims about its data,” free range statistics, May 30, 2020.

So, a major journal accepts a study on a highly politicized subject and — if this charge holds — scandal ensues.

This is par for the postmodern course, from what I can tell. We do not have as much actual science going on as we are led to believe. Much of it is scientism — pseudoscience. I assume you are aware of the replicability problem that has been dogging the heels of institutional science for the last decade. Many journals have also become corrupt or, at best, inefficient. (I just read the abstract of a paper co-authored by Dan Klein about “the paucity of theory in the Journal of Economic Theory.” Hilarious.) Much of the academic world has lost its way. The “scientific method” is not in practice when the “public testing” element is institutionally scuttled.

The problem, I believe, is government funding. For that puts science into the whorl of special interest incentives, and makes the subject area liable to something very much like “regulatory capture.”

Whole domains of science seem untrustworthy to me:

climatology
paleontology
ancient history
economics

. . . I could go on and on.

Only when academics are held accountable on objective grounds can they be saved from corruption by politics and funding. And since the academy is by definition an exclusionary institution, accountability has to be imposed. It is imperative that non-academics speak up. 

And let us be frank: this case is in part about TDS.


To what extent is COVID-19 panic driven by class insecurities? Most illnesses the well-off can avoid or pay for. The panic began when being rich did not seem to help, while lockdown mania grew as it became clear that the well-off were less negatively affected than the proletarian middle and lower income groups.

twv

The startling horror of wearing stripes with plaid made me go crazy with the filter. Still: stripe v. plaid!
The leftist definition of fascism — corporate take-over and tyranny — has been enacted not by self-professed fascists, or the Alt-Right, or Donald J. Trump, but by leftists themselves.

For years leftists told libertarians that corporate power could be suppressive, oppressive, tyrannical. Libertarians scoffed. Demanded evidence.

So leftists provided that evidence: they developed major social media (with a little help from the alphabet soup of U.S. “intelligence” agencies) and then used their leverage to censor information, inquiry and opinions that run counter to their narrative and party line. YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter now routinely censor opinions on the coronavirus they (and the World Health Organization) don’t like. And more.

They proved their point. They became the oppressors they warned us about.

Libertarians lost the argument, and are doubly unhappy about it: they were proven wrong and they are oppressed. But leftists? Their win must be . . . bittersweet. I mean, to win by losing: by becoming the very thing you most hate!

twv

I keep forgetting to mark, here, the short stories I read. Well, I just read a blogged story from long, long ago, “The Human Brick.”

It is short, and though hardly a masterpiece, it is worth reading, perhaps. What do you think?

On a not unrelated note, on Fb I made a list of the Top Ten Most Memorable Short Stories I Have Read and Can Recall Without Looking at Any Book or Listicle.

I ordered mine as they popped into my head:

1. The Dead, by James Joyce (Dubliners)
2. Homecoming, by Ray Bradbury (October Country)
3. The Sword of Welleran, by Lord Dunsany
4. Family Happiness, by Leo Tolstoy
5. The Upper Berth, by F. Marion Crawford (Wandering Ghosts)
6. The Blue Background, by Brian Aldiss (Isaac Asimov’s — but this is not sf)
7. Unaccompanied Sonata, by Orson Scott Card (Monkey Sonatas)
8. Leaf by Niggle, by J.R.R. Tolkien (The Tolkien Reader)
9. The Imp of the Perverse, by E. A. Poe
10. Think Like a Dinosaur, by James Patrick Kelly (Asimov’s)

Runners up (meaning only that I thought of them after the above—many are better!):
Never Bet the Devil Your Head, by Poe
Hunting the Unicorn, by Lord Dunsany
The Lady of All Our Dreams, 
The Wedding Jest, and
Concerning David Jogram, by James Branch Cabell
Mortal Gods, by Orson Scott Card
A Clean Well-Lighted Place, by Ernest Hemingway
Blue Moon, by Connie Willis
The Indian Uprising, by Donald Barthelme
Redemption, by John Gardner
The Ballad of the Flexible Bullet, and
The Body, by Stephen King (Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction)
Back in the Eocene, by T. Coraghessan Boyle
The Moon Moth, by Jack Vance
The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas, and
Vaster Than Empires and More Slow, by Ursula K. Le Guin
The Grove of Ashtaroth, by John Buchan
Problems, by John Updike

I read Raymond Carver and John Cheever and other authors so long ago I forget their titles, but many great stories can be found in their work.

I was set to post to LocoFoco.us, one of my Facebook pages, a link with a question. But Facebook warned me:

The article was from LewRockwell.com, “Vitamins C and D Finally Adopted as Coronavirus Treatment,” by Joseph Mercola. I have no opinion on the information, misinformation or disinformation in this article. I was going to ask for opinions. But Facebook has an agenda: when you publish too much wrongthink, no matter what the framing, the social media site is going to downgrade your page and hide it from visitors.

Indeed, it has already done so, to the LocoFoco page. I did not post the above article, for fear of an utter take-down, suppression.

No way to run a railroad, Facebook.

For instance, I would love to have seen Facebook’s fact-checkers to provide me INFORMATION or ARGUMENTATION about the article in question. I would not even mind if a ’bot did that.

But the current quasi-censorship method is not acceptable.

So, because of that, I’m going to spread another questionable source:

This man sure doesn’t approve of the medical establishment!

Take that, Facebook, you evil a-holes.