Archives for category: Facebook

. . . as posted on Facebook. . . .

Retirement, especially as guaranteed by government, is the secular replacement for heaven.

It is the funniest religion-buster we have. Social Security is also a great metaphor for one view of Christian salvation: half works, half grace. But I still have trouble seeing the State as Savior, which is the favored model of many people, left and right. Of course, in this analogy, it is on the left that the messianism is strongest, for leftists want (nay, demand!) at the very minimum something like a guaranteed income, which is all grace and no works. I snicker.

Yes, I find our world hilarious.

January 11, 2021, 3:14 PM PST


Just to re-state: Bill Barr did not disclose the FBI’s ongoing investigations into Hunter Biden even while Trump was being impeached for asking for an investigation into the Bidens. How could this be justified? Barr had what seems to me a clear obligation to the citizenry to explain what was really going on. Instead, he let every gullible person in America think Trump was likely engaged in a partisan, self-interested witch hunt, when he really had reasonable suspicion of deep crookery.

That strikes me as cause for Barr to be reviled for siding with the Deep State and against a sitting president for doing nothing wrong.

And now Ukraine has come out with its investigation results. The government says billions are missing and the Bidens engineered the theft.

Yet I notice little talk in the press. We hardly need to wonder why: the press in America is largely a propaganda mill for the Deep State.

A video comment about the origins of the ongoing Ukraine fiasco.

January 11, 2021, 12:16 PM PST

The idea is to liken global warming skeptics to holocaust deniers. It’s a bit misleading because the skeptics/climate realists are the ones who always emphasize that climate never stops changing and has been changing for over four billion years, while the global warming catastrophists try to deny the reality of the Medieval Warm Period (when the Earth was hotter than today) and the Little Ice Age (from which we are still rebounding).

David Ramsay Steele, as quoted by Lee C. Waaks.

Now we skeptics can be called COVID deniers by the same crowd, on a different subject (but with eerily similar policy prescriptions), because we really do have this notion that science is about criticism, and requires considering more than one factor in a complex phenomenon.

January 11, 2016, 7:16 PM PST


The official timeline of the coronavirus outbreak is almost certainly wrong. Instances of the virus (in some form) appeared in the West in pockets starting in November 2019. I had it in February, and I was fairly late to the disease in the valley I live in. My brother had the same, odd illness in December and January, and he’s over a thousand miles to the east. Studies indicate that it was in Europe in December.

This could have huge implications for our understanding of what the virus is and why it has spread like it has. I have conjectures, but it would be mere fun to speculate much. The truth is unknown by me.

January 12, 2021, 4:47 PM PST


Operation Paperclip was a thing. It is a fact. Nazi scientists and technicians were imported into the United States to fill the ranks of NASA, military contractors, the academy, and intel agencies. We have good reason to believe that the disinformation skills of the National Socialists were absorbed into the intellectual culture of the Deep State in the 1950s and 1960s.

This is not a mere conspiracy theory, since while the secrecy was real the program has been acknowledged. And it was vast.

We might want to keep this in mind when considering current psychological operations and Internet speech suppression.

Now, some extrapolations we can make from this are indeed “conspiracy theories.” Joseph P. Farrell’s judgment — his “high octane speculation” that he floats as reasonable and likely — is that the Nazis basically took over America in a de facto if not de jure fashion with the JFK assassination. That seems a big stretch. I know. But it should be judged by the evidence, not our well-programmed “instincts.” Many of our prejudices have been programmed by psychological operations of the Deep State. For example, “conspiracy theory” was a term coined and pushed by the CIA for the media to use to marginalize anyone who questioned the “lone gunman” theory of the JFK assassination.

Don’t be good little boys and girls. You can be adults and question authority.

An afterthought on causation: A group that could incorporate Nazis into it is obviously nasty. A group incorporating Nazis into it, and in high places, offering special expense accounts and subsidies, is not going to be bettered by the inclusion. Indeed, it’s indicative of a direction. And that helps explain why America is such a messed-up place: it anathematizes Nazis but is run like a Fourth Reich, increasingly.

January 12, 2021, 5:05 PM PST


New temporary Profile Image, May 10, 2021. Note: this mask is only a nicety. It cannot possibly affect even a mere bacterial transmission, the grid of its breathing net being too wide. It is a camouflage mask, for hunters. But I use it as a camouflage mask for woke disease puritans.

The mask mandate has been something of a puzzle. From the beginning, we were lied to about mask efficacy during a respiratory virus epidemic. At first, we all remember, we were told not to wear them, they wouldn’t be effective, people couldn’t wear them well, etc. And the studies (and yes, there were studies) did not show any utility in reducing the spread of an airborne viral contagion. But Fauci, whom everyone knows, deep down, is a liar, seemed to be lying when he told us they weren’t useful. He was just saving the masks for the professionals! So it sounded to normal people like they did work, but Fauci got almost no flak for fibbing.

Then came the lockdowns, the Fifteen Days to Flatten the Curve – to save the hospitals from over-flow and professional staff from being over-burdened. We were advised to wear makeshift masks in our few public appearances, and we were told that mask production was up. And well-meaning people chipped in, making and selling and giving away home-made masks. And most of us thought that a 15-day holiday was the least we could do.

And then came the greatest con job in world history. Most people did not blink, sucked it all in like an OnlyFans whore. The governors of the states – and officials around the world – kept the lockdowns past the 15 day limit. In American, the hospitals suffered chiefly from under-use, not over-use, so the whole rationale had evaporated. Yet the lockdowns continued, and Trump’s promise of a vaccine shifted the whole pandemic panic from a coping strategy, playing it as it comes, to an over-arching Salvation Strategy, wherein anyone dying was a tragedy for the world, and how dare anyone think anything about their rights when old people are dying. So we are still in this ambiguous realm of over-reaction in most places, but open society in some places, like South Dakota, Texas and Florida — the latter two where the COVID is not as disastrous as it is in the lockdown areas. Meanwhile, many of us are wearing masks. I find it stupid, and when I look at cross-regional stats, I can see absolutely no correlation between mask and lockdowns with better epidemic outcomes. None. Zip. Nada. Zilch.

So what is with these masks? They are crowd control. Their limited utility is keeping people from touching their faces, as a sort of muzzle — though even this minor effect has not been demonstrated statistically, and I am unaware of any study that demonstrates this effect clearly.

“It cannot hurt” is the best we can say for the policy. But that is not at all true. Look at children who have gotten infections because they are wearing masks all day, because of insane state mandates in public schools. Remember, masks are probably pretty effective in sealing in/out bacterial infections. But that sealing-in effect can be quite bad.

But most people don’t care about that, because they are sheep. We bleat, we do not reason.

May 10, 2021, 2:17 PM


Whereas the traditional way of categorizing the general government of these United States is to list the three constitutionally divided federal branches, with their respective designated powers; and whereas the even more traditional is to recognize the primacy of the states in the federation, nevertheless — I recognize that things have changed, and there exists a Leviathan of competing and cooperating powers, including:

1. constitutional government, as specified in written documents at the country’s origins, and as funded by a variety of taxes and loans;

2. the welfare state, as funded by income earners and spent in transfer payments in Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and allied programs;

3. the Deep State, as constituting the Administrative State in its more secret realms, in the intelligence agencies and the Pentagon, and, especially, in their semi-permanent “partners” in military and intelligence contractors (the “military-industrial complex,” as Ike put it);

4. the Wide State, as instantiated in the major players in the unions and plutocracy, and in the shallow end of the Deep State, and especially in the corporations and NGOs that gain power by contract and special relationships with the constitutional government, but sans secrecy; and

5. government by folkways, which remains the part I like the most, but which has proved itself recently of being captured by the governments above to quite bracing effects.

May 12, 2021, 1:45 PM


It is worth noting that “social justice” is in complete opposition to liberty in the realm of public policy. Social justice is a changeling philosophy, swapped out to “liberals” while they were barely paying attention in the government-run classes that were designed by advocates of social justice.

There is no compatibility between “social justice” and “liberty.” And when one waxes, the other must wane.

May 7, 2021, 5:14 PM


I received on my author’s page on Facebook a direct challenge to a recent post. I will respond to it here, as soon as my taxes are done. And I unbury myself from mowing the lawn, etc. So: maybe never?

Belgian economist whom I often mention on social media.

I prefer Gab and even Flote Beta to other social media apps:

And Paul Jacob discusses a relevant subject on Common Sense today:

In all the talk of “social media” — their psychological effects on us; their political power; their abusive treatment of our privacy and our loyalty — one thing does not get talked about enough: that social media’s chief utility for many of us is not social at all.

Facebook, YouTube, SoundCloud, Twitter, Gab, Instagram, Quora — these are personal databases. 

Databases on the Cloud, sure; databases open to the public and open to paying advertisers, surely (that’s how the media giants make money while providing us with a free service). 

But they remain databases. And, as such, they allow us to log our interactions with both online and physical worlds, storing our photos, videos, audios, links, thoughts, questions & answers, and more, so we may retrieve them later for whatever projects we may be engaged in.

This is no small thing if you are in a “business” like ThisIsCommonSense.org, where mining what I read two weeks ago can turn into something I need tomorrow. 

Trouble is, the search features of most social media services . . . well . . . don’t find much. It is often devilishly hard to find that article one linked to last April, or November, or . . . was it December? The search features to one’s own entries (as well as others’) should be much more robust. Inventive. Useful. 

It would be nice if the social media companies that mine our data for their pecuniary advantage would also allow us to mine our data . . . for our more humble purposes.

So, take this as advice to alternative social media developers, like the Flote app: if you are literally providing a database for clients (and not true P2P functionality), then give search features more serious attention.

So that we can quickly find and re-share our most sublime cat photos.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

“Cats’ Pajamas,” ThisIsCommonSense.org, April 30, 2021.

These apps do have indices and search functions, but not very good ones. And Facebook’s most recent upgrade made it harder for me to find stuff on it. Not easier. I wish Gab and Flote the best, though.

twv

Yesterday was a day of low tide. This is the kind of photo I tend to share on social media.

Frankly, I am tempted to be thankful that our technocratic fascisti among corporate journalists overplay their hands, since what they are dealing is decadence. Nicely, Jacob Sullum is a journalist working outside the bindings of the fasces:

Based on an analysis of news stories about COVID-19 that appeared from January 1 through July 31, Dartmouth economist Bruce Sacerdote and two other researchers found that 91 percent of the coverage by major U.S. media outlets was “negative in tone.” The rate was substantially lower in leading scientific journals (65 percent) and foreign news sources (54 percent).

Sacerdote and his co-authors, who report their results in a working paperrecently published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, found that stories about increases in newly identified infections far outnumbered stories about decreases, “even when caseloads were falling nationally.” Coverage of school reopenings likewise was “overwhelmingly negative, while the scientific literature tells a more optimistic story,” indicating that “schools have not become the super-spreaders many feared.”

This unrelenting, indiscriminate negativity fosters suspicion and resistance. Journalists and politicians who repeatedly cry wolf should not be surprised at the lack of cooperation when the beast actually appears.

Last May, The New York Times warned that lifting state lockdowns could raise nationwide COVID-19 deaths above 3,000 a day by June 1. The actual number was about 700.

Since mid-October, the seven-day average of daily deaths has more than tripled, exceeding the record set in April. But that reality still falls short of the false prophecy embraced by the Times.

Jacob Sullum, “Are Americans Insufficiently Alarmed by COVID-19?,” Reason, December 19, 2020.
From a Fb thread on a Reason article. Going “over the top” has its amusements.

Sullum concludes by opining for “the honesty that Americans deserve,” but I hesitate to endorse this. I wish better for Americans than what they deserve. It is quite possible that Americans do deserve what they are getting.

twv

…originally posted to Fb on October 24, 2020….

It is possible that whoever wins the 2020 presidential race will have won through vote fraud. Many states use electronic voting machines that have been repeatedly compromised (hacked; cracked) and this has been available information, known to Americans, for decades. But as far as I can tell, next to nothing has been done.

This being the case, Americans have no one better to blame for any future de facto coup than themselves. If they shrug such information off with a laugh in an off year, an on year is no occasion to complain.

Now, China is the most obvious and likely foreign manipulator of U.S. elections, but Russia is the biggest malefactor that comes to mind. But since that is largely the result of four years of disinformation from CNN and other CIA front organizations, the biggest threat to America’s democratic infrastructure is the Deep State cabal itself — or, in the case of intertribal Deep State struggle, themselves. What if the CIA/FBI/NSA were backing Biden, and the Navy/Army/trad Pentagon backing Trump? The question might be which group has compromised the systems in which states.

We are entering an age where the real arms race pertains to election fraud technology.

twv

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.