The gender debate is a tricky one. I think “gender” is mostly pseudo-science, but if you regard gender as simply “one’s identity understood in sexual signaling terms,” which is what it really means in proper usage by academic gender theorists, it has to be understood that people interpret signals differently, and the intended sign — the one you wish to “put out there” — has never automatically been accepted by others. And there’s the rub, right?

In the trans and intersectionalist movements, the signal you “put out there” is said to be the true one, and it is oppression if others do not accept it.

Well, does that even pass the smell test?

After all, as Umberto Eco pointed out so eloquently in the first few pages of A Theory of Semiotics (1974; 1976), the study of signs is ”in principle the study of everything which can be used in order to lie.”

And the trans activist part of the gender movement sure stinks of people committing a public fraud and demanding not only compliance, but praise, too.

Switch away from trans. Consider another gender rubric.

I could “display” as an Alpha Male, for instance.

And funny that gender theorists never talk about the Alpha/Beta/Gamma/etc rubric in anything but contemptuous terms), eh?

Anyway, let us say I dress up and behave as a typical Alpha.

But that would be absurd. I am obviously not an Alpha. And who says I’m not, who are these horrible oppressors? Women. If I were an Alpha, I’d have a new woman on my arm every week. That isn’t happening, so no matter how I “display,” I’m not an Alpha.

Same with a man dressed up as a woman. A man is a male adult. That’s the definition, and it is determined, after challenge, by gametes (which are binary, with no spectrum or crossover whatsoever), genitalia, chromosomal make-up, and secondary sexual characteristics.

A Gedankenexperiment

Now, as a thought experiment, a “trans woman” tries to get us to treat him as a “her,” for reasons we can leave for another time. Not treating him as a woman is oppression, etc. etc. But if some man just says he’s a woman while still looking like a man, I’ll balk. Why wouldn’t you?

What most “trans women” try to do, thanks be to the daimons in our culture, is dress and act in a feminine manner, according to the customs of the society he resides in, and alter, as much as he can, his secondary sexual characteristics, often with estrogen therapy. If he goes the full way, he will get surgery to do so, and even remove or modify his genitalia the better to pull off “the transition.” But note he cannot change his chromosomes or his gametes.

So, on a basic biological ground, he remains a man, no matter how far trans he has gone.

Of course, by custom, a man who can pass for a woman usually gets treated so, but that isn’t a matter of his/her/zher rights, it’s a matter of others’ discretion.

Bottom Line

Since the trans movement reached its most recent degree of ratchet-crazy, I’ve often said that I’m not really interested in your gender, and that I’d prefer to bestow others’ pronouns, for example, by sex.

Seems like my linguistic habits should be up to me, not you.

If you are a man, I’ll call you as such. If you are a woman, I’ll call you as such. It’s truly oppressive for you to insist on something different from me. My language is mine, and you must negotiate with me to induce me to change it; if you apply coercion (especially legal coercion), you become my enemy.

And I’m authorized to defend myself by force.

And, for the record, I will take your “gender theory” seriously when you treat seriously the Alpha/Beta/Gamma perspective. This has been talked about for years, but the gender theorists I have encountered are “oppressively” dismissive.

twv

Great moments in “gendering”: Ludwig von Mises called Ayn Rand “The most courageous man in America.” When Rand heard this, she was gleeful.

Pssst: World War III began in 2020 and the West is losing, in no small part because almost no one realizes we are at war.

Sure, it is a new kind of war — bioweapon combined with a massive psy-op campaign — and we are expected to give up without fighting. And it looks like we will.

The COVID Reset is in full swing, the old order is dead man walking, and most folks — being hyper-partisan ideologues stuck in creaky old paradigms — will only realize it after the fact. How many will never realize it, I don’t know. And I of course refer to the casualties coming. The dead are utterly incapable of changing their minds.

[the above is a confidently stated conjecture]

Derelict silo.

When philosophically-minded people say the world is “meaningless,” as they sometimes do, I usually balk. They have misdiagnosed the problem. The world — like their heads — is over-full of meaning.

But our own mindscapes encounter an even greater welter of meanings. The cup of meaning runneth over.

Indeed, that realm of meaning has always struck me as self-evident. As a lover of the fantastic in literature, I understand that our imaginations extend far beyond the realm of the actual, the factual, into fiction.

Which is why Anselm’s ontological argument has always struck me as bizarre.

And I am not alone in such thoughts. My bent of mind was preceded by a great philosopher, George Santayana. And in my possession I have a paperback study of his thought that I highly recommend, by Willard E. Arnett.

Late in the book Arnett confronts Santayana’s approach to God. Which is tricky in the Santayana oeuvre, since the Spanish-American philosopher wrote much about religion as fiction, as “poetry.” But not much about the facticity of theological claims.

Arnett hones right in on the core issue, meaning, or “essence.”

And it is a fascinating and elegant doctrine, best stated in The Realm of Essence: Book First of Realms of Being (1927). But Arnett’s discussion is helpful:

If thought has no existential implications as such, then an imagined perfect Being can be just that, imagined. There is no warrant that the imagined must be existent.

So you can see why people tend to chafe at the vast realm of essences: the world doesn’t conform to the essences they prefer. Other essences map the world better. And that subset itself is vast, but not the “right Vastness,” so they imagine the world meaningless without God, their preferred essence. It is a non sequitur, it is an imposition upon the world of a standard that doesn’t fit, but which they think should.

This basic attitude I call the Ought/Is Hegemony. Or perhaps a different orthography is in order: Ought>Is Hegemony.

I find this alien to my thinking. I may contemplate some wild essence or another without having to assume that it matches the world of everyday existence.

I believe this puts me in Santayana’s camp.

twv

Photo: Ralf, Flickr, some rights reserved

For right-wing libertarians: Why should a factory owner receive more profit than the workers who constructed and maintain said factory?

. . . as answered on Quora. . . .

In classical political economy, profit is the return on capital, wages are the return on labor, and rent the return on land. That is, those who hire themselves out as laborers get wages in payment, and those who invest their savings in productive processes receive profits as their reward — if their ventures prove successful.

The wage contract is fairly simple, and laborers get their rewards whether or not the business earns a profit. When the entrepreneur can no longer pay them, they go elsewhere. Profit is something identified and recoverable after all the hired factors have been paid off. The wiser question is not whether factory owners* should receive moreprofit than workers, but that they should any receive profits while workers continue to receive wages, because anything else would be, well, stupid. Against the terms of relevant contracts.

The differences between contract labor and owning and managing a business are key to making sense of things. Economist Yves Guyot put it this way:

Wages are a speculation. The laborer who offers his labor to a trader or a contractor, argues thus with him: “I deliver to you so much labor. It is true that you run the risks of the enterprise. You are obliged to make advances of capital. You may gain or lose. That does not concern me. I do my work, I make it over to you at a certain price; you pay this to me whatever happens. Whether it redounds to your benefit or causes you loss is not my affair.”

Yves Guyot, The Tyranny of Socialism (1894).
Guyot by Gill

All who favor market cooperation over forms of coercion and expropriation — not just principled libertarians — look at claims of workers’ key contributions being the sole and overriding contributions to production as being rather witless. We shake our heads when we encounter these hoary socialist clichés.

And we imagine what a targeted entrepreneur might say:

‘You think that because you sweep a floor you should own it? Is it some Lockean “mixing of labor” that gives you this purported right to property? You were hired on specific terms for specific tasks! If the terms are invalid and the hiring amounts to a ceding of my property to you, then I will simply not hire you. Your new terms are unacceptable. You are basically saying that all my and my investors’ [the capitalists’] past savings that went into this enterprise should be yours because I have offered you a contract for a limited purpose. Don’t be absurd.’

But absurdity is precisely what all these retro socialist arguments amount to.

Libertarians often respond politely and even carefully to such arguments, in part because unraveling farragos is fun. But, in truth, we tend to regard the people who ask such things as cretins. Dumb-asses. Or else as con artists plying tricky arguments to engage in some grift. Socialism we regard as the Super Grift. We libertarians often roll our eyes at the insanity and folly.

And then some greasy grifter calls us “greedy”! For defending the rights of capitalists and entrepreneurs to their property, of all things. I am neither a capitalist nor an entrepreneur. But I know greed when I see it, and I see it when laborers hired for specific tasks rise up to demand more than specified in their contracts on the basis that, well, they “do some work.” Of course, most wage-earners of profitable American enterprises despise socialism. They aren’t greedy. They know they haven’t earned what socialists demand.

The bulk of socialists are college kids and professors and government functionaries and . . . journalists caught up in dreams of utopia. Thankfully, most nowadays don’t even ask these question in the old naive Marxoid fashion. They have moved on to the cult of “social justice” and “intersectionality.” They have their own follies. But at least they have abandoned this witless gambit.


* Or some other entrepreneur and some other business enterprise — the socialist obsession with “the factory” is so old-fashioned! I have never worked in a “factory,” the magazine I worked for being closest. Oh, and as a teen-ager I worked on a dairy farm one summer. Remember that Marx hated country life!

Remember that much-shared “meme” about how a certain hospital was being flooded with people overdosing on the “horse de-wormer” Ivermectin? Rolling Stone even published an article running with it.

I saw friends share the story on social media. And curse Fox News, Alex Jones, etc. ZeroHedge explains:

The report, sourced to local Oaklahoma outlet KFOR’s Katelyn Ogle, cites Oklahoma ER doctor Dr. Jason McElyea — who claimed that people overdosing on ivermectin horse dewormer are causing emergency rooms to be “so backed up that gunshot victims were having hard times getting” access to health facilities.

“Rolling Stone ‘Horse Dewormer’ Hit-Piece Debunked After Hospital Says No Ivermectin Overdoses,” ZeroHedge, September 4, 2021.

That story has been revealed as completely false. The hospital denies it. ZeroHedge cites the hospital in question:

Although Dr. Jason McElyea is not an employee of NHS Sequoyah, he is affiliated with a medical staffing group that provides coverage for our emergency room.

With that said, Dr. McElyea has not worked at our Sallisaw location in over 2 months.

NHS Sequoyah has not treated any patients due to complications related to taking ivermectin. This includes not treating any patients for ivermectin overdose.

All patients who have visited our emergency room have received medical attention as appropriate. Our hospital has not had to turn away any patients seeking emergency care.

Rolling Stone did not fact check the article before publication. It was completely fake news — likely perpetrated to induce you to take Big Pharma’s experimental pseudo-vaccine.

The story stank as propaganda from the beginning. But until I saw the debunking, I wasn’t going to say anything. Maybe I should have said something. But you are an adult, right?

And as an adult, you know that the whole “horse de-wormer” meme is b.s., right? (Or, as one Twitterer put it, “horse shit.”) Ivermectin has been a prescription drug for the human animal for a long time. It has known and previous uses. Repeating the “horse de-wormer” meme amounts to a lie. It was obvious from its first social media deployment. But because the left is now thoroughly servile to the Therapeutic State, leftists now eagerly defend Big Pharma medicine.

Ivermectin is far safer than the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA treatments. Of course, it is always dangerous to use drugs, and going off established protocols is risky. Take your own risks. Don’t blame others for your anxieties. Be rational.

But remember: ideologues are happy to lie to you, and if you have any political opinion, you will find folks on your side of that issue lying.

twv

Tweet, which I grabbed from the ZeroHedge article, superimposed on story.

N.B. A not-irrelevant meme of my own devising might be worth looking at: Mind+Virus.

Paul Jacob has an important basic point to make: “Wars that you cannot win with victories on the battlefield shouldn’t be fought.”

But that doesn’t mean that ending unwinnable wars in really stupid ways isn’t blameworthy. In this case: on the politicians, specifically Biden.

Paul’s co-host for his podcasts, Yours Truly, itches to blame the military, though. In this podcast there’s some debate. Who ya gonna blame?

The podcast is available on most podcatchers as well as on SoundCloud, above.
The video version will be up soon, and will be posted on Common Sense with Paul Jacob.

Why do liberals and progressives tend to be so emotional? I can’t even have a political discussion without them getting angry or crying.

. . . as answered on Quora . . . 
by Jim Grossmann
on March 8, 2018.

Because us liberals can’t always be as calm and reasonable as the conservatives who call people names like “libtard,” punch dissenters out at political rallies with the encouragement of Donald Trump, and walk around armed with assault rifles in “open carry” states.

Thanks for an opportunity to respond to another question by Anonymous, the most notorious troll on Quora.

. . . as commented on by TWV (wirkman). . . .
on March 8, 2018.

Well, that was disingenuous.

Because us liberals can’t always be as calm and reasonable as the conservatives

who call people names like “libtard,”

I am neither conservative nor progressive, and I get called names by both camps. In fact, disputants on the left call me names more often than disputants on the right — though I admit, a conservative Christian just called me a “motherfucker.” That was uncalled-for, yes, indeedy. Generally, my leftist opponents rarely do me the courtesy of not identifying me as a conservative, while conservatives rarely call me a progressive.

Truth is, I am a liberal, just not what you likely mean by that.

In any case, pretending that only rightwingers call people names is absurd. You are either living in a bubble or you are a liar. Leftists regularly hurl abuse at me instead of providing reason and evidence. I’ve been called fat, a “fucker,” a “ritard,” and much worse. By leftists.

You may be told by left-leaning media that it is the right that is nasty and abusive, but it is the left that makes false racist claims and lies about about others’ alleged racial insults (the litany of ideological hoaxes on college campuses is a long one). Both sides sling mud and lies and fake news, but you pretend that this is partisan, on one side only.

punch dissenters out at political rallies with the encouragement of Donald Trump,

You may be told by left-leaning media people that it is the right that is violent, but it is the left that offers up antifa as true anti-fascists (which the group is not) and activists who proudly proclaim “by any means necessary.” Indeed, what I saw in 2015 and 2016 regarding protest is this: leftists barging into others’ rallies to disrupt, and then claiming that their targeted enemies’ punches were unprovoked. But those awful, violent and cruel conservatives did not infiltrate the ranks of Bernie and Hillary supporters and repeatedly shouted down speakers and attendees. This was one-sided.

I opposed Trump all the way through election day, but from what I can tell, it was the conservatives who behaved decently. And then after the election! Dozens of stories of attacks upon MAGA hat wearers.

And what of Trump’s encouragement? Well, territorial self-defense could be offered as defense. It may not have been pretty, but it was in response to ranks and ranks of sometimes violent anti-Trump protesters, taunting Trump supporters outside … and, I repeat, inside hired venues.

The left is consistent on one thing: a double standard on violence. “Punch a Nazi” became a thing … and then came the charges that anyone not leftist were a Nazi. Vile.

and walk around armed with assault rifles in “open carry” states.

So? How many of those anti-leftist gun-toters committed political crimes? No NRA members have shot up schools, and yet anti-gun leftists blame the NRA while not a few of the school shooters have indeed been Democrats. There is that great moment a few years back when the news media showed footage of a rifle owner proudly carrying a rifle at a Tea Party rally, and the TV news people immediately began talking about Tea Party racism. But the news folks had clipped the footage to show only below the shoulders: the rifle carrier was an African-American.

I suppose it could be you are so unbalanced and partisan because you believe the lies you are told. And it is not as if there were not many disgusting anti-leftists and pro-Trumpers. Trump himself is quite objectionable in more than one way.

But this narrative of Liberals Good, Conservatives Bad is not believable. Both sides suck. Differently.

And as for the original question: I only see snowflakes on TV. I have not personally encountered any over-emotional wimps on the Left online or in person.

Liars, lunatics, bamboozled bumblers, and base rhetoricians? Galore.

But no wimps.

twv

I suppose the “conspiracist” theory of Joe Biden would be that he was chosen by the globalists for a purpose: to destroy the power and prestige of the United States to make way for . . . world government . . . China . . . our alien overlords . . . something something something.

Biden certainly has left a dump on the floor and is making his followers eat it up. Still enjoying the cries from the coprophiles: ‘but look what Trumpians eat! What fascists! Racists!’

You cannot say this isn’t grimly funny.


Yesterday, in Walmart, a likely lad had a sneeze coming on — I could see it build — so he removed his mask to not mess up what he was breathing through.


Ours may be the first civilization to die off laughing at each other.


Beginning to realize why old people must die:
to allow them their illusions about their replacements.

The cult of the omnipotent state is something I have been fighting all my adult life. But the cults of tribe and mob and Kultur? These I opposed in the third grade. The emergent property of groups — what Herbert Spencer called “superorganism” — is fascinating, sociologically, and when the social connections become faster and more complex, amazing things can happen. But I still insist that what matters to me is what The Individual takes away from the group and guides independent thought and action, not what the group does or what individuals do in tandem with the group. It is the civilization we carry on our shoulders, in private, that should be the standard, not simply that groups create new realities.

Individuals’ own realities, and the fantasies they create, in turn influence groups.


My dubiety about the vaxx mania is quite strong. And it increases when I hear things like this:


Folks who spit fire, wishing the unvaxxed to die, mock those same unvaxxed when they express suspicion that the vaxx has been designed to kill.

Vaxx proponents assert that the unvaxxed are causing new, more dangerous viral variants, just months after mocking Vanden Bossche for his warning that the vaxxes, which are not effective enough to induce herd immunity, will likely lead to immune escape, breeding new, more dangerous viral variants.

Almost no element of the pandemic does not contain some bizarrely spiked irony. Novel coronamemes!


twv

…that Nazis saw themselves as good, and advanced their cause with moral fervor

From historian Tom Woods; my yellow mark:

I agree with Tom. The regularity with which normal people on my social media feeds express murderous wishes against people they disagree with — in this case regarding a non-vaccine that doesn’t work well, has many negative side effects that they refuse to look into and about which they eagerly suppress debate and information, and almost always excluding allowances for standard medical truths like natural immunity — portends a grave moral calamity coming.

I believe many people are giving themselves wholly unto evil. They are preparing for genocide, like Germans did with hygiene laws.

My biggest fear, though, is a bit different: that it is the vaccinated themselves who will die, in great numbers, as a result of micro-clotting, myocarditis, and other effects of under-studied and pushed-through-the-mill Big Pharma products that the president is trying to make universally mandatory.

I’ll define evil for you if you need it.


The masses of our species, even highly educated people, do not seem to see the danger here. It is almost as if they forgot the history that has had the most effect on our epoch, the history of the Third Reich. Or maybe it is the case that they never were taught the crucial lesson, that the post-Weimar Germans thought of themselves as good people, advancing their cause with moral fervor.

And this is where I find most people, of all walks of life and of every ideology, deficient. They seem not to understand that morality itself can be a source of pernicious influence. The word “moralistic” is a term of opprobrium for a reason, but it is worse than that. The word is too weak to describe what a people in moral panic can do to each other.

Maybe I am obsessed with this aspect of human nature for personal reasons. I noticed it when young. It came to loom large in my moral imagination as I encountered actual political philosophy. And my own form of moral zeal has long been governed by a distrust of zealotry.


Surtout point de zèle.

Above all, avoid zeal.

Talleyrand, translated by Hugh Percy Jones. Samuel Butler’s personal motto.

Zealotry becomes mighty peculiar when the subject is forced medical practice, however.

The bizarre nature of the propaganda gets pretty weird. This, as it appeared on my Facebook-promoted social media feed, is . . . odd.

“The mRNA cannot change your DNA, they only deliver information.”

We all know that DNA is information, right? That “mRNA” stands for “messenger RNA,” and that we still do not know how long the special protein that these new therapeutics produce, mimicking one aspect of the novel coronavirus. How will the instructions last in the body after injection, where the proteins go, what they do in organs like the brain and the uterus, what the long-term effects are? And so much more.

Further, we all realize that “immune response” can be bad? Right? That this is why some diseases kill? Too much of an immune response.

And we now learn that these ’new’ ’vaccines’ are much less effective against the so-called ’Delta variant’ than against the alpha and beta variants that started out the pandemic. That is why so many who have taken the jab are getting the disease. And . . . don’t get me started on the possibilities here. But, why do I even raise questions? Most people just want to believe in their Savior, the Therapeutic State, and in Big Pharma and Dr. Fauci and all the rest. It is the new religion. There is no place for heretics once the people become a mob and the religion has state power.

And when State and Mob unite during a panic, look out.


A therapeutic concoction, like morality itself, works according to the principle of hormesis: careful dosage is required. We know that panicked mobs take the moralism medicine to extremes. A panic is no time to shift protocols. Same, it seems to me, for a new, under-studied “vaccine”: do we really know the dosage at which it might best work? Is a pandemic the best time to deliver an experiment to . . . all of the people, and then talk of merely “booster shots” when the therapeutic ceases to work as billed?

In economics as in medicine, the rule is that everything has costs, including all good things. Every policy that you propose faces trade-offs, and all touted good medicines induce negative side-effects. In policy or therapy, when someone shills a cure but talks only about its beneficial effects, considering costs only in not using it, that shill is a con artist.

This applies to nearly every pro-“vaccination” argument during this pandemic. If you will not discuss the possible negatives openly and honestly, allowing for extended inquiry and public testing of data, you are engaging in base rhetoric, irresponsible propaganda.

Nearly everyone in government is a propagandist, these days, failing as indicated above, and has given themselves wholly to evil.

twv

AN ADDENDUM ABOUT SOME RELEVANT DATA:

The worldwide death rate for 2020 was a little less than the death rate for 2015. The death rate for 2018 was 7.546.

It had been falling for my whole life time. It was 17.13 the year I was born.

The U.S. death rate was 8.88 last year, and 9.416 the year I was born.

The death rate is the number of deaths per 1,000 of the population per year.

To understand population, the death rate must be contrasted with the birth rate. The U.S. birth rate was 11.99 for 2020, and 23.257 the year I was born.

The effects on COVID on the population appears hardly as a blip, unless the U.N. revises figures for last year. The death rate had started its upward trend the year before, and, in the U.S., a few years earlier, in 2009.

or, Why the Best Bioweapon Is a Weak Bioweapon

Early in the “pandemic,” Scott Adams heard a rumor that the new virus affected non-Chinese more fatally than the Chinese, so he speculated. If I remember correctly, his speculation was that a biological weapon directed against a race of people was an inevitability, and that perhaps it was happening now. Specifically, the Chinese “communists” harbored an itch to eradicate Uyghurs. Perhaps SARS-CoV-2 was a new instrument of that ongoing genocide, and it had gotten out of hand.

I do not follow Adams, and do not know how he ultimately settled, in his mind, this Ultimate Uyghur Sanction, but I was impressed by one thing: Adams was willing to consider wild possibilities, including one that most people resisted on what seemed like grounds of squeamishness, the squeamishness of people afraid to be called “racist,” or “conspiracy theorists”: that the virus was built in a lab, and may have even been deliberately deployed as a bioweapon.

More than a year and a half later, and now the likelihood of the so-called Lab Leak Theory is commonly recognized as quite high. The worm turned.

Early on, I advised that, according to the Precautionary Principle, it was pure foolishness not to consider the possibility of a conscious bioweapon release. The reason to parlay the principle was simple: one considers a danger to prevent the worst outcomes. Early on, the Precautionary Principle was used to justify extreme mitigation efforts. But that was considering only the virus as a menace. By considering its threat potential, on the other hand, we might fend off other possibilities — those worse than a mere mass death.

Worse?

Yes.

The trouble with bioweaponry is that its deployment is negative sum: it is almost impossible to contain a virus, and the virus you deploy against your enemy will likely bite back at you.

With China, though, there is plenty of “surplus population.” So if the virus’s creators had prepared an inoculation in advance, and were willing to get rid of some population surplus, while also destroying much more of their enemy populations, that remains a possible strategy.

But there is a simpler method. If you want to destroy your enemies, what you want is not a real killer virus, but a virus that is actually not that dangerous … but which, with the right propaganda also deployed, can be made to seem more dangerous than it is. Indeed, a weak bioweapon is the perfect kernel for a psychological operation to get one’s enemies to over-react and weaken themselves.

Which is what happened.

Not only have western nations — weakened by standard churning state politics and China-funded race-baiting psy-ops — over-reacted to the contagion with psychologically destabilizing mask mandates and economically and culturally destructive lockdowns against commerce, they now deploy a very risky set of pseudo-vaccines, which may end up killing more people than the disease they are supposed to defend against.

I don’t know much about what is actually happening, but I do know that it is easy to manipulate mass men. 

And that is what we have here, the culture of Late Stage Churning State Capitalism is filled with Last Men, the gender-rending fools of our decadent culture. Our politics is now crazy, our government policies crazier, and our culture, laziest, ready for Lying Flat, the ultimate nincompoopery of a witless, ill-informed, culture of marks.

Grifted by the authorities, we accept as true things that are obviously false.

What things? You know, things like notion that the pandemic was an existential threat. No. Our reaction to it was. Are we fulfilling a civilizational death wish, or have we been pushed by Chinese (or globalist?) machinations?

I suspect the latter, but don’t rule out the former. Conspiracies are possible, but invisible hand processes still dominate most major trends.

In any case, we must contemplate the possibility that the pandemic could be the result of a conspiratorial threat — of warfare — so we can steal ourselves against our own destruction. It is easier to unite in the face of a concerted threat than against a mysterious menace; easier to accept losses, easier to become heroes.

twv