Andrew Sullivan tweets:

2016 election. Rittenhouse. Covington. Russian collusion. Vaccines. Bounties on US soldiers. Lab-leak theory. Jussie Smollett. The Pulse shooting. The Atlanta shootings. Hunter Biden laptop. Inflation. Steele Dossier.
The MSM got every single one wrong.

The major (Mockingbird) media didn’t merely get these stories wrong, they told untruths: they lied and spun and propagandized for the maximum state, for their beloved Woke Leviathan.

I confess to having thought that we had reached Peak Progressivism with the mass excoriation of the Covington kids, but O, how much lower journos could go!

In Sullivan’s think piece he links to, he writes that

when the sources of news keep getting things wrong, and all the errors lie in the exact same direction, and they are reluctant to acknowledge error, we have a problem. If you look back at the last few years, the record of errors, small and large, about major stories, is hard to deny. It’s as if the more Donald Trump accused the MSM of being “fake news” the more assiduously they tried to prove him right.

Regarding the Rittenhouse case, Mr. Sullivan tries to sound level-headed: “Almost immediately, the complicated facts became unimportant. The far right viewed Rittenhouse as a hero — which he surely wasn’t. He had no business being there with an AR-15.” This is very similar to Paul Jacob’s opinion, actually, who makes similar points in his most recent podcast:

But as I mentioned to Paul in this episode (I interview him for this project of his, every weekend), my position is far less centrist.

Now, when the Kenosha, Wisconsin, riots and Rittenhouse shootings occurred, I decided to wait until more information came in. I did not make a big deal of his innocence or guilt. I was willing — nay, eager — to let a jury decide. In that I was being as normal and centrist-civilized as one could hope for. But as evidence mounted, young Mr. Rittenhouse’s innocence looked quite likely. Then, after the prosecution has made its opening “case,” an acquittal seemed to me as obviously the only just result.

All those media mavens, Democrats and beltway libertarians who jumped on the bandwagon against Rittenhouse have lots of egg on face.

Rittenhouse acted in self-defense. The men he shot were trying to kill him. They were criminals and were very much acting in the wrong. Paul Jacob, being a nice person, states that it no one wants to see them killed, but — after the fact — I see no reason to shed the tiniest tear for these miscreants.

And while I am unclear as to the legality of Rittenhouse’s open carry, I admit: I do not much care. He was just to carry his weapons, and the rioters were in the wrong, generally, and politicians and cops who let it all happen were cowards at best.

Another major defeat for “woke,” riot-loving leftists. Good. They deserve nothing better than our spittle.

And as for Rittenhouse being imprudent for carrying an AR-15 — really? He had “no business” carrying it into a riot zone?

Everybody has by now seen the judge’s remonstrance of the prosecutor for a line of interrogation that is germane to the issue. The prosecutor was trying to show that Rittenhouse came to the event wanting to kill. The prosecutor was aiming to take a weeks’-old statement by KR about wishing he’d had his rifle with him to shoot some looters as evidence. The judge had declared that line of inquiry off limits earlier on, and, after removing the jury from the room, “yelled at” the prosecutor.

The principle the prosecutor relied upon (and got Rittenhouse to admit on stand) was that we do not have a right to defend property with deadly force. Democrats hold this as a bedrock principle. Perhaps that is why they let rioters riot. After all, a mob won’t stop mayhem upon mere instruction. Deadly force is required. So Democrats have convinced me that the use of deadly force to protect property must be at least sometimes OK.

Thanks, Democrats. You’ve changed my mind.

So I disagree with both Paul Jacob and Andrew Sullivan: when cops and politicians don’t do their jobs, it is up to citizens to take up arms and defend life and property. It is obvious that, contrary to the prosecutors, Rittenhouse did not go out hoping to shoot anyone. But taking a weapon did lead the crazies to attack him. And since Rittenhouse had been doing nothing wrong, their attacking him was a gross violation of his rights. His shooting of them was just. But I also go further: his arming himself in the melee was just, and more citizens should have done it.

Sure, it seems wrong for a 17-year-old to do this job. But that is not his fault. The adult officials who shirked their duty are to blame. And so are the fully adult citizens who should have taken up arms. And, if necessary, did what the prosecutor wanted to convince the jury that Rittenhouse himself itched to do: shoot at rioters.

Mobs are evil. That is, rioting mobs are evil.

At some point, they must be opposed just like we oppose marauding bands.

But Democrats are incapable of admitting that this is what a civilization must do. Democrats are so into “inclusion” that they look at all outsiders as “oppressed” and not, as rioters and illegal immigrant invaders are, themselves the actual oppressors.

Because Democrats no longer believe that the State is justified by the civilizational need to destroy those who would destroy us — hordes and mobs and criminals and even armies — they corrupt the institutions of police and courts and border guards and military so to disenable them from protecting us. I simply submit that when governments give up their prime task, citizens must take the necessary work.

Don’t want to see “vigilantism”? Then make sure the state does its Job One. When the State won’t do this job, it not only de-legitimizes itself, it legitimizes vigilantism.

Don’t want vigilantes? Then make sure the State (including local governments) does Its Job (their jobs) — or else consider institutional alternatives to the State. There are such alternatives, and maybe now is the time to talk about them.

Until then, young Mr. Rittenhouse may not be the hero we wanted, but he appears to have been the only hero on the streets in Kenosha that fateful day.

We just cannot expect the major media to even understand this. They have been trained to serve as (and are paid to be) the lickspittle of the Leviathan State.

twv

The recent ITV reënactment (adaptation) of William Makepeace Thackeray’s Vanity Fair looks really good, but it seems unfortunate that the character Sambo — described as badly legged and black on the first page of the novel — is here a well-shaped, stately black African (played by a British actor), not an Indian, and is called “Sam.”

Racial, racism, stereotypes, blah blah blah. What would Thackeray make of P.C.?

The show is on Amazon Prime, but the book is everywhere. I have in my hand a very nice Könemann two-volume, boxed edition.

twv

The Sambo I knew as a kid.

Is it possible to get more pathetic than this?

The “Racism is small-dick energy” sign is hilariously racist. I mean, it’s funny. Especially in a crowd dominated by white-chick/pink-clit progressives.

Trying to understand the moralistic cultism of the left is an ongoing project, but until this sign I had not thought of applying an old-fashioned Freudianism to the endeavor. But what if leftist mob behavior were driven by “penis envy”?

Or maybe this is simply white women lusting after black dick.

Maybe these woke white women of the west really do think “white men” (the worst people in the world!) are envious of bigger black cocks, and that is why white men keep the bigger men down!

At this point, I wouldn’t discount any of these theories.

In any case, a bunch of white women in masks kneeling (not standing) in solidarity with a Marxist-led anti-white racist group like Black Lives Matter is so silly that maybe we should just chuckle.

But if you are looking for a theory behind the put-down, “racism is small dick energy,” you might have to supply it yourself. What I’ve read is small-brained.

twv

Hey, you can buy this goofy slogan on Amazon!

What is meant by the phrase “there is no god but the unknowable, and Herbert Spencer is its prophet”?

. . . as answered on Quora. . . .

This is a taunt from the pages of Jack London’s great novel Martin Eden, 13th chapter:

Martin had heard Herbert Spencer quoted several times in the park, but one afternoon a disciple of Spencer’s appeared, a seedy tramp with a dirty coat buttoned tightly at the throat to conceal the absence of a shirt. Battle royal was waged, amid the smoking of many cigarettes and the expectoration of much tobacco-juice, wherein the tramp successfully held his own, even when a socialist workman sneered, “There is no god but the Unknowable, and Herbert Spencer is his prophet.” Martin was puzzled as to what the discussion was about, but when he rode on to the library he carried with him a new-born interest in Herbert Spencer, and because of the frequency with which the tramp had mentioned “First Principles,” Martin drew out that volume.

So the great discovery began. Once before he had tried Spencer, and choosing the “Principles of Psychology” to begin with, he had failed as abjectly as he had failed with Madam Blavatsky. There had been no understanding the book, and he had returned it unread. But this night, after algebra and physics, and an attempt at a sonnet, he got into bed and opened “First Principles.” Morning found him still reading. It was impossible for him to sleep. Nor did he write that day. He lay on the bed till his body grew tired, when he tried the hard floor, reading on his back, the book held in the air above him, or changing from side to side. He slept that night, and did his writing next morning, and then the book tempted him and he fell, reading all afternoon, oblivious to everything and oblivious to the fact that that was the afternoon Ruth gave to him. His first consciousness of the immediate world about him was when Bernard Higginbotham jerked open the door and demanded to know if he thought they were running a restaurant.

Martin Eden had been mastered by curiosity all his days. He wanted to know, and it was this desire that had sent him adventuring over the world. But he was now learning from Spencer that he never had known, and that he never could have known had he continued his sailing and wandering forever. He had merely skimmed over the surface of things, observing detached phenomena, accumulating fragments of facts, making superficial little generalizations—and all and everything quite unrelated in a capricious and disorderly world of whim and chance. The mechanism of the flight of birds he had watched and reasoned about with understanding; but it had never entered his head to try to explain the process whereby birds, as organic flying mechanisms, had been developed. He had never dreamed there was such a process. That birds should have come to be, was unguessed. They always had been. They just happened.

Herbert Spencer (1820–1903) was a Victorian Era polymath, remembered for

  • his early development of evolutionary theory — “The Development Hypothesis” (1852), “A Theory of Population, deduced from the General Law of Animal Fertility” (1852), Principles of Psychology (first edition, 1855) and “Progress: Its Law and Cause” (1857);
  • his political liberalism — in Social Statics (1851), Justice (1891, Part IV of Principles of Ethics) and The Man versus the State (1884), all celebrated only by libertarians, today;
  • his pioneering of sociology — Study of Sociology (1878), Descriptive Sociology(19 vols., 1873–1934), and Principles of Sociology (1876–1896 );
  • coining the term “survival of the fittest” after hearing Charles Darwin’s initial presentation of “natural selection,” and as introduced formally in Principles of Biology (1864).

But Spencer first made his name as a metaphysician and religious philosopher. His main concept was “the Unknowable,” as indicated in the quip in above. It received its main exposition in the first half of First Principles (1860). Spencer was trying to show the limits of human knowledge, but also address an understanding of what he regarded as the underlying foundation to all existence, which, he argued, we know of but cannot actually know. Spencer believed that awe and reverence for this “Unknowable” is the remaining — “ultimate” — religious idea, after science had done its work.

The best treatment of this peculiar element to his philosophy is by George Santayana, in his Herbert Spencer Lecture at Oxford in 1923, “The Unknowable.” I highly recommend this beautiful and profound essay, to every thinking person — see Obiter Scripta (1936), but I first came across it in Clifton Fadiman’s Reading I’ve Liked (1945).

Spencer’s agnostic concept of “The Unknowable” was once all the rage. Victorian scientists such as John Tyndall, rapidly losing their faith, grabbed at it as if a lifeline in deep ocean. Since then, however, it has dropped out of circulation. I did once hear it discussed in the 1990s’ TV dramedy Northern Exposure, though.

So why the sneering remark? It apes the famous Islamic credo, sure. But it was from a socialist character. Herbert Spencer was deeply anti-socialist. No more need be said.

twv

Herbert Spencer

Is libertarianism an outdated ideology?

…as answered on Quora….

Funny you should ask.

For the first time I heard the word “libertarian” I was informed in no uncertain terms that it was hopelessly old-fashioned, backward, and inapplicable to modern society.

The sages who told me this were the news anchors of KOIN Channel 6 in Portland, Oregon. The occasion was the night of the 1976 Democratic National Convention. After the festivities ended, the Libertarian Party candidate for the presidency, Roger MacBride, ran a television spot making his pitch for “A New Dawn for America” (his horrible slogan and the title of his campaign book) with liberty as the centerpiece. I was a teenager, and was intrigued by MacBride’s presentation. After it ended, the CBS affiliate’s local news show came on, and they immediately commented on the Libertarian candidate’s ad. It has been over four decades since then, so my memory’s a bit fuzzy, but the gist was simple: “Those kinds of ideas may have worked in the 19th century, but not today, in our complex society.”

Now, that was an interesting contention, but they gave no evidence for it. As I thought about it for the next year, I put it in the iffy category of ideological statements.

What was clear was that, after freeing the slaves, Americans swiftly became more nationalistic, imperialistic, interventionist, and government-happy. So, with each ratcheting up of the new Leviathan State, libertarian ideas had become further alienated from the general tenor of American political thought. I had read some Jefferson at that age, and dipped into Locke; I knew Thoreau and the abolitionists; I had an inkling of the kinds arguments used to fend off — unsuccessfully — the growth of government in the late 19th and 20th centuries. It was obvious to me that libertarian ideas were linked to the Declaration of Independence and the fight against slavery. I thought it weird that a people that prided itself on ending slavery, in spite of or because of all the bloodshed it cost, would now be so blasé about scoffing at universal freedom, the libertarian idea. The idea decreasingly struck me as time-bound. Universal freedom and individual responsibility were, if anything, a future ideal set, not a past one, for it was obvious that Americans had been tempted by power from the outset, and gave in to the temptation at the cost of liberty. Repeatedly.

A year or so after hearing that political advertisement I read Robert Nozick’s Anarchy, State and Utopia. The radicalism of the idea was pretty clear. But it was not an alien radicalism, like socialism struck me. This was familiar. Homely. And decent.

But accepting it as an ideal principle of political life required settling some factual and philosophical problems. I slowly worked those over.

Our culture did not follow my path. The enticements of power always tempt us in modern, partisan politics — including especially that mad drive to live at the grudging expense of others — and Americans seem hell-bent on succumbing.

Every year a little more.

Our culture has settled into its rut of statism, and it would be hard to jump out of the groove and take a new tack or track. We are “path dependent,” as social scientists like to say. There are costs associated with changing course.

But the course is not set to a lodestar, or to a clock. A moral ideal and a matter of general advantage does not change no matter how many wrong turns you take.

“No matter how far you have gone on the wrong road, turn back.”

—Turkish proverb

In New York City, which has seen better days, statues are once again in the news.

Not statutes, but statuary.

“The New York City Public Design Commission voted unanimously Monday to move a controversial 188-year-old statue of Thomas Jefferson from the City Council chambers a City Hall,” informs the city’s ABC affiliate.

You have guessed the reason: racism, slavery and … pedophilia? What?

“Assemblyman Charles Barron, the former councilman who tried to get the statue removed in 2001,” doesn’t want it just removed and given to the New-York Historical Society, as planned, explains the New York Times. “I don’t think it should go anywhere. I don’t think it should exist,” proclaimed Mr. Barron — who also accused Jefferson of pedophilia.

Meanwhile, over at Bowling Green Park, a seven-foot-tall statue of the late gorilla Harambe was installed “directly across from the famous Charging Bull statue, which was surrounded by 10,000 bananas (that will later be donated to local food banks and community fridges) to make a point about wealth disparity,” according to reporting by the Big Apple’s NBC affiliate.

Whereas I can sorta see a case for removing Thomas Jefferson’s statue — if I am being ultra-charitable — this stunt is not merely silly, its symbolism is ultra-opaque. Bananas under a bull statue being stared down by the effigy of a gorilla executed years ago in Chicago? What? 

The idea by the perpetrators is that the Wall Street Bull has more bananas than the gorilla does. Apparently, poor people are gorillas. It is rather amusing how old racist “tropes” keep coming back.

Bananas!

Is someone supposed to be moved by this? I mean, more than to snicker?

There is a theory that this sort of symbology obsessions is being encouraged by elitists behind the scenes — the folks with so many bananas! — to get us mere peons fighting amongst ourselves, the better to distract us from the horrors of said elitists.

The statuary-obsessed should look into this theory. They might have occasion to feel used.

For we have bigger problems to handle than the symbolism of public art.

And the third president as pedophile? What?!?

twv

…a year ago on Facebook….

Much of today’s political tribal warfare strikes me as superficial and stupid, and my friends here on Fb and elsewhere no doubt often note that I sport no great respect for most participants, especially the movers at the top, but also anyone who is relentlessly partisan.

One reason is that I do not think very many people reason their way into their ideologies. Reason appears later in the filiation of ideas, as rationalization. And of course it does to some extent with me, too. But I read Jefferson, Locke, Nozick, Plato, Nietzsche, Peirce and a lot of political philosophy and economics and even sociology and anthropology in my teens before I adopted my current perspective. So my occasional gloating is rationalized on the excuse of past reason. (And in my defense I never have really stopped reading or reasoning.)

So what is really behind political ideological “identification”? It is “tribal,” yes, but more important is that it is sexual.

Usually I bring up the religious nature of political ideology, but a few of my friends may note that I not irregularly bring up sex.

Why?

Well — It is almost all about sex.

And honor.

Sexual honor is a main standard of hierarchy legitimation.

Which is why people take it all so personally. Why is Trump so awful? He is sexually icky! Why is he so great? He is just so tough and impressive! Sure, ideological discord sure looks like it should be seen as a technical policy matter — at least from a superificially reasonable perspective. But it is not. Because fundamentally it is really about sex, family, work, and honor, and the idealized styles of same.

It always has been, and probably always will be, about Our Sex versus Theirs. “We do sex right” while “They do sex wrong.”

And this is why leftism, hollowed out by the failure of so many socialist and technocratic programs, now is reduced to a husk of thought, obsessed with gender and trans activism and things like that. Because all the left really has left is the defense of non-heterosexual sexual activity and its lurking-in-the-background anti-natalism. Meanwhile, the right is on the verge of reviving a defense of full-blown heteronormativity. Wait for it, wait for it….

I find this rather funny. A comedy of ideas reduced to sex farce.

Time to read Tom Sharpe again.

N.B. A few weeks ago I read Sharpe’s latest
Wilt sequel. It was not very relevant to this subject, alas.
Perhaps The Gropes’ll be more relevant.

As you can see by the image of my Goodreads review, it took me a while to finish reading it. But since there is no story, no plot, it doesn’t much matter. Little “violence” is done by intermittent reading, as is also the case with Impressions of Theophrastus Such and The Book of Disquiet.

In my reading, though, this long span of occasional picking up and putting down of the book was the result, mainly, of repeatedly losing track of it. My library is too large, my reading spots too numerous, and my office is too messy: it is easy to lose track of books. There was no plan — or even economizing of effort — going on in my seemingly studied inattention.

Gissing’s reflections on the British national spirit.
Gissing was not very “pro-science.”
Back cover to the edition I read.
This reminds me of Pessoa’s reflections.

Since it is mainly just a series of reflections it is not an autobiography. So what is this genre? Belles lettres, I think.

twv

I started a new channel on Rumble. I will be putting future videos up on that platform. For now, this one from a few weeks ago is uploaded there:

Paul Jacob, with whom I make a podcast every weekend, is now on that platform, too, after having a video taken down on YouTube. His channel is This Week in Common Sense, and here is his first video on Rumble:

My favorite game in game theory is Chicken. While in political science and Public Choice the Prisoners’ Dilemma gets the most attention, Chicken is a simpler game, and does indeed lie at the heart of many paradigmatic relationships that undergird the State as both organization and institution.

In high school, my friends and I used to play Chicken with knives and feet on the green grass of the football field. Great fun. No one was hurt.

Now we have a big, more dangerous game begun in earnest: the establishment fires people for not taking the jab, and the anti-establishment walks out in protest of the mandatory jab. Mass firings versus the strike! A classic case.

Which side’ll give in first?

Let me go find a knife.

twv

For home-made knives, see OffGridWeb.com.