Archive for August, 2008

Token Gestures Replace True Environmental Concern Among Real Estate Firms

Thursday, August 28th, 2008

Equity is seeking to achieve at least minimum LEED certification for all its buildings in the Boston area. The program is based on a ratings system that measures the efficiency of commercial and residential buildings. The system assigns silver, gold, and platinum certifications based on a building’s adherence to an environmental checklist.

The checklist includes dozens of conservation measures, ranging from paper and plastic recycling to use of water-saving plumbing features to installation of automatic lighting features and rooftop landscaping. Equity Office said it expects to spend about $4.7 million on a pilot program that includes upgrades to four buildings. The effort will ultimately result in all its buildings being upgraded over the next several years.


It’s sad that gestures like this gain widespread news coverage, when the real problem is being ignored. Sure, let’s make all of our over sized office buildings, which use far too much energy and water, “green”, by making them use slightly less energy and water.

The process of digging up a huge swath of land for the foundation of a large building is an environmental disaster. If these companies really wanted to go “green”, they would tear down their buildings and grow organic food for people instead.

The “green” movement, for the most part, is a trend; a fad used by politicians and rich people who want to be seen in a better light. It’s terrible that people actually buy into this LEED certification stuff, that they actually believe rate of consumption matters with the overall level of energy, water, and food consumption required for office buildings (and 6.5billion people on the planet).

I understand the usefulness in responsible consumption – sure, using less water and energy in a decades-old building is a technological marvel, as is paper recycling, which should be a service used by every household in all of our towns. But once again, people use these trendy ideas as surrogate solutions, and ignore the real problem: there are too many people, consuming far too much food, energy, and water. This problem will not go away no matter how much you try to squeeze more and more out of every watt of power.

Excellent Videos About Energy & Overpopulation

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008

See all eight videos at the below links. Have patience; this professor does a great job of ensuring that he speaks in clear terms everyone can understand, using simple reason, logic, and arithmetic to show that we can’t take our leaders at face value with respect to energy consumption and overpopulation. If we don’t heed these warnings, which are finally becoming more and more prevalent, our species is doomed to disaster; it’s that simple.

Part 1 of 8
Part 2 of 8
Part 3 of 8
Part 4 of 8
Part 5 of 8
Part 6 of 8
Part 7 of 8
Part 8 of 8

One of the highlights of the lecture was the professor quoting Asimov, all the way back in 1969, when none of our leaders or policymakers would hear any talk of overpopulation or overconsumption of the Earth’s resources:

(From: Bill Moyers: “A World of Ideas”, Doubleday, New York City, 1969, P. 276)

Moyers: What happens to the idea of the dignity of the human species if this population growth continues at its present rate?

Asimov: It will be completely destroyed. I like to use what I call my bathroom metaphor. If two people live in an apartment, and there are two bathrooms, then both have freedom of the bathroom. You can go to the bathroom any time you want to, and stay as long as you want to, for whatever you need. And everyone believes in freedom of the bathroom; it should be right there in the Constitution.

But, if you have twenty people in the same apartment and two bathrooms, no matter how much every person believes in freedom of the bathroom, there is no such thing. You have to set up times for each person, you have to bang at the door; “Aren’t you through yet?”, and so on.

In the same way, democracy cannot survive overpopulation. Human dignity cannot survive overpopulation. Convenience and decency cannot survive overpopulation. As you put more and more people into the world, the value of life not only declines, it disappears. It doesn’t matter if someone dies, the more people there are, the less one individual matters.

Cheer the Fail

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008


We know from our whizbang science that light travels 186,000 miles a second. If we multiply that number by four for a rough estimate, we have the distance to the nearest star, as our science knows it. Outside of that star cluster, the next is a multiple of five, then seven, then nine, then eleven, and then numbers so big we don’t normally consider them.

Just as our bodies are mostly water, our universe is mostly space. Quantum physics tells us this space (and time, related to space by the change of events) bends with the objects in it, but the physical realities indicated by this patterning remain. If life is mostly emptiness, on an existential level, it is only an echo of a cosmic consideration, where so much is left uncreated as we see it in this moment — and for the purpose of the cosmos, our species’ endurance so far has been a moment.

As individuals we wander through space and time combined. The blue eyes of an old man light up when he realizes that, under all the new concrete and those trendy internet cafes his confounded grandson frequents, the intersection at which he sits is where he saw first a lady with peacock feathers in her hat. Peacock feathers — he thinks of a dance when he was a young man — a war passed — then he was married, and time folded up quickly as he busied himself with earning a living, getting the kids through school, then burying his wife. Now there is only time, a memory of then as real as now, and his eyes cloud again.

Almost three days ago I descended into a bookstore. Two generations ago it was a thriving practice; now, in a battered house in a neighborhood that will in five years be a rocket of gentrification soaring to the upper echelons of income, it is haphazardly administered by a granddaughter who spends most of the day clicking. Click to ship. Click to sell. Click to buy. Click to file taxes. The innards of the house predeceased the forward arc of the business, and now it is ceiling high rough bookshelves piled with books from antiquity to yesterday, decorated in mouse droppings and the reflexive pulsing of roaches dying in the heat.

Light creates triangular shadows from each book cover across its compressed pages. You can run your hand over the spines as you step over the artifacts of disorganization caused by time — not enough minutes today to alphabetize, so the box plops down, or a sheaf of magazines laid across the tops of books — and marvel at the human race. The conquerors of the universe, with their many volumes of wisdom. But this facade, too, collapses as you spend minutes marveling. What seemed like innocent science fiction is a second-rate Crichton imitation; that book about submarine warfare, as you read the precis on the back, is actually a Clancy clone, overboiled.

Even others shock with their flat-earthy misdirection. Books pop off the shelves with theories that are not so much outdated as always a stab in the wrong direction, hyped with religious fervor by someone who saw this idea as their path to the salvation of publication, a mutual fund and press currency to the brand that is their name. Authors whose names remain unknown are there with their mediocrity in plain sight: a grand unification theory that turned out to be a math error, a historical re-narration of humanity that ended up being unpopular, a series of essays in an old school format no one reads (and shouldn’t, if the content is any indication).

What made this place spectacular was its failures, because it is an eddy pool of them. In come books from estate sales as the older generation gasp out finality in hospital beds and at the eighteenth whole; onto eBay and Amazon go the databases; out via express mail go the few hits, the 1-5% of each collection that has real value because it’s still relevant (a stab at defining that vital but slippery term: connected via chains of causal interpretation through a knowledge of repeated, originless patterns). And the rest stay behind, in faint air conditioning bleating over warping plywood.

The place literally rang with the drama of individuals, each struggling to be heard in a crowd that babbles like drunk people herded into lifeboats near a vortex of black water, or maybe of time. Each voice calls a name that rings out for a moment and then is subsumed into the whirlpool of names, as you read sequentially down each row. Here are those Victorian novels that during May of 1968 seemed to be the next big thing, or that promising science fiction author who died of cocaine overdoses, or any number of important scholarly academic intellectual analyses that now no one has heard of, since the same climate of desperate trends that produced them buried them under more of the same.

It is a graveyard — with longer epitaphs — of human ambitions based on a delusion, which is that one can create eternity out of the current. The idea that you can summarize a trend, or even worse make another instance of it that has a catchy line here or two, and in doing so connect to the time that flows past like water or air, as a motivation, fueled the creation of these many books. And how many do we need now? Out of 90,000 books on the premises, perhaps one or two thousand are of any use — any relevance.

It is an epitaph for human failure: the drama of individuals culminating in a flood of opinions that cannot distinguish themselves, so each becomes as likely as any other. Heat death results: we cannot choose because there is too much to choose from and because of the chaos, each seems as likely as any other. Like cancer cells, the individuals that choose to make themselves the focus instead of the body or civilization multiply and demand attention, but they are not self-sustaining. Because seeing themselves as what they are would invalidate them, they instead deny reality, and cheer the failure around them because it obscures their crime.

What is falling, push. — F.W. Nietzsche

If we read carefully, we will see we are repeating a pattern slashed out in these very books. We found we could make ourselves sound knowledgeable by mastering the symbols of our time, deconstructing them and cutting them loose from meaning, so we can re-arrange them and can give them that gravitas of not relevance but something like it, perhaps currency with a deep and abiding knowledge of the patois of scientific and cultural concepts in which we construe our micro-era.

The 1970s colored jacket encloses a book about the greatest moment in sports of that decade, and now, why would we care; same with the 1980s cocaine-fueled CEO who promises a grand theory of everything business. We can’t even find him in the digital card catalog at our local business library. Lest we thought we were immune, there’s that book from the late 1990s about how the internet will be expressed in sound and smell, and just coming in the door, a book from last week that was read and discarded immediately, covering how the Wikipedia model applies to small arms.

A walk through the halls of failure and irrelevance in a used bookstore like this helps us rediscover our cynicism. Although most people use the word to mean pessimism regarding our future, it has a simpler definition: belief that human individuals are self-serving, and that this is what defeats us as a species. The opposite of cynicism is not positivity, in the bizarre ways of the winding logical chain of justification, but self-hatred.

Humanity is probably the most self-hating species in the universe because its members recognize how far it falls short of its promise, and rather than becoming cynical, they write themselves and their species off with self-hatred: “oh well, we’re a failure anyway” with the implication of there’s nothing we can do, we’re deterministically verified as a failure.

When we declare our species a failure, we’re giving up on the whole thing including all individuals. Paradoxically, maybe, it is egalitarian, because everyone is treated exactly the same way, and since we’re a mixed bag, that requires us to descend to the lowest common denominator and declare ourselves a failed species because most of us are unexceptional, and so have no positive ethics (I construct things) but cleave quickly to negative ethics (I fight against inequality). Cynicism allows us to keep the ability to act.

Cynicism lets us look at most people and separate the good from the mediocre and/or bad, which causes panic among those who have committed no positive ethical acts because such acts are inconvenient if you’re busy pleasing yourself. Most humans would rather that we each write our own mediocre books, than that a few rise above the rest, because that is least harmful to that vector of human knowledge, the individual, through which we experience reality. Are we a means to the end of life, or vice-versa, that life is a means to us as an end?

Unlike cynicism, self-hatred does not disrupt The Big Illusion: we aren’t in control, history doesn’t repeat itself, we cannot control our future, we cannot look at the patterns of reality and find a way to make them work for us, it’s not may fault, i’m not selfish, etc. This big illusion is a smokescreen for the unpleasant reality that the root of our problem is a repeated pattern in which individuals demand exclusion from judgment, and in doing so, obliterate our chance of having a goal or a consensus, because either one of those can be compared to individual actions and show the individual is coming up short.

The root of this human desire to protect the individual at all costs from judgment — a sociopathic tendency, because it demands absolute withdrawl from any desire to cooperate on collective acts, which leaves society stranded in an entropy of being unable to make vital decisions, and thus incurring massive social costs for its intransigence — originates in the low self-esteem that causes individuals to be afraid of coming up short. If we are judged, goes the thought, maybe I will be insufficient, so I will strike back against all judgment, and if I have to destroy society by destroying consensus to do it, oh well; at least I am not threatened, or rather, at least my self-image is not threatened.

The essence of being cynical, instead of self-hating, is to realize that if we see our only method of self-governance as our institutions and external categorical groupings (like government, Blacks, Whites, Christians) we will never solve our problems, which deepens the whole of self-hatred. Cynicism allows us to see that the root of most problems is the behavior of individuals, and that when enough of them misbehave, they force others to compete by indulging in similar behavior (think kids cheating on a hard test; if enough kids cheat and raise the curve, you need to cheat to get that A you deserve) and so society unravels.

Cynicism allows us to see that the predominance of human political thought is argument for a lack of personal accountability and, as a side effect, a desire to make institutions and other external, symbolic representations of humanity accountable while the bad behavior of individuals is excused. If we excuse bad behavior in others, we can expect the same treatment ourselves. Since people fear screwing up more than they anticipate success, this rewards the low self-esteem and flies under the radar of the high self-esteem, whose only interest in error is brushing past it.

In this time of self-hatred, cynicism allows us to get our sanity back. We can look at each new book that comes out and squint, frown and put it down. All of its drama and theatrical self-importance can be seen for what it is, irrelevant, and we can gauge its actual worth through its actual relevance to truth, something we can only derive from observing reality. In other words: does this book pass on wisdom? If not, no point paying it attention, because it is a small blip on the radar before disappearing into dusty, roach-strewn stores that peddle failed books.

Rejecting the blanket absolute of self-hatred lets us hope again to fix the problem. It helps us get outside the ultimate baffler of the human intellect, which is that all we know is relative to our own perspective, and as a result we transcend ourselves and through the nihilism that negates the self, see the world as it is, a vast grandeur in which our part is insignificant. We can then look at human not as a moral construct, but an aesthetic one, and ask ourselves what might make it more beautiful, as if we were pruning a garden. And then we realize: we are the pruners of the garden, because most sleep, and would prefer to let it grow wild because they are afraid that their one weed is not the whole of the garden.

Our cynicism helps us throw out that which has lost relevance. The past; the human condition; all the excuses made by others to justify their own failure and so the ongoing failure of our species; the fond illusions that are used to manipulate the masses — these are all dead books on a shelf of obscurity. In each book we can see the same error, which is a fixation on a part and not the whole, and as a result, a desire to promote the self that overtook sense and so produced more transient non-ideas to toss in the landfill with humanity’s other justifications, deceptions and fond illusions. We can throw that out, too.

When we step back and gain this perspective, we are finally free from the fear and paranoia of the self, because we have given up on controlling our destiny by recognizing our tiny place in the world. Looking at the garden that is humanity we see no reason to give up in self-hatred; rather, we see what fits in with a vision of where in the future we’d like that garden to be, and what needs to be trimmed and in some cases, what needs to be dug up and have something else planted in its place. Our inner monkey squeals at first at this idea, because we’re not emotional about it, nor are we looking out for ourselves. That’s right — we have surpassed our fear of death with a positive, forward-thinking desire to make the beautiful instead of fixating on the fearsome end which inevitably awaits us all.

Our selves, through which we know the world, can only make sense to us if we recognize them as the messengers and not the reality they describe. Our most outraged “activists” complain that dictators use humanity as a means to an end but they readily defend ourselves using life itself as a means to an end of its smallest part, which is our individual selves. Our fear that somewhere, someone else is getting away with something we don’t have, as an extension of this grasping self, motivates us to act in ways that tear down the whole so no one has a privilege we do not. Self-hatred of our species is part of this.

If the camera pans backward, and we see ourselves as each one plant in a garden that as a whole forms a beauty we find transcendental, we can free ourselves from the racheting fear that comes with each fluctuation in the sun or rain. We can see how the legumes feed the daisies, and the cycling of the seasons, and of death, keeps the garden strong. We can see how coming over a hill on a misty morning the garden must appear to be alive with beauty itself, and we can also see how it is pretty in each season, and a slate on which to carve for the next.

Another media member believes that we should all blend into one grey race

Wednesday, August 20th, 2008

So what explains the persistent drumbeat about the impending white minority? A statistical distortion: the exclusion of Hispanic whites. If only non-Hispanic whites are counted, the white population today amounts to 66 percent of the total, and will hit around 46 percent by 2050.

But excluding whites of Hispanic origin from the overall white population makes no more sense than excluding whites of Slavic or Scandinavian origin. “Hispanic” is not a race. It is an ethnic category. As the Census Bureau repeatedly points out, Hispanics can be of any race.

With a little luck, common sense, and goodwill, it will seem as odd in 2050 to focus on “non-Hispanic whites” as it would today to insist that only “non-German whites” are really white.

Better still, perhaps by then we will have really progressed, and abandoned the pernicious notion of racial categories altogether.


That’s a great idea, Mr. Jacoby: let’s get rid of all ethnic and racial classifications and blend into one grey race! Interesting how he doesn’t define race at all in his op-ed.

Mr. Jacoby doesn’t realize that regardless of how you classify Hispanics, including them in some bullshit statistic doesn’t solve any of the problems that are made evident by the media “panic” ensuing over the obvious demographic challenges this country faces in the years ahead. It’s easy to sit there and say “well, if we move Hispanics over to the classification as white, we’re all set – no reason to complain!”

I’d love to see him tell people in Europe, Africa, South America, or Asia that we can now abandon the idea of race altogether; that the Chinese and Japanese should just get along and move freely within borders; that the Russians and Ukraines should shake hands and eat at the same table daily; that Arab Muslims invading and overtaking Europe are really all part of the same race so why bother worrying about where the population growth is coming from.

Race = culture (of course it’s more complex than that but bear with me). You can’t scientifically define race, not really (besides a few genetic markers here or there which manifest themselves more as a result of geographic location in a population over long periods of time which has seen little immigration – see Iceland), and that’s why race is such a moving target in the Census, not because of how people categorize this or that population. Mr. Jacoby is attempting to head off those who would claim that Hispanics are not whites by stating it’s just a label on a piece of paper and nothing more. Culture shouldn’t be defined in such shallow terms; our multicultural society is afraid of obvious differences and is now attempting to rope everyone together via the lowest common denominator: “we all have DNA, so we’re all part of the human race, no other distinctions exist”.

How many Hispanics would call themselves white? Ever hear the term “gringo”? Even Hispanics – a cross-breed of native Central and South American populations and Spanish settlers – would admit that most whites in the United States, mostly of strictly European decent, are an entirely different race from Hispanics. It’s absurd to say otherwise, not because people who defend that viewpoint are “racist” and “intolerant”, but because of clear cultural differences. Ignoring reality by shuffling around categories on a piece of paper misses the larger point – that our nation is undergoing demographic shifts that has resulted in a grey race of half-breeds who can’t agree on anything except money, arguing about Democrat vs. Republican, Coke vs.Pepsi, which Batman actor was best, etc. When you have no culture, no history, and no values left, it’s easy to say “we’re all the same”, because we are – no distinction between populations is a bad thing, as history shows the strongest cultures were those that were the least cosmopolitan, but since it’s politically incorrect to say so, everyone just hides their heads in the sand and waits for the next TV program to air.

Cold War redux as US and Russia fight for control over former satellite countries

Wednesday, August 20th, 2008

After Warsaw and Washington announced the agreement on the deal last week, top Russian Gen. Anatoly Nogovitsyn warned that Poland is risking attack, and possibly a nuclear one, by deploying the American missile defense system, Russia’s Interfax news agency reported.

The U.S. already has reached an agreement with the government in Prague to place the second component of the missile defense shield — a radar tracking system — in the Czech Republic, Poland’s southwestern neighbor and another formerly communist country.


Former Soviet satellite countries, still stinging only 18 years after the demise of the USSR, are now free to choose their allies – just as Americans are free to choose McDonalds or Burger King, Republican or Democrat, Coke or Pepsi. Since liberal democracy is still continuing its relentless march across the globe, countries like Poland and the Czech Republic figure, “why not?”, as Russia attempts to rope in as many former satellites as possible for what will surely be yet another interesting Cold War, watched on TV by millions.

The US is spreading its military resources too thin across the globe. Because wars will eventually be fought by machines, troops aren’t as much of an issue as funding, and since half our tax dollars go to military purposes, it’s no surprise that our government feels confident in its ability to “defend itself” against the “threats” imposed by countries such as North Korea, Russia, Iraq, Iran, and maybe even China someday. Our consumer culture – working more, paying more income taxes, funding insane wars – feeds the war machine; it’s no wonder the government couldn’t care less about the health of its own citizens in favor of tax dollars.

Cold War II is upon us, and if you’re foolish enough to believe that a puppet like Barack Obama can “change” that, you haven’t been paying attention.

Polarizing views of gun control miss the point

Tuesday, August 19th, 2008

The gun-control activist whose provocative billboards have been turning heads along the Massachusetts Turnpike for 13 years today will unveil one of his most eye-popping messages yet – a fake neon advertisement for American gun shows where people can buy weapons, no questions asked.

“Gun shows are the equivalent of Al Qaeda terrorists walking directly onto the airplane while you and I wait in the TSA line,” John Rosenthal, founder and chairman of Stop Handgun Violence, said in a recent interview. “They don’t want us to go on airplanes but they let Al Qaeda buy guns unprotected.”


Since our society is one never-ending commercial, cute billboard advertisements catch our eye and provide fodder for debate, instead of the actual problems behind the motivation for those billboards. I went to school in the area where these billboards have been posted for over a decade now, and never once did I feel an impact by “controversial” advertising. I’m sure plenty of the future Obama supporters at the time felt a great sense of pride that thousands of people would be forced into reading a controversial advertisement on their way to work…a job well done!

There are two viewpoints stoked by these billboards: It’s either “I want guns for all” or “I want guns for none”. Never mind for a second that our insane society of applying the same screening processes for all individuals doesn’t work.

The fact is, people should absolutely be allowed to have guns to protect themselves, but if society wants their citizenry to own that right, they also have to ensure people know how to handle guns before buying them. Private gun shows where untraceable transactions can occur should be illegal; there are about 270 million firearms out there, why exacerbate the problem of criminals and sociopaths being able to obtain a gun whenever they want? A better government would regulate guns and not allow people to resell them to others, but allow people to buy them. No state should have a no-ID or no-background check policy on guns these days; that just doesn’t make sense.  Or at least, decentralize and allow states to manage this process on their own.

Unfortunately, when you have a neurotic society, you end up with pointless gun violence. If people actually cared about something more than their own petty drama, owning a gun would be an afterthought for most people, and it would cut down on home invasions and other violence because one would have no idea whether or not the potential victim would be waiting with a .32 tucked into their back pocket. Texas has had this idea for a while now and they frequently rank below average, nationally, in terms of gun violence statistics. It’s not because they’re hicks and happen to love guns, it’s because they have a national identity within the state and people have a semblance of shared values, which includes the right to protect oneself against would-be enemies and predators. If only those values had spread to the other 49 states (or rather, had never left the other states), this country would be a model for a place like Europe to adopt similar gun control policies, instead of disallowing their citizens from ever owning guns.

Once a Warrior King by David Donovan

Tuesday, August 19th, 2008

Once a Warrior King
by David Donovan
352 pages, Ballantine, $19

once_a_warrior_king_memories_of_an_officer_in_viet_nam_by_david_donovanWhen I was a teenager curious about the world, I found this book, and it entirely changed my outlook on politics. It is a memoir that describes the experience of a soldier who not only confronted the enemy at close quarters, but had an insight into the infrastructure of the war effort and how it was designed. His analysis of the war in this book, which is more about the theory of war and the psychology of winning, showed me how repeated failures come about: through repeated failures of method, which relate to failures of intent.

Donovan, a graduate of the Special Warfare School which taught how to fight and survive in a jungle environment, served in a slightly unusual capacity as the head of a Mobile Advisory Team, which were elite American soldiers who organized Vietnamese soldiers and fought with them in battle. He was closer to the lawless zones as a result and spent his time near the small village of Tram Chim, protecting it and interfacing with the people. Where others had more backup, he had almost none, and had to survive as an integrated part of the people and landscape of Viet Nam.

What strikes me most about this book is how Donovan illustrates that decency and common sense are inextricably tied, and points out that if you want to win a war, you must have an objective and not disintegrate into chaotic or selfish behavior, which he saw in surplus within the military. His morality like that of most people of wisdom — and this book brims with wisdom, if we have no other word for it — is strict in its goals, but not reactionary and silly; it is like a hand reaching for an object in darkness, a feedback loop of feeling a situation out and finding an appropriate response.

The book furnishes us a view of the Viet Cong that rarely makes it in full form into the media, which is as an organization of corrupt outlaws who terrorized villages with murder, booby traps and collection of tributes — more like a Mafia than a fighting force. Equally strongly portrayed are the corrupt aspects of Vietnamese self-government, and the illusory perceptions of an American government distant from the war, a military command trying to govern by wire from air-conditioned offices, and an American public which would rather turn the channel.

As a protagonist, Donovan believes in the fight against communism as a subset of the fight against unworkable and illusory systems and people. He detests the cruel, stupid and pointless as much as the artfully designed destruction of politicians, and recognizes communism as an illusion created to pander to the morally corrupt. However, he never lets himself become the voice of propaganda. He stands between the combatants looking for sanity, one that is based in a fundamental respect for the Vietnamese people and the good Americans he knew, and critical of the illusion on all sides.

For thoughtful people, the only real moral question is “How do I do good, when I must sometimes do evil things to fight evil?” Donovan reveals his ambivalence about killing early in the book, but is alert enough to face it stoically with a kind of zen nihilism that shows he has no illusions about the place any of us individuals serve in the much larger world. He is focused on the goal and much of this book is a meditation on how to find sanity in goals, and how to eliminate the squabbling neurosis that afflicts America now as well as then. This is not political rhetoric, or even religious, but common sense insight into human psychology, and it’s one reason this book is such a memorable read.

Any person wanting to study the Viet Nam conflict will benefit from the illustration of tactics on the ground, intelligently linked to revelations of the mentality behind those who fought the war. Donovan ties together mentation with action and results, spinning his yarn through anecdotes interrupted by critical thinking about the American war effort and its effect on its soldiers. While this book does not have the dramatic flair that many, like James Webb, have inserted in theirs, it remains vital to those who have read it for its honesty and perception.

Quaint, Token Gestures Replace Real Parenting

Friday, August 15th, 2008

Having a license was, at one time, considered a privilege. Today, there are certainly restrictions on teen driving, but most other drivers have a sense of entitlement: as long as I don’t get caught by a cop, the logic goes, I’m free to do anything I want on the road.

Teenagers, some of whom abuse the privilege, are no different. We’ve all been driving down a country road at night and seen a teenager in a bucket of bolts flying by in the other direction, far too quickly. And you might even think to yourself, “wow, I hope he gets into an accident and learns his lesson.”

Austin Smith did get into an accident, but instead of learning his lesson and moving on with a better view on how to drive properly, his parents felt compelled to ask other busybody morons on the road to babysit their child for them.

Instead of dealing with society’s problems in a natural and realistic way, we’ve decided that a constantly surveilled society is best. Call someone up when you see something go wrong; install a camera on your street corner; forget the real source of the issue. I can understand the need for it in one sense, but most of it stinks of a lack of responsibility on the part of the party asking for surveillance in the first place – especially when it comes to parents & their kids. Parents have stopped taking responsibility for their children and trusting them to act in a responsible way when they are out of the house – and you can’t blame them when you look around at what most other kids & their parents are doing (or not doing). But it’s definitely a bit too far when you essentially tell your kid that he or she has to wear a “kick me” sign with a phone number on the back, so that any jerk with a vendetta can call a number and report them to a false authority figure.

Isn’t this a bit like layering a false police force on top of the real one? The police can only do so much and aren’t everywhere at once, so these parents feel that their child should have a sign on their car asking for people to report them if they cut someone off or run a yellow light turning into a red. I’ve got news for these parents: most of the idiot drivers out there are right in their own mirrors. Because these parents feel a sense of false authority over their teenagers without any real family structure, they feel the need to chain them down with token gestures like these instead of focusing on their own failures at parenting. And how do you think these kids will react once they are free of useless tactics like these bumper stickers? They will end up resenting all authority for the fact that they were never trusted to behave well and be recognized for it, even though they could have done so on their own.

If I had a bumper sticker on my kids’ car, I’d put the number 911 on it, then in bold print underneath: “call the cops if he’s breaking the law; otherwise, stop tailgating.”

“This Is Progress”

Monday, August 4th, 2008

Patients begin preventative measures based on gene tests

Slowly, science is convincing us that genetics (i.e., nature) is responsible for most of what occurs in our lives. Yes, behavioral sciences still have their uses, and psychology shouldn’t be entirely ignored. The problem is that genetics is universal and psychology & other behavioral sciences can be influenced by trendy thinking. Just look back to other politically correct ideas that have fallen flat on their faces – George Carlin would bring up the example of women in the 70s who would play classical music to their unborn fetuses, supposedly to help with IQ down the road.

People don’t want to admit that genetics account for most of what occurs in our lives, because that would be a concession to nature, and we can’t have that. We need to believe that we can change our lives & our destinies through behavior and other means, that our materialistic lifestyles are okay, and that we don’t really need as much exercise as our ancestors because we have four walls and a roof. Genetics is a reflection of the ultimate, inescapable reality, and since our modern society has increasingly tried to keep that reality outside the walls of the city, we won’t realize this until it’s too late. Why do you think we stubbornly cling to the idea that multiculturalism is better than singular-minded, nationalist societies with one culture? Why do people continue to eat food that’s bad for them, and even insist on it, instead of shaping up and realizing that our diets & lifestyles are unnatural?

Genetics is a strong force in our lives, but we don’t like to talk about it because we’re afraid of death. Mr. Downing’s actions in the above-referenced article represent the beginning of what we will be using genetics for in the future: How to Cheat Death, the new paradigm.

I am on the fence on this one. Downing had a device implanted into his heart so that he could avoid death if the same fate befalls him as it did his father & brother: sudden heart failure with no chance of making it to a hospital on time before death. To me, that’s only step one. If an individual wants to avoid a very scary fate, that’s one of the few areas where I would respect the individuals’ right to act, because he seems otherwise to be a solid, contributing member of society and we can’t lose those. He’s not an obese, smoking buffoon who’s looking to cheat not only genetics but also his own behavior.

Step two, further into the future, would involve using genetics to slowly breed out certain diseases in our society. But it wouldn’t have to be like Gattaca, and I’d certainly not favor killing babies that are born with, say, developmental issues. No, good cultures & societies take care of all their members, as long as those members (family members of the developmentally disabled, in this case) are good members of society. This doesn’t work today because there are so many parasites that our welfare state gets weighed down and – guess what – the dollar begins to devalue and everybody becomes resentful sociopaths. All it would take is a gradual restructuring of society – people would live within certain borders that believe in certain things, with a highly decentralized government and very little in the way of materialistic/greedy desire. Sounds Utopian but I’ve already mentioned that Michael Arth is on his way to pursuing this and has put his plan into action, now even running for governor of Florida.

Step two would last a long time, because people would be breeding while in their new cultural lands. Genetic science would attempt to weed out certain genetic imperfections either during pregnancy or after birth, so that certain “bad genes” could be shut off and reproduction would involve the birth of a newer, better generation each time.

Obviously, there are complications; who decides which genes are bad and which are good? We’re not talking blonde hair and blue eyes, we’re talking heart disease and colon cancer. It’d be pretty easy to put together a 100-or-so list of things we would want scientists to eliminate, and of course each Nationalistic group would need to decide, beyond that, which other features they’d like to keep or discard. Sure, things can get scary from there, but if you’ve joined up to live with like-minded people, it’s likely consensus will be reached more easily, with outlandish ideas immediately dismissed.

Step three would likely involve less genetic intervention and simply keeping the gene pool within your new, Nationalist society free of outside influence – breeding within the group. Nature usually takes care of the rest; just look at Iceland, as well as the Scandinavia of the past, with people reaching new heights by continuing to breed within their own culture for generations.

Step three is simply the most natural way to live, but since our societies have become, for now, irrevocably mixed and multicultural, we would need to rearrange our borders & our governments before we’re able to truly get a hold on nature and use genetics toward the proper ends.

Why trolls rule

Friday, August 1st, 2008

In the late 1980s, Internet users adopted the word “troll” to denote someone who intentionally disrupts online communities. Early trolling was relatively innocuous, taking place inside of small, single-topic Usenet groups. The trolls employed what the M.I.T. professor Judith Donath calls a “pseudo-naïve” tactic, asking stupid questions and seeing who would rise to the bait. The game was to find out who would see through this stereotypical newbie behavior, and who would fall for it. As one guide to trolldom puts it, “If you don’t fall for the joke, you get to be in on it.” — NYT article: Malwebolence

When it becomes taboo to talk about certain topics, much less tie them together in the kind of truth that saves groups from themselves, the only people who speak the truth are some outsiders (other outsiders are just loser posers). Trolls — using anonymity, hacker technique for obscurity, and some basic psychological knowledge — are information terrorists for the truth.

Recommended Reading