Game bloggers only

If you’re a blogger who games – electronically – fire me an email with GAMEZ in the subject. One of the Volk is making an important announcement this Friday, and I’d like to request your help in publicizing it.


Media Whores – Chapter Two

Eman asked for a definition of a media whore a few days ago. Here, as promised, is one. This is only a partial definition, however, and it is related to the variant I describe as the courtesan, as opposed to its charlatan counterpart.

The Courtesans
Cogliendo le rose.

Aristotle insists that in the process of rhetorical discourse, it is necessary to define one’s premises. The media brothel exists, of this there can be no doubt, but what defines the whores who inhabit it? For just as not everyone to be found within a brothel is a prostitute, not everyone in the media – not even everyone on camera – is a media whore.

Not all whores are created equal. I was once acquainted with a girl, who, a few years later, happened to find employment working for a certain infamous Hollywood madam. As we had remained friends, when the media pressure got too intense, she took refuge with me in Minnesota, which is the geographical equivalent of Stealth technology where the media’s radar is concerned. This girl might have shared a profession with the local hookers working Hennepin Avenue, but the difference between them was both immediately obvious and deeply profound.(1)

Whereas the street hooker is employed solely to provide momentary gratification for a man’s physical needs, the call girl is primarily called upon to stimulate his ego.(2) But in either case, all principles are sacrificed in favor of one over-riding principle, the pursuit of the almighty dollar by any means necessary. In the same way, one can distinguish between the two primary sub-species of media whores: the courtesans, or those who are in service to others, and the charlatans, those who are in service only to themselves.

During the Renaissance, the courtesans of Venice were famous throughout Europe. They were confused with the noble ladies of the day, just as today’s media whores are often mistaken for public intellectuals. Georgina Masson, the author of “Courtesans of the Italian Renaissance”, writes, “it was a public shame that prostitutes were to be seen in the streets and churches, and elsewhere, so much bejewelled and well-dressed, that very often noble ladies and women citizens [of Venice], because there is no difference in their attire from that of the above-said women, are confused with them; not only by foreigners, but by the inhabitants [of Venice], who are unable to tell the good from the bad.”

In the case of the courtesans of the mainstream media, their devotion to the lofty ideals of their would-be profession(3) is entirely absent, regardless of whether they belong to the nominally objective reporting class, or the openly biased commentary class.(4) This can be best demonstrated by investigating the standards set by the professionals themselves. According to the Society of Professional Journalists, a journalist should at all times be physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.(5) Furthermore, a journalist must:

1. Seek Truth and Report It. Journalists should be honest, fair and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information.
2. Minimize Harm. Ethical journalists treat sources, subjects and colleagues as human beings deserving of respect.
3. Act Independently. Journalists should be free of obligation to any interest other than the public’s right to know.
4. Be Accountable. Journalists are accountable to their readers, listeners, viewers and each other.

Some of the specific points of journalistic conduct are as follows:

● Give voice to the voiceless; official and unofficial sources of information can be equally valid.
● Diligently seek out subjects of news stories to give them the opportunity to respond to allegations of wrongdoing.
● Distinguish between advocacy and news reporting. Analysis and commentary should be labeled and not misrepresent fact or context.
● Show good taste.
● Never plagiarize.

As anyone who has read a newspaper or watched a news broadcast lately will recognize, these points of journalistic conduct are honored mainly in the breach. Take the latter, for instance. The Associated Press is nothing but one gigantic mass of plagiarism, as it is standard practice for reporters to take a story that has been written by someone else, move a few words around, then publish it under their own byline. If the standards for fictional plagiarism were this loose, one could publish a fat trilogy about a short, but stout-hearted little fellow travelling across Terra Media to Nordor destroy the Singular Ring in the fires of Mount Death without fear of the Tolkein estate dropping a battalion of paratrooper-lawyers armed with flamethrowers on your front lawn.

Here’s a shining example of AP-approved plagiarism from when the Swiftvet controversy first exploded, when the Saint Paul Pioneer Press ran an article from the Dallas Morning News that bore an eerie resemblance to another article that had run the day before in the Star Tribune.

The first similarity I noticed was this description of Swift Boat Vet John O’Neill. As written by Bob Von Sternberg on Saturday in the Star Tribune: “In the book, longtime Kerry nemesis John O’Neill accuses him of distorting his war record for political gain.” And as written by Bob Tarrant in the Dallas Morning News: “The book, “Unfit for Command,” is co-authored by longtime Kerry nemesis John O’Neill, a Houston lawyer who followed Kerry as commander of Patrol Craft Fast 94.”

I suppose it’s possible that’s a coincidence. When you’re trying to subtly undermine a man’s credibility, there are only so many words in the English language to use for a particular set of facts. Although I think using “chronic Kerry cat caller” works even better than “long time Kerry nemesis”. My charitable instincts faded when I came across these characterizations of chronic Kerry cat caller George Elliot. First, Von Sternberg in the Star Tribune:

“One, retired Capt. George Elliott, reportedly recanted his accusation that Kerry did not deserve his Silver Star. But after the Boston Globe published a story quoting him as saying he withdrew the charges, the Swift Boat Veterans released an affidavit in which Elliott swore he stood by his accusation. But in 1996, Elliott had been quoted in news reports praising Kerry’s actions as courageous.”

Now, Tarrant in the Dallas Morning News: “One member in the ad, retired Capt. George Elliott, reportedly recanted his accusations that Kerry did not deserve his Silver Star. But after the Boston Globe published that, the Swift Boat Veterans released an affidavit in which Elliott swore he stood by his accusation. But in 1996, Elliott was quoted in news reports praising Kerry’s actions as courageous.”(6)

Of course, mere thievery does not a courtesan make. Other moral lapses are required, preferably those involving a supine position. Here, too, the modern media does not disappoint, as the distinction between advocacy and news reporting has not so much been eroded as obliterated entirely, not only on the cable television networks, but also in more traditional institutions priding themselves on their celodurismo.(7) That the media has abandoned reporting in favor of advocacy would not be so worrisome, were it not for the fact of the john for whom it has reliably and monolithically chosen to whore itself. This, then, leads us to a formal description of the most common subspecies of Scortus medius, the Big Government Courtesan.

Scortus medius washingtonia

Description Pasty white to dark brown, often with white-tipped hairs, giving grizzled appearance. Dark suit with white shirt and red tie. Facial profile usually clean-shaven. In some areas, individuals may appear brownish or blackish, rarely bronze. Single pair of prominent incisors. Ht about 6′ 0″ (130 cm); Wt 175–250 lb (77–112 kg); some individuals to 300 lb (133 kg). Female has blonde hair, usually dark at the roots. Ht about 5′ 4″ (130 cm); Wt 115–135 lb (147–680 kg)

Breeding After 4-7 year gestation in elite Ivy League university, young attach themselves to internship programs and entry level positions at media institutions or Congressional offices.

Habitat Urban centers. Favors television studios, newspaper offices and law firms.

Range Most of U.S., except less common in rural Texas, n Idaho, New Hampshire and South Carolina. Concentrated most strongly on the coasts. Also s British Columbia east to Toronto.

Scortus medius washingtonia is as common as Blattella germanica, and appears to serve much the same purpose. Day after day, in broadcast after broadcast and newspaper after newspaper, it infests American homes and spreads disease by forcing the American people to submit to its deluge of its pro-government propaganda. This is the case at every level, local, state and federal, and in those very rare cases when the coverage is negative, it is almost invariably focused on criticizing the government concerned for failing to act in an appropriately expansive manner. One will wait in vain to hear washingtonia suggest that any matter, public or private, is not an appropriate concern of government.(8)

If the crisis of the day is a slowing economy throwing people out of work, the only answer, according to the courtesan media, is to turn to government to solve the problem. If the problem is precisely the opposite, an overheated economy driving up prices, the solution is, again, government action. If a global ice age and the threat of rampaging glaciers is imminent, the government must act. If, on the other hand, global warming is about to cause the polar ice caps to melt and drown the coasts, the government must act. The courtesan media is not unlike the man with the proverbial hammer, who perceives every problem as a nail in need of hammering.

In fact, it is almost impossible to conceive a problem for which washingtonia does not recommend expanding the seize and reach of government. Strangely enough, this holds true even if the problem with which the media is concerning itself was caused by government in the first place. This may be because the concept of accuracy is entirely foreign to the news media, as no other industry, not even the telephone psychics industry, has recorded such a poor predictive record on matters great and small.

Greg Easterbrook of the Brookings Institute has kept track of the New York Times quixotic quest to predict the final score of an NFL game. Over four seasons, from 2000 to 2003, the Paper of Record went 3-1,085, an accuracy percentage of less than one-tenth of one percent. And even that was the result of a blazing hot 2003 season, wherein the Times racked up two of its three correct predictions in going 2-270. These wildly inaccurate sports predictions are harmless enough, but the effects are not so innocent where more serious matters of politics are concerned.

For example, when the Minnesota state legislature debated a proposed gun carry law in 2002, the Minneapolis Star Tribune dredged up the same dire predictions of imminent bloodshed that the Dallas Morning News and other Texas newspapers had promulgated prior to the passage of Texas’ concealed-carry law in 1995. The Star Tribune did so despite the fact that the Texas papers were proved to be completely wrong, as Texas murder rates dropped 50 percent from 1995 to 2000(9), 1.58 times faster than the decline in the national murder rate. The Star Tribune repeatedly used these hysterical and baseless predictions to justify its editorial opposition to the proposed carry law, which finally passed in 2002 despite the Minnesota media’s bitter jihad against it.

Nor did the Star Tribune change its tune even after it became clear that the cornucopia of shootouts it predicted simply were not occurring with any degree of regularity, or indeed, at all. Of the 15,734 carry permits issued by the state in 2003, only 20 were suspended, revoked or canceled, and none for serious crimes.(10) One could almost feel their disappointment at not being able to break out the giant MURDEROPOLIS headline they’d been saving for the incipient Wild Midwest stories they were so eagerly anticipating.

In like manner, the courtesan media is repeatedly and woefully inaccurate in its economic coverage. This is partly unavoidable, because the vast majority of commentators, aside from Dr. Thomas Sowell, (Senior Fellow, the Hoover Institution, Stanford University), Dr. Walter Williams, (Professor of Economics, George Mason University), Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, (former assistant secretary, U.S. Treasury), and, despite his muddle-headed Keynesianism, Dr. Paul Krugman, (Professor of Economics, Princeton University), could not tell you what M3(11) was to save their life. Unfortunately, complete ignorance seldom prevents paperboys and talking heads from opining regularly on the subject once known as political economy.

This ignorant advocacy invariably insists that increasing government revenue through taxes and increasing government spending will strengthen the economy, despite the fact that the two actions are mutually contradictory in mainstream economic terms.(12) Not only that, but economic history is very clear that the lethal combination of increased taxation and government spending inevitably ends badly in the long term.(13) Given that the Congress has already managed to destroy 94.71 percent(14) of the value of the U.S. dollar in 91 years, there is no reason to believe that things will end up any differently this time.

But the long term manifestly does not concern medius washingtonia, as it is usually impossible for the species to recall anything said or written the day before. A short-term memory is an identifying marker key to spotting any media whore, but particularly one of the courtesan class. For example, every estimate provided by the Washington Post predicting the results of income tax cuts for the last 20 years has significantly overestimated the subsequent net loss of government revenue. And by the same token, every prediction it has made about the expected results of income tax hikes has significantly underestimated the net increase of government revenue.

This is because the Post’s economics writers use a static model of revenue analysis. In other words, their model assumes that no one’s behavior will change as a result of their taxes going up or down. This is, of course, not only completely illogical and wholly unrealistic, but contrary to every economic model developed since Adam Smith wrote “The Wealth of Nations” in 1776. Although guaranteed to be inaccurate, the Post, along with almost every major newspaper, continues to use this static scoring model because the Joint Tax Committee of Congress and most state governments do.

And why do these governments insist on using such a broken analytical tool? Because from their point of view, anything with an inherent bias towards exaggerating the positive impact of tax increases and the negative impact of tax cuts is, by definition, not broken. Accuracy be damned, in the tangential world of the government bureaucrat, anything that increases budgets is good and anything that decreases them is bad. The fact that the estimates for 2002, 2003 and 2004 were all errant with the same bias is no more relevant to these bureaucrats making estimates for 2005, or the courtesan media obediently passing these hopeless predictions on to an unsuspecting public, than the past phases of Jupiter.

Another example is the coverage of the Commerce Department’s revision of U.S. Gross Domestic Product in the second quarter of 2004. Originally calculated at 3.0 percent, the number was revised to 2.8 percent on August 27, 2004. The Associated Press reported that this was “slightly better than the 2.7 percent growth rate that some economists had forecast.”(15)

The problem is that earlier in the year, the Wall Street Journal’s Monthly Survey was reporting the consensus estimate to be 4.5 percent, with some economists predicting as high as 6 percent in May. First, in a $10 trillion economy, this is a whopping miscalculation of between $170 and $320 billion. That’s tremendous, but then, economics is more of an inexact art than a science. More troubling, however, is the Associated Press’s disregard for the economists’ actual historical estimates in what appears to be an attempt to provide cover for the consensus view, especially when reminders of earlier optimism would likely have had negative effects on the stock market in the leadup to a November election.

A short-term memory is not the only identifier of a big government media whore. Other important identifying characteristics include the following:

● The ability to turn on a dime. Prior to the Iowa primaries, Howard Dean was the foremost beneficiary of mainstream media love. As soon as the Democratic elders realized that he might actually win the nomination, the love for Howard ended faster than a Jennifer Lopez marriage.
● An eagerness to take the government at its word. For some reason, it is standard practice to assume that the credibility of a government agency always trumps that of a private individual, even if there is no evidence in support of the government’s position. The typical no-holds-barred investigation runs as follows: a) an individual makes a charge about a government agency and provides evidence. b) the reporter asks an individual in the employ of the government agency if the charge is true while ignoring the evidence. c) the employee of the government agency denies the charge. d) the reporter reports that the charge is not true.(16)
● A distaste for independent thinking. One need only look at the flocks of reporters that wait breathlessly upon the press releases issued by the White House, the Federal Reserve and other government institutions before turning around and regurgitating them for the public without even reading them to realize that most reporters are not so much reporting news as they are acting as de facto publicists for whatever agency or politician they are covering.
● A servile attitude towards government officials. In discussing PBS Jim Lehrer’s moderation of the 2000 presidential debates, Jeff Cohen, the executive director of the media watchdog group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting(17), said “The debates have become sort of like poll-tested posturing and rhetoric that never gets pierced by Lehrer. The style of interviewing that he’s perfected is civil, though a more accurate term might be servile.”
● A cheerleader mentality. Gary North writes of just such a mindset: “A cheerleader seeks attention. He wants to be seen. It is not clear to him or anyone else why he should be seen. His means of gaining attention is to attach himself to a team. He wants to be on the winning side. He wants to be seen on the winning side. Cheerleaders pretend that they control the crowd. The crowd pretends that their organized cheers in some way help their team or thwart the opposing team. They stand, they sit, they cheer in an organized way. They do what the head cheerleader tells them to do. These efforts have no effect. The team pays no attention. The outcome of the game is not influenced by organized cheers. This is boola-boola in action. This is a system of pretense: layers of pretense. The cheerleader thinks of himself as part of the team effort. He isn’t. The individuals in the crowd think of themselves as part of the team effort. They aren’t.”

The significant difference here, though, is that big government’s cheerleaders in the media do play an important role in the team effort. It is no accident that as the corporate media has gotten larger and its relationship with government more incestuous, the old tradition of the Fourth Estate providing a check on the other three has faded away. The list of those who’ve gone from government service straight into the media is a long one and extends to both sides of the factional aisle, including luminaries such as George Stephanopolous, Pat Buchanan, Peggy Noonan, David Frum, David Gergen and James Carville, to give a few of many possible examples.

This is why the word “cheerleader” fails to do justice to those who have so richly earned the title of Scortus medius washingtonia, big government courtesan.

(1)I am speaking of variances in comportment and purpose, you understand.

(2)Paying $1,500 a night to have sex is morally reprehensible. Paying $1,500 to NOT have sex would seem to suggest rather strongly that the money would be better spent on a psychiatrist than a high-class prostitute.

(3)Journalists like to consider their occupation a profession, but as the late Michael Kelly of the Washington Post explained to Hugh Hewitt, a true profession requires a license and a governing body, both of which are lacking in the case of journalism. Hairdressers have a better case.

(4)There is supposed to be a nominal difference between the two, not that you’d know it by listening to disgruntled liberals fulminating about Fox News Channel’s editorial commentators lacking journalistic integrity. Or by reading the “objective news reporting” of the New York Times, for that matter.

(5)Sorry, that’s the Boy Scouts, isn’t it. I was just a little overwhelmed by the raw fumes of moral purity and journalistic integrity emanating from the Society.

(6)I didn’t actually write any of that. I just cut and pasted the entire thing, beginning with “The first similarity…” from my man Saint Paul of the Fraters Libertas blog. But I manifestly did not do anything questionable because I am the proud owner of a license to steal, that is to say, a Press Card from Universal Press Syndicate. I am journalist, hear me roar!

(7)i.e. the hardest of the hard news.

(8)Unless the future of a prominent Democratic politician is at risk. In which case, everything must be considered a private matter and we should all pretend it never happened. Sex is the one subject beyond government purview, unless you happen to need a condom, a birth control pill or an abortion, in which case the government is expected to provide it for you.

(9)The National Center for Policy Analysis, May 26, 2000.

(10) “Of 15,873 who applied for the permits in 2003, 139 were denied, according to a Bureau of Criminal Apprehension report released Monday. Another 20 permits were suspended, revoked or canceled. In three cases, they were taken away because permit carriers were under the influence of alcohol. In two other cases, holders were under restraining orders for stalking or threatening people. In one case, a permit was suspended over the reckless discharge of a gun. Another wrote a bad check.” Star Tribune, March 2, 2004. Note that this is quoted from an editorial written by former Minnesota governor Arne Carlson arguing AGAINST the Minnesota Personal Protection Act.

(11)The broad measure of money supply, not the BMW. It is now being phased out, so the proletariat don’t immediately realize the implications of Ben Bernahnke’s printing press philosophy.

(12)The mainstream Keynesian formulation is C+I+G+(x-m) = GDP. Increased taxation reduces C and I, while increased government spending increases G. So, the two tend to cancel each other out, leaving only the question of which is more efficient, Consumer spending + business Investment or Government spending. As history suggests that government efficiency is inherently oxymoronic, the answer should be obvious.

(13) Hence John Maynard Keynes most famous quote: “In the long run, we are all dead.” Our problem is that John Maynard is dead and the long run is now.

(14)According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. In the unlikely event you know anything about hedonic adjustment and the fiction known as the Consumer Price Index, then you understand the real situation is actually worse.

(15) “Economy More Sluggish Than First Thought”. Jeanine Aversa, Associated Press, August 27, 2004. Despite the title, only the earlier official 3.0 percent estimate by the Commerce Department is mentioned.

(16)I once spoke with the editor of a large metropolitan newspaper about this sort of thing. He refused to believe that his reporter could possibly have been played so badly by a state government employee until I emailed him the story his reporter had written, the misleading statements about the state law by the state employee and the actual text of the state law. It was immediately evident that the reporter had never bothered to so much as glance at the law.

(17)The Associated Press, 10/18/2000. For a former senior producer of Donahue and founder of a leftist media organization to call you servile, you’ve got to have an awful lot of shoe-black on your tongue.

Actually, I’m all for it

Air New Zealand and Qantas have banned men from sitting next to unaccompanied children on flights, sparking accusations of discrimination.

The airlines have come under fire for the policy that critics say is political correctness gone mad after a man revealed he was ordered to change seats during a Qantas flight because he was sitting next to a young boy travelling alone.

Auckland man Mark Worsley says an air steward approached him after take-off on the Christchurch to Auckland flight and told him to change seats with a women sitting two rows in front. The steward said it was the airline’s policy that only women were allowed to sit next to unaccompanied children.

Just to be safe, let’s put ALL the women and children in the front half of the plane. We can call that First Class so they don’t feel bad about it. Then put a pole in the back, two widescreens showing nonstop ESPN and keep the beers and Blue Hawaiians flowing in Economy.

Vox Air: the Volvo of airlines.

The moral imperative of the Rape Master

Anansi is all but gagging for it:

Wow, implying that you raped Renee, how classy and Christian of you. Really, your integrity astounds. Again, you’re acting like a sociopath and these people commenting are doing nothing but supporting behavior that most of society would condemn and would be right in condemning.

Hey, she asked for it! Didn’t you see what she was wearing? Amandagon said no at first, but then she said yes, and then she said no, so I just stuffed her teddy bear in her mouth and got on with it. Wonkette, well, you know how she wanted it…

Thank Society, as we learned yesterday from the philosophical masters of Pandagon, that morality turns out to be democratic. Free at last, free at last, thank Society Almighty, I am free at last! So, if Anansi can just keep her pants on for the nonce, I’ll take a quick poll of everyone in my social circle, after which sanction I shall see about committing an act of moral goodness for her spiritual edification.

Mailvox: I lift therefore I am

It’s amusing how we are so often assumed to be uneducated hayseeds untainted by the occult knowledge of Higher Education simply because we are a) Christian, and b) reject the ideological and historical propaganda instilled by the local children’s day-gulag. But then, as soon as we reveal that we are sufficiently familiar with the works of Marx, Kant, Keynes, Darwin, Chomsky, Foucault or (insert academic idol of choice here), we are immediately accused of being wealthy and arrogant elitists whose exotic views are the result of insulation from the Real World of the proletariat.

Following the White Buffalo’s one-man trampling of Pandagon’s philosophical poseurs, (with a 15-yard flag for unnecessary overkill on Nate) Antagony responds to the WB here:

Sounds like he has some attitude, too. Like Vox. Nothing like a philosopher with attitude. I have some attitude of my own. A person doesn’t need a good reason to have attitude. This place reeks of attitude. So I’ve humbled myself because the kid with the big brain sounds like he has something interesting to say….

And tell the kid from the rich, uppity schools that if he needs a personal aid who’ll work at poverty wages, I have connections. I suppose an expensive, big-name, Catholic university with a good philosophy program is a whole lot better place for a kid with a big brain than a relatively unknown, expensive Catholic university with a good philosophy program.

Actually, I think I kind of like this guy. WB, does the kid with the big brain and the fro to match need a valet? Maybe he could lift his weights for him; the last time I saw the Philosopher King it looked as if whatever time he was spending on my old bench was spent in contemplation.

Theys all my bitches now

It’s like the telephone game in kindergarten:

Is November “National Blame The Victim Month” or something? No, I mean seriously. First it was Nick Kiddle’s post on hir near-rape experience and the discussions that followed it, then there was the McDonalds thing, and the British poll, and now some idiot who I’ve never heard of before now (Vox Day) believes that rape is a man’s right because women are his property. No joke.

This just keeps getting better. At this rate, within a week there will be frightened women bloggers sending out email alerts (!) warning of how I brutally raped Amandagon, Wonkette and Me So Michelle. Not to mention Renee, of course, but that really didn’t count since she volunteered.

In another two weeks, catladies across the country will be frantically switching to battery-operated machinery for fear of being molested by an uploaded superintelligence possessing their “massagers” through the current.

“Near-rape experience”. Ah yes, isn’t that what it’s called when a man glances up and a nearby feminist thinks he may have been looking at her? Scary stuff!

UPDATE: These Strong Independent Women aren’t just “sick” and prone to “puke” and wet themselves before the awe-inspiring terror of an alien idea: I’m still thinking about something I was reading last night that actually moved me to tears. Vox Day has been holding forth that there is no such thing as date rape.

Well, if you’re going to cry about it, it’s obvious that I must modify my thought processes. I myself am feeling on the verge of tears… of laughter.

A stampede of two

The Blogger Blaster joins the White Buffalo in trampling the sheep:

BB:The introduction of God solves one crucial thing. It provides an objective measure of right and wrong.

Let me give an example..

Says the Moral Relativist: “Rapist… what you do is evil.”

Says the Rapist: “No. What I do is good. For I define good as that which pleases me.”

Says the Moral Relativist: “But you are harming another.”

Says the Rapist: “A living things seeks to discharge its strength. I am strong. It is my purpose to use that strength. The weak are here for the strong to use as they so choose.”

Says the Moral Relativist: “ummm…”

While it may be distastful… it is simply obtuse to claim that “Because God said so.” cannot be a useful tool in controlling the masses.

Rumblelizard:That’s an awfully stupid moral relativist your Rapist is talking to, BB.

Christopher :Let’s try another dialogue:

Moral non-reletivist: Rapist, what you do is wrong, god said so.

Rapist: No, god has said that women are to be subordinate to men. I’m acting out my divine right.

Moral etc.: Ummm…

Bloggerblaster:Depending on which god you’re referring to that could be correct, or incorrect. Certainly the God of Islam would agree. Which is why in moslem countries rape victims are either forced to marry the rapist, or they are killed. Interestingly… Nations with Christian influences handle rape much differently. Wonder why that is?

RumbleLizard, But you are not a stupid moral relativist… so please… enlighten me. I honestly do not know what basis a moral relativist has for justifying the belief that his belief that rape is wrong, is in anyway more correct than another’s view that rape is right.

I know what I believe… Like Buffy the White, I’d like to know what you believe. Is it all just Might Makes Right?

Christopher: Um… BloggerBlaster, you didn’t address my point, which is that essentially the one conception of god isn’t any more convincing or true then the other. Instead of me arguing personally with the psycho, it’s the psycho’s idea of god arguing with my idea of god. And whether it’s us or our gods that are arguing, the method for resolving the argument remains the same; The person with more power prevents the person with less power from acting on their version of morality…. Like I said, I don’t have an answer for you on how to objectively prove that goodness is good. But the idea of god doesn’t help.

Rumblelizard: Well, first off, BB, a *real* moral relativist wouldn’t even get so far as to tell the Rapist that what he did was “evil.” “Moral relativists” make no moral judgements, because it’s all “relative,” remember? Refuting the argument of the Rapist really only needs some observations along the “there’s always a bigger fish, and how would you like being the rapee” plus “complying with the golden rule = pragmatic good for all” line.

I’m not surprised that the response of the Pandagonians boiled down to Might Makes Right – a pro-rape argument if I’ve ever heard one – combined with some feeble hand-waving that wouldn’t convince a two-year old. “How would you like it?” Yes, that’s a powerful foundation for an objective morality indeed. The heart of the Left is always a dark one, hidden beneath its posturing pretense to moral superiority

I am, however, deeply shocked that the Blogger Blaster managed to remain within shouting distance – okay, whistling distance – of conventional spelling and capitalization.

Mailvox: someone needs a dictionary

The Jade Knight is not exactly studying for the bar:

Vox, mind posting a blog explaining to some of your hangers-on a little about the Public Domain? A few of them seem to have the (quite erroneous) idea that anything to be found on the Internet is automatically in the public domain.

And this seems to be some of the more “benevolent” of their errors.

Truly, you should pick your champions better. They do anything but uphold your intelligence to a neutral observer.

I was unaware that any of the Volk were wrongly profiting from the intellectual property of your friend with the LiveJournal. Are they selling t-shirts with the trademarked phrase “I’m Going To Puke Now”? Are they scraping the collective output of the Feminist Mormon Housewives, printing it and selling it at Barnes & Noble and other fine bookstores?

If so, I’d encourage you to tell your friend to hire one of the lawyers here – The Perfect Aryan Male is a trademark and copyright law specialist – and have him write them a cease-and-desist order.

As for champions, the fact that there may be a few other big dogs lurking about the premises doesn’t mean I can’t take care of myself. They’re not mine, I don’t feed them, they simply enjoy making a snack of the odd sheep passing by. And when they do, I seldom bother to chime in as there’s little point in picking through the remains and chomping them again.

Now run along, little boy, run along.

UPDATE: Jade Knight helpfully explains that he’s not the one who needs a dictionary. His comment quoted above was made here in response to an inaccurate remark made elsewhere that I did not see. I am sorry for ripping him instead of the party who rightly deserved it. By way of apology, I’ll explain what Jade was hoping I’d point out: public domain is intellectual property that is no longer copyrighted. Copyright extends for the life of the author plus (X) years – Congress changed it recently at Disney’s behest request and I’m not sure what it is off the top of my head, 70 perhaps – after that time, a work is considered to be in the public domain and can be used by anyone.

This is why, when you go to Barnes and Noble, you’ll see numerous different versions of Pride and Prejudice or The Complete Works of Edgar Allen Poe. Anyone can publish a book that is in the public domain, and publishers like this because they need not share any royalties with the copyright holder or his heirs.

Blogs, LiveJournals and personal correspondence are not in the public domain. They are considered to be a form of copyrighted material, use of which is governed by the Fair Use law. So, you can freely quote from another blog or a newspaper, so long as you do it within reason and don’t claim the work as your own.

Stacer’s objection, as I understand it from a friend of hers who emailed me, was that she thought a LiveJournal was private. This is, as she has discovered, not true, it is public. It is not, however, in the public domain.

The moralist in spite of himself

Dr. Eco comes to Chesterton:

Human beings are religious animals. It is psychologically very hard to go through life without the justification, and the hope, provided by religion. You can see this in the positivist scientists of the 19th century.

They insisted that they were describing the universe in rigorously materialistic terms – yet at night they attended seances and tried to summon up the spirits of the dead. Even today, I frequently meet scientists who, outside their own narrow discipline, are superstitious – to such an extent that it sometimes seems to me that to be a rigorous unbeliever today, you have to be a philosopher. Or perhaps a priest….

G K Chesterton is often credited with observing: “When a man ceases to believe in God, he doesn’t believe in nothing. He believes in anything.” Whoever said it – he was right. We are supposed to live in a sceptical age. In fact, we live in an age of outrageous credulity.

Eco, a non-Christian but a great humanist in the best sense of the term, herein expresses the essence of Voltaire’s point regarding the fundamental necessity of religion. Human beings are not capable of maintaining a spiritual vaccuum and they will fill that void with faith in something. In some cases, they will fill it with something harmless, in others, something silly, in still others, something actively evil.

I see Eco’s article as tangentially related to yesterday’s discussion, which demonstrated again how decent atheists and agnostics raised in a Christian culture parasitically and irrationally latch onto the greater part of the morality they reject as a whole, causing them to react in horror as their fellow disbelievers not privy or more resistant to such moral indoctrination behave rationally in the manner exhorted by Nietzsche and accepted with sardonic resignation by the existentialists.

The essential point that continues to evade most of these decent disbelievers is that regardless of the ethical structure he erects to rationalize his subscription to traditional morals imposed on his consciousness by society, he has no logic beyond simple utilitarianism to offer anyone else. His definition of good and evil – assuming he even accepts such things – is his alone. He can say to the rapist “what you do is evil”, but he has no effective response when the certainly rapist says to him “what I do is good, because I define good as that which pleases me” or ” A living thing seeks above all to discharge its strength” nor does he have a legitimate grounds for preventing or punishing the rapist.

Even the ethical arguments based on utilitarianism can fail here. In a demographically declining West, the rapist can quite reasonably argue that he is committing an act for the good of society, even for the good of humanity, in forcing himself on a woman who intends to remain childless. Indeed, an honest devotee of “the greater good” would have to at least consider supporting a policy of forcibly impregnating the most intelligent women, accompanied, of course, with a revivial of the historical eugenicism aimed at sterilizing the least intelligent.

This is, of course, abhorrent to the Christian morality, which Nietzsche rightly viewed as a defender of the weak. But on what grounds does a utilitarian object?

There is no dearth of philosophical systems of ethics, and they are all useless because they make no logical claim on those who do not voluntarily accept it. This is why the atheist, the agnostic and the pagan so readily resort to force as a substitute for ethics, because their arguments are toothless. To be fair, one must admit there is no shortage of Christians who do the same in their confusion of government-mandated legality with Biblically-mandated morality.

Eco quotes another lapsed Catholic, Joyce: “”What kind of liberation would that be to forsake an absurdity which is logical and coherent and to embrace one which is illogical and incoherent?” I would add: what profits it an individual to forsake a morality which is logical and coherent and to embrace one which is illogical, incoherent and inapplicable to others?