Carlos Danger for Fed Chairman

As far as I can tell, there are three requirements for being appointed Federal Reserve Chairman:

  • He must be a Jew.  There hasn’t been a Gentile at the helm in nearly three decades.
  • He must be of the political elite. 
  • He must be a man.

There has been a lot of talk about Larry Summers or Janet Yellen being appointed to succeed Helicopter Ben by Barack Obama.  While Summers and Yellen are both Jewish, and therefore ethnically eligible, Summers is handicapped by being completely wrong about the housing crisis and Yellen is ineligible by virtue of being female.

Also, Yellen is the current Vice Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, so how likely is it that she can fix what she helped break in the first place?

While there are no shortage of economists who did foresee the housing crisis, unfortunately, only Peter Schiff is Jewish and he is observably not of the political elite. Neither is the corpse of Murray Rothbard, which despite being dead for 18 years, would make for a better Fed Chairman than either Summers or Yellen.

So, where can we find a Jewish man who is of the political elite who will not be inclined to simply continue Helicopter Ben’s dysfunctional strategy?  My suggestion? Anthony Weiner aka Carlos Danger.

Carlos Danger would be the perfect Fed Chairman.  Set him up with a webcam, and internet connection and a Twitter account called @bigphatmoneymaker and he’ll happily spend his time at the office sending inflationary pictures to starstruck land whales instead of sending trillions of inflationary credit dollars to undercapitalized European banks. The global economy will be saved, the Lizard Queen’s reputation will no longer be sullied by association, and the women’s magazines will devote cover after cover to “The Glamorous Woman Behind the Fed”.

The bi-factional ruling party is happy. The media is happy. Hoi polloi is happy. Everybody wins.

Why the rabbits can’t think straight

An English professor and evolutionary psychologist attempts to explain the inability of certain rabbits to successfully engage in honest dialectic and why they are limited to rhetorical discourse:

Surveying the modern intellectual scene, the world of public discourse
among the educational elites, I conclude that dishonesty does not only
reduce the efficiency and effectiveness of thinking – but it actually reduces applied intelligence – probably by re-wiring the brain.

What I am suggesting is that, although the fundamental efficiency of
neural processing is an hereditary characteristic which is robust to
environmental differences and changes (short of something like
destructive brain pathology – encephalitis, neurotoxin, head injury,
dementia etc) – habitual dishonesty (such as is mainstream among the
modern intellectual elite) will generate brain changes, and a
long-lasting (although probably, eventually, reversible) pathology in
applied intelligence – such that what ought to be simple and obvious
inferential reasoning becomes impossible.

I mean impossible.

Habitual dishonesty (most notable political correctness) is a form of
learning; and learning strengthens some brain pathways and brain
connections; while allowing other pathways and connections to wither and
(perhaps eventually) perish.

Therefore, even on those rare occasions when a typical modern
intellectual tries to be honest and to think straight – they cannot do
it, because their reasoning processes have been sabotaged by their own
repeated habits of dishonesty – their attempts at honest thoughts will
be inhibited, and instead channelled down the usual lying pathways…

Thus, in modern intellectual life, honesty is punished and dishonesty is rewarded; honest brain pathways decay, dishonest brain pathways enlarge.

After years and years of conditioning in dishonesty, the typical modern
intellectual (whether journalist, scientist, lawyer, teacher, doctor or
whatever) becomes physically unable to think straight.

I’m far from the only one to observe that the trolls and anklebiters that seek to infest the blog are reliably dishonest.  But I had always thought it was a Machiavellian tactic and assumed that they knew they were lying.  After all, how many times can you have your positions methodically destroyed and still turn around and espouse it if one is not pathologically dishonest or simply playing a game?

However, in reading comments by the same individuals made when safely ensconced in their warrens, I observed that they not only espoused the same positions there, but genuinely appeared to believe that they had acquitted themselves well despite making absolutely undeniable blunders.  That’s when I began to realize that there was something fundamentally wrong with the way their minds worked.  It’s not so much that they will readily tell lies and espouse nonsense, but that they will continue doing so even when the falsity of their positions has been exposed and is observable for all to see.

This isn’t true of all rabbits. Rabbits like PZ Myers and McRapey know when they are shown to be wrong.  The avoidance patterns of their behavior and their swift reactions to when they are caught out betray this. They fear being seen to be wrong, which why they resolutely avoid public debate with anyone capable of calling them out and exposing them on their nonsense, but that very fear shows their awareness of it.  They may be dishonest at times, and will readily assume false postures, (e.g. “I’m done pretending to be nice”), but their dishonesty is not pathological and usually serves some sort of identifiable purpose.  This is very different from the behavior we often see from anklebiters here, where no amount of knowledge suffices to correct them and no rational purpose underlying their behavior can be discerned.

I don’t know if Charlton’s theory is correct. But it is certainly an area where a considerable amount of scientific research would be justified, and let’s face it, some of these brains could only be improved by dissection.  On the other hand, as Markku pointed out, there may be a spiritual element involved, as CS Lewis described in The Great Divorce.

“But, beyond all these, I saw other grotesque phantoms in which hardly a trace of the human form remained; monsters who had faced the journey to the bus stop-perhaps for them it was thousands of miles-and come up to the country of the Shadow of Life and limped far into it over the torturing grass, only to spit and gibber out in one ecstasy of hatred their envy and (what is harder to understand) their contempt, of joy. The voyage seemed to them a small price to pay if once, only once, within sight of that eternal dawn, they could tell the prigs, the toffs, the sanctimonious humbugs, the snobs, the “haves,” what they thought of them.”

Rules of writing I

A few weeks ago, Stickwick asked me if I would put down some of my thoughts concerning how one goes about writing fiction.  This is the first in who knows how many posts in response to her request.

1. Thou shalt know thy world

Many authors of SF/F don’t appear to give much, if any, thought to the world in which they are setting their novels.  I am not saying it is necessary to go to the lengths of a Tolkien and develop at least four of your own new languages and write a literature in each of them, only that if one simply leaps in and starts writing a novel without making some conscious decisions about the setting, one is going to be making unconscious decisions about it.

And most of the time, those unconscious decisions are going to draw heavily upon novels we have read or movies we have seen.  This is why, in many books in which one can readily observe that little conscious thought has gone into the setting, one can often recognize the various elements that are derived from other novels.  Even worse, those unconsciously copied elements are seldom harmonious and are not infrequently contradictory.

Let me make clear that I am not necessarily talking about the entire world here, only the section of the fictional world as it is exposed to the reader throughout the course of the novel. For example, in her Brother Cadfael novels, Ellis Peters seldom describes much of the world outside of Shropshire, but she provides a considerable amount of detail concerning Shrewsbury Abbey and the surrounding town and the bits of news that trickle in from outsiders indicate that she is well-versed in the relevant English history.

Exercises:  These should be answered here in the comments to permit discussion of them.  Try to come up with examples that someone else has not already provided.

1.  Name an example of a science fiction or fantasy world the author has clearly contemplated in some detail.  Explain why you believe that to be the case.  Middle Earth and Selenoth don’t count.

2. Name an example of a science fiction or fantasy world concerning which the author does not appear to have given sufficient thought to the setting.  Identify the primary disharmonious element that causes you to conclude that.  And just to forestall the obvious attempts at wit, Middle Earth and Selenoth don’t count.

Daring to judge God

I always had my doubts about the legitimacy of Desmond Tutu.  His recent theological posturing confirms my suspicions that he was always more about winning the favor of a fallen world than serving God:

Tutu, who retired as Archbishop of Cape Town in 1996, has long campaigned for gay rights. 

‘I would refuse to go to a homophobic heaven. No, I would say sorry, I mean I would much rather go to the other place,’ he said. ‘I would not worship a God who is homophobic and that is how deeply I feel about this.’

At 81 years old, it would seem Mr. Tutu will soon have the option to experience the consequences of his decision.  Most likely to his surprise, as this is the statement of a deeply silly and superficial man with no reverence for the God he once affected to serve, and, I would argue, neither hope of Heaven nor fear of Hell.  Give him another few years and I have little doubt he’d come out as an atheist.

God is not homophobic. He is not afraid of homosexuals but merely regards them as abominations, perhaps because alone among sinners, they define themselves by their sin and assert their pride in it.

Wikileaks: Manning didn’t aid enemy

Bradley Manning has been found not guilty of aiding the enemy.  That’s a bit of a surprise and should help Edward Snowden breathe a little easier.

Manning has been found not guilty of the most serious charge of “aiding
the enemy”. However the private has been found guilty on five counts of
violating the espionage act.

Mailvox: The Bank of Internet

If Amazon can’t make money as a retailer, perhaps it can do so as the Central Bank of Internet:

Two of my overseas contributors have asked to be
paid not via PayPal in their local currencies *or* in U.S. dollars.
Instead, they prefer to receive payment in the form of Amazon gift card

And a new global medium of exchange emerges…

Given the problems that Amazon is having which Karl Denninger has chronicled, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see them introduce some sort of rival to PayPal before the end of the year.  Because they make no profit margin on most of their non-media sales, and because international media growth was actually negative last quarter, they’re going to have to do something different.

And as one banker I knew once told me, nothing makes money like money. Jeff Bezos is a smart guy, so if it so obvious that even we can see it, he’s probably already got it in the works.

Projection and quid pro quo

It is fascinating to read how some criticisms of Christianity appear to be little more than psychological projection.  Take the common Jewish accusation that Christian evangelicals are helping Jews return to Israel because they wish to immanentize the eschaton and bring about the Second Coming.  Now, this obviously makes no sense because most of those Christian Zionist evangelicals are premillennials, who believe that the hour of the Second Coming is a) unknowable, and b) pre-appointed.

As one who grew up in a premillennial evangelical Baptist church, I always wondered where in the world various Jews and atheists derived that concept, because, despite hearing more speculation about “the Rapture” and “the Tribulation” than I want to recall, I never once heard anyone even suggest that it was even theoretically possible to influence the timing of Jesus’s return.  Quite to the contrary, the primary concern was that the Second Coming might take place next Tuesday, before you were ready, thereby sentencing you to seven years of tribulation in the absence of practically everyone you knew.

However, the concept does sound an awful lot like Lubavitcher theology, which requires the seeding of Chabad Institutions all over the world in order to “to hasten the Messianic Age by spreading Jewish observance”.  I read Chaim Potok’s excellent novel, My Name is Asher Lev, for the second time, and this passage, about the young artist’s father upon his return from a six-month missionary trip to Europe, struck me as not only deeply ironic, but intentionally so:

“He had seen the sketchbook filled with drawings of Jesus and nudes. He had spent half a year of his life creating yeshivos and teaching Torah and Hasidus all over Europe.  Then he had returned to America and had discovered that his own home was now inhabited by pagans. He was in an uncontrollable rage.”

So, the man is quite literally occupied with establishing invasion points all over Europe, then returns “home” to another land he personally invaded from Russia, and reacts furiously to the observation that his son is assimilating the values of that land.  But that’s merely an ironic observation.  The more troubling one is this passage from Chapter 7, as we’ve all heard of Nazi claims that Jews are sub-human, but we don’t often hear of the opposite.

“We studied the meaning of the verse in Proverbs ‘The candle of God is the soul of man.’  The souls of Jews are like the flame of a candle, the mashpia said.  The flame burns upwards; it seeks to be parted from the wick in order to unite with its source above, in the universal element of fire.  Similarly, the soul of the Jew yearns to separate itself and depart from the body in order to unite with the Master of the Universe, even though this means that nothing will remain of its former nature as a distinct and separate entity.  It is in the nature of the Jewish soul to desire this union with the Being Without End, unlike the souls of the Gentiles, which are derived from the Other Side and which strive to remain independent beings and entities.

“We studied about the sitra achra, the Other Side, the realm of darkness and evil given life by God not out of His true desire but in the manner of one who reluctantly throws something over his shoulder to an enemy, thereby making it possible for God to punish the wicked who help the sitra achra, and reward the righteous who subjugate it.”

Now, this is from a novel in which the Hasidic organization bears a fictional name, so I don’t know if the Ladover teachings accurately reflect the Lubavitcher concepts upon which they appear to be based or not.  I’ve asked Chelm Weisman to clarify this for us, but it would certainly be educational to learn how widespread this notion of all non-Jewish souls being derived from the realm of darkness and evil happens to be.  And it would certainly help explain the old political proverb concerning the way in which Jews live like Episcopalians but vote like Puerto Ricans.

Chelm notes: “I would say proceed with caution. Potok is a critic of chassidism, not an advocate (although a critic with great respect for and understanding of it).”  So, keep in mind that it may or may not be an accurate portrayal of Lubavitcher teachings, and even if it is, I suspect it is unlikely to be in line with other more conventional Jewish theologies.

The Seven Laws of Noah are a sound and proven basis for a sustainable society, even if the systemic corruption of the US court system appears to render Law number seven a little more questionable than the others.  But I am more than a little dubious about the prospects for long-term survival, let alone success, of any movement that posits more than 99 percent of the world’s population consists of demon souls from the dark side.

An atheist decalogue

Bertrand Russell’s 10 Commandments:

The Ten Commandments that, as a teacher, I should wish to promulgate, might be set forth as follows:

  1. Do not feel absolutely certain of anything.
  2. Do not think it worth while to proceed by concealing evidence, for the evidence is sure to come to light.
  3. Never try to discourage thinking for you are sure to succeed.
  4. When you meet with opposition, even if it should be from your
    husband or your children, endeavour to overcome it by argument and not
    by authority, for a victory dependent upon authority is unreal and
  5. Have no respect for the authority of others, for there are always contrary authorities to be found.
  6. Do not use power to suppress opinions you think pernicious, for if you do the opinions will suppress you.
  7. Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.
  8. Find more pleasure in intelligent dissent that in passive agreement,
    for, if you value intelligence as you should, the former implies a
    deeper agreement than the latter.
  9. Be scrupulously truthful, even if the truth is inconvenient, for it is more inconvenient when you try to conceal it.
  10. Do not feel envious of the happiness of those who live in a fool’s paradise, for only a fool will think that it is happiness.

I don’t necessarily disagree with all of these points, but it is remarkable to observe far they fall short of the original Decalogue, even though the original was produced with considerably less human history upon which to draw.  Let’s compare them, one commandment at a time.

One: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”
Russell: “Do not feel absolutely certain of anything.”

The Decalogue sets down the basis for an objective and universal morality.  Russell, on the other hand, undermines any possibility of morality, but science as well, by establishing uncertainty as his foundation.

Two: “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image.”
Russell: “Do not think it worth while to proceed by concealing evidence, for the evidence is sure to come to light.”

While the problem of graven images is somewhat mysterious, lacking any basis for distinguishing right from wrong, Russell is forced to resort to a demonstrably false justification for what would otherwise be a reasonable claim.

Three: “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.”
Russell: “Never try to discourage thinking for you are sure to succeed.”

Again, the commandment is clear, though its import is unknown.  But it is still superior to Russell’s, which again relies upon an observably false justification.

Four: “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.”
Russell: “When you meet with opposition, even if it should be from your
husband or your children, endeavour to overcome it by argument and not
by authority, for a victory dependent upon authority is unreal and

Russell scores a half-point here because he has the sense to limit his commandment to an exhortation, although he again sabotages his position with a false justification.  We aren’t even sure when the sabbath day is, or understand how to keep it holy.

Five: “Honour thy father and thy mother.”
Russell: “Have no respect for the authority of others, for there are always contrary authorities to be found.”

This commandment is the basis for civilization.  Russell’s is the road towards barbarism.  Not only is the justification again false, but the commandment is intrinsically pernicious.  Legitimate authority merits respect, it is only illegitimate authority that does not.

Six: “Thou shalt not kill.”
Russell: “Do not use power to suppress opinions you think pernicious, for if you do the opinions will suppress you.”

This is Russell’s first truly coherent point, but it can’t compare in significance or rhetorical power to the original.

Seven: “Thou shalt not commit adultery”
Russell: “Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.”

And here the essential triviality of the atheist exposes itself again.  Once more, the justification is observably false.  The importance of inviolate marriages, on the other hand, is integral to sustainable societies, as is becoming more and more apparent in their increased absence.

Eight: “Thou shalt not steal”
Russell: “Find more pleasure in intelligent dissent that in passive agreement,
for, if you value intelligence as you should, the former implies a
deeper agreement than the latter.”

Now Russell is just babbling.  Intelligent dissent does not necessarily imply any agreement at all.  And what percentage of the populace is “valuing intelligence as you should” likely to apply in any meaningful manner anyhow?

Nine: “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.”
Russell: “Be scrupulously truthful, even if the truth is inconvenient, for it is more inconvenient when you try to conceal it.”

It is a pity Russell has the need to produce a justification, even a fairly solid one, for an otherwise strong commandment.  But that points back to the flaws in his first commandment and his failure to establish a moral warrant.  Russell’s commandment is literally stronger than the original, although the latter is usually taken to be metaphorical and more broadly applied than its literal meaning.

Ten: “Thou shalt not covet”
Russell: “Do not feel envious of the happiness of those who live in a fool’s paradise, for only a fool will think that it is happiness.”

 So, envy is fine, so long as one is envying the happiness of those who are genuinely happy.  This is a pernicious doctrine.

It is fascinating, is it not, to see that a crude and primitive Bronze Age people, working with considerably less information to hand, somehow managed to produce a moral code that is considerably superior in terms of fact, logic, structure, scope, and style than the code produced by one of the most elite and celebrated minds of the 20th century.

By taking God out of his equations, the atheist loses everything, because he destroys the foundation upon which so much of what he values is constructed.

Combat Barbie wear

They still won’t be able to outfight a Boy Scout troop armed with jackknives, but the important thing is wearing the right clothes will help them feel more like real soldiers.

A new combat uniform with special consideration to the female body is
now available at Fort Gordon, almost a month after the Army announced
plans to open all units and military jobs to women by 2016. The March debut of the Combat Uniform-Alternate is the first in a
series of moves the Army hopes to make in the next three years to help
female soldiers feel like more professional members, officials said.

With narrower shoulders, a slightly tapered waist and a more spacious
seat, the unisex clothing line has been in the works since 2009 and is
being issued to all installations – except Fort Benning in Columbus, Ga.
– for men and women with a smaller or more slender body.

Enough of all the talk talk.  Let’s see some war war out of our brave amazons.  Let’s see the US Army form a combat division of its most formidable Combat Barbies and send it to Afghanistan.  Perhaps they can make a reality TV show of it called “Rape, Rout, or RIP?”

Not so much alpha

A few folks asked me where I figured Carlos Danger ranked on the socio-sexual hierarchy.  For various reasons, I concluded that despite his ambition, fame, and political power, he was most likely a gamma male .  Now we have definitive photographic proof confirming my initial diagnosis, as to the left can be seen a picture of the “beautiful young lady” with whom Mr. Danger was texting risque images.

I, for one, had no idea that Lena Dunham was so interested in politics.  Or that Carlos Danger was so passionate about marine biology.