Consequences will ne’er be the same

Our Friend Damien is concerned on behalf of the Hugo Awards:

Isn’t publishing an entire list of your Hugo nominations with No Award in every category kind of…being a shit?

Not if you’ve actually read all of the works concerned. I don’t see how anyone could possibly read all of the nominated short stories and conclude that any of them should win.

In any event, it’s vastly amusing to see the pinkshirts suddenly worrying about the idea that they might not win all their awards because if THEY’RE voting No Award and WE’RE voting No Award, why then, NO ONE WILL GET ANY AWARDS!

It’s almost as if they have no grasp of the relationship between actions and consequences….


A hell beyond

Karl Popper said: “Those who promise us paradise on earth never produced anything but a hell.” Think about how badly the promises of multicultural utopia through diversity have gone, and then think about the level of hell that experimenting with the entire food chain in search of transspecies utopia could lead:

The well-being of large and long-lived free-living mammals could be secured even with today’s technologies. Expanding the circle of compassion further is more technically challenging. Until a couple of years ago, I’d have spoken in terms of centuries. For sociological rather than technical reasons, I still think this kind of timescale is more credible for safeguarding the well-being of humans, transhumans and the humblest of nonhuman animals alike.

Certainly, until the CRISPR revolution, talk of extending an abolitionist ethic beyond vertebrates sounded fanciful because compassionate interventions would pass from recognisable extensions of existing technologies to a speculative era of mature nanotechnology, self-replicating nanobots and marine drones patrolling the oceans. For me, the final piece of the abolitionist jigsaw only fell into place after reading Eric Drexler’s Engines of Creation: The Coming Era of Nanotechnology (1986) — a tantalizing prospect, but not a scenario readily conceivable in our lifetime.
 


Then came CRISPR. Even sober-minded scientists describe the CRISPR revolution as “jaw-dropping”. Gene drives can spread genetic changes to the rest of the population.

Whether for large iconic vertebrates or obscure uncharismatic bugs, the question to ask now is less what’s feasible but rather, what’s ethical? What kinds of consciousness, and what kinds of sentient being do we want to exist in the world? 

Naturally, just because a pan-species welfare state is technically feasible, there is no guarantee that some sort Garden of Eden will ever come to pass. Most people still find the idea of phasing out the biology of involuntary suffering in humans a fanciful prospect — let alone its abolition in nonhuman animals. The well-being of all insects sounds like the reductio ad absurdum of the abolitionist project. But here I’m going to be quite dogmatic. A few centuries from now, if involuntary suffering still exists in the world, the explanation for its persistence won’t be that we’ve run out of computational resources to phase out its biological signature, but rather that rational agents — for reasons unknown — will have chosen to preserve it.
 


Man never learns. In his attempts to improve the world, he has made things worse more often than he has made it better. The remarkable thing is that it is mostly people who believe evolution by natural selection has produced this world who are seeking to bring it to a crashing halt. I shudder to think the ways in which this latest plan for utopia could go awry and bring about a hell on Earth beyond the imagination of the average SF writer.

It does raise some interesting thoughts concerning the philosophical arguments against the existence of God related to the so-called problem of suffering. (I’ve always regarded them as rather stupid, but they do exist and therefore require addressing.) Since Man apparently has the power to end the “involuntary suffering” involved in the food chain, but thus far has declined to do so, is this similar evidence that he either a) does not exist, or b) is not benevolent?


ESR on SF and literary penis envy

Er, sorry, I guess that was literary STATUS envy. Although considering the predominantly female and low-testosterone gamma male makeup of the other side, either description would serve equally well. In any event, ESR addresses the Blue SF/Pink SF divide:

I’ve been aware for some time of a culture war simmering in the SF world. And trying to ignore it, as I believed it was largely irrelevant to any of my concerns and I have friends on both sides of the divide. Recently, for a number of reasons I may go into in a later post, I’ve been forced to take a closer look at it. And now I’m going to have to weigh in, because it seems to me that the side I might otherwise be most sympathetic to has made a rather basic error in its analysis. That error bears on something I do very much care about, which is the health of the SF genre as a whole.

Both sides in this war believe they’re fighting about politics. I consider this evaluation a serious mistake by at least one of the sides.

On the one hand, you have a faction that is broadly left-wing in its politics and believes it has a mission to purge SF of authors who are reactionary, racist, sexist et weary cetera…. On the other hand, you have a faction that is broadly conservative or libertarian in its politics. Its members deny, mostly truthfully, being the bad things the Rabbits accuse them of.

It’s interesting to see ESR weigh in on this, not only because he is an unusually intelligent individual, but as he says, he has sympathies on both sides of the divide. And, I would suspect, competing natural inclinations as well. But it was a little surprising to see him conclude that he tended to be more sympathetic to the side of evilly Evil. As the title of his post suggests, his observation is that the root cause of the divide is not political, but rather literary:

Alas, I cannot join the Evil League of Evil, for I believe they have
made the same mistake as the Rabbits; they have mistaken accident for
essence. The problem with the Rabbits is not that left-wing politics is dessicating and poisoning their fiction. While I have made the case elsewhere that SF is libertarian at its core,
it nevertheless remains possible to write left-wing message SF that is
readable, enjoyable, and of high quality – Iain Banks’s Culture novels
leap to mind as recent examples, and we can refer back to vintage
classics such as Pohl & Kornbluth’s The Space Merchants
for confirmation. Nor, I think, is the failure of Rabbit fiction to
engage most SF fans and potential fans mainly down to its politics; I
think the Evil League is prone to overestimate the popular appeal of
their particular positions here.

No, I judge that what is dessicating and poisoning the Rabbit version
of SF is something distinct from left-wing political slant but
co-morbid with it: colonization by English majors and the rise of
literary status envy as a significant shaping force in the field.

This is a development that’s easy to mistake for a political one
because of the accidental fact that most university humanities
departments have, over the last sixty years or so, become extreme-left
political monocultures. But, in the language of epidemiology, I believe
the politics is a marker for the actual disease rather than the pathogen
itself. And it’s no use to fight the marker organism rather than the
actual pathogen….

The Evil League of Evil is fighting the wrong war in the wrong way.
To truly crush the Rabbits, they should be talking less about politics
and more about what has been best and most noble in the traditions of
the SF genre itself. I think a lot of fans know there is something
fatally gone missing in the Rabbit version of science fiction; what they
lack is the language to describe and demand it. That being said, in the long run, I don’t think the Evil League of Evil can lose.

Of course the Evil League of Evil cannot lose. Not with me as its Supreme Dark Lord! I have studied the lessons of my many failed predecessors well and have subsequently implemented the following protocols:

  1. Installed a magical ground-to-air defense system called IRON CLAW that will grab, pull down, and dismember any airborne creature large enough to carry a hobbit.
  2. Scheduled rotating squads of crack guards, each including at least one experienced battlemage, to be positioned outside the side door to Mount Doom. Also hired new Head of Security after ordering the previous one thrown into the lava flowing inside the aforementioned mountain.
  3. Established an operation called HERODSIX that tracks global birth data and passes it on to a team of nutritionists who will arrange to feed abortifacients to any pregnant woman who has previously given birth to six sons.
  4. Constructed a well-guarded underground facility in which my undead, unkillable warriors are created. Instead of carting a heavy, rune-inscribed iron cauldron around to every prospective battlefield, the Evil League of Evil is paying top silver for freshly killed corpses in good condition, with a bonus for each one over 6’4″.
  5. Dismantled and reassembled the four thrones at Cair Laugharne. I’m looking forward to seeing the little bastards park their bony little arses on them as foretold now that they’ve been made into gold-plated wooden stakes.
  6. Armored the air intakes to my mighty mountain fortress, Gheddorodim, with plasma shields capable of deflecting the most powerful energy-torpedo.
  7. Implemented DOUBLE-TAP, a protocol which includes bans on monologuing, evil cackling, unauthorized torture, and extended prisoner-taunting by all lieutenants and minions of rank E6 or higher. It also lays out specific policies concerning proper confirmations of death (or True Death in the case of the undead), and corpse disposal. All employees of the Evil League of Evil who fail to abide by the protocol will themselves be subject to DOUBLE-TAP.
  8. Also, at the request of Generalissimo Xcrucifix, we now have cookies. Chocolate Chip and Oatmeal Butterscotch. I’m not convinced this actually enhances our security, but I don’t see how it harms it either.

Now, in my opinion, ESR is partially correct in his interpretation of the divide as being intrinsically literary. But while the literary aspect is absolutely another facet of the SF/F divide, and one which I have written about in some detail in the past, it’s only the second of five facets that separate the Evil League of Evil from the rabbits.

  1. Political. This is obvious. We tend to be center-to-right, they tend to be left-to-extreme left.
  2. Literary. They tend to be focused on style, followed by ideological concerns regarding diversity and social justice. While our best stylists, Gene Wolfe and John C. Wright, are better than theirs, it’s true that they tend to be more skilled when it comes to pure prose. As the International Lord of Hate has frequently pointed out, we are focused on story, story, story, followed by characters, followed by worldbuilding and/or ideas.
  3. Religious. We tend to be either religious or religion-friendly seculars. They tend to range from goddess-worshipping Unitarians to rabid anti-theists. Even the atheists in our midst are more comfortable with religion in their SF/F  than their most religious members.
  4. Socio-sexual. We tend to be men of Delta rank or higher. They tend to be women, feminized Gamma males, or Omega males. Our female members possess more of the masculine virtues of courage and honor than most of their men.
  5. Experiential. We tend to come from worlds outside of academia and education. We write and we work real jobs that are totally unrelated to writing. They mostly write, and write about writing, and teach, quite often about writing. I expect their academic majors were mostly English, with the occasional STEM degree, while ours are from a much broader spectrum. For example, by training, John is a lawyer, Larry is an accountant, and I am an economist. And ironically, for all their politically correct enthusiasm for diversity, we are probably more ethnically and linguistically diverse.

The differences between the two sides are often visibly identifiable, and not just because we’re the ones carrying guns. One of the two book signings I ever did was a big one featuring 20 different authors at a big Barnes & Noble, including Gordon R. Dickson, Joel Rosenberg, Lois Bujold, David Feintuch, David Arneson, and various other SF/F luminaries. One kid asking me to sign his book said: “You don’t look like an SF writer.” And, I had to admit, after looking to either side of me, it wasn’t at all clear that we belonged to the same phylum, let alone species.

In response to a few of the various statements and questions raised:

  1. I would never deny that it remains possible to write left-wing message SF that is readable, enjoyable, and of high quality. That is true. But I would argue that the Culture novels are an excellent example of how the left-wing messages tend to harm, rather than enhance, the fiction. It’s not an accident that nothing interesting ever happens in the Culture (or in the Federation), or that in order to simply tell a story, it is necessary to leave the left-wing utopia and go in search of adventure elsewhere. Just as the Left has only one joke (you know that guy there, he’s stupid, isn’t he?) it has only one story, that of the struggle of the transition of an entity, individual or collective, from Badthink to Goodthink. They don’t tell stories, they tell Very Important Lessons.
  2.  How do you separate real writers from wannabes with deep pockets? Who cares? Let everyone write. Publish them all and let Amazon sort them out. SFWA was already irrelevant because its reason for existence was subverted. It was captured by the mainstream publishers long ago, as illustrated by its lining up against Amazon on Hatchette’s behalf.
  3. The term “rabbit” actually comes from E.O. Wilson’s ecological r/K selection theory. I explained it in a post called Digging Out the Rabbit People. It is derogatory; it is also very apt. More importantly, it’s always fun to be able to throw in the occasional Lapine phrase from Watership Down.
  4. Contra Mr. Andrew Marston of Marshfield, MA’s claims, I do sell books. I’m no bestseller, to be sure but my books usually sell around 5,000 copies apiece. Not enough to live on, especially when it takes me two years to write one, but not bad for a hobby. My bestselling book sold between 35,000 and 40,000 copies. My bestselling game sold over six million copies. And I have never had a trust fund.
  5. The idea that the existence of the “Gamma Rabbit” t-shirt is evidence that the rabbits have a sense of humor about themselves indicates an insufficient understanding of the gamma mentality and the gamma male’s need to spin the narrative in his favor. It’s little more credible than Scalzi’s claims that he found my mocking his inept satire and exposure of his self-inflating traffic claims to be “adorable”.

UPDATE: The Official Spokesvillain of the Evil League of Evil, The King in Yellow, explains the identifiable attributes of the rabbits/morlocks/trog-progs:

There are thirteen identifiable markers of the membership of the tribe of Troglodytes:

1. Theologically, they are atheist and agnostic, or at least laiacist.
2. In Metaphysics, they are nihilist. They hold the universe to have no innate meaning.
3. In Epistemology, they are subjectivists and (ironically) empiricists.
4. In Ontology, they are materialists. They believe minds are epiphenomena of matter.
5. In Logic, they are polylogists. They believe each race and both genders possesses unique and exclusive rules of logic.
6. In Aesthetics, they glorify the ugly and destroy beauty.
7. In Ethics, they are Gnostics. Whatever we call good, they call evil, and whatever we call evil, they call good.
8. In Politics, they are statists, and tacitly totalitarian. They want arbitrary power rather than law and order.
9. In Economics, they are socialist. They want the law of supply and demand to vanish softly away.
10. In Semantics, they are nominalists. They hold words to have no innate meaning.
11. In their psychological stance, they are sadists.
12. In their psychopathology, they are suicidal. They don’t want to live, they want you to die.
13. Emotionally, they are infantile. The emotion that governs them is envy.

Now, these are rough generalizations only, and no one member of the movement believes all these points, and, being a strongly anti-intellectual and pro-irrational bent, few of them even know what these big words mean. Some of these points contradict each other. That matters nothing to them. Logic is not their strong suit.


Well, he IS pretty cute

This is a bittersweet pain every parent knows. To see our children grow up healthy and tall and strong is both the fulfillment of a heartfelt desire and a heart-ripping loss. It’s charming, of course, to see how upset the little girl to learn that her cute little brother with his cute little smiles is not going to stay exactly the way he is, the way she loves him. But I find myself wondering how much of the misinformation that is passed on from mother to son and from sister to brother concerning intersexual relations stems, at least in part, from this natural desire for things to remain as they are.


Journolist 2

Left-wing activists plotting together. Again:

A low-profile Google Group used by over 1,000 state and national leftwing leaders and activists has been discovered thanks to Wisconsin’s open records law. A Media Trackers inquiry into the actions of a University of Wisconsin professor turned up records and communications from “Gamechanger Salon,” an online community that provides a forum for leftwing activists and leaders to share tactics, strategies and opinions….

The group has the self-described goal of creating a “more coordinated” movement for liberals across the country. Among those included on the membership list are:

Damon Silver, Policy Director for the AFL-CIO
Benjamin Joffe-Walk, Chief of Staff at Change.org
Medea Benjamin, co-founder of CODEPINK
Elizabeth Rose, Director of Communications at the Economic Policy Institute
Philip Radford, Executive Director of Greenpeace until earlier this year
Ilyse Hogue, President of NARAL
Raven Brooks, Executive Director of Netroots Nation
Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee
Deirdre Schifeling, National Director Organizing & Electoral Campaigns for Planned Parenthood

The group’s policy manual directs members to abstain from forwarding emails to recipients outside the group. It does warn, however, that with 1,000-plus members, anyone emailing the group should not say anything “you wouldn’t want to be subpoenaed by a Grand Jury or broadcast on Fox News.”

Here is the complete membership list in PDF format. I didn’t recognize any names. There are also more groups than you have ever heard of. It is appalling to think about the massive amount of totally unproductive capital that is being misdirected toward these societally destructive wastes of space so they can further interfere with Western civilization.


Fred calls out Derbyshire and the Darwinists

Fred Reed, who is “a thoroughgoing agnostic”, poses a few questions based on his inferences from observation for the advocates of the Theorum of Evolution by (mostly) Natural Selection In Addition To A Panoply of Less Famous Evolutionary Mechanisms:

Over the years I have occasionally expressed doubts over the tenets of evolutionism which, perhaps wrongly, has seemed to me a sort of political correctness of science, or maybe a metaphysics somewhat related to science. As a consequence I have been severely reprimanded. The editor of a site devoted to genetic expression furiously began deleting any mention of me from his readers. Others, to include Mr. John Derbyshire of Taki’s Magazine, have expressed disdain, though disdaining to explain just why.

In all of this, my inability to get straight answers that do not shift has frustrated me. I decided to address my questions to an expert in the field, preferably one who loathed me and thus might produce his best arguments so as to stick it to me. To this end I have settled on Mr. Derbyshire….

  1. what selective pressures lead to a desire not to reproduce, and how does this fit into a Darwinian framework?
  2. Why should I not indulge my hobby of torturing to death the severely genetically retarded?
  3. How many years would have to pass without replication of the [Abiogenesis]
    event, if indeed it be not replicated, before one might begin to suspect
    that it didn’t happen? 
  4. What are the viable steps needed to evolve from [two-cycle insect] to [four-cycle insect]? Or from anything to four-cycle? 
  5. Does not genetic determinism (with which I have no disagreement) lead to a paradox: that the thoughts we think we are thinking we only think to be thoughts when they are really utterly predetermined by the inexorable working of physics and chemistry? 
  6. Why do seemingly trivial traits proliferate while clearly important ones do not?
  7. If one believes in or suspects the existence of God or gods, how
    does one exclude the possibility that He, She, or It meddles in the
    universe—directing evolution, for example?  

Of course, anyone here who still subscribes to believe in abiogenesis and evolution by natural selection is more than welcome to take a crack at one or more of these themselves. However, before answering any of them, I would highly recommend reading the complete article, as Fred goes into more details regarding why he is asking each of the questions there.


2014 Hugo Award Recommendations

From Loncon: We are in the final hours of voting for the 2014 Hugo and 1939 Retro Hugo awards!  The voting page for the 2014 Hugo Awards is located at http://www.loncon3.org/hugo_vote/hugo_vote_form.php.  The voting page for the 1939 Retro Hugo Awards is located at http://loncon3.org/hugo_vote/retro_hugo_vote_form.php.  The deadline for voting is Thursday 31 July 2014, 11:59 PM PDT.

This is how I am voting, and how I encourage other Hugo voters to vote. I am voting in some of the other categories, but have not prepared detailed recommendations for them and so will not address them this year. Remember, voting ends tomorrow night, so if you haven’t finished filling out your ballots, you should probably do it now.

BEST NOVEL

  1. Warbound by Larry Correia
  2. No Award
  3. The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson

Left off ballot: Ancillary Justice, Neptune’s Brood, and Parasite.

BEST NOVELLA

  1. The Chaplain’s Legacy by Brad Torgersen
  2. The Butcher of Khardov by Dan Wells
  3. No Award
  4. Six-Gun Snow White by Catherynne M. Valente

Left off ballot: Equoid and Wakulla Springs.

BEST NOVELETTE

  1. “Opera Vita Aeterna” by Vox Day
  2. “The Exchange Officers” by Brad Torgersen
  3. “The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling” by Ted Chiang
  4. No Award

Left off ballot: “The Waiting Stars” and “The Lady Astronaut of Mars”.

BEST SHORT STORY

  1. No Award

I recommend leaving the ballot otherwise blank. This category is illustrative of how far the genre has fallen. 

BEST EDITOR, LONG FORM

  1. Toni Weiskopf
  2. Sheila Gilbert
  3. Ginjer Buchanan
  4. No Award

1939 RETRO AWARDS

Best Novel

  1. Out of the Silent Planet by C. S. Lewis (The Bodley Head)
  2. Galactic Patrol by E. E. Smith (Astounding Stories, February 1938)
  3. The Sword in the Stone by T. H. White (Collins)
  4. The Legion of Time by Jack Williamson (Astounding Science-Fiction, July 1938)
  5. No Award

Left off ballot:  Carson of Venus by Edgar Rice Burroughs


Best Novella

  1. Anthem by Ayn Rand (Cassell)
  2. “Who Goes There?” by Don A Stuart [John W. Campbell] (Astounding Science-Fiction, August 1938)
  3. No Award

Left off ballot:  “A Matter of Form” by H. L. Gold, “Sleepers of Mars” John Beynon, “The Time Trap” Henry Kuttner.

Best Novelette

  1. “Rule 18” by Clifford D. Simak (Astounding Science-Fiction, July 1938)
  2. “Pigeons From Hell” by Robert E. Howard (Weird Tales, May 1938)
  3. “Dead Knowledge” by Don A. Stuart [John W. Campbell] (Astounding Stories, January 1938)
  4. No Award

Left off ballot: “Hollywood on the Moon” by Henry Kuttner,  “Werewoman” C. L. Moore

Best Short Story

  1. “Hollerbochen’s Dilemma” by Ray Bradbury (Imagination!, January 1938)
  2. “How We Went to Mars” by Arthur C. Clarke (Amateur Science Stories, March 1938)
  3. “Helen O’Loy” by Lester del Rey (Astounding Science-Fiction, December 1938)
  4. “The Faithful” by Lester del Rey (Astounding Science-Fiction, April 1938)
  5. “Hyperpilosity” by L. Sprague de Camp (Astounding Science-Fiction, April 1938)

Best Editor

  1. John W. Campbell
  2. No Award

Left off ballot: Farnsworth Wright, Mort Weisinger, Raymond A. Palmer,  Walter H. Gillings


Is POTUS Bibi’s bitch?

The Israeli media apparently has cause to think so:

Israel’s Channel 1 decided to publish a Hebrew transcript of a portion of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama’s telephone conversation which took place on Sunday, in which Obama was insistent that Israel unilaterally halt all military activities in the Gaza Strip. As is quite clear by now, Israel rejected, and the bloodshed continued. The transcript, as shown by the Times of Israel was as follows:

The following is an English translation of the Hebrew account of the talk given in the report:

Barack Obama: I demand that Israel agrees to an immediate, unilateral ceasefire and halt all offensive activities, in particular airstrikes.

Benjamin Netanyahu: And what will Israel receive in exchange for a ceasefire?

BO: I believe that Hamas will cease its rocket fire — silence will be met with silence.

BN: Hamas broke all five previous ceasefires. It’s a terrorist organization dedicated to the destruction of Israel.

BO: I repeat and expect Israel to stop all its military activities unilaterally. The pictures of destruction in Gaza distance the world from Israel’s position.

BN: Kerry’s proposal was completely unrealistic and gives Hamas military and diplomatic advantages.

BO: Within a week of the end of Israel’s military activities, Qatar and Turkey will begin negotiations with Hamas based on the 2012 understandings, including Israel’s commitment to removing the siege and restrictions on Gaza.

BN: Qatar and Turkey are the biggest supporters of Hamas. It’s impossible to rely on them to be fair mediators.

BO: I trust Qatar and Turkey. Israel is not in the position that it can choose its mediators.

BN: I protest because Hamas can continue to launch rockets and use tunnels for terror attacks –

BO: (interrupting Netanyahu) The ball’s in Israel’s court, and it must end all its military activities.

One can quickly see why the US would quickly disavow any credibility of this report: after all it wouldn’t look very good for the leader of the free world if the leader of another state, one which on top of it all is reliant on the former for continued military and economic support, flat out rejected what amounted to a demand from the US. As expected the denial was prompt with the US administration calling the quotations “fabrications”, “shocking”, and “disappointing”

It took mere minutes for the National Security Council to deny the transcript was even remotely accurate:

We have seen reports of an alleged POTUS-Netanyahu transcript; neither reports nor alleged transcript bear any resemblance to reality 1/2
    — @NSCPress (@NSCPress) July 29, 2014

Shocking and disappointing someone would sink to misrepresenting a pvt convo between POTUS and PM in fabrications to Israeli press 2/2
    — @NSCPress (@NSCPress) July 29, 2014

Sure enough, it wouldn’t look good if only the US denied so Netanyahu had to step in, which he did:

The Prime Minister’s Office says in a statement that the Channel 1 report is false, using precisely the same words as the White House.

“We have seen these reports, and neither the reports nor the alleged transcript bear any resemblance to reality. It’s shocking and disappointing that someone would sink to misrepresenting a private conversation between the President and the Prime Minister in fabrications to the Israeli press,” the PMO says.

Despite the denials, Israel’s Channel 1 refused to retract the leaked statement. Worse, it revealed the source of the leak as a “senior American official.”

Despite rejections by American and Israeli officials, Channel 1?s Or Nahari insists that the transcript leaked to him by a “senior American official” is authentic, but acknowledges that the quotes he published were merely an excerpt from a long conversation.

It’s easy for the administration to prove otherwise. Just release the recording of the conversation. Unless and until they do, they can’t simply claim that it is false and expect anyone to take their word for it. On the one hand, it sounds to me as if a “senior American official” is not at all pleased with Obama backing down to Netanyahu. On the other hand, the language is awfully stilted, which lends credence to the idea that it might be a fake meant to lend cover to Israel backing down sooner rather than later or get back at the Obama administration for Secretary of State Kerry’s performance.

In any event, Israel may as well stop its latest adventure in Gaza as the IDF is already rightly expressing its frustration with Netanyahu’s political dithering. From Debka:

“Senior IDF officer to government: The troops must go forward or quit.”

At this point, they should simply end the military operations. As per 4GW doctrine, they hit too soft and too slow. The IDF is saying go big or go home, but proceeding from this point will likely do more harm than good since Israel has no intention of removing the Palestinians from Gaza and settling it, thereby rendering the entire exercise pointless beyond the short term. At the moment, it appears to have been an exercise chiefly driven by domestic political pressure.

Blowing up a few tunnels and capturing a few rockets wasn’t worth the price of the additional global contempt that resulted from being caught on camera killing women and children. So, it’s just another one step forward, two steps back in the usual Middle East dance.

And as for the State Department’s Jen Psaki saying the leak is a “severe violation of a private discussion”, she might want to recall that she works for an administration that has the NSA spying on every conversation and email exchange in America.


A close call

Unless you lived in Minnesota 30 years ago, I can’t possibly explain how insane it sounds to hear that there are Africans living in Coon Rapids. I wonder how long it will be before they decide that the name of the town is racist:

Ebola victim who sparked fears of a worldwide outbreak was American: Father who died of incurable virus in Nigeria after taking international flight was going to visit his children in Minnesota…The couple, who both hold US citizenship are originally from Liberia and Decontee arrived in the country with her family in 1991 and Patrick came in the early 2000s. The couple are part of the large Liberian community in Minnesota, who moved there in the aftermath of the nation’s two civil wars in the 1980s and late 1990s.

The imported Somalis are bad enough, what with their suicide bombers and the occasional “gas leak” explosions that mysteriously blow up their residences. But Ebola-carrying Liberians too? This is Night of the Comet-level lunacy.

I’m as familiar with the melting pot mythology and Ellis Island rhetoric as anyone else. I get the idea that time plus geographic location is supposed to magically transform people from anywhere into something they previously were not. But seriously, even if you are one of those people whose grandparents were immigrants and are emotionally tied to the idea that you are too a Real American like George Washington because you are resident in a certain geography and there is a piece of paper that says you are, do you really think this is all going to end well? If so, how?

What, specifically, is the positive end result that is somehow going to be produced by establishing Mogadishu on the Mississippi and sending 30 underage Guatamalans to every town in America? Do you see America remaining the same, is it changing for the better, or for the worse? And if diversity is good, then why has every country in the world been predominantly homogenous until very recently?

Perhaps if the unfortunate Mr. Sawyer had lived long enough to bring the Ebola virus to Coon Rapids, that would be enough to convince the American public that this whole “we is the world” sentiment is fundamentally misguided. But I doubt it.


Gamma spin in action

Here is how Dave Futrelle attempted to characterize the abortive debate on women’s suffrage I posted at Alpha Game, which he fled once it became apparent that he couldn’t get away with simply declaring himself the winner and would have to actually make a coherent case in support of female suffrage instead:

The very notion of two dudes earnestly debating female suffrage – in 2014, no less – struck me as beyond absurd, so I sent back what I thought was an appropriately dismissive Tweet.

    @voxday @RedPillPhil @heartiste Yes, women should have voting rights, because they, like men, are human. I win the debate! The end.Thanks!—
    David Futrelle (@DavidFutrelle) July 25, 2014

Apparently Mr. Day saw this tweet as my opening gambit in a debate that was now on, and replied with an attempted gotcha. Against my better judgment, I replied:

    @voxday @RedPillPhil @heartiste No. I vote where I live, in the US.. So are you contending that no women live in the countries they vote in?—
    David Futrelle (@DavidFutrelle) July 25, 2014

He replied, and I sunk deeper into the quicksand of this ridiculous “debate.”

    @voxday @RedPillPhil @heartiste There are a few basic requirements for having the right to vote besides being human but being male isn’t one—
    David Futrelle (@DavidFutrelle) July 26, 2014

At this point I realized I needed to shut this thing down as quickly as possible. So I posted a couple of quick tweets:

David Futrelle
There are a few basic requirements for having the right to vote besides being human but being male isn’t one

David Futrelle
There is no reasonable reason to deny anyone the vote because of gender.

David Futrelle
… and that’s preetty much the end of the argument, despite whatever spurious reason you come up with to deny women the vote. Debate over.

This is classic Gamma behavior. Their fear of failure is so great that in the rare instance they don’t completely avoid conflict, they engage only insofar as they can later claim that they weren’t really trying. They want their audience to believe that, of course, they COULD have roundly defeated their opponent, but they couldn’t bother for [insert excuse here]. Of course, they somehow always find the time to explain their various justifications for not really trying, which often takes longer than simply engaging in the first place would have.

Notice how Futrelle falsely claims I said I defeated him in the debate. That’s absolutely untrue. All I did was expose his inability to hold his own or to make his case on the subject. My only claim was this: “I was able to show Futrelle’s reasoning to be incorrect twice.”  Which was undeniably true. There was no winner of the debate since it never reached a conclusion. Futrelle simply ran away and now he is trying to provide a narrative to justify that abject retreat.

Futrelle’s fellow Gamma male, PZ, who has run away from a few debates himself, was quick to embrace Futrelle’s narrative:

Actually, Day proposed a debate on a subject that was settled in the USA about 95 years ago, and Futrelle laughed dismissively, and Vox Day declared himself the winner.

“Critics such as Futrelle and Scalzi are of low socio-sexual rank, which means that they have the usual gamma male’s distaste for conflict that has a clear winner. The reason is that as long as they can avoid losing, they can still claim victory in their delusional gamma style.”

Wait. But it was Vox Day who threw out a few non sequiturs and declared himself winner…this is confusing.

Again, note that I did absolutely nothing of the sort. It may be helpful to be reminded of the Gamma male’s core mindset, as provided by a self-admitted former Gamma male: “It’s not about being stupid, or even a chubby nerd, it’s about lying to yourself relentlessly about what’s right in front of your eyes.”

That’s how Gammas like Futrelle and Myers can lie so blatantly about me declaring myself the winner when in fact Futrelle was the only one who did so. They relentlessly lie, to others and themselves, because the truth is too painful for them to accept. Notice, too, that only one commenter on PZ’s site points out the obvious; other than him, no one calls them on their observable lies.

Can you even imagine that happening here? On a complete tangent, this pair of comments made me laugh:

daintydougal
rhetoric is no substitute for dialectic rhetoric is no substitute for dialectic… *head kasplodes*

fibinachi
Yeah! I second daintydougal. Out of all that, that’s the one that threw me off the most too. Just wow.

Keep in mind that these are the people who claim to be the intelligent and educated side. Then again, we were warned:

“[B]efore some audiences not even the possession
of the exactest knowledge will make it easy for what we say to produce conviction. For argument based on knowledge
implies instruction, and there are people whom one cannot instruct.”