Jonah Goldberg Vs Roy Moore

This was an interesting article. In it, Jonah Goldberg demonstrates that he knows Roy Moore about as much as I know Gilmore Girls — which is to say, not at all. He goes through the usual curmudgeonly thinking and ends up doing only what an intellectually flabby and ignorant man can do — he critiques Moore from the left. Unimpressive, to say the least.

He throws federalism under the bus. (Basically, Alabama should elect a moderate so that McConnell’s job will be easier!) Yes, this was National Review. Uh, what?

He throws integrity under the bus. See above. I had no idea the whole point of elections was to make liberal republicans’ jobs easier. I had no idea that truth was expendable and we needed to go along-get along to make sure that liberalism continues unabated. Every state should send to the Senate what that state wants — period. The Republican party (a zombie organization if there ever was one) exists to serve the voters, not the other way around. In light of the chaos at the Republican presidential convention, I can hardly believe anyone is interested in making McConnell’s job easier.

He accused Moore of bigotry. Really? You think that being opposed to Islamification means you’re bigoted? Sorry but no. That line of thinking has long been null and void. Why don’t you go talk to Hirsi Ali or Geert Wilders? You have pull. Get them on the phone, Jonah. And if you don’t have specific evidence, then shut up and stop trying to smear someone.

He shows zero familiarity with the man’s past or his character. Knowing the subject is a prerequisite for talking about it. Go read his book. You know, I thought National Review writers did things like read? Moore is the real deal. He has the battle scars to prove it.

Goldberg shows an absolute ignorance of the magnetism of principle. According to his tired and bored perspective, principles aren’t worth fighting for (except maybe if you have the charisma of Churchhill), so we might as well not bother. Shut up you silly little colonists! Make King George III’s job easier!

This was a piece that would have fit just nicely in Huffpo. However, it was written for the National Review and that has a purpose — to cast doom and gloom upon a godly man, to fight for the status quo, to give aid and comfort to liberals. I know; I know. Why bother letting the people choose anything, because they won’t always choose (or have the options) of the most erudite, charismatic, intellectual, suave people ever? Principles don’t count — only appearance. I’m reminded of the war that our so-called-friends waged against the Tea Party.

Jonah Goldberg has become Karl Rove.

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On Some People, Education is Wasted

I’m beginning to think that on some people, education is wasted. Charley Reese a long time ago said something much like, “If by education you mean only teaching people how to read, then all you will have done is create a market for trash literature.” We can see the same result in employees — if they have only learned how to read, and have not been morally educated, then their behavior is still like that of animals.

The Pirate Cove has this ironic morsel here.

In what sane world does a librarian reject a gift of books? The purpose of a library is to collect books! The purpose of a librarian is to gather and preserve books! But in liberal land, the point of anything is to make it political so you can have your five seconds of fame, I guess. In such a place and time, consistency is only a hindrance and he who is the most offended wins. Yet like I wrote here, what is there really to be offended about anymore? The ceaseless dins of alarm have made us all deaf. What this silly little educrat has done is no different than the million simultaneous protests over imagined horrors and microagressions and legacies and so many other inconsequential things.

Educating the insane is a waste of money. If you are constantly freaking out about things in your imagination, you are insane. If you are obsessed with getting your five seconds of fame, you are insane. Someone call the nice men in the white coats for this person. She needs industrial-grade help.

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Creativity and Stupidity are Not Mutually Exclusive

Much to my chagrin, I’ve come to realize this — not all creative people have intelligence. Some of them are quite foolish, and if you’d like evidence of that, just watch the show Steampunk’d — you can blame me later. Today, I saw yet another example of how creative people can be extremely stupid. I saw a sig line that featured six social media accounts.

Six.

That betrays a supreme lack of focus. How much more creative could that person be if she focused on just three spaces instead of six? Does she have an off-line life? I’m convinced most people who fall into the always-on breathless internet hyperventilating whoredom think that the more channels you’re on, the better, because more is better always! No, in fact, more is not always better. You can flood the market with your product, thereby reducing its value. You can be so obnoxious that people start blocking you. Think about it like this — what happens to the crazy girls that call a guy 15 times in a day? They get ignored with a vengeance. In fact, being everywhere on social media all the time is “internet psychosis” — the desperate quest for fame, attention, and identity that produces the bizarre behavior of being online in as many places as much as possible.

Digital detox is a thing, and some people need it more than others.

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The Death of Disagreement

Others have spoken of the death of outrage (notably William Bennett); and what I see is a concomitant disorder. Society should be free, but underneath that freedom is a moral soil, as Ravi Zacharias has said, and it’s inescapable, really. All protests to the contrary are merely self-blindness, for what you believe to be true ends up in your laws; your laws reflect what you hold to be of value, what you hold to be sacred — the fact is inescapable.

What happens is when nobody cares enough to express concern or dislike, where everything must be praised, no matter how garrulous or vile, then a muted apathy results, where anything goes and nobody cares. To say that is the ideal state of human society is something like saying that Rome had it right, and that there is no value in aiming for anything higher than carnal aspirations. Put another way, you could just as well say that Islam has it right, for it teaches the same things, as long as you are male. What becomes of a society that begins this slide into neo-paganism?

The evidence surrounds. Every day there is a new outrage, but nobody is left to be outraged. Everyone wearily accepts whatever happens and hunkers down, refusing to say anything aloud lest they be identified as the party-pooper; perhaps even in their own private choices they have given in, choosing to accept whatever refuse is ejected from the cultural dumpster. Everyone feels a sense of resignation and defeat.

Who is made happy by all this are those who want to escape any authority and any consequences for indulging in literally everything or anything. What a cheap and horrible way to live! How cheap and horrible that these people control the media organs and pound out filth 24-7, and the heroes are few. Confrontation has become a dead art. Inaction rules. Even complaints die on the lips. Such a bland cultural landscape of enforced agreement is where we stand, and as T.S. Eliot said, “It ends not with a bang, but with a whimper.”

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Intolerance

Intolerance is rising. Not intolerance of worldviews, one for another — that has always been. What is rising, from the campus to the business world, to what can even be spoken in public, is intolerance for individuals, backed by violence.

It is interesting to me what fuels this and where this comes from. It’s not any absolutist theology. This threat to diversity does not come from those who champion individualism. Censorship isn’t coming from Christianity, but rather from atheism. And social justice warriors are the ones who are the most intolerant of all. Again, we see that the whole “live and let live” and “celebrate diversity” shtick was nothing more than a lie told by people who wanted to obtain power, and when they got it, they shut the doors to freedom of expression. Remember “Dissent is the highest form of patriotism” and other such pithy epithets? It’s weird how they no longer apply, because they really were never believed as a principle. They were just slogans shouted to defend the right to endlessly emote certain things. The right for others to endlessly emote was never covered. The right for others to disagree, to protest, to dissent, was never in view.

The enfant terribles now run the world, and they are at work creating an unfree world, a totalitarian experiment whose survival depends strictly upon what the children in charge feel today. This is exactly what the Twilight Zone episode “It’s a Good Life” was all about, and the short story on which it was based was even more trenchant than the episode.

This is a failure of parenting, of education, and of moral teaching. The children will fail, but what damage will they create on their way down? We are about to see.

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Serious Games

I have often felt from those older than I am that games are not useful teaching techniques; yet the field of e-learning (that I work in) is replete with counterexamples. Some of this thinking is generational and some of it is misunderstanding. The older conventional wisdom is “Learning is serious. It’s your responsibility to learn. Grin and bear it.” There is much wrong with this attitude, but I want to focus on what is right — that the learner is expected to take what is being presented seriously, and then diligently go and learn it. A corollary is “Teachers are to be respected because they have knowledge and wisdom.” So good so far.

With that said, are games largely a reaction to the unserious nature of learners today? Yes and no. First, no. The game-as-learning motif really stems from the love of games from those who grew up in the 80’s and 90’s. It leans heavily on the simulation aspect of games, which does well in teaching people. (Just ask the military.) Those who grew up later still have been surrounded by games.

Now, for the yes. Those who want to learn will learn. These are the self-motivated people who succeed in life. For them, games are not strictly necessary, although they will use them, or anything else that is available. I think of myself when I was interested in the Byzantine empire. I devoured everything I could find about it. It would not have mattered if the information was on microfiche or reel-to-reel tapes. I would have found a way to listen to it and learn it, because it had captured me.

Again and again learning magazines state that the whole in-person teaching model is dead, because it’s non-interactive. However, what is not being asked is, “Why?”. Have people’s brains changed? Are people physically different from college students in the ’40’s? Not much. What has changed? Culture. Now people expect to be served, rather than to serve, and this manifests in even how they are taught. We can expect very little self-motivation today, and those who are self-motivated stand head and shoulders above the crowd. Those who do get going, like a heavy boulder, once pushed — even they are rare. People who are uninterested in learning and thus uninterested in their own future are common. Strangely this occurs when knowledge is more widespread than it ever has been in human history. Is it that if people don’t have to work for it, then they don’t want it at all? Yet games pose challenges and rewards. Thus, games are being used to motivate those who are not self-motivated, do not esteem authority or wisdom, but are willing to play a game, even a serious game whose aim is learning. Games have always been used to teach. That is nothing new. However, when games are the primary way that learning transpires, I think that is what is different, and troubling.

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How Many Would Attend Your Funeral?

Although the questions sounds like one of so-many Facebook games, it came to me with an unwanted heaviness, crushing my lungs beneath its weight. Life is not about accumulating admirers, friends, relationships to put in the trophy case on our wall, but nevertheless, the question remained, demanding an answer. I could count the numbers on three hands — my wife, my parents, my brothers (because they’d have to, not because we are close), two semi-friends, and some people from work. Maybe some people from the past would show; maybe not. I felt this not as a measure of popularity, but one of influence. How many people had I really touched? How many had I really reached? When I was in the grave, and my soul was at home with the Lord, who would notice?

I would not want an English funeral in all its grandeur, nor a twenty-one gun salute. Bury me in the rain on a lonely hill in the grieving countryside; in the hills and forests where I was born, there return my form. My soul will be released and the anguish of life will be over, but the crowd below will be few. Perhaps fifteen, gathered beneath umbrellas under the grey sky? Perhaps.

What will I have left behind? Some interactive fiction games, poetry, some songs, other writings — reviews, essays, rants, all never to be published. So many things unfinished, I would also leave, things that could have been great, but instead all they were were vellities. My heart turns in upon itself.

So few know me though I write every week, though I walk amongst them every day, though I work with them, though I am related to them. In the mad onrush of the chattering extrovert world, we quiet ones live with one foot in the grave. It is my great suspicion that were half the world to vanish the other half would not notice.

In the end, the irony will not be that I have died, it will be that I had made so little impact that my absence would scarcely be noticed. Do I want to be noticed even dying? Do I want to make others care even then? Do I want others to grieve for I am gone? No, but it would be nice to know that I blessed them while I breathed.

How many would attend your funeral?

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The Underside of Technology

Although I have written before on the deleterious effect of hype (here, here, and here), I didn’t have an insider’s view of it. Nasim does, and he blows the whole machine up from the inside out. Read the whole thing.

I am stunned at how pervasive and how dishonest the tech/influencer/social media schtick is. This is way beyond anything I suspected. We are all being played and we have been for a long, long time. I am fortunate in that my discernment is healthy and active, so I have been able to avoid manipulation by most; however, now my eye is extremely suspicious. The influencer model is the way most marketing is done now, which means a few things to me, personally:

  • Never pre-order anything. This dovetails with the old adage “never buy 1.0 of anything.” Wait for reviews from people who actually use the product.
  • Never trust any reviewer who doesn’t at least disclose their affiliate marketing.

In short, only the honest can be trusted. Funny how the world still needs and still craves people who tell the truth without favor or fear, isn’t it?

Hype can never satisfy, because it isn’t designed to do so. It is designed to move product, not tell you the truth or ensure your happiness.

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Social Media is the New Popularity

Now I see.

The games played in junior high school and high school to be popular have their digital equivalents in social media. Remember the popular people, who were liked by so many? They are the ones with the most “friends” now, too, if Facebook friends are really friends. They are the ones with the most followers. They are the ones with the most +1s, upvotes, comments, and so on, and they collect these things like the tokens of a shaman and wear it for all to see.

Web 2.0 and Web 1.0 weren’t like this. Social media is not a new phenomenon, but it makes me think what the Web used to be like before it became a sad replay of the worst of jr. high and high school. What those days lacked in “socialness” they made up for in individuality and in trust. You could reach anyone with their email address. Now email addresses are rarely displayed and everyone has to deal with the overflow of junk mail hawking porn. Have we progressed? In many ways it doesn’t seem like it, and a world, even a virtual world, ruled by the popular clique is not a place I really want to be. Yet the deafening drone to be popular rolls on.

Entrepreneurs are preached to again and again that popularity is the commerce that they need to trade in. And the same sad lecture has been sold to actors, writers, playwrights, musicians, and especially bloggers. Yet, is popularity really how we should measure our lives? Sure, likes, comments, upvotes, etc are cool, but are they the reason why we do things? If so, then we are simply whores.

I’d much rather be the outcast kid who gets up on stage and blows everyone away with his talent and then goes back to his quiet life off the stage, a soldier like Cincinattus, not someone who feels like he has to put on a show every moment of his life for everyone to see. Sorry, social media — we aren’t friends and we never will be. It’s time to do what we do not for the adoration of the crowd but because we were made to do it, in-season and out of season, whether history loves us or not, whether we have fame or ignominy, because what we do is why we are here. Let the shallow minnows flounder in the kiddie pool of life with all its plastic toys. We will be captains of the depths.

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The Odd and the Unknown

Lately, I have been researching mermaids. As with anything out-of-the-norm, there are volumes of bunkum, ranging from taxidermy specialists to flim-flam artists, people faking the past, and on and on. However, there are still corners and edges of existence that are rarely seen and grasped only tenuously. You can find all sorts of claims by the gullible, but you also have to contend with the arrogant superiority of scientism. Here is a great example of the latter perspective.

Note the chronological snobbery — surely, people of the past mistook ordinary creatures for mermaids! Why? Because people of the past were stupider, more rural, and not as cultured or educated as we are today. Does any of this sound familiar?

Note also the hilarious statement close to the end. So you think that not “believing” (the author’s words) in global warming is tantamount to making the large logical leaps that you think ignorant people in the past performed? Really now. The people who claim to be so smart are often the most ignorant and are also usually the most inexperienced in life. I have experienced many strange things, and I know personally people who have experienced things I have not. They are reliable witnesses, and experience speaks louder than the arrogance of scientism. After all, scientism is the philosophy that proclaims infinite knowledge yet cannot understand how its prescriptions lead to high suicide rates and societal chaos.

Scientism takes large logical leaps as well — consider Darwin’s assumption that life naturally evolves — that is, becomes more complex and refined over time. Thus, you see all sorts of wide leaps when you begin to discuss “intermediate forms”, like dog-whales and other such unproven monstrosities for which no fossil evidence has ever appeared. Likewise, scientism believes that organs such as the eye can evolve, when all biological evidence points towards irreducible complexity.

Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones. I raise you a Piltdown man to your bluff of the ignorant dead.

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