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Friends & Enemies

Friends & Enemies

Few things irk more than defending a public figure. They should, especially when they sought that public status, be prepared and able to defend themselves. Or hire people whose skill lies in that field.

But then, Trump. Where there is a level of derangement in the media and culture that would, in any other context, see those on the left who are subject to it committed against their will as a danger to themselves or others. This derangement is helping tear the nation apart, as the deranged abandon all reason, thought, logic, and even transmute their positions from a scant few years ago in order to attack their President.

Let’s look at a scenario that may be familiar to us all.

You, the reader, have a job, and in order to do that job, you have a team. As is the norm, those on the team are ambitious, and some of them really wanted a different manager, not you. So they badmouth you at every turn. Every. Turn. That sucks. Outside the office, you have others in the same business. Some are friendly competitors, some not so friendly. And the biggest competition has, as your counterpart, a total jerk. He is always trying to undercut you, steal customers, steal secrets, and so on. Of course, your company does the same, it is a tough market.

Who do you trust more? The ‘team’ seeking to undermine you, or the competitor who, while not a friend, is predictable in his actions? Give that some thought. Remembering that the question is trust, not like.

See, there is a common thought that is often understood in a more military context. Allies can flake, work at cross purposes, or want to pursue goals that may not help you – and may hurt you. The enemy, on the other hand, wants to beat you. You can trust them to work against you, to be consistent in that goal. Not like, trust.

We conflate those words. Among many others, but those will do for today. Like doesn’t mean trust. Yes, like often comes with trust, and it is hard to like someone you don’t trust. But you can indeed trust someone you don’t like – even someone who is working toward your destruction. You can rely on them to seek to harm you. It’s a strange thing to think about. That doesn’t make it less real, and less true.

Does that mean Trump had that thought process? Of course not. I can’t (and wouldn’t) read his mind. All I can say is that the idea that he trusts Putin more than an intelligence community that has actively worked at cross purposes to him since before he was even elected isn’t weird to me. He trusts Putin to put Russia first – a thing he has been completely consistent about. And to act to gain an advantage over the US.

Trust. All that means is that someone’s actions are consistent, and they do what they say. Even if it is against you.

Origins Game Fair – Where Discourse Is Unwelcome

Origins Game Fair – Where Discourse Is Unwelcome

First things first. I don’t have a dog in this hunt. I was not planning on attending Origins, and never would have, as it is in Ohio, and I simply won’t go to that state unless absolutely necessary. So this doesn’t impact my plans in the least.

Second things…I am very torn on this, as I am, at my core, a free speech absolutist. I believe that there should be no limits on speech, and have written at length about that. In brief, I believe that you should be allowed to speak, and operate your businesses, as you see fit – including discrimination against potential customers – without governmental interference or censure. The flip side is that you must also accept that the population may not support you, and you must not be saved from failure by the government either. Thus, I respect Origins Game Fair’s right to invite whomever they wish, and disinvite (as rude as that may be) whomever they wish. This is their right, and their excise of this right is nothing to comment on. While I think their decisions are poor, and will harm them in the long run, it is their right to do so, and I respect and defend that right, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God.

But.

There is the issue of the now-deleted tweet from Origins announcing the removal of New York Times bestselling author Larry Correia from their guest list. First, by deleting the tweet, it looks like they are either covering up, or ashamed of, their position. That is one of my main complaints about the modern world, and maybe worth a post in itself. We no longer seem to even have the courage of our personal belief, of our convictions. See books by Lars Walker for a better look at that than I can give just now. That is one issue, but the real issue, the kicker, as it were, is the wording of the tweet itself:

Third paragraph. Last sentence. “We focus on fun, not discourse and controversy”. Emphasis mine.

Discourse. Webster’s defines this as

  1. verbal interchange of ideas; especially : conversation
  2. formal and orderly and usually extended expression of thought on a subject
    1. connected speech or writing
    2. a linguistic unit (such as a conversation or a story) larger than a sentence
  3. a mode of organizing knowledge, ideas, or experience that is rooted in language and its concrete contexts (such as history or institutions) critical discourse
  4. archaic: the capacity of orderly thought or procedure : rationality
  5. obsolete: social familiarity

So, Origins, per their executive director, is not a place for a verbal exchange of ideas, conversation, or civil discussion. While I expect he meant to use the word ‘discord’, that isn’t what was written. And I think that is revealing. By refusing to honor an invitation to a man who is considered by all who have met him to be a great person, kind, gracious, gentle, etc. (disclaimer: I have never met him, but know people who have), and then saying ‘we don’t want to be a place for conversation’, Origins shows a staggering intolerance of diversity.

The simple reality is that the political position occupied by the sort of people who screech about ‘unsafe’ (and do explain how that is in any way accurate….I’ll wait) is also all about the refusal to engage in any discourse with anyone not of their specific group or flavor. In this, they haven’t exactly progressed past their origins in the early 1800s, and demonstrate they still love a good lynching. In civil society, ideas are to be discussed, to be considered, and to be accepted or rejected on their merits – not because some screeching stain says they make her (in this specific case, it was a her – isn’t always) feel, somehow, unsafe. As if someone holding a different opinion is unsafe. This back to the absurdist position that somehow conservative speech is violence, but liberal violence is speech. I am neither alone nor original in stating that 1984 was a warning, not an instruction manual.

So what is a thinking person to do (and yes, in case it isn’t obvious, I am excluding the sort of person who thinks this is right or good from the set ‘thinking’, not ‘people’) when confronted with this kind of idiocy? What is the correct response? Again, no dog in the hunt, but I think the correct response may look like this:

  • Boycott Origins. In all ways – do not support them, their sponsors, their allies, their friends, their ConCom’s businesses. You want to make this personal, on your head be it. The vendors are innocent in this, and don’t deserve to be caught in the insanity Origins has started. If you know they were there, and see them elsewhere, proceed as normal – this is not on them. Sponsors…that’s different.
  • Promote the competition of all the above – boycotting is step one. Always look at the second step, and that is to move any business from the supporters of the position you disagree with to their competitors. It isn’t enough to just not shop there…
  • Under no circumstances encourage, condone, support, suggest, or hint at any kind of violent response – even in metaphor, jest, ad absurdum, mockery, and so on. The enemy – and they have declared themselves so – chooses when to take this as an actual threat, and when to not. Hint: if conservatives say it, it is a threat, if they say it, it isn’t (even when it is by any reasonable standard).
  • Do patronize conventions where banned and disinvited authors are welcome. Be active in those communities, and keep the good cons going. Since they want segregation so badly, we can give it to them.
  • See #3…really, not even in jest. With the fallout and discussion in full froth, Mr. Correia posted that he awoke this AM to reports that people in his Facebook group made bomb threats. I suspect someone reported his wife, for the ‘nuke em’ post she made. This is how deranged the enemy is. Just think for a moment about that.
  • Strike back in their forum and manner. So Origins kicked Mr. Correia. And by doing so removed the only non-white guest from their convention. Make some noise about that! No women, no POC, only white males! How dare they – isn’t that making us unsafe? Or whatever their position is. Use mockery, as they cannot stand being mocked. Subvert their own methods and practices. We have a true spectrum of people who are on our side, people they claim have more valid voices…use those voices to make it impossible for conventions like Origins to function. Use their weapons to orchestrate their downfall.

In closing, remember to remain true to yourselves. There is nothing wrong with a convention making an unpopular choice – they have that right and must be encouraged to exercise it. To do otherwise is to be the next in line for the boxcars. Forgive them, as we are called to do. But also remember we are not compelled or called to support them either.

On The Subject Of Pride

We heard an awful lot about how hateful the white pride movement is this past weekend. And have been hearing it for at least a year, probably longer. I tend to tune it out because in my experience the people most likely to shout about the evils of white pride are the same ones extolling some other form of identity-based pride.

And that confuses me. Has for at least a decade and a half. Probably longer.

I have never understood the concept of having actionable pride in things you have nothing to do with. Not being ashamed, yes, that is a good thing, and to be encouraged across the board. But pride?

I did nothing to be born white, male, straight, brown haired, etc. And no one else did either. You have nothing to do with your gender, race, nationality, skin tone, whatever. Nothing. At. All.

You didn’t achieve anything, sacrifice anything, or overcome anything to be born whatever you were born. Your parents may have. You may overcome things later in life, but the action of overcoming, of succeeding, of achieving…that is something to be proud of.

Not the genetics your parents brought into play.

I long believed that people who fostered this absurd pride in things they had nothing to do with were at least a little defective. Either they were prone to claim achievements they had nothing to do with, or raised by ignorant people who did the same. Of late, that has had another factor added to it.

They have nothing else to be proud of.

It may be judgmental, but there it is. If I get violently upset because of some moronic ‘racial pride’, I must not have anything else to feel proud of. Alternately, it also seems that a lot of the people manifesting this mental defect expect to be treated as somehow superior because of the incidence of their birth. As if that makes them, well, anything special.

Pro Tip: It Doesn’t.

If you want to be treated as exceptional, be exceptional. Be better at a thing. Be creative, be innovative, be a success. This modern conceit that says someone can claim superiority solely because genetics made them black, white, Hispanic, Asian, male, or female, is damaging to both the individual and the society as a whole. It is the root of eugenics, which was evil, twisted, and wrong the first time around.

This Is How It Should Be

This Is How It Should Be

Which, yes, means it doesn’t. But this is simple, and we can’t seem to pull it together enough to get the simple stuff like this right. It makes me worry. I see so many examples of the kind of things that make this list feel needed every day. It is, in fact, the main reason I would have dropped all social media, if I didn’t need it for work. Yes, it’s that bad. I can’t seem to grasp how this is so easy to ignore – and how many people insist on acting against the simple ‘duh’ level reality I am talking about.

So, here is my list of things it’s past time to realize:

If the other side does it, and you think it’s wrong, it’s wrong when your side does it too.

If your side does it, and you think it’s good, it’s good when the other side does it too.

Your side is not all saints.

The other side is not all sinners.

It is good, right, and just to call out those on your side who are bad actors.

No one is all of anything. Hitler was a decently talented artist, and loved his dogs.

You aren’t all of any one thing either…

Objective truths exist – wrong is wrong, regardless of who did it or why. Or to whom.

Speech is not violence. Violence is not speech.

Hold law enforcement to a strict standard, the same laws they hold us to.

Politicians are not heroes. Or stars. They are, at best, ineffective middle managers who have delusions of superiority. Stop lionizing them.

If you define everyone on one side as evil, expect some of them to become evil. If you make it clear your side thinks an entire demographic is stupid / uneducated / worthless / second class (or lower), you can expect them to hate you in return.

We used to at least try to get along, we should look at that again.

Give it a try…you might be shocked what happens.

Farewell, Mr. President

Farewell, Mr. President

While I think that the Obama presidency will be judged a failure, for several reasons (and one huge one), I also know no person is wholly one thing or another.

So, to that end, here are some things that I believe Mr. Obama got right.

Repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’’ – Look, anyone who thinks that only straight men serve in the military is deluded. Flat Earthers + Reptilian Overlords from Alpha Draconis + Packers fans deluded. Removing a rule that forced people into hiding is always a good thing. To that end, this was long overdue, and good riddance to a bad rule.

Supported Federal Recognition of Same-Sex Marriages – Repeat after me: “Marriage Is A Religious Institution Not A Government One”. So, while the government should not be in the marriage business (their interest should only extend to the civil and civic sides of a union – thus, civil union), that isn’t the way it is. The government shouldn’t be dictating how or whom one chooses to enter into a partnership with. At any level. So while the fight to get the government out of marriage continues, the legal recognition of a same-sex civil partnership is good. Now, to get the government to stop limiting those partnerships between consenting adults in any way…

Well, two things. I am sure there are others. Some lines from speeches were good too, but that is way too much time and effort to read them all. (more…)

Carrier & Starfish

So this week, President-Elect Trump secured a deal with Carrier to keep about a thousand jobs in Indiana. At a cost of more than seven million dollars over several years.

This has been widely panned as showing companies how to blackmail the President into giving them tax incentives and so forth in order to keep them from going off shore. It has been treated like a bad deal, and used as another club against Trump.

Ignoring the obvious fact that the same deal from President Obama would be receiving praise, there are two points not being made that show some unpleasant sides of the press.

First, that this is not a political move, but a CEO move. Scott Adams, of Dilbert fame, breaks this down far better than I can. His article sums up like so:

I’ll say this again because it’s important. We’re all watching closely to see if President Elect Trump has the skill to be president. And while you watch, Trump and Pence are pulling off one of the most skillfully executed new CEO plays you will ever see. Remember what I taught you in the past year: Facts don’t matter. What matters is how you feel. And when you watch Trump and Pence fight and scratch to keep jobs in this country, it changes how you will feel about them for their entire term. This is a big win for Trump/Pence disguised as a small win.

So there is that.

Second, is the arrogance to dismiss this as ‘ineffective’. I have heard claims that even if this pace continues, it will restore but 4% of the lost manufacturing jobs. And the media wonders why they are so dismissed, distrusted, and disregarded. Yes, you morons, it is a small drop. But it is a drop. It is effort on behalf of those who have been denigrated and ignored.

It’s like the annoyingly sentimental thing you see on Facebook every so often. Where the kid is throwing starfish back into the ocean, and says ‘it matters to that one’.

In other words, it matters to them. It matters to those 1000 workers who get to keep their jobs. And the next 1000. And so on. These are the same people Obama dismissed as ‘bitter clingers’, Clinton as ‘deplorable’. And that supported Trump because he at least paid lip service to believing in them. Even if this is the only 1000 jobs saved, he managed this before coming into office.

So think on that. And remember that the day when people had to turn to self-proclaimed elites is over. The truth will out, and in this case, the truth is, for 1000 families, Christmas came early, and has bad hair.