Enter, If You Dare

Hello there!  You’ve stumbled onto (or into) my blog.  I have some fascinating things to share, but if you don’t find yourself a fan of history, bizarre steampunk fantasies, wargaming, or controversial opinions, turn back now.  My view of history is based on sources from multiple perspectives, my fiction writing is dark and convoluted, and my opinions tend to be expressed with ludicrous amounts of sarcasm.  You have been warned.

Social Constructionism: Spawning Subversion, Normalising Nonsense

My previous editorial was meant to be the first step in taking this blog in a new direction. I thought that I was done addressing the subject of intellectual dishonesty, but as it turns out, I’m still getting stuff wrong myself. Rather than being free of the influence of ideological subversives, I’m still framing my arguments according to their rules, and now it’s time to correct that.

I mentioned in one of my previous articles that the scientific method is based upon the philosophy of empiricism. This is flat-out wrong. Science, or “methodological naturalism,” as I shall occasionally refer to it henceforth, is not based on any philosophy, rather, empiricism is a philosophical description of science. I consider my previous categorisation a serious error, not because I made a statement that puts the proverbial cart before the horse, but because of the ideology that makes the claim that all methodology is rooted in philosophy, therefore, one’s methodology is necessarily informed by one’s philosophy. This ideology is called social constructionism, and its premise is that reality itself is nothing more than perception (i.e. electrical signals interpreted by a brain), therefore everything within reality, including science, is a social construct. I do not believe that science is a social construct, and I never have, yet the arguments I have presented thus far have all, at least partially, been framed in a manner that is consistent with social constructionism. Social constructionism, something I am opposed to, is so pervasive, it turns out, that it has tainted my own arguments against it. That ends now.

Methodological naturalism is the process of making models that accurate describe reality and have predictive power. Every organism does this, to one extent or another. Any organism that possesses a defect such that it cannot make an accurate assessment of reality is unlikely to survive, and so natural selection tends to favour organisms that have accurate perception. For example, when a fly gets caught in a spider’s web, vibrations travel through the web and reach the spider. The spider that can instinctively determine the size and location of the fly, based on the direction and magnitude of the vibrations, will be able to feed itself, and therefore survive. Different animals will produce different frequencies and magnitudes of vibration when they touch the spider’s web. A wasp, for example, may become caught, but if the wasp is too big for the spider, the vibrations will be so intense that the spider will instinctively avoid it. The spider that fails to avoid a source of excessive vibration is unlikely to survive. I have personally observed a spider approach an exceptionally large fly in its web, only to retreat when it got close enough to realise how large the fly was. The spider then attempted to approach from a different angle, only to retreat again. This went on for almost ten minutes, because from the far corner of the web, the vibrations indicated a small insect that could be a potential meal, and the spider realised that the fly was too big only when it got close. The spider did not move in for the kill until the fly became exhausted. A paper wasp, on the other hand, would have thrashed about with such force, the spider may have never approached at all. I could easily write several thousand words on the subject of how spiders are able to accurately perceive the world around them, despite most species having extremely poor eyesight, but I think I have made my point for now. The ability to accurately measure one’s surroundings affects one’s ability to survive. Spiders do not think in terms of “frequency,” or “magnitude,” no spider can tell you precisely how many Hertz it must perceive in order to know that the creature that has just wandered onto her web is a male of the same species, because while those concepts are products of nature, the terms we use to describe them such that we can understand are social constructs. In other words, the spider engages in methodological naturalism in order to find food and mates, and avoid danger, just not with the same level of awareness or ability to express itself as humans do. The spider does not act in accordance with any social construct.

Social constructionism, on the other hand, is a pseudoscientific attempt to place delusions on the same level as accurate perceptions of reality, thereby normalising mental illness. A delusion is a fixed, false belief that will not change despite evidence to the contrary. Some schools of thought also include the caveat “and is not in accordance with the person’s culture,” but that is nothing more than a cop-out to make excuses for religious beliefs, as any principled atheist (those are rare, by the way, most atheists are not principled, especially American atheists) will tell you. That particular form of special pleading is the product of social constructionism, and an intellectually dangerous precedent to set. Any delusion may be excused if the patient can somehow prove that their “delusional” belief is perfectly in line with their culture. After all, how small a scale does a culture have to be in order to excuse a delusion? Is a person delusional for believing something that has been beaten into their head by their parents since birth, regardless of whether or not that belief is shared outside of that particular household? Those who believe in the socially constructed definition of “delusion,” as opposed to the purely naturalistic definition, have no answer for such a question, because they have opened themselves up to arbitrary standards. By the same token, since a mental illness is defined as a psychological impairment of personal function, it would stand to reason that, since a delusion is an impairment of an individual’s perception of reality, that delusions are the causes of mental illnesses, or at the very least, fuel them. Unfortunately, there is a growing movement known as mental illness denialism, which to me, reeks of social constructionism.

Mental illness denialism is the idea that there are no “sick” minds, there are only different ways of thinking, in other words, what society has termed “mental illnesses” are simply extreme (or socio-politically inconvenient) cases of neurodivergence. Now then, since I have already bashed religion, and I know that my writing tends to appeal to a more secular crowd, you may be tempted to think that I’m going to go down the road of holding religion responsible for impeding psychology, but you’re wrong. Only the most radical fringes of modern religions (mostly Islam, but Christianity also has its radicals) still hold on to the antiquated idea that even the slightest forms of neurodivergence are an indication of daemonic possession, and that exorcism cures everything from autism to epilepsy. Rather, mental illness denialism is a part of modern pseudoscientific “alternative medicine,” and I suspect, began in direct response to the rigid conformity of conservative collectivism that dominated the western world until about 1970, given that classical liberals are more open-minded than traditional conservatives when it comes to human behaviour and cognition. However, in the past fifty years, the dominant ideology in academia has changed. As is typical of modern liberals, they are using a term that their predecessors coined to condemn their detractors for that of which they are themselves guilty, claiming that mental illness denialism arose as a response to punitive psychiatry in the Soviet Union, and therefore is a “right-wing reactionary movement,” a derogatory phrase used to dismiss any backlash against “progressive” ideas (never mind the fact that “progressive” ideas are usually the backward ones). This type of divisive wordplay is nothing more than linguistic propaganda, since punitive psychiatry is something that all governments have a history of using for the purposes of stifling political dissent, and any medical professionals with integrity routinely denounce this practise, including a handful of Soviet and Chinese physicians, despite the great personal risk.

As is typical of all ideologies, reactionary or not, there are matters of degree within denialism. The most extreme are those who outright deny the existence of mental health, some of whom also deny the existence of physical health (this is the realm of the fat acceptance movement). Now then, before I continue, I feel compelled to inform you that there is a BIG difference between “alternative” medicine and “natural” medicine. The latter, of which I am not merely a tacit supporter but a somewhat vocal advocate, actually has scientific support, because multiple studies have detailled the precise manner in which lifestyle (of which diet is just one component) affects health. Many foods contain ingredients from which modern pharmaceuticals are derived, so in many cases, changing one’s diet offers the same or better results than simply taking a pill. Unfortunately, our technocratic society puts both “natural” medicine and “alternative” medicine in the same boat, and the prevailing message is that saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” is no different from extolling the benefits of urine therapy (yes, that’s actually a thing that some people believe in), because health, as far as the technocrats are concerned, comes only from a syringe. However, before I go off on the “bashing big pharma” tangent, it’s time to return to the subject of mental health.

Mental illnesses are frequently, if not usually, based on delusions. Delusions themselves are not baseless, and are instilled either by mental conditioning or a chemical imbalance in the brain. The cause of this chemical imbalance may be either environmental or genetic. There are far too many known mental illnesses to list here, so let’s dive into a rather controversial subset: personality disorders. A personality disorder is a type of mental illness defined as a maladaptive pattern of behaviour and cognition. Now then, here’s the controversial part – some schools of thought hold that personality disorders, while a real phenomenon, are not mental illnesses, but simply cultural aberrations. There are two possible reasons for this. First, and this is the more innocuous one, is that it’s simply a cop-out, because psychiatrists haven’t the slightest clue how to treat them. Second, and this is far more sinister, is that this an attempt to normalise maladaptive behaviour for the purpose of, say, excusing corrupt politicians, nearly all of whom show the signs of antisocial personality disorder, better known as sociopathy. If sociopathy is classified as a mental illness, then there are legal grounds to prevent those who display it from holding public office, at least in countries where the idea that one must be “of sound mind” in order to do so is actually respected (the United States is clearly not one of them). On the subject of delusions manifesting mental illness, it is important to note that personality disorders are entirely the result of internalised delusions, i.e. delusions about oneself. Unlike delusions about the outside world, delusions about oneself are unfalsifiable, and therefore, utterly unassailable. No-one can claim to know the mind of a mental patient better than the patient knows themself. In the case of those afflicted with delusions of grandeur, any attempt to help the individual is regarded as a personal attack, which is why psychotherapy simply doesn’t work on narcissists or sociopaths. The more severe the level of delusion, the less that such a person can be reasoned with, which is why people with actual god complexes are so irrational and dangerous. The idea that such a malignant mindset is not a severe psychological defect has grave ramifications for society at large. When exploitative behaviour is normalised, when dehumanisation is venerated, when the maladapted are allowed to run amok, when those who speak up and try to stop this nonsense are morally brow-beaten into silence, social cohesion breaks down, and society falls apart. This is where socialism leads, incidentally, because socialism is exploitation masquerading as cooperation, it is avarice masquerading as altruism, insanity masquerading as rationality, and a blood-soaked vanity project masquerading as the emancipator of the proletariat. Socialism is guilty of literally everything that it condemns. But of course, words are just social constructs, they mean whatever we want them to mean, so in the upside-down world of social constructionism, I just gave socialism a glowing review.

Sarcasm aside, the trend that I am trying to expose is the corruption of naturalistic fields with arbitrary social criteria in the name of “cultural sensitivity.” Not all cultures should be considered equal. Many cultural practises are perfectly harmless and should be left alone, but others are extremely damaging, and should not be allowed to continue, much less hold sway over scientific knowledge. There are objective standards for what is moral and immoral, no religious doctrine is necessary to determine those standards, and no government is necessary to enforce those standards. Social constructionism, however, enables moral relativism, it enables the unscrupulous to run roughshod over everyone else, and it enables the subversion of science, i.e. its subordination to ideology. By bringing science down to the same level as all other human endeavours, social constructionists can promote any unsubstantiated claim that they wish with a false sense of scientific legitimacy, while at the same time eroding away the respect that the scientific endeavour deserves. Scientific realists do not need a philosophical justification for methodological naturalism, because methodological naturalism both predates and transcends human philosophy. Denying reality while projecting that denial onto one’s detractors is a luxury of decadent and artificial modern society. In nature, those who deny reality do not survive.

I would like to conclude this little piece by acknowledging the brilliant takedown of social constructionism by King Crocoduck, whose work I have referenced before. Were it not for his latest video series, I would never have even been aware of the flaws in my previous arguments, much less known what I must do in order to correct them.

Introduction to SWWS: the Wacky World of Second World War Supremacy

There are frightening numbers of people out there who pine for the bad old days of the Second World War, and no, I’m not talking about history buffs who enjoy tabletop wargames or re-enactments; first of all, that group includes me, and second, anyone who is capable of separating history from the present (a surprisingly rare ability) is automatically excluded. What I mean is that there are frightening numbers of people who live in La-la-land when it comes to how WWII fits into the bigger picture of human history, and don’t seem to understand why it should be honoured, but not repeated, either in whole or in part.

First of all, as a Russian, I have a very different view of WWII, or as we call it, the “Great Patriotic War,” from most Americans. To us, it was a legitimate existential struggle – a claim which no other country could make until 1945. Most of this post, and of the larger series that this will eventually become, is going to be preaching to the proverbial choir regarding my countrymen, but most Americans will probably end up finding it even more offensive than my last warfare editorial. Suck it up, yanks, this hard truth is going to be a bitter pill to swallow, but you need it.

This post, or something like it, has been a long time coming, but today, I came across an entirely new angle regarding military idiocy, and American military idiocy in particular. While I will endeavour to make subsequent posts in this series a little more organised, this intro is going to be a stream of consciousness regarding my descent into this rabbit hole of utter tripe. My first prompt came a few days ago when Arch Warhammer made a video debunking the idea that “tanks are obsolete,” a narrative that is being pushed as a result of the Russian Army’s “failure” in Ukraine. While I enjoyed Arch’s video, I have a few things to add regarding the current conflict: first, Russia sucks at invasions and always has, second, the Russian Army isn’t sending its finest soldiers or equipment into Ukraine, and third, the fact that Russia invaded in the first place is precisely because the government already failed to achieve a peaceful solution to the Ukrainian problem. Now, I could write an entire article about my thoughts regarding the invasion, from the problems that have been ongoing for years as a result of corruption in the Ukrainian government so severe that it makes both Moscow and Washington look like bastions of integrity by comparison, to the problems ingrained in Russian military doctrine since the days of the Tsar, but I don’t think I need to. For now, let’s examine the stupid takes about weapons and warfare in general.

The idea that tanks are obsolete is nothing new. In fact, a German YouTube channel called Military History Visualized summarised the entire history of anti-tank arguments, going back to the oldest of them, which, drumroll please, came way back in 1919, when the tank itself was a plucky three-year-old crawling through the mud at three miles an hour. This video was my second prompt. Tanks have come a long way since then, and each new generation has been designed for a different doctrine of armoured warfare, hence the major paradigm shifts in tank design over the decades. Yet there are some people out there who seem to think that tank design has gone downhill since WWII for whatever reason. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I’ll start with some of the more tame arguments for Second World War Supremacy (SWWS), and progress down the ladder of insanity to the most batshit insane ones.

To start, I thought I was done bashing Bill Astore for his stupid takes pining for the bad old days of the 1940s, but here we go again. It seems that, over time, his arguments for returning to tradition, something that self-described “progressives” do an awful lot of, have regressed further and further throughout the history of his entire blog, such that perhaps he should just hop in a time machine at this point. Seriously, just pop up the homepage for Bracing Views and keep scrolling. However, as I recently discovered, Astore is hardly unique in this regard. In terms of his broader socio-political views, he describes himself as a “progressive,” but his idea of “progress” is, as I mentioned, a return to tradition, specifically, “bring back the draft.” This is the norm for progressive pundits, as I have known for a while now, but it wasn’t until today that I found out that it is the same for “military reformers” as well. Within the broader context of “military reformers,” there are those who dedicate themselves to designing new hypothetical weapons that they believe represent what modern militaries should be using, and the designs are laughable, but as they are among the crazier examples, they will have to wait.

Any idiot knows that the US military was much more successful in WWII than in any conflict since, with the obvious exception of Operation Desert Storm in 1991. Many a diatribe has been penned about the reason, but the simple answer is that the US military is an old institution, set in its ways, and far too accustomed to fighting in a symmetrical war. The Wehrmacht and the Baath regime both operated in an organised fashion similar to the US Army, therefore those were symmetrical conflicts. The Viet Cong and Taliban did not operate in such a way, which is why the US fared so poorly against them. Part of me fears that the US military wants to agitate, and thus escalate, the situation in Ukraine, because then they will be able to go to war against Russia, which they would have a much better chance of beating, since that’s another modern military, not a bunch of guerrillas. I also think that anyone seriously entertaining such a degree of escalation needs to be run over by a T-14 (pro tip: release the parking brake first). If the US wants military success in assymmetrical conflicts, then it needs to change its doctrine. Now I, as an immigrant and therefore, a US taxpayer, would like to see a complete end to international interventionism, but this isn’t about what I want, this is about what is realistic. Since the US excels in symmetrical warfare because of its resource advantage, then it must remove the assymmetry in future conflicts with less organised fighting forces. Guerrillas, especially when fighting in their own territory, have a massive advantage over large, organised formations, as, ironically, the American colonial militias demonstrated against the British regulars way back in 1776. Guerrillas have less of an advantage over other guerrillas, so in order to fare better against guerrillas, American soldiers are going to have to be trained to be more independent and creative. This is actually happening, to an extent, which Astore and others like him deride as the outdated “warrior” culture overtaking the modern “soldier” lock-step discipline of WWII, even though these same midwits hypocritically denounce the failures of trying to apply WWII-era tactics to Vietnam. Progressives gotta regress, I guess.

Tactics are one thing, but hardware is another, and here is where we get into the crazy side of things. In every forum about weapons, warfare, and wargaming in particular, there are going to be toxic fanboys, or “Buttermilk Bobs,” as I’ve come to call them, after a recurring character in Commissar Gamza’s videos that has since been made into a cleverly-designed tabletop figure. There are Buttermilk Bobs spouting hyperbolic nonsense about their favourite weapons and tactics, while also denouncing opposing weapons and tactics as completely useless. The best-known tanks get this treatment a lot, such as the T-34, KV-2, King Tiger, M4 Sherman, and M1 Abrams. Now then, you might be tempted to think that I, as a Russian, am probably guilty of over-hyping Russian tanks, and while that was true back when I was still a dumbass communist, I actually have just as many criticisms these days about Russian tanks as I do about American and German tanks. In fact, I could write an entire article about the narrative similarity between the KV-1 and the Abrams, given that I see them both as over-hyped propaganda tanks within their own militaries, but that’s for another day. For now, let’s look at the King Tiger.

There is no question that the King Tiger was one of the most powerful tanks of WWII – when it actually worked. I have gone so far as to argue that it would have been even more powerful had it been better constructed, since it was made of recycled steel and had a tendency to fall apart as a result of hydrogen embrittlement in the welds. In theory, a T-34-85 has no business knocking out a King Tiger, and yet that happened on more than one occasion, thanks partially to substandard materials, but mostly the hubris of the Tiger crew allowing T-34s to get the drop on them and attack at point-blank range. Most King Tigers, however, were abandoned by their own crews after running out of fuel. With German supply lines stretched to the breaking point by 1944, supporting these 68-tonne armoured kitties was next to impossible. However, they were completely invulnerable to fire from most Allied tanks, and the 88-mm gun made it possible to one-shot most American and Soviet tanks before they could even get into range. The introduction of the Sherman Firefly (which, despite being built around American hardware, had a British gun and was operated only by British crews) resulted in the first glimpse of modern armoured warfare, which was less attrition (“how many hits can this thing take?”) and more “first shot, first kill” that is typically seen today, as both the Firefly and Tiger could destroy the other with one hit, even at ranges in excess of 1000 metres. For this reason, some have argued that the King Tiger was the forerunner to the modern main battle tank (MBT). I disagree, for three basic reasons that I’ll get into in another post, but I will mention that it is profoundly telling that no-one makes the same argument for the Firefly. Where some Tiger fanboys have either completely lost the plot or are trolling is with the claim that the King Tiger is superior to modern MBTs.

Are you done shaking your head yet? Right, now as ridiculous as that claim is, I’m still going to dive deeper into it, but not in this article. German technology in 1944 was far more advanced than most people realise, but not more advanced than Soviet tech of 1957 (partially derived from German tech, since all of the allied powers pillaged Germany), let alone anything that exists today. However, there persists, to this day, the idea that things were built better in the past, they were built to last, and therefore, we should build things like we once did. Now, while I agree with that general sentiment, it’s not always true. Old things were not always built to last. Sticking with the example of the tank, by 1943, STAVKA determined, through extensive analysis of battlefield reports, that the average lifespan of a tank, once it was deployed in combat, was nine hours. That’s all. Therefore, in order to get them out of the factories as quickly as possible, and because they didn’t have to last, Soviet tanks were manufactured to some of the crudest standards I’ve ever seen as a manufacturing engineer. Hulls were welded underwater to eliminate cool-down time, making them look really sloppy. Engine blocks and transmission cases were machined, but not ground, leaving a rough finish between mating surfaces that leaked oil like the skin of a roasting duck. The pins that held the track segments on the T-34 had no retaining hardware, instead a curved wiper plate at the back served to knock back any pins that had wiggled out of place – ARE YOU SEEING MY POINT YET?! Of course, the Germans were unwilling to compromise on the quality of their workmanship (which goes to show that “quality” does not necessarily mean “reliable”), and as a result, their factories’ output was much lower, even on days when they weren’t being bombed into oblivion.

With this rambling, almost pointless article over two thousand words already, I think I shall end it here, and go work on an outline for subsequent posts in this series. LazerPig, another YouTuber, is the main inspiration for this post, having posted a video that introduced me to the wacky world of “military reformers,” and yet I’ve barely touched on new information, instead ranting about things that I already knew. As I take my own journey down this rabbit hole, future instalments about SWWS will, hopefully, be far more entertaining and informative.

Military Hypocrisy on Display

I criticise Bracing Views a lot, both directly and indirectly, but as I mentioned when I described the entire blog as a “cesspit of midwittery,” there is one thing that I agree with Bill Astore on, at least nominally, and that just so happens to be the most common thesis in his posts – the Military-Industrial Complex is out of control.

Now then, I must specify that it is a “nominal” agreement, because I don’t think Astore is actually opposed to militarism, but rather the corporatisation of the military, which is most prominent in his own former branch: “there are two branches of the military, the Army and the Navy; the Air Force is a corporation and the Marine Corps is a cult.” My post titled “Collectivism and Militarism are Inseparable” was my way of calling out his repeated denigration of the military, yet also calling for civilian society to be more like the military on a fundamental level. He seems to pine for the bad old days of World War II, back when front-line soldiers marched into battle in massive formations and were utterly expendable, contrasted with modern warfare, in which front-line soldiers are fewer in number, but far better-trained and equipped, so each life lost is much more economically devastating. Speaking of World War II, I’ve been a bit busy working on my online miniature shop, so I didn’t have the time to make an edgy post on the 7th of December, so consider what is to come a belated rebuttal of the usual reverence for the “tragic” event that took place on that day in 1941, now that I have a momentary reprieve while I’m waiting for supplies.

The United States did not need to get involved in World War II in any military capacity. If American businesses merely continued to supply food, fuel, and weapons to the British and the Soviets, the Allies would have won the war eventually. Instead, because FDR was a bitter, corrupt, and racist (not a word I use lightly) tyrant, he decided to punish the few American industrialists who dared maximise their profits by selling to both sides during an economic depression that FDR himself prolonged with his suffocating New Deal. By enacting an oil embargo against the Japanese Empire, he provoked them into attacking. For those who are unaware, the Japanese interpret unfair trade deals as acts of aggression. To the Japanese, the U.S. had, effectively, declared war on them. This was nothing new, either, as similarly bad diplomacy over the use of Port Arthur in 1904 prompted them to launch a surprise attack against the Imperial Russian Fleet, kicking off the Russo-Japanese war, which no-one remembers other than the Japanese and history buffs like me. The attack on Port Arthur and the attack on Pearl Harbor were, play-by-play, almost identical, apart from the fact that the first was carried out with torpedo boats, whereas the second was carried out with torpedo planes. Both “surprise” attacks were provoked, and while I’m uncertain if the first one was genuinely a surprise, the second one definitely wasn’t, and here’s how I know: no aircraft carriers were lost on the 7th of December, 1941, because they were all deployed at the time. Only battleships were lost on that fateful day, relics that had been known to be obsolete since 1921, when General William “Billy” Mitchell demonstrated precisely how the future of naval power was air power. The devastation of Pearl Harbor was a sacrifice that the U.S. government made for the sole purpose of getting the American people to agree to enter the war. It also had the added benefit of finally getting the U.S. out of the Great Depression, because war is good business, but it also paved the way for the creation of the modern Military-Industrial Complex.

While I’m ruining everyone’s rose-tinted view of the United States, I’d like to jump to the end of the War, and address a totally different topic. The “necessity” of the second atomic bomb has been hotly debated since the War officially ended. Bill Astore himself even wrote an entire essay on the topic, concluding, as most people who have even a cursory understanding of Japanese culture, that it was not. However, very few people question whether the first bomb was even necessary, and I, for one, believe that it wasn’t necessary either. The reason is that, after Germany’s surrender, Japan was not merely alone. Germany did virtually nothing to support the Japanese war effort, except for keeping one of Japan’s enemies thoroughly preoccupied: the Soviet Union. With the fall of Nazi Germany, the Red Army was re-deployed to the Soviet Far East, and began steamrolling its way through Manchuria.

The Red Army was on Japan’s doorstep, and in a much better position to invade the Japanese mainland in August of 1945 than the United States. Furthermore, the Japanese had far more to fear from the Soviets than from the Americans. If the Red Army invaded and seized Tokyo, then Emperor Hirohito would, most certainly, be executed and a puppet communist regime be installed. The Japanese were worried that the Americans might try something similar, but there was no such guarantee, so they decided to take their chances and surrender to the Americans. Surrender was, of course, a concept completely alien to the Japanese, therefore they took their sweet time doing so, much to their own detriment. Oddly enough, General Dwight Eisenhower was perceptive enough to recognise this, and warned at Potsdam that use of the atomic bomb would not be necessary, but he was in no position to do anything about it, and no-one listened to him anyway. I like Ike.

Bill Astore is not alone in correctly pointing out that the U.S. wages entirely too many wars. Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Panama, Grenada, and Afghanistan were all entirely unnecessary campaigns. However, the World Wars appear to be sacred cows that no-one is allowed to question. I would posit that the “necessity” of those wars is predicated entirely on the results. Germany was defeated – twice – and Europe was better off for it. However, Germany was not an existential threat to the U.S. in either 1917 or 1941, and I’ve already explained precisely why the same is true of Japan. Japan was a threat to China and southeast Asia, not the United States. Ultimately, the policy of international interventionism, begun in 1917 by Woodrow Wilson, is seen as a net benefit by the various warhawks, all of whom claim that U.S. military hegemony is what is keeping the free world free. Only wars that the U.S. loses are ever seen as unnecessary, and in the process, are also reclassified as “police actions,” so as to artificially inflate the American military record. There have been plenty of failed police actions, but the United States has never lost a war.

I’m told that all branches of the military instill “values” within their members, but what are those values? From the outside, they appear to be obedience and conformity, both of which are necessary for a goal-oriented group to function, but neither of which are personal virtues. I’ve written a bit already about mental conditioning, and how total obedience can only be guaranteed by destroying a person’s ability to think via bamboozling them with self-contradictory nonsense that they must accept as absolute truth (under duress, if needs be). Thus, while “integrity” is something that an awful lot of military men claim to have, I find it damn near impossible to figure out what “integrity” actually means. Doing what is morally right frequently requires defying authority, but the military doesn’t exactly encourage the latter. With that, I shall segue into another example of military hypocrisy, and that is yet another argument I got into on LinkedIn (which I was suspended from today, about bloody time), so prepare for a massive tone-shift.

Black Rifle Company posted this meme as a response to a very specific form of cancel culture. The top comment on the post was from Scott Heil, whose tagline is “Assisting veterans (and their dependents) to facilitate reaching their academic and career goals.” He is also a retired colonel, just like Bill Astore, but Army, rather than Air Force. This may not seem particularly important, but if you don’t catch on over the course of the conversation and my notes on it, I shall explain in my conclusion.

Scott: If you are fired for an opinion, must have a pretty F’ed up opinion. If I own a company and I found out (for example) one of my employees is a racist, I’ll fire his or her ass & not lose a minute of sleep over it. Yes, this is America and you have a right to your opinion. I also have the right to mine & in most states you can fire someone for no reason at all.

Cami Odom:

It’s call the ‘at will’ worker’s contract. An employer can dismiss you from employ at any given time with absolutely no reason, aside from being in a union type of job of course. In this world, we have to keep opinions to ourselves it seems.

The problem is not racism ‘or’ what’s called or defined these days as racism. The problem is people who feel they are more superior than others through the type of job/offices they hold, family money, where they live and their status. If they drive a very expensive car, they think they are more superior than their own race. Take a look and see and you tell me if they don’t even practice what they preach.

I like observing folks when I find the time to do so. It’s quite entertaining.

Me (to Scott):

I think you’re missing the point. First, you can (and will) be fired for stating the most innocuous things, not simply the most “F’ed up opinion,” as you say. Second, I find it profoundly telling that you immediately jump to the “racist” example. Third, the threshold for being labelled as a “racist” by the perpetually offended is so ridiculously low that we BOTH probably qualify, so, you know, be very careful what you say if you want to appease the outrage beast. I don’t give a rodent’s posterior what the outrage beast thinks, so I have no reason to tiptoe on eggshells. Ah, to be self-employed!

What a minute… your last name is HEIL?! Oh dear, you may want to change that!

Right, right, I know what you’re thinking: making fun of someone’s name is low, even for a shitlord like me. However, I couldn’t resist. Heil immediately jumped at the chance to morally grand-stand against racists, which is something that leftoids habitually do – so for him to have a surname that most leftoids would find problematic was simply too easy for me to pass up the opportunity to mock.

Stephanie Joy (to Scott):

Just to be clear though, many very civil communicators of thought are retaliated against in the work place, because of the difference in opinion on say, freedoms. Not talking scum bags, as you say. And, from what I am seeing, it is generally if not all, in one direction. I am happy for you that you feel quite comfortably safe in aligning your world and policy views with the powers – that is truly perhaps biggest safety behavior, but if everyone just did so, like proper little employees.

I suspect that today, the perceived value of towing the party line, for many employers, exceeds the value of skill and talent, in terms of priority, particularly if such characteristics are also tainted by the existence of non compliant non-group think. What will be interesting is how this will pan out when the decline of skill and talent, in favor of more compliant group-thinker of less skill, some of the time, will effect the service or product. For instance, who wants a lower skilled surgeon just because he or she know how to parrot a particular view? Yikes. But at least we will know we won’t be fired.

Stephanie (to me): I hear you. My thought too was, the Nuevo definition of racist is absolutely horse sh*t. I have seen people be accused of racism for literally, literally! Nothing having to do with race at all. If you color your anything other then black and you are caucation, some will call
You a racist. It’s ludicrous. It is a meaningless expression now because it has been crapped on by ignorant or Ill-tended people. It actually has been so watered down that it gives the actual racists a free pass.

Stephanie, regardless of what her views are, actually understands the meme and its context. She also understands the grave ramifications that the behaviour it mocks can have.

Scott (to Stephanie):

I get your point, but I’m NOT the kind of person that meekly goes along with the status quo (very much the opposite). Rather. I’m someone that lived by the Army values and took them seriously.

Doesn’t mean I was perfect, but I firmly believe that if you’re an honest person with integrity you have nothing to worry about (and that’s what I told my soldiers).

What I’m seeing is people that want to do & say whatever they want, with no accountability or consequences. That’s simply unreasonable and unrealistic. Just look at the backlash I got from some posters… how dare I have standards!

BULLSHIT! Heil is a career military man, therefore, “going along with the status quo” is something he has done for almost his entire life. Questioning authority would see him court martialed, as it did the maverick Billy Mitchell.

Scott (to me): I stand by my comments. I don’t fear being fired because of what I say on social media because I’m not a scumbag. If you are afraid of being fired you may want to take a hard look in the mirror and examine what you believe in.

“I’m on the right side of history, I have nothing to worry about.” This is classic collectivist hubris. At this point, I decided to mess with him.

Me: Did you actually read my comment?

Scott:

Yes… you want to do & say whatever you want, with zero accountability or consequences. When called out on your behavior, you’ll whine (pretending to be the victim) and attack the person that actually thinks being a decent person matters.

You’re actually the one missing the point here… we’re all responsible for our behavior (like it or not). Sure, there are some thin-skinned people at there that are easily offended & that was true long before the PC movement (there are just more of them now).

There are also certain behaviors that simply cannot be tolerated, period. I used the racism example because that is one of those behaviors. Yes, there are instances where someone falsely accuses someone of being a racist or making racist comments. I’m not talking about that, I’m talking about actual racism.

Finally, your quip about my last name was completely uncalled for & unprofessional. My dad was a kid during WW II & was constantly harassed (and sometimes attacked) because of his last name. You probably think that’s funny, but it’s not. It’s ignorance & cowardice (usually groups of kids vs. one kid).

What did my dad do? He stood up to the bullies & fought back. After graduating HS, he joined the Navy!

Me: Thank you for revealing your true colours by projecting your own character flaws onto me. You assume the worst in those with whom you disagree, get butt-hurt, and now you’re desperately trying to make yourself look and feel better through doubling down and puffing up. I am not impressed. Furthermore, you’re trying to lecture a self-professed “edgy boy” with a name that you probably can’t even pronounce about being “unprofessional.” Oh, the irony. You clearly have no sense of humour, as demonstrated by your elevated sense of self-importance.

For the record: freedom of speech does not mean freedom from consequences, I get that. However, sometimes the consequences are disproportionate to the offense, hence the meme that we are arguing about, because this skinhead (I’m going to rag on him for that too, at least Bill Astore has a full head of hair and a rather handsome beard) midwit doesn’t understand jokes.

Scott: Exactly the response I expected from you. Whine, play the victim, and attack the person calling you on your BS. Your type is a dime a dozen & so phony. You’re not fooling anyone.

Me:

Are you even capable of putting down the mirror while talking to another person? Seriously, who’s the one playing the victim and trying to fool people? YOU ARE.

Right now, you think that your views are perfectly acceptable, and so you speak without fear. When your views are no longer considered acceptable, will you truly stand up for yourself, as you boast, or will you cave to the outrage mob, for whom you’ve been playing devil’s advocate this whole time? When the mob finally comes for you and you must make such a decision, just picture a lithe, long-haired 29-year-old whispering in your ear in a smug tone and with an ever-so-slight Slavic accent, “I told you so.”

Scott:

I am not concerned about a mob coming after me, because I have nothing to hide or be ashamed of. Doesn’t mean I’m perfect or haven’t put my foot in my mouth from time to time, but I have been a contributing member of society and have lived (and still live by) the Army values.

The fact that you have been trolling me for actually having values and standards speaks volumes about who you are as a person. This is my last response to you, as it’s quite obvious that we see the world much differently & no matter what I say you’ll take it out of context. You’re not “edgy”, just misguided and obnoxious.

He’s damn right, we see the world in different ways. He claims to believe in freedom of expression, but only for views he agrees with, ergo he doesn’t actually believe in freedom of expression. I could almost hear his eyes rolling when he said “yes, this is America and you have a right to your opinion.” Like most career military men, Heil seems to hate the country that he once swore to defend. Astore is similarly guilty, constantly denigrating not only American culture (while carefully avoiding blaming the American people themselves), but also the principles that the nation itself is founded upon. Would either of them defend, to the death, my right to say things that they don’t like, such as everything I’ve written here thus far? I would posit that they would only do so if commanded to by a superior officer who either agreed with me or actually believed in defending such a principle – which, at that level, is exceedingly rare. Both of them act as if they are brave free thinkers, but one must always remember: it is easy to be brave when there is nothing to fear, and there are none more hopelessly enslaved than those who believe they are free.

Ultimately, the conclusion that I have come to is that, in order to maintain political stability, high-ranking military officers must be more thoroughly indoctrinated along party lines than the front-line soldiers. Therefore, they have one-track minds, and their idea of “integrity” is based on a long and narrow set of rules, rather than a short but broad set of guiding principles. Liberty and individualism, are, naturally, not among those rules, despite being part of the foundation of the country that U.S. military personnel are sworn to protect. I can see why Astore would pine for the “good old days” of the citizen-soldier, because in those days, giving up one’s rights short-term in order to fight for them would make those rights seem all the more precious, though there is a problem with this system: the State can take away those rights at any time, for any reason, and sacrifice citizens’ lives for its own interests. This is why military service must be voluntary. The State cannot have the power to conscript civilians and inflate its troop numbers overnight every time it needs some extra leverage against a foreign nation. Furthermore, citizens need to know, ahead of time, exactly what they will be signing up for, and giving up their individual rights in order to become part of such a team must be their decision and theirs alone. In the case of a legitimate existential threat, which the U.S. has not faced since 1865, then there will be no shortage of volunteers. Americans have demonstrated, time and time again, that they will gladly put their lives on the line for what they merely perceive to be a threat to their country. Germany was not perceived to be such a threat in 1915, or even in 1917, hence the creation of the draft in the latter year to fulfill the U.S. Army’s troop requirements. Once again, I must point out that neither World War was necessary for the U.S. to fight, let alone any of the more recent wars. In both cases, the U.S. was pressured by foreign influences to pick a side, punishing the government for the activities of private companies, and in 1973, OAPEC did the exact opposite, punishing private companies for the activities of the government, but that’s a rant for another time.

Finally, I must address my own hypocrisy, because I profit off of war. Both World Wars are fascinating to me, and to a lesser extent, so is the Cold War. If we lived in a perfect world, the sick game called war wouldn’t exist, or at the very least, the game pieces wouldn’t be human lives. So, in my defense, even though I technically profit off of the most devastating conflict in human history, I’m not calling for a repeat of it. I see nothing wrong with the strategic or tactical exercises known as wargames. I don’t even particularly care if large groups play such a game at full scale, because re-enactments are just as fun as tabletop games, so long as the government isn’t sticking me with the bill – because taxation is theft. When playing such a game, people also need to remember that it is a game – the socio-political baggage ought to be left at the door, but the more history you know, the harder that is to do. For this very reason, some people simply don’t enjoy historical wargaming scenarios. To each their own, I suppose. I’ll be branching out into fictional scenarios myself, once I have a large enough catalogue of my own designs.

Free Thought Cuts Both Ways – Use it Wisely

Free thought can lead you to discover the truth when no-one else is speaking it, but it can also lead you to the wrong conclusion, particularly when you have only part of the picture available to you. This, I suspect, is the true reason that so few people are willing to speak out against coordinated propaganda campaigns, because when all available media is nothing but lies, then discovering the truth requires original research, as no source of information can be relied upon, and it’s a bit embarrassing to come to the wrong conclusion. Not only that, but coming to the wrong conclusion ultimately validates the fallacious idea that thinking for oneself is bad. After all, free thinkers are rebels, and rebellious thinkers have a nasty tendency to throw the proverbial baby out with the bathwater, hence the existence of flat-earthers. Those who reject the establishment’s narrative do not all think the same, contrary to what you might gather from the daily two minutes of hate.

To begin, in order to scare off all the midwits who think in false dichotomies, I need to put my proverbial cards on the table once again:

The Earth is a 4,5-billion-year-old oblate spheroid, not a 6000-year-old disc.

Viruses are real, so is CoVID-19, and I’ve been following its story since before the legacy media even touched it.

Every vaccine that works has been thoroughly tested; generally speaking, vaccines that don’t work don’t get past clinical trials, which usually go on for several years before the vaccine is made publicly available.

People should be allowed to take experimental medicine if they wish.

No-one should ever feel pressured to take experimental medicine.

Outside of an operating room, surgical masks do more harm than good.

The 2018 Arizona senate election and the 2020 U.S. general election were both fraudulent.

Joe Biden doesn’t control his own bowels, much less the U.S. government.

Jen Psaki looks like Mark Zuckerburg in a ginger wig; that’s because they are the exact same model, Zuck’s serial number is 17, Psaki’s is 18.

Critical Race Theory is explicitly Marxist, is being taught in public schools, and is being lied about in multiple different ways by its own proponents, all of whom are snivelling cowards.

There is no god.

This is what I believe – and I highly doubt that anyone I know agrees with every single statement. Well, one of the above statements is a joke, but considering how crazy this world is, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it turns out to be true. Certainly, this does not conform to the false dichotomy that has been propagated as part of the mainstream narrative, and therefore, you would be hard-pressed to find a media outlet that reflects my beliefs – which is something that propagandists simply can’t deal with.

You know you are dealing with a propagandist when the person states that anyone who believes differently from them must be brainwashed. Propagandists act as if they do not understand the concept of free thought, and some probably don’t, hence they project their own inability to think for themselves onto those with whom they disagree. Bear in mind, the purpose of propaganda is not to get people to believe the message, but to get people to believe that they are alone in knowing that it is a lie. Getting people to genuinely believe the lie is merely a fortuitous side-effect, as it creates additional propagandists who work for free. Such true believers are called “useful idiots,” for reasons that ought to be obvious. The ever-present useful idiots, who are especially useful as the enforcers of the false message – psychopaths not only believe strange things, but they are also violent and utterly devoid of empathy, hence they make excellent secret police – serve to reinforce the psychic illusion that no-one is questioning the fallacious narrative. Propaganda is not meant to be believable, after all – it is deliberately designed to be an obviously ludicrous massage that must be agreed with as part of mental conditioning (brainwashing), such as “wearing a mask doesn’t stop the spread of an airborne virus, but wearing two masks will definitely stop the spread.” At that point, everyone with a functioning brain knew that this message had nothing to do with public health, and everything to do with behaviour control, simply by dint of how silly it was. Precisely how many people are actually taken in by this obvious power play is difficult to discern, considering that anyone who disagrees with the establishment narrative knows perfectly well what will happen to them if they make their beliefs known: they will be smeared as an “extremist, anti-science conspiracy theorist,” relegated to the role of a second-class citizen, and possibly even imprisoned, not for refusing to comply, but merely for questioning the narrative, after all, the Merriam-Webster dictionary recently changed the definition of “anti-vaxxer” to include people who are opposed to vaccine mandates as well as the the vaccines themselves. By this deliberately dishonest re-definition, I am an anti-vaxxer, which anyone who knows me knows that I am most certainly not. Propagandists have this nasty habit of making false dichotomies real through their manipulation of language.

As time passes, as genuine crises are exploited more and more for the purposes of expanding government power and people who point this out are daemonised, those who refuse to believe the mainstream narrative ultimately start questioning whether the crisis was even real to begin with, if it was manufactured by the very people who ended up exploiting it for greater power, or even if it was all a complete hoax. Anyone familiar with Info Wars is undoubtedly familiar with its time-honoured tradition of claiming that school shootings are false-flag operations, and that the victims are actually crisis actors. Considering how much the mainstream lies, how many crazy conspiracies have actually turned out to be true, and how malicious the establishment has always been (yes, even your government, regardless of where you live, has committed atrocities in order to preserve or expand its own power), is it any wonder that people start to believe that those who have a reputation as “stark raving madmen” might be the only truly sane people in society?

Moving on from science to politics, I can say with complete certainty that the 2020 U.S. general election was fraudulent. The reason for this is that any historian worth his salt knows precisely what the signs of election fraud are, which is why I prefaced that statement with a mention of the 2018 Arizona senate election, which, as one Arizonan commentator describes, was the Democratic party’s “dress rehearsal” for the shenanigans that took place two years later. The fact the results are “above question” is a red flag in and of itself, such that anyone making the claim on social media will see their post removed – we’ll see how long WordPress allows this post to exist before shunting it down the memory hole. Yet, any other election, in any other country, in any other year, is fair game – why? As with communism and young-Earth creationism, my two favourite ideological punching bags: “if you must lie or use otherwise fallacious reasoning in order to defend your position, then I must assume that your position is untrue or otherwise fallacious.” Again, this move was a power play, the purpose of installing a demented puppet with one foot in the grave and being blatantly obvious about it was to “remind” the American people that the establishment still owns you. The purpose was to demoralise the population into simply accepting the neoliberal establishment’s rule and to stop getting in their way; the DNC already made this exact same power play in 2016 in order to demoralise supporters of Bernie Sanders, and it worked, which is why they didn’t need to do it again in the 2020 primaries (but good luck getting the few remaining members of Bernie’s personality cult to accept that).

I shall conclude this with a microcosmic example of a person breaking free of a false narrative and coming to a questionable conclusion. This has nothing to do with any government conspiracy, but rather something much smaller. After all, tyrannical governments are like abusive parents, and my friend Charlie (not his real name – names have been changed to protect the innocent, despite the fact that there is no such thing as innocence, only degrees of guilt, especially in this story) is no stranger to the latter. The abuse has driven him insane. Let’s begin.

Charlie is a very disturbed young man, a clear victim of lifelong gaslighting. He doesn’t know what he wants in life, to the point where he doesn’t even know if he wants a girlfriend: “I think I want a girlfriend, but I’ve been told for my entire life that I don’t like romantic relationships. I think my mother only tells me this because she wants to be the only woman in my life.” Gaslighting, of course, is the process of lying to a person in such a way to make that person doubt their own sanity, thus keeping them dependent on their abuser. When the victim breaks through the veil of lies, sometimes they come out with a “truth” that seems (or perhaps truly is) utterly ridiculous, and so the abuser can point to the victim and say “see that – crazy person!”

Charlie is the “miracle child” of Joe and Mary, so-called because, during his birth, virtually everything that could go wrong did go wrong. Perhaps Joe and Mary should have named their son “Murphy” instead, but then, they’re not Irish. Mary fits the archetype of the shy female narcissist to a T, and despite actively avoiding people, she can’t stand to be alone for very long, and loves being the centre of attention. One of her favourite stories to tell is the story of Charlie’s birth, though she is strangely silent on the topic when medical professionals, particularly obstetricians, are within earshot. When alone with her son, Mary liked to tell Charlie the story of his birth over and over, along with a few other strange tales. Mary always portrayed herself as the innocent victim in a life that never went her way, constantly coming into conflicts with terrible people. Not once did Mary ever tell Charlie a story in which she did something wrong, and ended up in a terrible situation because of her own bad choices. One particular story involved Joe’s colleague, a woman whom I shall call “Envy” for a few different reasons (bear in mind that I’ve met all of the characters in this tale). Envy had a daughter, Polly, who was good friends with Charlie, though Envy had a nasty habit of using Charlie as the gold standard to which she constantly compared her daughter, so Polly’s friendship with Charlie was rather strained. Mary absolutely loathed Envy for this very reason, while hypocritically using her niece as the gold standard to which she constantly compared her son. Mary had a long history of constantly condemning people for treating their children the exact same way that she treated Charlie, all while always telling him “don’t complain, don’t criticise, don’t condemn.” For Envy, however, Mary had a very special sort of hatred, as she insisted to Charlie that Joe had an affair with Envy at one point: “I have no proof, none whatsoever, but I’m damn certain that it happened.” One day, Charlie snapped, and replied “really? You have no proof? Are you sure you’re not looking at him?!”

In case you hadn’t caught on, Charlie knows that Mary doesn’t simply make things up, but instead twists the truth in such a manner to always make herself look good. Therefore, rather than simply being a paranoid fever dream, Charlie has come to the conclusion that Joe indeed had an affair with Envy, and the result is him. Charlie knows that his mother is a liar, and has come to the conclusion that, if she has lied to him about most her life and also about most of his own, why wouldn’t she also be lying about his parentage? After all, which is more likely: that Charlie’s birth was a medical miracle, or that Mary had a stillbirth, and Charlie came from somewhere else? Personally, knowing Mary’s type (drama queen with literal actors in her family), I’d suggest a third possibility: the birth was uneventful, and Mary just plays up the story to get attention. Nonetheless, Mary having a stillbirth and replacing her lost child with Joe and Envy’s bastard is still perfectly plausible… I’d even show you a picture of Charlie and Polly side-by-side, so you can see the resemblance, but I’ve already changed their names to protect their identities.

The point of all this is that just because you’ve figured out that the story you’ve been fed is a lie, does not necessarily mean that you’ve figured out the truth. On your own, it’s damn near impossible, which is why people need to refrain from remaining silent when they know that they’ve been hoodwinked. The free thinkers need to come together, rather than retreating into total isolation. Don’t think of it is being relegated to a second-class citizen, think of it as shifting to a parallel society, to echo the sentiments of Vaclav Havel.

More Warning Signs of Mass Psychosis: Vicious Lemmings

I know at least some of you reading this actually had the unpleasant experience of growing up in the Soviet Union, so you already know just how vicious the “sheep” can be. Personally, I hate the term “sheep” to describe statist bootlicks, I prefer to call them “lemmings.” Anyway, while it wasn’t my intent to write another editorial for a while, there was another bit of toxic e-drama that I simply must address. While it may be in bad form for me to publish a series of private messages, I’d say that the person whom I was in contact with doesn’t deserve privacy if he’s not even going to give me the time of day over what I share, so screw decorum, Andrew Campbell is going to be made an example of. Pity, I thought we’d be good friends. We had our first interaction in the comments section of this post. I can’t see any of his comments anymore, because he’s blocked me. Well, I guess he’ll never see my scathing take of him, either! No matter, our initial interaction, which was entirely cordial (though he was clearly on edge the entire time, probably because of Chris Bulcock’s mild jab at millennials) is not relevant to the point that I’m going to make today. I’ll just get straight to our private interaction, and share my conclusions at the end.

Andrew: So, thanks for the interest in seeing my personal shop. It’s a work in progress, not very photogenic, so I don’t show it off really. I work in a prototype shop, but my personal tools are high precision manual things. I work toward making a watch entirely from scratch. I’ve had the skill to do this for a while, but finding the machines (or rather, affording them) was an issue for a time. The day job pays my bills and makes me better at my own work, which has never paid much privately- but my equipment was mainly meant for my own odd ends. I have very little about my career as a machinist on here, just never felt the need to show it all. I’ve an instagram where I’m gradually opening up a little about some of it. Just always been a private individual. If you’re truly curious, feel free to chat sometime, I’ll answer questions.

Me: I understand.  My own shop is a bit of a mess at the moment, and my machines need some work, but I’m slowly getting it into presentable condition in between odd maintenance projects.  I’m a rather private individual myself, but I find it necessary to share more and more of my personal projects in order to “market” my skills.  I have a few interesting things to share in the near future, so maybe those will give us something to chat about.

Andrew: Actually, I just opened linked in, and first thing I see is a post from you, so I click it.

Me: Ah, in that case, beware the hot takes that I occasionally put out.  My editorial blog automatically cross-posts to LinkedIn.

Andrew: Leads me to a page mocking science and masks, and antivaxxer bullshit. So, the first impression I have of you is this. Good luck, I have no desire to interact with idiots like this anymore. It’s not even political at this point it’s just downright human stupidity at this point

And this is why I don’t do much on LinkedIn

Good luck to you hope reality doesn’t catch up to you I hear it leads to intubation. I’m just not even tolerating people like you anymore I’ve had enough more than enough

Sincerely I hope you remain safe but I’m not tolerating this crap anymore

Me: I said “beware the hot takes.”  Not everything I share is something I agree with, sometimes I share stuff that I disagree with in order to make a point.

That was just a dodge that I made in attempt to get him to calm down, but it didn’t work.

Andrew: If someone’s first interaction with you isn’t an immediate clarification that this is not what you believe it’s not a good way to present yourself

LinkedIn is a professional Network

I would normally never speak this candidly to someone on here but this is so blatant I draw the line so if this is what you believe this is what I believe so I am going to be blunt about it

If this is not what you believe clarify pretty quick or you have lost the connection

If someone wants to present themself with this information this is what crazy areas of Facebook are for not a professional Network

Me: Correction: LinkedIn is SUPPOSED TO BE a professional network.  It’s been devolving into a social media cesspit lately.  At first, it was a few people sharing some memes for the laughs (I do this with my friends all the time) but some people take it too far.  I’m sorry if you got the wrong impression from my feed, but I can only type so fast in my defense.

Andrew: I will listen to your explanation of what this is supposed to be

To me this looks like you support the opposite of science and reason and you seem to be thankful someone shared this with you so my impression is this is what you believe

If I have this wrong feel free to explain but that’s what it looks like to me

Me: Right.  Here it is: I have two different blogs, one on WordPress, one on Hive.  My WordPress blog automatically cross-posts to LinkedIn.  My Hive blog does not.  If I think a post on Hive, whether one of my own or from someone I follow, is particularly amusing (for the record, I have quite a few connections who are scientists who work in the vaccine industry, including my own father) or informative, I manually cross-post it here.

Andrew: This does not clarify your view on this.

Because this has come up, I will ask you directly- is this what you believe? Are you an antivaxxer or think covid is overblown?

Me: I’m pro-vax, but anti-mandate.  I think CoVID is real, but I think that the government is going overboard on the response and exploiting the crisis to gain more power (maybe that’s just my Slavic paranoia, but whatever).

Andrew: Family has caught this. Family has nearly died. It matters.

Me: I was born [in] the [former] USSR.  Public welfare was the excuse for every tyrannical diktat.  This matters.

Granted, I was too young to actually remember the Soviet Union, but my parents have told me all about it.

That’s a lie, my parents didn’t tell me a damn thing about life in the Soviet Union, I studied it by reading extensively, but I was in a hurry to type a defense before the next message came through. The only people who have actually told me about life under the Soviet system in personal conversations have been Tatiana Nastashenko and Natalia Vinogradova, neither of whom I’m related to… as far as I know 😉

Andrew: Yes I think I see where this is going

For the record my best friend was also born in the USSR. And he fled to America because it was a shit hole where he couldn’t even buy bread

Apparently he grasped reality and recognized what you don’t. He became an engineer and a successful man and takes science seriously because he remembers what the country he came from was like.

I pity you a great deal

Me: And what don’t I recognise?

Andrew: Reality and everything that comes with it apparently like basic science.

Goodbye I am not wasting my time with someone like you

Me: Be more specific, please.  I actually take science very seriously.  Both of my parents are scientists, and I intended to become a scientist before going into engineering. [message not sent, connection terminated]

As of this conversation (all of my interactions involving Andrew took place within the span of 12 hours), the most recent post on my LinkedIn feed was a link to a collection of memes that one of my friends shared on Hive. I think the post was fairly innocuous, but apparently, it was quite triggering to poor Andrew, who began typing at an absolutely alarming rate (at least thrice as fast as I can, and I’m no slouch at a keyboard). For the record, I anticipate a strong reaction from almost anyone who views my blog, even without knowing what my most recent post is, for the simple reason that I’ve been aware for quite some time that my opinions are unpopular. However, this I have no words for. Maybe this is just my own social ineptitude rearing its ugly head again, or maybe this is just a microcosm of mass psychosis. To me, this seems to echo the interaction between myself, Yelena Rakhimov, and the vicious “scientist” Wales Nematollahi, which I’ve already covered.

Of course, if I really DO come across as an anti-science nutjob, PLEASE TELL ME NOW. I’ll have some retractions to make, but if my attempt to remain rational and moderate is making me come across as an extremist… well, I don’t know WHAT to do. Maybe I should just stop writing, since it gets me into trouble.

Bracing Views is a Cesspit of Midwittery

Arrogance and hypocrisy are two things I despise above all else, and Bracing Views offers an abundant supply of both. It has been over a year since I unsubscribed from that blog, mainly because I was sick of the vitriol in the comments section, which gave even Twitter a run for its money in terms of how juvenile it was, though still not quite as vile as LinkedIn has become as of late. I took a peek at it the other day, and it’s not nearly as bad as I remember – it’s worse, and I haven’t even looked at the comments yet.

For those of you who came over from Hive to read my editorials, you may not be aware, but Bill Astore and I have quite a history. He is my former history professor, and was easily my favourite instructor while I was in college. I liked him so much, I made it a point to take as many courses that he taught as possible. However, I was a communist back then, and I’m not quite sure if it’s just because I’ve done a total 180 on my socio-political beliefs since my teen-age years, or because he’s been dragged so far left by his own audience (as well as corporate propaganda masquerading as independent journalism) that he’s completely lost the plot, or both, but I’ve since lost all respect for the colonel. Oh, we still agree on some things, but only for the same reason that even a broken clock is right twice a day. To be clear, I am aware that the vast majority of his posts are dedicated to lambasting the MICC (Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex), something which I whole-heartedly agree with, but while we identify similar problems with modern society, our ideal solutions to them are polar opposites, and the fundamental underpinnings of those solutions are irreconcilable, as they are rooted in totally incompatible philosophies.

I once asked Astore what his actual position on the political compass was. He didn’t answer, instead stating a handful of cherry-picked policies that he supports, all of which were vaguely socialistic. I told him “I won’t call you a socialist, I know better than that.” I hereby retract that statement. He is a socialist, and there are no two ways about it. He is either too cowardly or too dishonest to admit it, but he knows what socialism is, and in a relatively recent blog post, he explained precisely why he is, unequivocally, a socialist. In his “dream vision” for the US (live version here, archived version here), he espouses all four facets of a socialist society: government monopoly of key industries, a welfare state with an emphasis on universal healthcare, price controls, and wage controls (both minimum and maximum – specifically, he envisions a country where there is no such thing as a billionaire, because all wealth is redistributed, or “equitably distributed,” in his own words). He also says, in no uncertain terms, that he believes these principles to be “neither right nor left,” but simply “reasonable.” Reasonable or not, these ARE left-wing economic policies, these are socialist policies, and he knows as much, so he is either trapped inside a narrow, far-left Overton window without realising it (unlikely), or he is trying to deliberately drag the broader Overton window to the far left. He knows bloody well what socialism is, and therefore should simply embrace the label of “socialist,” after all, his most vocal followers all have.

Of course, I would argue that socialism is not a reasonable position. It sounds good, it appeals to people’s emotions, but it simply doesn’t work. I, personally, would like to see none of it, but I will concede that some parts of it can work. The Nordic model, for instance, has universal healthcare (and the necessary high taxes to pay for it), but no minimum wage, and closed borders (except for Sweden, but that’s why Sweden is failing, while Norway and Denmark are still successful). So, colonel, if you are actually reading this, I challenge you: explain to me precisely how your ideal society could actually function. I don’t think you’ve actually thought this through, but you’ve either been blinded by the glowing approval of your socialist sycophants, or you simply live in a land of make-believe even more than you think. You’re going to have to do better with me. I suggest that you come up with a make-believe budget for your make-believe America, and then explain precisely how you will get anyone to agree to it; I’m serious, show me your mathematics. Since you like Star Wars quotes so much, here’s one for you: when I left you, I was but the learner, now I am the master. Of course, I have since abandoned Star Wars and graduated to the much more nuanced, morally grey, grimdark 40K, so, ah, for lack of better rhetoric in favour of a cheap internet reference, git gud scrub.

And now, I turn to my friends from Hive, though the broader audience may find some of the following paragraph to be insightful as well. If you haven’t gathered by now, Bracing Views is a far-left echo chamber, and echo chambers of any persuasion are dangerous. Without genuinely diverse opinions (as opposed to artificially diverse opinions), extremist ideas fester and proliferate, unbeknownst to wider society. But of course, I am preaching to the choir, because we are all in favour of free speech, and of planting the seeds of liberty in the minds of those fettered to the religion of statism. Do not be fooled, Astore and his socialist sycophants may despise the current political establishment, as do we, but not all revolutionaries are created equal; they are not anarchists, libertarians, classical liberals, or even modern liberals, they are authoritarian collectivists (Astore himself has repeatedly denounced “rugged individualism,” thus repeating the main underpinning of Marxism, and, by extension, Critical Race Theory). Allowing this sort of system to take hold has grave ramifications, after all, and speaking of broken clocks, communist historical revisionist Howard Zinn once said “the greatest atrocities in history have not been the result of disobedience, but obedience.” It’s funny how socialists love freedom when they’re not the ones in power, but they are far more tyrannical than their enemies when they are in power.

I once thought Bill Astore honestly believed what he espoused, and that’s fine, because it’s possible to have an honest discussion with someone like that, and maybe find some redeeming qualities in someone who holds beliefs that you may find repugnant, and also find some genuine common ground. After all, someone who is honest about their beliefs is probably open-minded enough to change their mind. However, if someone lies about their own position, regardless of the motive, they are definitely not open to the possibility of changing their mind. The colonel may claim to dislike the militarisation of America, the veneration of soldiers, and the glorification of war, but his solution, hypocritically enough, is to return to the bad old days of conscription, which is blatantly unconstitutional for a good reason (and first implemented by the same president that began the policy of international interventionism). Astore once proposed a form of conscription for civilian activities in society, and while I’ve recently said my piece about the inseparable nature of collectivism and militarism, at the time, I wrote an article playing devil’s advocate on the idea that “service guarantees citizenship,” in which I tried to get everyone to expand on this idea as a thought exercise, but curiously, everyone clammed up as soon as I published it, and Astore himself immediately back-peddled on his own proposal (though he still thinks military conscription should be restored, live article here, archived version here, point № 9). Clearly, the colonel and his bootlicks aren’t interested in a genuine discussion about how society should function, probably because they know that the ideas presented in Bracing Views are so bad, they wouldn’t even stand up to a simple Socratic thought experiment. I found the cowardice annoying at the time, but I excused it. Now, however, I find it both inexcusable and utterly infuriating. Is Astore just being totally disingenuous so that he can accumulate followers (in other words, a grifter like his idol Bernie Sanders, profiting off the popularity of vapid progressivism)? Unless he had a stroke and completely lost his mind, I doubt it, considering how stubborn he is when it comes to his “principles,” and his thoughts are, to say the least, coherent. Is this blog just a far-left circle-jerk where grumpy old Marxists can simply vent their frustration about their constant defeat at the hands of the neoliberal political establishment, and that the proletariat would much rather join the “far right” (whatever the fuck the “far right” actually is) rather than the glorious revolution? Perhaps, but that doesn’t make it harmless, as anyone who is familiar with the incel phenomenon knows where that ultimately leads, and I know that at least one of Astore’s regular commenters is already an Antifa sympathiser.

I have no idea where I’m going with this. I simply can’t predict what sort of response I’m going to get, though I will say this: Bill, if you thought that my article was unnecessarily harsh, then you need to spend more time around Russians, because I received a similarly harsh response, albeit not quite so verbose, when I tried to discuss my own brand of Lysenkoist feminism with Soviet defector Natalia Vinogradova (not sure if I ever mentioned her to you, but it’s of no consequence either way). I could offer a series of pre-emptive rebuttals to any number of responses that I expect to receive, but I’d rather not waste my time over-preparing for a debate that I may not even have. Besides, I’m considerably quicker-witted than I was during my college days. I once thought that Bracing Views was an intellectual space, where people valued free thought, were open to to all ideas, and were civil and honest to each other in their discussions. Nothing could be further from the truth. Honestly, I feel betrayed. Perhaps that is my own bloody fault, for turning away from communism, but I still can’t help but lament that I thought there was openness to all ideas, “right” and “left.” However, I have new friends, and I’ve gotten a lot better at both serious writing and shitposting. Hunting season has begun, so if I can’t bag some whitetails in the woods, perhaps I’ll bag some midwits on the internet. Either way, it’s time to have some fun.

Rift Storms and Espers

Rift storms are not the weather of the world. They are unnatural phenomena that twist reality and spread madness. They vary so widely in intensity that particularly severe thunderstorms are sometimes mistaken for mild rift storms, at least by those who are familiar with this little-known aspect of Rossberan occult.

Rift storms get their name from the fact that they are supposed to be tears in the fabric of reality, portals to the realm of chaos, the Great Void of Everything and Nothing. In chaos worship, it is said that every now and then, the primordial powers get bored with reality, open a rift, and toss out something of their own creation into the material world. Neticine crystals are said to be products of the Great Void, rather than of the natural world, but they are just one example. Since chaos worship all but disappeared by the time of the Great Rossberan War, such stories were extremely rare, and the stories surrounding the rift storms themselves all but disappeared. Still, the most undaunted occultists eventually put the pieces together.

There are four primary aspects to chaos: rage, resilience, evolution, and passion. Depending on the sect of chaos worship one examines, these concepts could be bent a bit: war, fire, and blood all stand for rage, pestilence and endless cycles of static karma both stand for resilience, fate and magic both stand for evolution, and passion could be any number of other emotions that don’t fit with the other three aspects of chaos. There is little rhyme or reason to how these might fit within the overarching concept, after all, this is chaos, and in addition to the four primary aspects, there are either four or five secondary aspects, which is why chaos is represented by an eight or nine-pointed star (eight is much more common) with points of different lengths. These ideas are vaguely connected to rift storms based on what sort of events may follow them, for instance, the great plague that swept over the lands of Skhara in the wake of Castle Holgar’s fall.

I believe I’ve written about this before, but just in case I haven’t, Skhara fell after the castles of the noble houses were raided, one by one, as the country descended into complete anarchy, following two centuries of decadence and decay. As the raiders grew in number, closing in on Holgar, a storm began to brew right over the massive citadel. The gates were broken down and the citadel sacked, and at some point during the mayhem, the magazines containing the supply of dark fire were ignited, blowing off the top floors of the citadel and the ceiling to the great hall. Columns of dark blue flames reached into the black clouds above the ruined citadel, and almost in response to the happenings on the ground, the sky erupted, becoming laced with lightning. The clouds spread all over Skhara, bringing with them a malevolent plague that killed most animals and a good amount of plant life as well. Wherever the plague ravaged the land, a creature known only as the Night’s Dragon could be seen flying overhead. The Night’s Dragon was rumoured to be a daemon that the Skharnovs bound inside their citadel to give them power, and the raid on Castle Holgar unleashed the creature. There was a tiny grain of truth to these rumours, but for the most part, the Night’s Dragon wasn’t the bearer or herald of the great plague, merely an observer. Since no-one ever figured out what the source of the plague was, or even what disease so indiscriminately ravaged the Skharan lands, occultists came to the conclusion that the plague of Skhara was no natural event, but a rift storm, albeit an extremely brief one. There were legends of storms that lasted for centuries, some of them recent enough that there was some real history to corroborate them.

The two halves of the Rhûnnish Empire, later known as Alexandria and Okseetia, were separated by a mountain range. There are three gaps in this otherwise impassible mountain range, places were the mountains are low enough that the terrain is easily traversible, at least on foot. For some unknown reason, there is a portion of the central gap where the tectonic plates, rather than buckling upward to create a mountain range, buckled downward to create a massive valley. As one might expect, this valley slowly filled with sediment deposited by runoff, creating a lowland region known as Bezdnya, which literally means “without day,” because shadows from all directions kept the lowlands in perpetual darkness, but is also nearly identical to the Rhûnnish word for “chasm.” In addition to the perpetual darkness, Bezdnya also tended to accumulate cold air descending off the mountains, and therefore was almost always covered in thick fog. This alone was reason enough to avoid the region, but to make matters worse, thunderclouds gathered above the region with remarkable frequency and almost no warning. It was said that the slightest disturbance would cause a massive wall of black clouds to appear out of nowhere above Bezdnya, and the flashes of lightning would be visible up to fifteen leagues away. For over a millennium, those who dwelt in central Rhun, specifically just north of Krivs or the Velikipust, lived forever in the eerie shadow of the intangible wall. The only comfort that they had were the espers.

In central Rhûnnish folklore, espers are said to be those who descend from the unfortunate souls who were caught in the storm the very first time it appeared. The legend goes that when the storm first appeared over Bezdnya, it engulfed everything within the lowlands and twisted it into a vile, corrupt form of what it once was. The people fled, but everywhere they went, were treated as monsters because of how disfigured they were. What the storm’s survivors lacked in aesthetics, however, they made up for with newfound magical powers. Whether from compassion or coercion, some people interbred with the disfigured people, and the offspring were called espers. The magical abilities of espers persisted throughout the family, and for this reason, esper families largely kept to themselves. Ordinary folk kept their distance out of fear for the unknown, but remained somewhat thankful to the espers for their regular rituals to keep the storms of Bezdnya from getting worse or spreading. Ironically, when the Rhûnnish Empire split in half, the storms dissipated, and only the shadow and fog remained in Bezdnya, thus removing part of the natural border between Alexandria and Okseetia. The espers quietly faded from common folklore and local religion to one of the most esoteric occult terms. Since Bezdnya remained a place that no-one wanted to visit, the true version of events that inspired the old legends remained completely unknown for another three centuries. At least, this was the case until occultists started finally asking “what happened to the espers, if they even existed?”

Legends of espers were never widespread, but instead in localised pockets scattered over Rossbera, always in relatively remote areas that were known for supernatural phenomena. Another important example was the legend of the Ma Xin dynasty, the last dynasty of Minkutian Emperors, more commonly known as the dynasty of sorcerers. Though it was widely believed that the sorcerers did not have any real magical powers, and that they simply displayed elaborate parlour tricks in order to dupe the Minkutian people, Jenůfa Nószimål, who was present at the sacking of Sing Yat San, seemed to think otherwise. Nószimål later became acquainted with the espers of Rhûn, though despite her on-and-off obsession with the local legends, she never figured out what the true nature of Bezdnya was. She came close, but most of what she wrote about the Rossberan supernatural disappeared when the Rhûnnish Empire fell, presumable stolen by former inquisitors who later formed the Stalwart Order of the Iron Rose. The Order of the Iron Rose, which operated all over Rossbera, effectively had total control over what manner of occult knowledge was available. Anything to do with “real” magic, they guarded jealously, and this led to conflicts with another secret organisation: the Zigidzt Society, which controlled information about other secret organisations, keeping them as well-hidden from governments as possible – assuming that they payed their dues. Between the tension with the Zigidzt Society, the rise of proletarian collectivism (an ideology which opposed guilds and guild-like secret societies “gatekeeping” knowledge), and the resurgence of chaos worship, around the time that the Great Rossberan War began, all the secrets started to unravel. This would be this time that mythology and reality would finally be separated.

Sorry to end this little bit of lore on a cliffhanger, but I’m still working this part out. Most of the “magic” in this world is just superstition, so I have yet to figure out how much of this is real, and how much is just weaponised mythology. The motif of this story is supposed to be steampunk, not gaslamp fantasy.

Random Thoughts, Collection 10: How to Fix the Play “Our Town”

Last night, I had a very strange dream about finding out that I hadn’t heard from a very good friend of mine (whom I sometimes refer to as my “sister,” incidentally, because reasons) for so many years because she had died in childbirth. I’m not sure why, nor am I sure why it immediately reminded me of the play “Our Town,” but it gave me the idea to expand on two criticisms that I have of that theatrical travesty.

When I first read the play almost twenty years ago, I summed up my thoughts about it as such: no-one [in Grover’s Corners] ever really died, because no-one ever really lived. Of course, the plot of the play is only part of the problem, so I’ll stick a pin in that and come back to it later. For now, I’d like to rip apart the setting, or rather, lack thereof. The premise of the play is that there are no props and no setting, so as “not to distract from the character interactions,” which I would argue only shows just how shallow and boring said character interactions are, but I digress. For me personally, I find the lack of setting and props has the opposite effect, breaking any sense of immersion, and combined with the fact that the stage manager is the main character in the play, albeit one who doesn’t interact with the rest of the cast, merely exacerbates that problem. The fact that characters pretend to interact with objects that aren’t there is even more jarring, to the point where I was tempted to scream “oh, for fuck’s sake, give her a real basket and some goddamned string beans!”

I don’t think that I need to elaborate on my criticisms of the play. I am not enough of a pompous windbag to be able to stretch out what I’ve already said into a thousand words (the typical length of an undergraduate level essay assignment) without simply levelling a litany of insults at it. On the opposite side of that very same coin, I am not the type of person who simply complains. I’m an engineer, so when I see a problem, I want to fix it. Since I’ve also gotten a lot better at storytelling, and writing in general, since I was twelve, I’m going to attempt to outline a story with the same basic plot as “Our Town,” but in such a way as to make it into a coherent and engaging story, rather than the shortest, cheapest and most infuriating insomnia cure ever written (either that, or a deliberately shoddy propaganda piece intended to make people hate small-town America… you can probably tell where my mind has been lately).

First of all, the setting needs to be rich, rather than absent. For starters, the fictional town of Grover’s Corners is the most boring place on earth, where nothing happens. Either change the town’s backstory, or set the story in a real town, because any real town, no matter how small, has a far richer history than Grover’s Corners. Second, rather than a dry introduction by a series of disinterested narrators, open with a slideshow or something like that, a timelapse through the centuries, perhaps, that depicts how the town got to the way it was. In other words, show, don’t tell. A picture is worth a thousand words, but then, I already summed up the entire play in only a hundred. Third, if the intent for the play was a “slice of life” type of narrative, then realistically, it would include some sort of conflict, gossip, or banter between the characters. What we see instead are shallow, vapid, perfectly polite one-dimensional conversations between unfeeling automatons pretending to be human.

It’s hard to say where the introduction ends and act one truly begins. After all, the writing is poor and disjointed; Thornton Wilder is hardly on the same level as Karel Čapek or William Shakespeare, and I will continue to get my cathartic digs in as I try to offer constructive criticism (this play really is awful). Since acts two and three focus primarily on George and Emily, then the introductory narration can end as soon as those two are introduced, following a montage of all the other main characters. Speaking of main characters, the stage manager is getting written out of my version – he (or she) can stay off the stage and out of sight, unless, of course, the stage manager can lay on some thick sarcasm, like so:

Our story takes place in Grover’s Corners, New Hampshire, 40 degrees north, 70 degrees west, which is actually in Massachusetts, but hey, details. It should stand to reason that this fictional town be impossible, because nowhere in even New England is as insufferably boring as Grover’s Corners, a place so polite and dull that all the children act like middle-aged men who have resigned themselves to being whipping boys for their fat and psychopathic wives [cue the snickering from the handful of Pink Floyd fans who understood that reference].

Now then, whose voice would be most appropriate for that delivery: the snooty judge from Futurama, Peter Griffin, or Ben Stein? Seriously, at this point we have two options: defile the solemnity of the original play by turning it into the verbal equivalent of slapstick, or keep the boring story, but dress it up and make it more immersive. I could write this critique in the “choose your own adventure” format, but I think it would be better if I just re-wrote the entire play twice. Of course, it is important to note that Wilder wrote “Our Town” almost purely out of spite, since American theatre was in quite a sorry state in the 1930s, for obvious reasons. Then again, if this is the greatest American play ever written, then I doubt American theatre was ever any good – but maybe that’s just my Shakespearean bias becoming self-aware and soliloquising.

Since act one is basically one long character sketch with no plot whatsoever, I think it pertinent to move the flashback from act two to the end of act one, and maybe elaborate on it. As I said, unless the stage manager is going to make things interesting, he shouldn’t be in the damn play, and the main characters should be George and Emily.

Act two is the most infuriating to me. I’ve never been involved in a romantic relationship, but even I know that people who are madly in love do not even attempt to rationalise their actions, much less actually behave rationally. If George and Emily are in love, they would not both get cold feet at the same time. If they aren’t in love, both believe they aren’t ready for marriage, but decide to get married anyway, what’s the reason? All I can think of is the pressure by “society” to do so, and there is no dissenting voice, nothing at all to dissuade them. Perhaps George could have an elderly relative, or better yet, the jaded church organist, Simon, plant the idea in his head: “listen Georgie, what you call ‘love’ is just a chemical reaction that compels animals to breed; it hits hard, and then slowly fades, leaving you stranded in a failing marriage. I did it, your parents are going to do it, break the cycle Georgie, rise above, forget the farm and go back to school; get out of this one-horse town and never look back.” Alright, alright, maybe not a total ripoff of Rick Sanchez, but at least you can see where I’m going with this. Of course, we already have two characters that are sceptical of marriage, the Crowell brothers, but they aren’t exactly the “wise but cynical old man” types.

Act three has a surreal premise, and a tremendous amount of potential – by which I mean that death has the greatest potential for character development, all of which is wasted in the actual play. The dead are nothing more than transparent versions of their living selves, which should not be. Simon is still a bitter, nihilistic drunk (ok, not really, but wouldn’t it be tremendously entertaining if he were drinking from a whiskey bottle at Emily’s funeral, and all the living onlookers simply see a bottle floating in midair?), and everyone else still has unfinished business, but unable to finish it and find peace… no wonder even the Soviets found this play “too depressing” to be shown in East Berlin. Speaking of the total absence of character development, the rest of the final act is devoted to Emily revisiting her twelfth birthday… WHY?! What’s the point of these pointless flashbacks, other than to illustrate that all of these characters are sentimental children? Again, this I think can be fixed with a little dark humour. The blasé line of “how’d she die? Oh, had a bit of trouble bringing a babe into the world” (“a bit of trouble,” understatement of the year) gives me an idea: ghost Emily holds up a ghost baby and hisses: “you killed me, you ungrateful brat” in the same style as Markus Meechan telling his pug “you ruined my life.” Maybe you don’t find this funny, but always remember my favourite Stalin quote: “dark humour is like food, not everyone gets it.” Since act three is all about death, the possibilities are endless to make it both entertaining and insightful.

I have no idea where I’m going with this. My own thoughts are becoming a bit disjointed trying to critique this disjointed non-story. Maybe I’ll revisit this idea at some point. For now, I have my own fiction writing to return to.

Early Warning Signs of Mass Psychosis: Stubbornly Superstitious “Scientists”

“The only sacred truth in science is that there are no sacred truths; anything that is inconsistent with the facts must be either discarded or revised.” – Carl Sagan

“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” – George Orwell

Scientists are supposed to be open-minded and stand for truth, rather than stubbornly attach themselves to a one-sided narrative. Science is supposed to be politically neutral, but when scientific institutions and their individual members become politicised, then “science” can no longer be trusted. Anyone who says “the science is settled” does not stand up for actual science. Science is a process, not a result, and therefore may never be settled. The closest statement that one can make that would be accurate is “the evidence is incontrovertible,” and even that is somewhat misleading. The more we study anything, the more complicated we find out that it is, without exception. Nothing in science allows its practitioners to stop studying and start preaching. Unfortunately, “science” communicators overwhelmingly reject these ideas, instead picking a narrative, finding studies that seem to support it, and ignoring any studies that are inconvenient to it. Actual scientists remain silent, because they are too busy working, and the public face of science is that of biased socio-political narratives. This process will serve only to undermine science, and set society back as a result. When individuals with scientific backgrounds or titles engage in this sort of anti-scientific behaviour, it further undermines science, and feeds into the grander anti-science narrative that “science is a religion, too,” and ultimately paves the way for society to trade rationalism for ideological dogma.

I have written about this phenomenon before on the subject of climate change, and also mentioned a video about anti-evolution pseudo-science in the Soviet Union, so I won’t go into details about it here. Both of those subjects deserve their own articles, but this one is going to be a bit long anyway, as it is an addendum to my last editorial. The conversation on Haley Lawrence’s LinkedIn post keep going and going, and it revealed to me about the vaccine argument exactly what I saw about the climate argument: both sides are firmly convinced that the other is not only biased, but deliberately peddling fake data. In the case of the climate argument, this is demonstrable on both sides: those who claim that climate change is a myth are working with skewed data provided by the fossil fuel industry, meanwhile those who claim that climate change is an existential threat are exaggerating their numbers in order to scare people into action. The Green New Deal, incidentally, is such an obvious NIMBYist grift that it’s been disavowed by its own architect, and will probably never again see the light of day. There is no honesty on either side of the climate change argument, and both extreme positions outright reject the middle ground, occupied by actual climate scientists. The same is true of the vaccine argument, at least in the Anglosphere. You already know my position on vaccines (I think vaccines are a net benefit and people should take them, but should they not be mandated by the government, and no vaccine is 100% safe) and on freedom of speech (no speech should be prohibited, but people should be allowed to choose what they are exposed to), so, without further ado, some more degeneracy on display.

When I went back through the comment thread to retrieve relevant comments, there was something that struck me as odd:

Wales Nematollahi (replying to Steve Mccullough): I had over 6 years in the Army. IMO their sorry AR-15s don’t cut it either.

No army that I know of uses the AR-15 – it’s a civilian sporting rifle designed to look like a military weapon. I already had enough reason to believe that Wales is a liar, but this is undeniable proof: he’s never served in any military if he thinks that the AR-15 is a military weapon. Hell, I’ve never served in the military (though I was a Civil Air Patrol cadet and a Mitchell recipient), and even I know that!

The vast majority of the comments posted were of Yelena Rakhimov posting links to articles about CoVID deaths, vaccine efficacy rates, and vaccine injuries, while Wales and Steve simply dismissed them all. I noticed a pattern, and you can still visit the original post as of me writing this article, but I’m going to save my particularly damning observation until the very end. Here’s the part where things get interesting.

Yelena (replying to Steve):  I thought you are a truth consultant. Oh well, I’ll keep digging.

Steve’s profile says “self-employed at Truthconsulting,” in case you either didn’t notice, or simply didn’t both to read the thread for yourself.

Steve: good comment. Don’t agree with killing babies and I’m not a truth teller…

“I’m not a truth teller”? Was that a Freudian slip on Steve’s part?

Wales (replying to Miguel Saldana, whom I have not mentioned before):

Join the club. I’m a biologist and a certified medical technologist with extensive experience in microbiology, including clinical microbiology and biodefense. When I see “stats” that are presented in a way that implies we should accept them as faith, I ask for sources or citations.

Yelena Rakhimov presented a YouTube font of misinformation; most non-scientists who are anti-vaccines or otherwise anti science act as if Tucker Carlson, sone YouTube presentation, or anyone else “confirming” their biases is as good or better than scientific research. In my eyes, anti-science is pseudoscience, pseudophilosophy, and pseudo religion.

First, I have no reason to believe that any of Wales’s credentials are real. Judging by his profile picture, he’s certainly old enough to have achieved all those things, but he’s already lost his credibility with me, since he’s gullible enough to uncritically believe that all online platforms outside of the Silicon Valley mainstream are “far right echo chambers,” and his inane comment about the AR-15 basically clinched it. Second, he claims that statistics are not to be trusted – this means nothing, since everyone knows that statistics can be manipulated to support whatever narrative you want, so this is just a red herring. Third, he claims to ask for sources or citations, but what he actually does is dismiss everything that’s thrown at him as biased propaganda. Fourth, YouTube videos are not primary sources – all honest content creators, including YouTubers, include primary sources in the video description or a pinned comment, which he would know if he actually watched any. Fifth, to say that anti-science is pseudoscience is redundant, but to call it “pseudophilosophy” and “pseudo-religion” is totally nonsensical – there is no such thing as a false philosophy, only flawed ones, any flawed philosophy as called “sophistry,” as I have already discussed, and most philosophies are either scientific or religious in their structure, so I think Wales is just trying to throw out as many buzzwords as possible in a vain attempt to make himself seem intellectually superior. Are you starting to see a pattern yet? When Yelena provided a link in a comment that has since been deleted, here’s the reponse she got:

Wales: I’ve already dismissed [Robert] Malone. Since you use Telegram — and Inknoe what’s on Telegram — are you a White supremacist?

Yelena: could you clarify what white supremacist is? Can jews fall into this category? I’m a bit confused with all this liberal classifications. For centuries jews were oppressed and now are we still oppressed or opressors?

Me (replying to Yelena):

Jews are only a protected minority if we have the correct politics; the same is true of blacks and other ethnicities that are minorities in western nations. Then again, I’m fairly certain that being Russian cancels everything else out. You could be a transgender Asian Muslim, but if you were born in Russia, you are automatically the worst kind of traitor to the left. Bear in mind that Critical Race “Theory” is just a smokescreen for authoritarian socialism. Not Soviet Communism per se (even though it was Leon Trotsky who coined the term “racism” to begin with), but a very similar system that relies on ideological purity.

Also, remember that any platform that is not part of Silicon Valley or that is explicitly in favour of free speech is automatically smeared as “far right” or “white supremacist” by the establishment, be it Telegram, Gab, or BitChute, to name a few (two of which I use, and I have yet to encounter any actual white supremacists – plenty of sock puppets POSING as white supremacists, though). Wales tried to pull the same nonsense on me when he brought up 8kun and Parler, neither of which I’ve ever used, and I doubt he has either – he’s probably just regurgitating stuff from ADL hit pieces.

Wales (replying to me): Oh, my! It sounds to me as if you think Whites are persecuted! Am I right? Funny that you stand up for Russians, because your relatives resisted them strongly.

Wales (replying to Yelena): Having some Jewish ancestry I guarantee I follow anti-Semitic incidents, and they have been increasing in the ISA and in Europe. All I did was ask if you’re a White supremacist. All you had to do was say “No.”

Yelena (replying to Wales): how could I answer no if I wasn’t sure if I am? I identify as white. I could probably be white supremacy. Still don’t know who they are. How can one become white supremacy? Are Russians (non-jews) white supremacy?

Yelena (immediate follow-up to the previous reply): oh and why was Larry Elder called black faced white supremacy? This totally threw me off. 

Trenton Schwarzer (replying to Yelena): say what?

Yelena (replying to Trenton): provides link to Newsweek article about Larry Elder being called “the black face of white supremacy” and then says oh I know! I’m Jewish face white supremacy. 😂 My first creation of a new classification. 👍

The juvenile mud-slinging continued for quite a while before the conversation got interesting again.

Trenton (replying to Wales, though I can’t seem to find which specific comment):

so you admit it Tyranny is your MO, of course I was figuring that out.

Interesting how you guys totally ignore the fact that these vaccines are only about 40 % effective…

Wales (replying to Trenton): Oh, grow up. Your accusation is projection. I’m certain you believe anyone to the left of you, including normal conservatives, is tyrannical. Oh, why didn’t I answer you East? I have a life outside of social media. Get a life yourself.

Always accuse your enemy of that which you are guilty (projection), including projection itself. This is one layer of hypocrisy on top of another, “fractal hypocrisy,” you could call it! I did mention that the ideological method relies on compound fallacies, after all. For the record, what I find most profoundly telling is that someone who claims to have a life outside of social media is making more comments than anyone else, compulsively responding to absolutely everyone he perceives to be “far right” (he loves that phrase) while also verbally fellating anyone who agrees with him.

Me (replying to Wales’s last response to me): Wow, the strawman-making business is booming! First, NEVER conflate “Russian” with “Soviet.” The Soviets oppressed Russians as much as they oppressed Czechs. Second, despite having a Czech name, it may interest you to know that I was born in St. Petersburg, and I consider myself Russian more than anything else. My ancestry comes from all over the place, and if I tied myself in knots over past injustices the way that you do, I’d have killed myself years ago – my own grandparents probably shot at each other on the Eastern Front. Third, I’m not white enough to be accepted by white supremacists – I’m a Slav, not an Aryan, I’m part Asian, and my mother’s family is Jewish. Aligning myself with white supremacists would go against my own self-interest. But then, CRT sees “white” as a system of classical liberal values, not as a skin colour.

Wales: I don’t tie myself in knots. I’m proud of all my ancestry. You have no clue about me except that you know I’ve not made secular far right wing politics my religion. Are you a supporter of Vladimir Putin?

Me: I’m not dignifying your question with a response, as nothing I say in my defense will change your mind about me, but I WILL say that your constant narcissistic projection of your own quasi-religious adherence to your beliefs, addiction to social media, and sociopathic lack of empathy are all getting really old. You’re proud all right, a little TOO proud for my taste. I think I’m done with you, and with this blasted comment thread. I have better things to do. I’ll give you the last word, that is all.

Wales: You don’t have the credentials to call me sociopathic. If you can’t stand what I post, just block me and go to your far right wing echo chambers on Telegram, 8kun, and other sleazy places on the Internet. LinkedIn allows debate and disagreement. Apparently you can’t handle that.

I gave Wales a chance to redeem himself with one final parting shot – he missed. Instead, he used an argument from authority (saying that someone is wrong because they lack credentials is just as much an argument from authority as saying that someone is right because they have credentials), a strawman (bringing up 8kun, which I clearly told him that I’ve never used), and yet more projection (saying that I can’t handle debate and disagreement).

The fact that Wales acted like a petulant child the entire time, and dismissed all of Yelena’s sources as “from the secular political far right” reminded me of another charlatan with a fake degree who once said to an ideological opponent “that’s not evidence, that’s just a bunch of paper” when presented with peer-reviewed research papers. Are you seeing what I’m getting at yet? Wales Nematollahi sounds almost exactly like Kent Hovind, between the self-aggrandisement, logical fallacies, and name-calling. Am I to believe that this man is a real scientist? His job title may contain the word “scientist,” but he doesn’t act like a scientist. Besides, credentials don’t necessarily mean anything – Kent Hovind has a PhD, but it’s from an unaccredited diploma mill, and his dissertation (which is “private” and available only on Wikileaks) is so laughable that it would receive a failing grade if submitted as an undergraduate level essay exam. Hovind, of course, is the exception, not the rule. However, when the exception becomes the rule, whether in reality or simply by perception, then wider society can no longer trust those who claim to stand for the truth. I like to think that the majority of scientists are open-minded and honest, but I have no way of finding that out. Only the dogmatic and dishonest ones have time to be so vocal. So, the question is, what is Wales’s motive for being an authoritarian shill online and projecting his own hostile nature and addiction to social media onto others? In other words, whose payroll is he on?

If this sort of thing is allowed to continue, and spoiled children wearing adult skinsuits are allowed to run roughshod over normal and sane people, then society as we know it is lost. I don’t know of any solution that can be implemented that is both in line with my own principles and lacks the potential to be abused. Since this post is directed mostly at the parties involved in this fecal performance, I ask you: since you are aware of at least some of the warning signs of mass psychosis, how do we stop it before it takes hold?

The Ideological Method in Action: No Middle Ground on Vaccines.

I hate e-drama, but I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: you don’t choose drama, it chooses you. Recently on LinkedIn, a woman named Haley Lawrence made a post that popped up in my feed for some reason, since I’m not following her. Personally, I thought that the post was perfectly innocuous: she said “not anti-vaxx, I’m against mandates and coercion.” You can view the post here, at least while it’s still up, though you should also visit my archived version, this way you can see the post as I last commented on it, since comments are being deleted left and right, the post itself could be deleted at some point, and Haley could even get kicked off the platform. The archived version doesn’t show everything, so the comments pertinent to this article are below:

Frank Marcovitz: I disagree

Haley Lawrence: And that’s your choice to disagree and guess what? I respect that.

Me (replying to Haley): Unfortunately, this is why people like us (i.e. those who value personal liberty and medical privacy) always lose out to the authoritarian busybodies – WE respect THEIR choices, THEY do not respect OURS. Keep a sharp eye out for the strawmen, false equivalences, and ad hominem attacks that will be (well, they are already) thrown about in attempt to morally brow-beat us into compliance.

Trenton Schwarzer (replying to Frank): You disagree with ——- what, freedom of choice?

Steve Mccullough (replying to Trenton): knowingly killing others

Steve Mccullough (replying to me): respect your right to kill other? [sic]

Me (replying to Steve): That is a blatant strawman and a false equivalence. You just did exactly as I warned you would. Care to try this again, you narcissistic busybody? [this comment was deleted by LinkedIn, presumably after being reported, though over a dozen people liked it; I eventually re-posted it and left out the “narcissistic busybody” bit]

As more and more people piled on, arguing on both sides of the vaccine mandate argument, most of the comments were absolutely vitriolic tripe, though the authoritarians were clearly much more hostile, inarticulate and condescending. There was only one break, and that was when Shree Nanguneri entered the chat, trying to be diplomatic.

Shree (replying to me):

Your point is valid and the magical question may lie in how we work this inclusively to benefit everyone?

I am sure there has to be a way to work it out collaboratively and in a civil manner between all of us otherwise intelligent people, I suppose.

Why not ask questions on how solutions can be proposed instead of accusing the other side as killers or the other way as depriving people of their constitutional rights and freedom?

Your experiences please?

Me:

While I’d like to think that there is some sort of middle ground that can be reached, I’m afraid that there are far too many people who simply will not compromise on their own inherently incompatible positions, thus giving a sense of realism to an otherwise false dichotomy. The only thing that works in that case is if the belligerent parties simply agree to stay as far away from each other as possible.

In a perfect world, we could all be rational adults about it and simply agree to disagree, but it’s really hard to maintain a mature composure when there are a few voices screeching like spoiled children. You can’t take people like that seriously, so I like to indulge my own inner child and make fun of them. It usually blows up in my face (if you haven’t gathered, I’ve dealt with a lot of unreasonable people), but it’s tremendously cathartic and a far healthier coping mechanism than binge drinking.

Concerning vaccines, specifically, I am reminded of the old saying “you catch more flies with a teaspoon of honey than a gallon of vinegar.” If 100% vaccination is the goal, the hostile moral brow-beating of the “vaccine hesitant” has to stop, simple as.

Does this answer any of your questions?

As I have mentioned before, authoritarians are narcissists, and I’m not the first person to point this out. Narcissists are not willing to make concessions, and therefore, neurotypical people must continually make concessions for them, ultimately giving them exactly what they want. In the grander scheme, narcissistic politicians (which is redundant these days) foment the death of a liberal society, because a liberal society is based around a “live and let live” attitude, in which people are free to make their own choices, but are not free to impose those choices on others. The narcissist does not understand the very concept of personal preference, and therefore does not believe that people are free to do any different from them. When people like this make policy decisions, the result is totalitarianism. However, in the upside-down world of totalitarianism, if you do not obey all tyrannical diktats, then you are infringing on the rights of others, specifically the “rights” of the tyrant to dictate how you live your life. As I mentioned in my article about the ideological method, as the debate proceeds, then the proponent of the flawed ideology (in this case, medical tyranny) will resort to increasingly fallacious arguments and pure emotional appeals in a desperate attempt to morally brow-beat their opponents into submission – “if you don’t agree with me, you are literally killing people.” The tyrant cries out in pain as he whips you for disobeying him. It’s effective, but it’s fallacious nonetheless.

So, let’s break this down: there are two extreme positions regarding vaccines. On one end, you have the totalitarians, who believe that people who do not get vaccinated are walking public health hazards, therefore vaccines should be mandatory, and that this “should not be up for debate.” Those very words, “this should not be up for debate,” is a clear indication that they are not willing to move from this position by any measurable amount. On the other end, you have the anti-vaxxers, who believe that all vaccines are poison and that no-one should take them. Oddly enough, I have never heard of an anti-vaxxer who thinks that vaccines should be outlawed. Already, we have a bit of a disparity, since the anti-vaxxers don’t think that anyone should be coerced into doing as they do. But then, there is no limit to tyranny, the way that there is to liberty. Logically, the middle ground between anti-vax and medical tyranny would be vaccine choice: people are free to get vaccinated if they wish, and private enterprises are free to discriminate against vaccinated or unvaccinated people at their own pleasure. Haley and I both support the middle ground position, though our personal choices are different: she doesn’t want the CoVID-19 vaccine, whereas I’ve already received it (I’m not saying which one, since my vaccination status is none of anyone’s business anyway, I’m just revealing it to make a point).

When the totalitarians inevitably lose the argument, they must shift the goal-posts and either argue about philosophy or freedom of speech, which are somewhat intertwined. The free speech argument that they use is usually a variation of “hate speech is not free speech” or “harmful misinformation is not free speech.” Totalitarians generally pay lip service to freedom of speech and the problem of censorship, but this is a motte-and-bailey argument. They have different working definitions of censorship and free speech from those of us who actually support freedom of speech. This they exposed after Steve called Yelena Rakhimov “Hitler” later on in the chat. Since this is a far spicier insult than anything I’ve said on LinkedIn, there’s no way that this isn’t a violation of LinkedIn’s terms of service, yet it’s still there as of me writing this article.

Steve Mccullough: where’s the jeapordy, hitler. You get to decide who lives and dies?

Yelena’s initial response to this comment is no longer there, oddly enough. She made fun of him for calling her “Hitler.” I suggested, tongue-in-cheek, that she report his comment for abuse. I could have done so myself, but since the comment wasn’t directed at me, it’s not really my decision.

Me: You should report his comment for abuse. Steve is clearly a troll, he’s just here to disrupt the conversation and rile people up, not contribute anything useful.

Yelena: I don’t get easily insulted. I know how human mind works. People usually use insults when they run out of arguments. So I take it as a win.

Me: Steve ran out of arguments a long time ago. Meanwhile, Wales Nematollahi thinks I’m in favour of cancel culture because I want this already wonky comments section to not be so cluttered with such utter tripe. If LinkedIn’s comments functioned more like Disqus, this wouldn’t be an issue, I’d just block them both and get on with my day.

As I said, it’s not my decision, it’s hers. If she wants to let him get away with it and leave the comment there for all to see, that works just as well as getting him in trouble with the website. However, that’s not the standard that Steve’s ideological allies believe in, as I explain with the very comment that I mentioned.

Wales Nematollahi (replying to me): So you want cancel culture.

Me: That’s another strawman. Blocking a troll because he’s disrupting a conversation with total nonsense and cluttering up the comments section does not infringe on free speech. But then, this entire PLATFORM has devolved into the sort of infantile nonsense that one would previously see only on Twitter, so I’m not surprised you’d throw that at me.

The reason that Wales’s comment is a strawman (though one could also make the case that it’s a false equivalence, the two fallacies are quite similar) is because the decision to block or mute a person, if that option is available, is not “cancelling” them. Freedom of speech includes the freedom to choose what speech you are exposed to. If you wish to live in an echo chamber, that is your right. If you wish not to see irrelevant nonsense, that is your right. Reporting a single comment for abuse will see that comment removed, not the removal of the person’s account. I shouldn’t have to make this argument, but Wales just wanted to make me look bad, so he continued.

Wales: Your reply to me bolsters my belief that you support the far right wing version of cancel culture. You just don’t seem to like the fact that these flatheads aren’t echo chambers. Wouldn’t you be happier in 8kun or Parler?

Me: Great, another strawman, combined with a fallacy of projection. You know who really wants an echo chamber? Look in the mirror. Oh, wait, you already are. Seriously, why is your side allowed to be so vitriolic while brow-beating people, but no-one else is allowed to get annoyed and retaliate? Why the onus on ME to keep MY cool, but you can be as nasty as you please? Double standards? Seriously, next time you reply to me, leave out the logical fallacies, and make a real argument.

Wales has not replied to me. Personally, I don’t think he even knows what 8kun or Parler actually are, but he’s simply been told that they are “far-right echo chambers,” so they were convenient things he could throw at me to make me look bad. I don’t even know why he would assume that I’m “far right,” other than the fact that I called his ideological ally a “troll.” All but two of the comments that I made on that particular LinkedIn post are documented in this article, and I doubt anyone could honestly evaluate me as “far right” from those comments alone, unless that person is working with a definition of “far right” that includes everyone who does not believe exactly as they do. “Far right” is nothing more than a socio-political pejorative that leftists and authoritarians (and authoritarian leftists in particular) use against their detractors for ease of dismissal.

I’m starting to really hate LinkedIn, but if I can use it to direct more people here to my WordPress blog or to Hive, then it’s worth the headaches that I suffer until I get kicked off the platform – just as Shaista Justin was. Yes, I’m throwing an awful lot of names around today. It must be done, because in these trying times, we need to know whom we can trust.