2018/12/31

When the Laughter Died

Louis CK

If you paid attention to popular entertainment in the 80s and 90s, you probably remember the wave of edgy comedians who rose up as a sort of pushback against the allegedly staid Reagan era. Guys like Andrew Dice Clay, Denis Leary, and Sam Kinison were among a class of funnymen who pushed the bounds of propriety and sought to shock as much as to entertain. Of course Boomers, who define themselves as being opposed to the establishment even though they'd long since become the establishment, loved the new bad boys of comedy.

Looking back on that era now, you notice something else. Much is made of the Left's long march through the institutions, which has succeeded in converging everything from the academy to Wall Street and and the news media to the cause of social justice. Yet the old institutions had lost their veneer of objectivity by the end of the 90s. The bearded commie econ prof and the limousine lib news anchor were already widespread cliches. Even the archetypal conservative bastion of big business had fallen to Democrat mega-donors like Warren Buffett and Bill Gates. The converged institutions could probably have imposed the death cult's agenda by force, but it was 90s comedians who proved invaluable in winning the public's hearts and minds for the Left in the culture war.

The gay lobby offers us the clearest example. As recently as the late 80s you still had teen comedies making liberal use of homosexual slurs and portraying the lifestyle itself as risible. As soon as the calendar flipped over to 1990, it was as if a switch had been flipped. Go back and watch an episode of The Kids in the Hall, The State, or Will and Grace. The glib, hip, and hyper-competent gay character suddenly appeared everywhere, as if by Central Committee fiat. It's no coincidence that polls show most Americans think that up to twenty-five percent of the population is homosexual. Popular comedies helped propagandize the public in a similar way on every cultural issue.

Now that the Left is victorious in the culture war, something interesting has happened. Instead of lauding and feting the comedians who secured their victory, the contemporary Left is busily casting them into the outer dark like pariahs. Here's a story on Louis CK getting the two minutes' hate for uttering heresies against the death cult.

You might say that poking fun at Parkland survivors is tone deaf, but that's a matter of taste. CK's bit about scolds who insist the rest of us refer to them by gender-neutral pronouns is objectively funny. The fact that he's being thrown to the wolves reinforces the observation that the Left never cared about free expression or even minorities' rights. They just care about power, and they're perfectly ready to dispose of useful idiots whose usefulness is past. Thus you get ironies such as once-edgy 90s comedians like Jerry Seinfeld being afraid to play college campuses for fear of the Lefty thought police.

A common refrain from alt-lite pundits used to be that the Left had morphed into even worse puritanical moralizers than the religious right ever were. Always left unsaid was that the religious right's warnings of widespread social decay were proven correct. It was edgy 90s comedians who goaded us into laughing at paleoconservatives in the first place. It's the Left's unholy high priests who are laughing now.

2018/12/28

The Last Jedi and Fake Reviews

Fanboys

We already knew that The Last Jedi was a con. Now proof has surfaced that the reviled Star Wars movie's ridiculously high Rotten Tomatoes critics' score is likewise a sham.

Geeks and Gamers reports on leaked audio from Fanboys director Kyle Newman, who admitted that Rian Johnson's abomination was just as poorly received in Hollywood as everywhere else. Kyle goes on to confirm that film critics felt pressured to give the movie positive reviews on pain of losing their access to future Disney projects. Skip to 2:52 to hear Kyle's audio.


From the transcript:
internally there's all these even journalists that gave it positive reviews or like I do that because I need to maintain my access 
Access journalism is cancer, and critic reviews are fake news.

Prediction: Regardless of its actual merits, when Episode IX comes out, NPCs will hail it as "the best of the sequel trilogy" solely for not being The Last Jedi.

UPDATE: Castalia House Lead Editor Vox Day offers a final word of caution in the comments:
Newman was only offering his opinion. Confirmation has to come from multiple sources.

2018/12/27

Combat Frame XSeed: Coalition Year 40 Second Preview

space station

As a follow up to the first preview of the second book in my upcoming Mil-SF mecha series, here's another early look at Combat Frame XSeed: Coalition Year 40.

Second Lieutenant Theodore Red had a man to kill. He adopted a brisk but casual pace as he debarked from the Argyre shuttle to Hansa Station’s bustling concourse. Should be plenty of time to finish the op and catch the Brussels Air Base transport, he thought as he joined the chattering flow of spacefarers bound for Western Europe. He tried not to think about which of the unsuspecting men, women, and children were sharing a transport with his target.
Red scanned the overhead screens advertising earthside Soc businesses between condescending PSAs. He ignored the perky stewardess’ emergency spacesuit demo and left the white-tiled concourse for a men’s room on his right. A middle-aged man in a charcoal business suit swept out of the restroom and nearly bumped into Red. The older man took one look at Red’s blue CDF uniform, stood aside, and saluted as the Lieutenant passed.
 Dumb civilian must think I fought the Kazoku myself. He was probably a toddler during the war. The Earth Sphere had seen little warfare in the four decades since Megami’s coup. Besides a few skirmishes in Europe and Naryal’s manhunts for leftover Kazoku, most of the conflict had come from grounders protesting the Socs’ aggressive expansion on Earth. And the Socs had quashed dissent without firing a shot.
At people.
Raining space rocks on Earth’s breadbaskets might’ve been fighting dirty, but it got the job done. The lesson wasn’t lost on the HLO. The earth-based cells were waging covert terror campaigns on Soc officials too clueless to realize they were facing organized resistance. Red’s handlers were sending him to join his Human Liberation Organization comrades, but first they wanted him to show a particular Soc official the cost of complacency.
Red passed a mirror reflecting the hair that had inspired his handle and the violet eyes that often drew comment. He ducked into a brushed steel stall. Automated air freshener made it smell like artificial lemonade someone had peed in. He pulled his handheld from his inside jacket pocket and checked his messages. As promised, a new encrypted missive blinked on his screen. Red entered the decryption key, and the message’s contents revealed themselves.
Target has changed flights. Boarded shuttle leaving for Munich in six minutes. Commence operation immediately.
“Dammit,” Red cursed as he stuffed the handheld back inside his jacket. Had the target made him? With any other Soc, Red would have dismissed the last-minute change as coincidence. But Malov Strauss wasn’t any other Soc. According to his HLO file, the new Assistant Customs Director showed the kind of intuition and nonlinear thinking that could endanger the Brussels cell. It was Red’s job to nip the problem in the bud.
Better get nipping. Red burst from the restroom and rushed down the concourse, taking advantage of his uniform to navigate the crowd. Some of the civilian travelers stopped and babbled nervously to each other about a conjectural emergency.
I’ll show you an emergency, thought Red. He veered down a side corridor that led to a security door reserved for official use. The A.I. in his pocket got him through the unmanned checkpoint. He hurried through the sliding lithium glass doors, confident that no trace of his entry would remain.
The passageway led out of the station’s rotating main hub, and Red left simulated gravity behind. He drifted down the gray-paneled corridor with the ease of one used to maneuvering in space. The harsh LED lighting gave way to intermittent wall lamps whose circles of illumination barely overlapped. Oxygen scrubbers gave the concourse a pervasive sterile scent, but in the utility passage, oily machine smells prevailed.
Rows of molded plastic lockers lined the walls at regular intervals. Red used his handheld to open one without triggering the safety alarm and removed a plain-looking but functional emergency spacesuit. He slipped the baggy one-piece garment on over his clothes, locked the helmet, and glided down the hall.
Voices approached from the T intersection directly ahead. Red slipped down a connecting corridor on his right. Luckily, it would take him to the auxiliary maintenance bay, where the tools of his trade waited.
The reinforced door at the end of the hallway hissed open as Red—or rather his handheld—approached. He ventured into the murky area beyond. The door sealed itself behind him, shutting out the low reactor thrum he hadn’t noticed until it was gone.
A room the size of a small warehouse stretched out around Red. Just below the high ceiling, a catwalk ran along the dingy walls and terminated at a ten-meter-tall bay door. Halfway between it and Red, a metal giant crouched, facing the right wall.
Crouched wasn’t quite right, since the giant lacked legs. Instead it sported a pair of booster nacelles to supplement the standard thruster array on its back. The nacelles were folded under its vaguely humanoid cobalt blue body, giving the rough impression of a roosting underfed jay.
“A Guardian,” sighed Red. His handler had promised to have a combat frame waiting for him in the hangar. A Grenzmark III might’ve been asking too much, but he’d at least hoped for a sturdy old Grenzmark II. Saddling him with one of the Customs Bureau’s balsa wood patrol units made a kind of practical sense. No one would question its presence at a major travel hub. But something military—even surplus—would better suit an assassination.
No sense complaining. He had a job to do, and the clock was ticking.
Red skipped the ladder and leapt from the zero-g bay floor to the catwalk abutting the Guardian’s chest. He hit the cockpit release. The hatch retracted to reveal a mini-jetpack lying on the seat. Red strapped it on and jumped into the cockpit’s tight confines. His hands flew over the Coalition standard controls. The hatch closed, and the bay door opened. In moments, he had the glorified police cruiser powered up and speeding through space.
Despite the Guardian’s general inadequacy, at least the space-use version was reasonably fast, though Red firmly adhered to the design doctrine that fast could always be faster. The CF’s sole fixed weapons—a pair of 30mm Vulcans—were another problem. He might as well try taking the military shuttle down with a popgun.
To Red’s relief, his handler had outfitted the Guardian with single-shot missile launcher. A note in the launcher’s weapons inventory entry read, “Discard immediately after use.”
Red put eight klicks between himself and the station to stay out of sight but just within the missile’s maximum range. He turned right and came about in a wide arc to face the Munich gate. A thrill raced up his spine when he saw Malov’s shuttle still docked with the white tube of the spacebridge.
Hansa station hung in the void between Red and the mottled blue sphere of Earth. He drew the missile launcher from the Guardian’s back rack and gripped it in both the CF’s hands. Using active sensors would give him away, so he’d have to make the shot without benefit of fire control. Smooth motions of the control stick traced his targeting reticle over the white, two-wheeled axle of the station. Red fixed his sights on the shuttle, exhaled, and took the shot.
Red would have hit the target if he hadn’t aimed a couple of degrees too high. The missile zoomed over the cigar-shaped transport and detonated on the station’s central hub in a bright orange ball of burning gas.
Red slammed his fists against his seat’s armrests. “Damn it!”
A bright flash and a violent tremor that jarred his teeth punctuated Red’s curse. The single-use missile launcher had self-detonated in his Guardian’s now mangled hands. He cast about for another way—any way—to complete his mission.
The shuttle pulled away from the station and picked up speed. In mere moments it would fly out of reach.
An idea emerged from Red’s shock. He set an intercept course with the fleeing shuttle on a ten-second delay, rigged the Guardian’s reactor to overload, and bailed out. His safety harness dug into his chest as the ejector seat’s explosive charge propelled him into space. He released himself from the chair, engaged his jetpack, and spun about in time to witness the overloading Guardian collide with the shuttle amidships. A blinding explosion erased both vehicles.
Messy, thought Red, but effective. His nitrogen-propelled flight back to Hansa Station gave him ample time to bask in his success. Those student dissidents on Earth might have disgraced a Fel bureaucrat or two, but not even they had assassinated a Soc official. I’ll show them how it’s done.
Red slipped back onto Hansa through a neglected airlock. The chaos gripping the station made it easy. Every emergency spacesuit had sprung from its locker like a pale, bubble-faced jack-in-the-box. Adults—already suited as per safety protocol—fumbled to suit up their crying children as the harsh light strips flickered.
Missile must’ve hit the main reactor, thought Red, who’d blown his borrowed suit out the airlock. Ignoring protocol would be easier to explain than being caught in a spacesuit pilfered from maintenance.
“Lieutenant!”
Red followed the gruff voice to another blue-uniformed figure standing out amid the crush of white-clad humanity. The uniform’s broad shoulders bore captain’s bars, and the man whose bronze-skinned head sat on those shoulders was gesturing toward a gate behind him.
“Emergency evac for military personnel,” said the Captain. “Shuttle leaves in two minutes. Move your ass!”
Red joined the steady flow of CDF members boarding the shuttle. The colorful upholstery, the residual smell of alcohol, and ads for Earth consumer goods betrayed its origins as a civilian transport commandeered for military use.
A sergeant standing at the head of the cabin barked instructions for each man to take the first available seat starting from the front. Red slid into an empty aisle seat on the left. Only after buckling up did he notice that the man seated next to him was wearing a midnight blue business suit instead of a uniform. His golden head of hair was combed back in a fashion more befitting a junior executive than a soldier.
The blond man neatly folded a newspaper bearing the headline “Western Europe Region Governor Resigns” and laid it on his lap. He fixed his piercing blue eyes on Red. “You’re wondering if I’m a civilian stowaway. I’m with Customs. My last shuttle exploded.”
Red’s stomach lurched as if he’d suddenly gone weightless again.
“Where are my manners?” The blond man extended his hand. “Malov Strauss. Pleased to make your acquaintance, Lieutenant.”

Combat Frame XSeed officially launches next month! Indiegogo backers, you can expect your print editions soon!

2018/12/26

Who Is Trump?

Carter Reagan Bush Nixon

A favored parlor game among the punditry during the Trump administration is to spitball about which prior administration it most resembles. Trump's rabid foes have a fetish for comparing him to Hitler, but serious commentators limit comparisons to other American presidents. Early on, MAGApedes likened Trump to Jackson, but Old Hickory's America differed so radically from America today as to have been a different country. Some say that it was.

Of the modern presidents, four tend to invite the most Trump comparisons.

Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon

Trump's saner critics love to portray him as following in Nixon's footsteps, if only out of wishful thinking. They may have a point, but not the one they think. The Left hated Nixon with a passion and hounded him until he faced the stark choice of utter destruction or sacrificing everything to avoid prison. Nixon chose to lose it all and keep his freedom, after a fashion.

At this point, all Trump really has in common with Nixon is the Left's insatiable hatred. All similarities break down after that. The Democrat party that destroyed Nixon still paid lip service to patriotism and the working man. Trump faces government, bureaucratic, and media opposition totally unmoored from any loyalty to anything but power. He's endured an ongoing witch hunt almost from day one. If the ruling class is successful, Trump may prove comparisons to Nixon correct after the fact by trying to use the same escape route. In this sociopolitical climate, I wouldn't count on a Pence pardon to save him, though.

Jimmy Carter

Jimmy Carter

Carter may seem like the worst Trump analogue on the list, but hear me out. Though he failed to leave a lasting political legacy, Carter's campaign brought together elements of Southern conservatism that would form a key component of the Reagan coalition. This is another comparison that will only be verified or gainsaid in hindsight. Depending on how the next two years play out, Trump's legacy may be blotted out by the next administration, but the movement that made him their avatar in 2016 will go on.

Ronald Reagan
RonaldRegan

I've mentioned before how American culture is in many ways turning back the clock to the 80s. Those were the Reagan years, the heady days which themselves felt like a flashy remake of the 50s. Even a cursory glance shows why Trump draws so many comparisons to Reagan.

Trump's performance in office thus far mirrors many aspects of the Reagan administration. We have tax cuts, tough talk on the world stage, and the communication of ideas that cut against the status quo. In his manner and priorities, Trump is indistinguishable from a time traveler recently arrived from the 80s intent on showing us where we lost our way.

There's a dark side to being anointed the second coming of Reagan. A common thread runs through Reagan's legacy and Trump's accomplishments to date: both have largely benefited Boomers, often at their descendants' expense.

Reagan pioneered no-fault divorce as governor of California. As president, he signed tax cuts that maximized Boomers' earnings while signing an amnesty that kept prices low in the short term. Trump's economic policies are geared toward propping up the value of Boomers' investments just as they enter retirement.

George H. W. Bush
George H. W. Bush

In many ways, Trump is the anti-Bush. Not only hasn't he started any new wars, he's getting us out of some old ones. Still, Trump runs the risk of emulating Bush the Elder in one critical respect: failing to keep a make-or-break campaign promise.

Everybody knows that Bush's "Read my lips" debacle cost him reelection when he went back on his word and raised taxes. Trump is looking down the barrel of any even more tangible and easily falsifiable pledge. It's quite simple. Trump promised his supporters a big, beautiful Wall. Only delivering a Wall--not a fence, not drones, not additional ICE agents--will give him a chance at a second term. If he fails, he can expect to suffer the fates of Bush Sr. and Nixon, minus any restraint on his enemies' part due to residual respect for the office.

In the final analysis, whichever former president one projects onto Trump ends up reflecting the beholder's reflection.

Which president do you think Trump most resembles?

2018/12/25

Salvation Is Born

The Nativity

Let us rejoice, for our eyes have seen the birth of Jesus Christ, our light and our salvation!

Merry Christmas to all my cherished readers!

2018/12/24

Boomer Solipsism Still Ruining the Church

clown mass

To no one's surprise, a generation of narcissists is surprised that distorting the faith in their image is making the youth flee in droves. H/t Rawle Nyanzi
You didn’t misread that, I didn’t say irrelevant, I said RELEVANT. We’ve taken a historic, 2,000 year old faith, dressed it in plaid and skinny jeans and tried to sell it as “cool” to our kids. It’s not cool. It’s not modern. What we’re packaging is a cheap knockoff of the world we’re called to evangelize.
As the quote says, “When the ship is in the ocean, everything’s fine. When the ocean gets into the ship, you’re in trouble.”
I’m not ranting about “worldliness” as some pietistic bogeyman, I’m talking about the fact that we yawn at a 5-minute biblical text, but almost trip over ourselves fawning over a minor celebrity or athlete who makes any vague reference to being a Christian.
We’re like a fawning wanna-be just hoping the world will think we’re cool too, you know, just like you guys!
Our kids meet the real world and our “look, we’re cool like you” posing is mocked. In our effort to be “like them” we’ve become less of who we actually are. The middle-aged pastor trying to look like his 20-something audience isn’t relevant. Dress him up in skinny jeans and hand him a latte, it doesn’t matter. It’s not relevant, It’s comically cliché. The minute you aim to be “authentic”, you’re no longer authentic!
The up-and-coming generation do not want guitars and felt banners. The do not seek accommodation with a world that has always seemed at best nonsensical and at worst vindictively hostile. "Connecting with the youth" does not mean affecting the trappings of youth culture from fifty years ago.

The grandchildren whose futures their elders preemptively foreclosed on want--need--structure and legitimate authority. They are not obsessed with novelty for novelty's sake. Their ambition is not to break the rules, for there are no rules left to break. They would prefer fire and brimstone, millstones, and "Suffer not a witch to live."

They are starved for truth and beauty. The Church has a rare chance to induct these restless, questing youth into mysteries that will at long last explain them to themselves. God is opening the door to a potential Christian moment in America. The Church's leaders have only to wake up and fulfill their solemn office.

There is evidence that the younger generations are taking the initiative and turning to Christ despite His ministers' best efforts to alienate them. Then again, the picture may not be as rosy as some suggest. The health of American Christianity is a complex and multifaceted issue.

To all priests and pastors: Your duty is to hand on the two millennia-old Deposit of Faith as you and your fathers before you received it. Do not be a stumbling block. Let the children come to Him.

2018/12/21

Reminder: There's No Voting Our Way out of This

Today strikes me as a good time to repost this piece from three years ago. You're always in for something interesting when you go back through the archives for a little perspective.

voting

A previous post on how the tide is turning against legacy media and its Leftist bias drew commenters who rightly observed that I offered no solutions for the current political crisis.

Right up front, let me point out that I'm a schlock hack SF writer who is unqualified to propose a plan for mending our broken electoral system. Art reflects culture, and like all artists my first job is entertaining you, and a distant second, to illustrate problems; not to give answers.

Besides, in my experience the overwhelming majority of people who ask for solutions are really asking, "How can we elect enough members of Party X/pass the right laws to fix this rotten state of affairs?"

This is a rare case where I actually have an answer: we ain't voting our way out of this one.

Understanding the problem
Most people know that the Western world is undergoing an existential crisis. Those who claim that everything's fine are either in deep denial for fear of confronting the truth, or they're convinced that they stand to gain if the crisis continues or even worsens.

We're all aware of the symptoms. The US national debt is over eighteen trillion dollars and rising. 94 million Americans cannot find work and have given up looking. The massive influx of refugees is wreaking havoc on Europe. In the US, taxpayers are forced to fund infanticide and support organ trafficking. Islamic terrorists massacre Americans and Europeans, yet legacy media tools cite bogus reports to indict their fellow countrymen.

Living in such a state of grave disorder is taking its toll, as rates of drug abuse, mental illness, and suicide are rising.

"Classical" Liberals
Among those who acknowledge these problems, it's common to lay the blame on laws and policies associated with liberalism. They point out that the welfare state erodes the family and perpetuates poverty, that mass immigration costs Americans jobs, and that the left wants to fundamentally transform America.

The go-to solution, even among those who understand the severity of the crisis, is usually to elect more Republicans.

Ryan Obama

Even though the GOP, including the current Republican-dominated legislature, keeps stabbing their constituents in the back by advancing Leftist policies.

The perceived failure of conservatives to stand up for their principles is neither accidental nor anomalous. Conservative principles, to the extent that they can be said to exist at all, are derived from Liberalism.

When confronted with this fact, there are some conservatives who claim the mantle of "Classical Liberalism". They say that they adhere to the principles of liberty championed by the Founding Fathers, which modern day liberals have betrayed.

They'e got it backwards.

In his compelling, meticulously argued book The Tyranny of Liberalism, James Kalb explains the history of Liberal political philosophy, its pre-eighteenth century origins, and its goals. Simply stated, Liberalism seeks government power to give individuals maximum license to indulge their personal preferences.

Examining today's unrest in light of dominant Liberal theory, Kalb reaches a number of conclusions that mainstream conservatives may find disturbing.

  • Liberalism, by definition, makes freedom an absolute. It cannot ultimately accept any external limit on personal license. Therefore even "Classical" Liberalism is progressively totalitarian.
  • There is no stable, ideal version of Liberalism. The "Classical Liberalism" that some hold up as definitive is actually an illusion created by Liberals' practice of temporarily accommodating relatively more liberal alternatives to less liberal systems. (Liberals opportunistically support constitutional monarchists over absolute monarchists, representative republicans over constitutional monarchists, etc.)
  • Being absolutist, progressive, and totalitarian, Liberalism can only lead to tyranny.
  • Liberalism is self-contradictory. It is impossible for everyone to pursue their personal preferences unhindered at all times. You are going to have one person who prefers to blast loud music all night living next door to another who prefers going to bed early. There is no way for the government to intervene without infringing on one party's freedom.
  • Conservatives are even more self-contradictory. As "Classical Liberals", conservatives operate under the same basic principles as their supposed opposition does. The only difference is that self-identified liberals are internally consistent in following their philosophy to its tyrannical end, while conservatives must draw an ever-receding series of lines in the sand.
  • This process of halfhearted opposition and incremental retreat strikes independent observers as arbitrary, because it is. Since they are merely retrograde Liberals, conservatives can give no coherent reason for violating the progressive core principle of Liberalism. This incoherence dooms conservatives to ultimate failure.
The Tyranny of Liberalism
This book will explain America's political debacle to you--if you want it explained.
Considering Solutions
The Founding Fathers weren't con men who knowingly tricked Americans into adopting a form of government that would inevitably leave them in chains. Their own writings testify that they truly believed they'd given their countrymen the best possible hope for freedom.

At the same time, the founders of the United States were wise enough to understand that freedom alone wasn't enough.
Because we have no government, armed with power, capable of contending with human passions, unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge and licentiousness would break the strongest cords of our Constitution, as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.
--John Adams
History shows that Liberal government can work under one--and only one--circumstance. Conservatism fails to check progressivism because attempting to do so hacks at the root of the tree where conservatives themselves are perched.

The only way that citizens of a polity that absolutizes freedom can stave off tyranny is if their preferences are informed by a moral system that upholds the good; not freedom, as absolute.

You probably know where I'm going with this.
The fatal flaw in treating freedom as an absolute is that the proposition is simply false. The value of freedom depends entirely on the value of the good you can get with it. In that sense, freedom is moral fiat currency.


Only when their freedom is oriented toward intrinsic goods can a people truly be called free. A functional and rightly ordered society requires common understandings of what is good. Since Liberalism, which simply substitutes freedom for the good, can't define objective goods, where can we find a source of necessary common understandings?

The Walk to Canossa
NB: the dude in sackcloth is an emperor.
Christianity is the only force that's proven capable of keeping Western civilization intact and free.
It's a claim that elicits plenty of knee-jerk denials, but barring objections that the Founding Fathers were all Deists (they weren't), the Founders' own words--like John Adams' above--demonstrate that they were counting on Christian moral principles to inform Americans' exercise of liberty.

Liberalism itself can be thought of as a Christian heresy that distorts man's freedom to seek God into a license to "do whatever you want". As such, the most cherished liberties of Western civilization are derived from developments of Christian doctrine.

The separation of church and state is an innovation undreamed of in pre-Christian times. The second greatest contributor to Western law--the Roman Empire--had a state cult with the emperor as high priest.

Only with the advent of Christian theology supporting the right of resistance to tyranny and an organized Church powerful enough to hold secular rulers accountable did a check on state power--besides bloody rebellion--emerge.

In addition to the separation of secular and religious powers, pretty much every freedom championed by Classical Liberalism has its precedent in Christian theology.

The fact that the Church overthrew a real theocracy that had ruled the West for centuries puts paid to claims that Christians support theocracy.

Am I seriously arguing that everyone should convert to Christianity?
Ideally--but only because Christianity is true; not as a cynical solution to worldly problems. What has been established by historical precedent is that Western-style Liberal governments only work when the majority of their people subscribe to common understandings of morality based on Christian principles.

This isn't such a radical idea, since even the most secular Western nations take Christian moral precepts as a given--if only unconsciously. That's the heart of natural law theory.

The prevailing culture informs how citizens of Liberal democracies vote. The current crisis isn't due to the process breaking down. When the culture that drives it decays, the process spews out garbage.

Still think voting can fix that?

Therefore, solution #1 is a return to natural law-based morality by a majority of the populace.

By no means are self-professed Christians exempt from this challenge. Matters have only deteriorated this far because we, the true guardians against tyranny, have been sleeping on the job. Only twenty percent of us attend church regularly. Many who claim to be pro-life vote Democrat. Though she once broke the power of Caesar, the Catholic Church's addiction to federal funds has brought her to her knees before the US government.

Since you should never ask someone else to do what you're unwilling to do yourself, Christians are advised to begin living according to their stated beliefs if we expect others to follow suit. And we should do it fast, because...

Solution #2 is for the whole system to collapse.


Tonight We Ride
Image courtesy of Napalm Records
Nature always wins. A civilization living contrary to nature cannot survive. Western civilization is now terminally ill. All that's required is that nothing be done, and the crisis will resolve itself.

This solution presents its own set of problems, as few of us are likely to enjoy the period of transition between our current civilization and whatever takes its place.

Those are the available options. The choice is yours--and mine.

2018/12/20

Baptism by Fire

Reader Durandel asks,
Can we win with the leaderless, multiheaded hydra approach without at some point having a legitimate, genuine leader who is then martyred for the cause to trigger the Right into action?
I've had reservations about the "no leaders" approach for a while. Granted, military history is not my forte. But every social system abhors a power vacuum, and people naturally seek out leaders to guide them--see the alpha-beta dynamic. The fact that many willingly followed the Charlottesville organizers into a trap those leaders should've seen coming is just one example.

At the same time, abuse of leadership does not militate against legitimate use. There's a difference between decentralized action and a leaderless movement. What's brewing on the horizon is more likely to herald the arrival of the Man.

We've seen that cycle play out elsewhere already. Italy, Hungary, Poland, and Brazil, to name a few, have their true populist nationalist leaders. Most of those countries faced crises far more severe than anything the US has yet experienced. It seems like rebirth may not be possible without going through the fire.

Contrast Trump with figures like Orban, Salvini, and even Bolsonaro. Trump is not the Man. He is more of a Tar-Palantir figure who makes a last doomed effort at reform while the rest of the elite tragically refuse to repent.

We may have to go through whatever waits in the post-Trump era and come out the other side before we get serious leaders. Despite all the troubles, most Americans are too fat and complacent to risk losing it all by challenging the powers that be.

They martyrdom question has taken on new pertinence lately. Ever since Mueller kicked off his witch hunt, MAGApedes have issued dire warnings of large-scale civil unrest, up to and including open rebellion, if Trump were impeached on some bogus process crime.

But that was before it looked nigh certain that Trump would fail to deliver on the major promises he made to his base. His last chance to build the Wall is rapidly slipping through his fingers. In a tragic twist, the same cosmopolitan elites who've been desperate to get rid of Trump to quash his agenda may clear the way to get rid of him by having quashed his agenda.

One of conservatives' favorite mistakes is assuming the Left's threats aren't serious. Seeing as how everyone on the Left from street thugs to washed-up comedians to network talking heads has sworn a mighty oath to make sure Trump spends his golden years in prison, it beggars belief that the man apparently doesn't think his many powerful enemies won't pull out all the stops to see him thrown in prison for life.

Perhaps he assumes the Left won't stoop to incarcerating an ex-president. If so, he hasn't been paying attention. They're fighting tooth and nail to lock up a sitting president. The residual glamour of the office won't save him.

A leader is only as good as his advisers, and Trump has surrounded himself with some supremely foolish and two-faced advisers. Odds are they're falsely assuring him that if a crook like Hillary Clinton can get away with murder, he has nothing to worry about since he's innocent of the charges. As we've seen, that's not how it works.

How Trump didn't realize that he faced implacable foes, that his base's loyalty was his only safeguard, and that failing his base would leave him at his enemies' mercy, is a riddle we'll probably never know the answer to.

2018/12/19

Coalition Year 40 Cover Sneak Peak

Now seems like a good time for a little artistic interlude. Happily, world-class cover artist Todd Everhart has provided some early sketches for the cover of Combat Frame XSeed: Coalition Year 40, the upcoming sequel to mecha mil-SF game changer Combat Frame XSeed.

CY 40 cover sketch

The above image is a front-back spread intended for the paperback version. Here it is again with the spine and borders marked:

CY 40 cover borders

If those sketches don't get you excited, you may not have a pulse. For the red-blooded mech fans out there, the Indiegogo campaign in support of CFXS: CY40 is coming soon!

And of course, the official launch of Combat Frame XSeed fast approacheth.

The future is over. What's next will blow your mind!

2018/12/18

Sheep Without a Shepherd

Shepherds of Arcadia

A recent post elicited some black pills in the comments, so it seems like a good time to put the current state of dissident politics in perspective.

There's a feeling in the air that the energy of 2016 has largely dissipated. Even staunch MAGApedes are wondering if they haven't poured their faith into an empty sack. As a commenter said here the other day, there's a growing suspicion that Trump is all talk and no action.

Trump may be all talk, but it's remarkable that he's still talking about his core campaign planks this far along. A standard Republican grifter would have abandoned all talk of immigration for the donor class' agenda by now.

We find ourselves in a paradox. Everyone inside the system is too corrupt to reform it. Only an outsider can stand against the system, but he lacks the knowledge of its workings needed to achieve his goals.

In the midst of all the MAGA hype two years ago, level heads cautioned that the best Trump could do was buy us time. I was one of them, but it's starting to look like I was wrong. It's unlikely that we'd have seen alt-lite figures deplatformed, roaming AntiFa lynch mobs, or kids given life in prison for dumb mistakes under Jeb or even Hillary.

I'm not saying those two alternatives would have been preferable. Trump has goaded the Left into showing their hand too early. Facebook soccer moms and lifelong union Boomers are turning their backs on the Democrat party in disgust. Meanwhile, the fact that hatred of white people is the Coalition of the Fringes' sole unifying principle is being discussed on national prime time news.

The accelerationists may have been right after all. If Trump couldn't save the system from itself, it was unsalvageable to begin with. Right now it's burning itself down in a frenzied attempt to take him down. A smart dissident movement would take advantage of the diversion to start gaining ground elsewhere.

As the evident lack of results has shown, we do not have a smart dissident movement--or to be more precise and more charitable to its members, we have multiple squabbling dissident movements with leaders who are by turns foolish, mercenary, and unserious.

Every major movement in history has had camp followers who rush to the front of the parade when they sense there's profit to be had. These are largely venal misfits who, as Alex said, couldn't make it within the establishment, so they prey on political outsiders' need for leadership and direction.

What we're seeing now as the enemy ups the ante and Buckley style disavowals fall on deaf ears is also entirely normal. We've reached the point where speaking out requires heroic virtue. The grifters are naturally being peeled off as the costs of resistance rise.

That's a positive development. Disease co-opts and kills off compromised cells, but this triggers an immune response.

Think of this juncture as an intermediary period when the disease is advancing, and the antibodies haven't shown up yet. Time has just about run out for the first crop of unserious leaders. You'll know when the serious people take the field.

In the meantime, folks on the Right would do well to exercise more discernment regarding who they put their trust in. We've seen a whole slew of prospective leaders rise to the fore, only to stumble or lead their followers to destruction like proverbial pied pipers. The pattern is quite clear by now, so there's no excuse not to recognize the signs of wolves in sheep's clothing.

  1. An unknown quantity, unaccomplished in media or of middling accomplishment in an unrelated field, commits a public violation of the Narrative that goes viral.
  2. The new hotness starts making the rounds on YouTube, allegedly to discuss how he owned the libz, but in fact to promote his personal Master Theory of Everything.
  3. The rising star's big break comes when a major media outlet calls up a bench warmer from the C team to "debate" him. The up-and-comer's place in the firmament is secured as he effortlessly humiliates Lefty.
  4. And this is key: The newest dissident star suffers none of the depersoning, deplatforming, or demonetization that you or I would for giving the death cult a bloody lip.
  5. The new dissident darling releases a book detailing his Master Theory of Everything. It features unusual content for someone marketed to nationalist populist traditionalists, to say the least.
  6. If he doesn't burn out, the new star lands a cushy gig at some "edgy" media startup or dissident think tank. There, he attempts to carry out Buckleyite gate keeping on the rest of the Right, which was the point all along.
TL; DR: 
  • Just because the Left attacks someone, it doesn't mean he's on your side. Being hysterical Commie Puritans, the Left attack their own shadows.
  • Ditto someone who triggers the libz; owns the libz. It's not that hard.
  • Use caution when dealing with a prominent Narrative violator who hasn't suffered the three D's.
Finally, the Right is well-advised to stop angling for a definitive showdown with the Left on the Left's territory. Think guerrilla, not continental, ideological warfare.

2018/12/17

How Winning Gets Done

Obamacare

By doing away with the Individual Mandate, the Trump Administration created a potentially fatal vulnerability in Obamacare's constitutionality that the Republican party has actually managed to exploit.
Core provisions of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, were ruled unconstitutional by a Texas judge on Friday following a lawsuit brought by a group of Republican attorneys general from 20 states against Democratic attorneys general from 14 states led by California's Xavier Becerra.
According to court documents (below) US District Judge Reed O'Connor of Fort Worth agreed with the GOP coalition that he had to gut key provisions of the Affordable Care Act after Congress last year eliminated the individual mandate - a tax penalty for not buying insurance.
Friday's decision which will undoubtedly be fought all the way to the Supreme Court, as California has already announced that they will appeal.
The Texas-led Republicans argued that they've been harmed by an explosion of people on state-supported insurance rolls - claiming that when Congress repealed the tax penalty last year it nullified the US Supreme Court's rationale for deeming the ACA constitutional in 2012. 
This is how it's done. What the Left has wrought via the courts can be undone via the courts.

If someone questions whether a single judge in Texas can repeal the Affordable Care Act nationwide, ask him if a single judge in Hawaii can nullify the President's constitutional authority to defend the continental United States from invasion.

More please, GOP.

If Congressional Republicans had the spine of their state attorneys general colleagues, they'd use their once-per-year "Pass a Spending Bill with a Simple Majority" card to get the Wall funded before the Democrats take over the House next month.

2018/12/14

Hollywood Can't Sonic

Sonic Movie

A professional animator explains why the Hollywood version of beloved video game icon Sonic the Hedgehog looks like blue cancer.

Hollywood Sonic

Hollywood's meddling with this wildly successful Japanese character is doubly stupid because, if you read Console Wars, you know that Sonic the Hedgehog has at least as much American as Japanese DNA, perhaps more.

Sonic originated from an art contest held by Sega of Japan to design their planned game's protagonist. The winning entry was an anthropomorphic hedgehog called Mister Needlemouse.

Mister Needlemouse

Who is Felix the Cat's head on Mickey Mouse's blue, pantsless body.

Felix the Cat Mickey Mouse

Sega of America took the rather more crudely drawn and aggressively named Needlemouse and applied the finishing touches that completed his metamorphosis into Sonic.

The Hollywood idiots trying to "Westernize" Sonic the Hedgehog couldn't do Western art if their salaries depended on it I wish that was just a joke. Sonic already is a product of the West. The movie studio is just making him ugly, which is all Western animators are capable of doing these days.

Art-Eater's killshot:

Pokemon numbers

Pokémon, another Japanese IP captained by a Disney-inspired cartoon mouse, is running rings around its Western forebears. Hello Kitty is right behind.

[Insert pun about cat and mouse games.]

This episode does give us a handy visual representation of Western artistic degeneration, though.

Visual Degeneration

2018/12/13

The Freak Amendment

Bill of Rights

One defining feature of the American Left is their visceral hatred of the Second Amendment. Conservatives and libertarians accuse the gun-grabbers of wanting normal people left at the mercy of Big Brother. They're not wrong, but that's just a practical consideration. It doesn't fully explain the Left's rabid loathing of the 2A.

Here's a news item about a gun owner who resisted Maryland's tyrannical Red Flag gun confiscation policy. Under this law, your psycho ex-girlfriend, your Bangladeshi dermatologist, or your ex-hippy aunt can snitch on you for wrongthink and have the authorities strip away your Second Amendment rights. Or the cops can cut out the middleman and demote you to second-class citizenship themselves. In this case, it looks like a female relative reported the gun owner for thought crimes. They came for his guns, a struggle ensued, and the cops shot him like a dog in his own home.

That's not calculated political expediency. That's vicious enmity. If you're a gun owner to the right of Harvey Milk, it's coming to a street near you, so it's best to understand the underlying cause.

As I recently noted in this post, Liberalism is inherently tyrannical. When you reduce freedom to seeking personal preferences disconnected from the good and try to absolutize it, stories like those linked above are the inevitable fallout. Adherents of an absolute ideology necessarily regard any competing view as an infringement and zealously seek to destroy it. Liberalism is totalitarian.

Which brings us back to the Second Amendment. You may be wondering how Liberals could hate part of the Bill of Rights when the whole American Experiment is an exercise in Classical Liberalism. Therein lies the rub, because contra revisionist textbooks, the Founding Fathers were not a Deist coven. Presbyterian minister John Witherspoon and Catholic congressman Daniel Carroll, brother to the first bishop of Baltimore, are just two prominent Christians who signed the Constitution. Thanks to such Founders, some Christian DNA got mixed into the Liberal experiment.

As came to light when a friend and I were discussing the Bill of Rights, the Second Amendment alone states a reciprocal duty. It is explicitly for something--the defense of the man, his family, his home, and his nation. Of all the Constitutional Amendments, only the Second is unequivocally ordered toward a good.

That's the difference between the Liberal and Christian understanding of rights in a nutshell. The former conceives of indiscriminate license unbound by any positive duty. Christian moral philosophy, on the other hand, insists that every right comes inextricably bundled with a corresponding duty. Every right exists for the pursuit of a specific good.

Once you understand that Liberalism is totalitarian, and that Liberal and Christian conceptions of rights irreconcilably diverge, it's no mystery why the modern Left despises the Second Amendment. Gun-grabbers call the 2A an illiberal artifact of an age they revile. They are correct. More than any other Amendment, the 2A stands as a constant reminder of America's original Christian character. That is why the Leftist Death Cult will stop at nothing to destroy it.

2018/12/12

To Whom Shall We Go?

An important reminder that conversion is a grace, and God calls whomever He wills.

Catholic & Weeb

No, not to anime fandom. To the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.

Praise to Our Lord Jesus Christ and welcome to Not John Daker. May the Lord draw you into ever closer communion with Him through the people and ministry of His Church.

For all the criticism I level at the Catholic Church's current leaders on Earth, my motive is not hostility but filial love.

Imagine a princely and ancient mansion that's been handed down in your family since the clan patriarch built it by hand 2000 years ago. It stood as a rock amid the storms of all the passing ages. Now the current trustees of the estate, your Boomer parents, have mortgaged the grand old house to the hilt to pay for hideous "renovations" in imitation of the McMansions that occupy the rest of the street. Worse, they are harboring dodgy workers--some of whom came not through the door but over the wall and are making trouble in the neighborhood. A small but highly visible number of gardeners have committed the most atrocious crimes against the tenants' children. Yet your parents harbor them.

You could disown your parents, go your own way, and abandon the princely house of your fathers, washing your hands of any responsibility for the future of your patrimony. That is the way of the rootless, atomized man of the world. You would not be the first to take it.

The faithful, tradition-minded disciple of Christ gives filial correction to his wayward parents in a spirit of charity. He does not abandon his ancestral home, which the Builder has promised will stand till the end of time. Even if his parents refuse to listen, he trusts the Builder. For does not the Builder also have a vineyard which fell under unworthy management? And did He not remove those wicked managers?

The order of bishops--including the Pope--is not the head of the Catholic Church. Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church, which is His Body. The first fruits of the Church have already been gathered into heaven. The gates of hell cannot prevail against them.

Every day, this reality is revealed to ordinary people--even if only in part. Despite the sins--many of them grave--of her members, God calls his elect into full communion with Him, and some of those who are called answer.

Not John Daker is far from alone. Just this week, I was blessed to learn of a dear friend's ongoing reversion to the Catholic faith. His wife is carefully considering converting, following her husband and a close friend. The Holy Spirit moves whom He wills.

Are these examples anecdotal? Certainly. But they paint a picture of a noticeable undercurrent in the zeitgeist. Recent converts and those who are considering conversion have mentioned two main reasons for their attraction to Catholicism:

  1. The unchanging nature of Catholic teaching
  2. Other churches substituting politics for theology
Reason 2 offers an important lesson that some in traditionalist dissident circles can sometimes forget. Religion is not to be conflated with politics. The former pertains to man's duty toward God; the latter concerns how best to organize a society. There is overlap, but as everyone reading this should know, religion is culture codified, and politics is downstream from culture.

Praise God for the grace of conversion. Welcome to all those seeking shelter from the gathering storm within the Church's walls. And to the current hierarchy, pray for your own continued conversion that you may show those who seek solace a Church worthy of them and God.

2018/12/11

What Slippery Slope?

library demon

The vast overreach perpetrated by the Coalition of the Fringes in their Trump-induced frenzy is beginning to make normies take notice. From William M. Briggs:
Long-time school teacher Peter Vlaming was fired for saying these words: “Don’t let her run into the wall.”
Problem is, the lunatic parents of the poor little girl Vlaming sought to protect are telling the world the little girl is a little boy. The lunatic “parents said it was unhealthy for their child to remain in Vlaming’s class.”
Unhealthy.
UNHEALTHY.
Anyone not homeschooling their kids is committing child abuse.

Briggs continues.
Now what should have happened was that the male neighbors—not the government, not the authorities—of the lunatic father of the little girl, should have, when they heard the father wanted to begin pretending his daughter was his son, took him for a little walk. And when they picked him up from the bottom of the steps he accidentally slipped down, they should have explained to him that Reality trumps feelings. The father could then have brought this wisdom to his idiot wife. And all would have been well.
But no. Feelings trump Reality. Feelings are what count.
It is feelings that will doom us.
The lady boss of the school where Vlaming created an “unhealthy” environment recommended to the school board to suspend Vlaming. She got her way.
That is the real story. (If you instead believe it is right and just this man Vlaming was canned for calling a girl “she”, I do not care to hear from you, especially if you say we must respect the feelings of the girl. It does the girl no good at all to go along with her parent’s fantasy.)
The battle lines for the soul of the West are not drawn between Right and Left, Capitalist and Communist, or even nationalist and globalist. The war currently in progress is being waged by those who absolutize personal preference against those who uphold the good.

Liberalism--even Classical Liberalism--is the slow but ultimately deadly poison that has now laid the West on its deathbed. There is no redeeming or accommodating Liberalism. Once you've atrophied your will and subjugated your intellect to your appetites, it ends with demons seizing, brainwashing, and chemically castrating your sons--backed by the full might of Big Brother.
There are lunatics and idiots ever with us. And cowards. That is not important. What is important is that now the cowards in charge of us fear the lunatics and idiots. They do not fear those who hold with Reality. And the reason our cowardly leaders fear the lunatics and idiots is that the lunatics and idiots have stronger feelings than the Realists. And feelings are what counts.
With all due respect to Dr. Briggs, he's missing some vital parts of the equation. Yes, all our former institutions--they are no longer ours--are run by cowards at best and full-throated cheerleaders for total societal degeneration by and large.

Dr. Briggs is correct that the cowards fear the lunatics more than they fear normal people. But the reason isn't that the lunatics have stronger feelings. They have stronger convictions in the rightness of their hysterical, Christianity-profaning death cult than we Christians have in Christ.

Nature abhors a vacuum, human nature is no exception, and man deprived of God will fill that vacuum with anything--even moon-barking lunacy.

There is, as always, a silver lining here. The current untenable state of affairs is staggering along largely due to the inertia of vestigial public trust in our corrupt institutions. As this story and Briggs' readers' reaction to it shows, the death cult is busily taking a sledgehammer to that fragile trust via their daily enormities. Not even the NPCs parrot "Love is love!" or give finger-wagging lectures against the slippery slope fallacy anymore. Not now that society is rocketing down the side of K2, which has also been pre-greased with Astroglide. Support for secession is at record highs.

There are three possible solutions.

  1. Normal people can make the cowards fear them more than they fear the death cult.
  2. Normal people can take back the institutions and replace the cowards.
  3. Let the converged institutions collapse under their own debauchery, and build new ones.
The problem with option 1 is that matters wouldn't have become so dire in the first place if normal people had sufficient faith to stand up for themselves and their children. Now that the death cult is the de facto state religion, there's little hope of swaying cowardly or corrupt bureaucrats.

Option 2 holds out more promise, but again, normal people will need the fortitude to break their cultural inertia and put in some real effort.

Option 3 is the most likely outcome, since the old institutions are rapidly crumbling, and we'll have to build new ones out of necessity.

It's becoming abundantly clear that whatever the future holds, it will not include Liberal democracy as we've known it. Hopefully the West's near-fatal dalliance with deposing truth in favor of compromise will serve as a lesson to future generations.

Atheism cannot stand against the zeal of the death cult. Liberalism is the handmaid of the death cult. The best action anyone can take to defeat the demonic juggernaut is to repent, turn to Jesus Christ, and ask Him for the gift of faith.

The West is on the brink of collapse because we lacked faith the size of a mustard seed.

2018/12/10

Love of Theory...

Shrek Pepe Style

...is the root of all evil, as the otherwise quite astute Z Man demonstrates as he fails to see the epistemological corner his penchant for biological determinism paints him into.
Part of what drives the persistence of bad ideas is they seem to address a need among modern people to believe in free will. As the human sciences build the case that we are the product of our genetic coding, the need to believe we can overcome that by force of will becomes stronger. 
The once-formidable atheist crowd has reduced itself to a laughingstock due in no small part to incoherent credal statements like the above. They stumble right out of the gate by playing the same dishonest word games with free will that Lefties play with marriage and choice.

In fact, the entire free will debate springs from a semantic error. Almost everyone on both sides, even "reactionary" biological determininsts, a priori accept the Modernist conceptions of will and freedom. They never contend with free will as it was understood for centuries by the greatest foundational thinkers of the West.

By will, the determinists mean a mental faculty independent of the intellect. By free, they mean wholly unrestricted. At this point it should be clear they're attacking a straw man, but I'll explain further for the benefit of those who attended public schools.

Pre-Moderns understood the will as inextricably bound to the intellect. One might even describe the will as a state of the intellect; specifically, the intellect lacking perfect knowledge. The will is the intellect's drive to acquire the true knowledge it needs to operate. Just as the appetite moves the body toward the material goods it needs for nourishment, the will moves the mind toward intellectual goods. The will is the intellect's appetite--no more, no less.

Another key idea that gets lost in the shuffle is that knowledge implies truth. The idea of "knowing" an untruth is inherently absurd. That's why people who claim to "know" the Earth is flat are justly considered risible. The takeaway is that when the intellect has grasped some piece of true knowledge, the will can't dissent. It becomes determined in regard to that particular item of knowledge.

"But I can change my mind!" I hear the fedora-tippers whine. "What if I clearly see four lights, but a torturer coerces me into believing there are five?"

  1. The objection begs the question by assuming the Modernist concept of free will and preemptively dismissing the Classical conception, viz. the will as an intellective appetite that seeks truth.
  2. This objection actually reinforces the Anti-Modern's point. If you've been coerced, you're saying there are five lights against your will.
Of course one can change one's mind on a subject. By definition, that only happens when the will is undetermined, and only truth can determine the will. When you discard an idea you'd previously held, it's because you've received new information refuting the old idea as untrue. If you still entertain doubts, I invite you to state one untruth you willingly hold as true in the comments.

To recap, the will is an intellectual appetite that moves the mind toward knowledge it lacks until it learns the truth of the matter. At that point, the will is determined and cannot dissent. Thus, the Classical meaning of free will is undetermined will; not the utterly sovereign capacity to think and do whatever I want. The latter interpretation is a pure Modernist conceit.

By starting from the Modernist misconception of perfect free will, the biological determinists not only fail to refute the Classical understanding of limited free will, they never even manage to address it.

"But what about all the scientific studies that prove our actions are genetically predetermined?" asks the guy who fucking loves science. To which I answer: You mean actions like running scientific studies?

Statistician William M. Briggs coined the phrase "Love of theory is the root of all evil." He and his readers came up with another useful term: scidolatry. A prime example is the unprincipled exception material determinists grant to scientists who conduct studies that would otherwise rule out scientists' ability to conduct accurate studies. Unless scientists are superbeings who, unlike the human meat puppet masses, somehow do possess a non-material intellective faculty for seeking truth, their decisions to run experiments, and the way they run those experiments, are wholly controlled by the blind dictates of their genes. Without undetermined will, there's no guarantee the empirical sciences produce results that correspond to reality at all.

"But that's why they're empirical sciences. We can tell with our senses that the results conform to reality."

Not without an undetermined faculty that moves the intellect toward true sensory data, we can't.

That's the intractable problem the material determinists will never be able to get around: You can't deny free will without doing away with the intellect. The only way you can legitimately claim that human will is completely predetermined is if you also claim that everybody knows everything.

Proving once again that material determinism is silly and irrelevant.

2018/12/07

What Principle?

Muslims praying - Christians praying

Breitbart reports on a recent poll that asked if employers should make room for Muslim employees to pray at work, then asked the same question about Christians. The results were broken down along Liberal and Conservative lines. It should come as no surprise that more Liberals favored giving Muslims prayer rooms at work, but that's not the real story.
Sixty-eight percent of Democrats say employers should grant a request for prayer space by Muslims — but only 45 percent say employers should grant a similar request by Christian employees, says a survey by Grinnell College.
In contrast to the Democrats’ 23-point anti-Christian bias, the November poll showed only a ten point gap in response from conservatives.
Thirty percent of Republicans say employers should provide a prayer space for Muslim employees and 40 percent say employers should support a similar service for Christians, according to the Grinnell College poll of roughly 500 people.
Did you catch that important detail Breitbart glossed over in their rush to declare "Dems R hypocrites"? Here's another hint.
The same poll showed a three-point pro-Christian skew among Donald Trump’s voters and a huge 20-point pro-Muslim skew among Hillary Clinton voters.
The massive bias among Clinton voters towards Muslims is a huge contrast to Trump voters’ more principled approach to religious requests on business.
Everyone who's been paying attention is aware of the Left's marriage of convenience with Islam, because the Left is an unhinged death cult that hates Christianity. Yet according to this poll, 45 percent of Democrats would let Christians pray at work, in contrast to only 40 percent of Republicans. 

Blessed John Henry Newman once received a plea for help from Catholic employees of the Cadbury chocolate factory. The owners were devout Quakers who offered Bible studies on-site but refused to let Catholic employees hold their own Bible study group.

Newman paid a visit to the factory owners. Did he argue that religious practices had no business in the workplace and that Cadbury's workers were free to worship according to their individual consciences in the privacy of their homes? Of course not. He convinced the owners to give Catholic employees their own room in the factory to conduct Catholic Bible studies.

The "more principled approach" that Breitbart is touting here is no principle at all. It's empty and societally destructive posturing.

I've said it before, and it bears repeating. Conservatism does not stand in opposition to the Left. It is simply inconsistent Liberalism that trails a few steps behind the Left's totalitarian--i.e. consistent--Liberalism

As the Z Man astutely observed, when taking a firm moral position would thwart the Left, Conservative Inc. urges us to stand on principle, i.e. adopt an ineffectual pose. When the Left attacks an actual principle of Western law and order, Conservative Inc. insists that doing nothing is a moral imperative.

Religious liberty makes sense as a gentlemen's agreement to prevent hostilities between Christian denominations in 99% agreement on theological, moral, and social issues. It  becomes a suicide pact when applied to practitioners of incompatible, hostile faiths imported into the West by the Left for the express purpose of destroying Christendom.

Note to Breitbart: the principled answer to the poll question above is to give Christian employees prayer rooms and respect Muslim employees by repatriating them so Leftists can't use them as pawns.

2018/12/06

Another Comparison to Galaxy's Edge

Combat Frame XSeed: CY 2 Gaiden

The Injustice Gamer compares and contrasts a few established and upcoming newpub projects, including the formidable Galaxy's Edge  and my own Combat Frame XSeed.
Galaxy's Edge does a lot of stuff very much right. They started with a bang, filling a desire with their #starwarsnotstarwars postings on twitter, and marketing that as the overall idea of the series. The money they spend on covers is large, but clearly successful, as they get emails from new readers drawn in by the covers. They've even been spotted in a few physical bookstores, something few indie books get, at least before they get signed by a publisher. Their output is about a book a month, and while that's great, all the books are by them, and start feeling the same after so many.
4HU started off a bit slower, with the first four novels being by Wandrey and Kennedy at 2 books each. And then they opened up the floodgates to other authors with anthologies. This let them get a feel for the audience early on and built the draw and talent pool available quickly. Currently, it sits at a 3 week release schedule plus some. The cover art varies a bit more, but there are only a couple I would actually replace of my choice. The cycling of other authors into the release schedule, with the novels tying together, but not directly interfering(through edicts such as only Chris and Mark actually write the 4H, and even appearances of characters from such need approval) with the other stories.

Not coincidentally, I happen to be one of the authors in the 4HU talent pool.

Silver Empire recently had a successful Kickstarter campaign for a universe called Heroes Unleashed, with interesting ideas that are somewhere between the two. What was termed Wave I will have 5 authors doing novels(likely series if successful). Morgon Newquist(school of arts and war) created this world with short stories in two anthologies(Paragons and HA! HA! HA!), and the others involved include some others I've reviewed here: JD Cowan(Grey Cat Blues, Knights of the End), Kai Wai Cheah(No Gods Only Daimons, Hammer of the Witches), Jon Mollison(Sudden Rescue, Adventure Constant), and Richard W. Watts, with whom I am unfamiliar.
Bradford C. Walker and Brian Niemeier both have run Indiegogo campaigns(Brian's is still live [Ed. The first campaign is over, but stay tuned for the next one.]), related to their #AGundamForUS work, and both have some good ideas. Now, if both do well, they will eventually face the challenge of putting out new material and keeping a fresh feel to their stories, which is where I think Galaxy's Edge has begun to fall flat, so this is no mean feat. My advice would be to do a contained series, maybe 6 books, at first, and perhaps invite other authors after, either for shorter arcs or standalone novels. Yeah, this is a throwback to the books they are somewhat imitating, but it did work then, and should work again, if they find authors that get what they're doing.
While it's highly encouraging that a no-nonsense critic like the IJ likes the ideas that inform Combat Frame XSeed, I'm the first to admit that it's the execution of  those ideas which make or break a novel. Fortunately for my readers, advance reviews from CFXS Indiegogo backers have been pouring in, and the clear consensus is that this book is my best. I've actually asked multiple prominent reviewers who'd intended to post reviews immediately after finishing CFXS to kindly wait until next month's official launch. I greatly appreciate their patience and assure them of more quality installments to come.

Speaking of which, I endorse the Injustice Gamer's advice to authors about keeping series contained. Now, Galaxy's Edge is following that template by doing "seasons" comprising a connected story arc each. Nine books is rather long for me, though. Instead, Combat Frame XSeed is currently planned as a standalone series of four to five novels with a short story set between each book. Next month's launch will help me decide the best way to follow up.

No matter what happens, you're gonna have fun, guaranteed.