March 20, 2008 - March 13, 2008
Why Europeans Refuse to
Only a supreme rationalist who has effectively replaced his natural
vitality with a dead-end post-modern alienation from his own life
experience could seek the evident high academic intellectuals
feel at the prospect of human extinction. But this is exactly the grail
contemporary education channels have been pursuing for many months. We
get thrilling promos for shows about mega-tsunamis, mega-earthquakes,
mega-floods, mega-storms, and -- Orgasm Alert! -- total planet death
via asteroid collision and random Black Hole-i-ness in our backwater
Just how much in love with death are these folks? It's not sufficient to hypothesize climate and cosmic catastrophe. Not nearly enough. What they want and need and feel obsessively required to act out in excruciating graphic detail is the revenge of Earth upon the remnants of mankind that would be left after our total extinction. They can't be satisfied by anything less than total erasure.
Have you seen Life After People? Or Aftermath? These are the last remaining scenarios that give the smartest people among our pitiful population a hard-on. These shows are the new post-sexual intellectual porn. Can you detect how tickled they are with themselves for having invented this post-erotic thanatotic fantasy?
They actually think they can convert us to their side with such ecstatic nightmares. In the case of Europe they have unquestionably succeeded. But America is not Europe. Thank God.
And there's a problem with their whole presentation. What they love about themselves is their own privileged niche in the deeply flawed story of civilization. But what if religion is not the second oldest rotten profession generated by the leisure time made possible by community organization? What if the irrational evil that religion is inspired human organization in the first place? What if religion represented the first ever human cooperation in an activity beyond killing a prey animal? Just how dispensable would religion be if it wasn't the first corruption of human civilization but the first cause of it?
You tell me. Here's the oldest known piece of architecture in human history.
This is not a place where people lived. It's as far away from water as you can get in this region. Instead, it's a place of ceremony. And, according to Schmidt, it's "the first manmade holy place."
To find such a large ceremonial center at such an early time period suggests that it was the need for communal rituals that first brought people together. Agriculture, pottery, domesticated animals and cities all came later.
Perhaps it was religion and not technology that fomented the Neolithic Revolution and led to the rise of civilization.
Archaeologist Steven Mithen, in his book After the Ice, writes that it was at Gobekli Tepe "that the history of the world had turned."There's more here at Wiki. We'll leave you with a few photos of art and architecture that date back to the "impossible" antiquity Plato ascribed to Atlantis.
Maybe. Except that the builders of this most ancient of sites fought to
live. Not to die by being too enervated even to have kids. I give up.
You figure it out. When you do, let me know.
. Thanks Brizoni.
You've done a lot of people a
favor. When you
take even The Boss by surprise with the dumbest possible presentation
of a question, you've done something good. In this instance, you've
reminded us of a whole generation of kids who know nothing about how
the economy works and how their own indifference to it is a form of
You don't seem to like bankers. The Good News: Nobody does. The Even Better News: They're only the raw ingredients of every delightful cake you've ever eaten. Someone has to pay for the flour, the eggs, the baking powder, and the sugar you pour into the pan. And the recipe for the cake. And the skill and artistry of the baker. Capitalism is about the value of the knowledge, labor, execution, timeliness, and distribution systems of those who transform mundane ingredients into a product people desire enough to pay money for.
Contrary to appearances and standard reporting, bankers are not the top end of capitalism, but the low end.. They know nothing, they make nothing, they are nothing. Their participation in capitalism is always ignorant, second-hand, mathematical, and dense. If capitalism is, as the standard metaphor goes, a great engine of wealth, the money men are merely the gas station attendants who pump the fuel for that engine and sometimes check the oil. If this makes them seem overpaid to you, congratulate yourself. They are overpaid.
So why is all journalistic coverage of the economy dominated by quotes from the suspendered nancy boys of Wall Street? It's just an accident of positioning. Like the gas station attendant, they perform their pedestrian tasks from a vantage point above the engine. Which makes it seem as if they have some global perspective on what's happening inside the cylinders and valve trains of the engine. Some of them do. Most of them don't. You may have learned that whenever your own car breaks down, there's always some jerk-off at your elbow anxious to offer an opinion about what went wrong. Most economic reporting consists of journalists (ignorant bystanders) asking that guy (the know-it-all dumbass twiddling his thumbs on the sidelines) for his diagnosis of a motor he's never scraped his knuckles on.
The real reason for the paralyzing boredom you experience on all matters pertaining to the economy is your subconscious awareness that every so-called expert opinion solicited and relayed by the media is utter bullshit. When they tell you the stock market fell today because Intel reported lower than expected earnings, they're flat-out fucking lying. The stock market is a set of instruments measuring hundreds of thousands of engine performance variables, but the read-outs from those instruments are too complex to be correctly interpreted by static photos of the dashboard -- such as analysis of the meaning of results at arbitrary points in time like the 5 pm closing bell of today's trading session. Imagine analyzing the health of a Grand Prix race car engine by studying images of the cockpit dash at regularly timed intervals. There are only a few conditions you could reliably detect: low fuel, overheating, and complete absence of speed. Everything else could be a function of where the car is on the track. High revs could mean acceleration on a straightaway, routine downshifting for a curve, or sudden transmission failure. Falling speed could mean expert braking or engine failure. Now imagine that none of the dashboard instruments display Arabic numerals or constant measurement units. They generate their data in pure sensory terms -- sound, smell, taste, and blurry visual snapshots of the track. All interpretations of such data could be spectacularly wrong. That's why day-to-day and month-to-month interpretations by so-called economic experts are routinely wrong. Inflation is soaring. No, it isn't. Consumers are panicked. No, they aren't. All is well. No, it isn't. The economy is in freefall. No, it isn't. It's in a controlled four-wheel drift at the apex of a tricky chicane the driver has well in hand. Or: it's sliding out of control directly at the wall because of a blown shift. No foolproof way to tell.
BUT. And this is a BIG big BUT. None of the above is any excuse for anyone, including you, Brizoni, not to understand the essentials of capitalist economics, which have absolutely NOTHING to do with Harvard MBAs or the pontifications of politically aware Econ professors. Capitalism isn't even boring. It's one of the most exciting, infinitely variable, and attractive aspects of human endeavor. It's not at all hard to understand or visualize. Here's a look at it in action:
That's the fundamental formula. The people who take the biggest risks
to serve their chosen markets have the greatest opportunity to earn big
rewards. Why do they deserve big rewards? Because losing is always an
option. Risk. Reward.
Sometimes capitalists leap the gap by being brave. Usually, they leap
it by being both brave and very very good at what they do. Are you
starting to see the difference between capitalism and your video-game
view of life? We don't live in a closed, rigidly programmed, zero-sum system with
infinite do-overs available at the touch of a button. Winning isn't
just a matter of starting out with enough 'cheats' and bludgeoning some
artificial game into submission. It's about staring the scary possible
future straight in the eye and still having the guts and brains to do
what it takes to win. ANYONE can play. That's the incredible,
glorious beauty of it all.
If your frustration with economics is more than a pose, watch all three
of the series linked above and THEN read an Econ textbook. Terms like
supply-and-demand might begin to take shape in your head in dimensions
beyond the humdrum charts. When you realize that the guys in bowties
who are usually asked to explain the economy know absolutely nothing
about the 'creation of wealth,' you're on the road to recovery.
The next and most important step is to go back to these same examples and ask yourself what would happen if a beneficent government decided that bravery is synonymous with greed and decreed that secretaries and file clerks are entitled to as much reward as these guys. We're all the same, aren't we? Why should that foul-mouthed white guy make more money than a drug-addicted single mother of five? Wouldn't that be heaven?
But we still have a sneaking suspicion that even the liberal heaven would retain a big supply of know-it-alls in bowties to explain why there isn't enough lumber, why all the seafood restaurants have closed, and why it's no longer 'economical' to conduct mining operations in Alaska.
The final step is to realize that every jot and tittle of the American economy, which has redefined the meaning of the word 'possible' to the rest of the world, consists of millions of people who have taken risks analogous to the kindergarten examples we've cited on YouTube.
Still bored, Brizoni? You need more show and tell before real life begins to strike you as more interesting than a video game? Awwww. Here's a homework assignment. Watch all these. Compare your creativity to that of a capitalist economy. Then come back and lord your boredom over us. Convincingly.
With all the back and forth in the Democratic campaign over the
past few days, people are losing their perspective and getting things
wrong. Specifically, they're being swept up in the amount of ink being
lavished on individual events and failing to see the difference between
a grenade and a bunker-buster. Today, Glenn Reynolds (who also made an
erroneous snap judgment of his own this morning) cited The
Anchoress as a wise perspective on what's going on:
Her point seems to be that we
are at fault if we experience any kind of emotional response to the
exchange of revelations between opposing campaigns. This time, The
Anchoress is wrong.
So is the lede of the USA Today piece linked by HotAir.com.
What could be...? USA
Today is wrong.
And Glenn Reynolds offered the following post, reproduced here word for word:
Glenn Reynolds is wrong. However they surfaced -- which was inevitable
despite The Anchoress's uncharacteristically irrelevant concern with how they surfaced -- the video
excerpts from the sermons of Jeremiah Wright are the only significant
revelation that occurred this week. (Ferraro's faux-pas will be as
insignificant as she is in two weeks time.) They are also fatal to
Obama's chances of winning the presidency. They are probably equally
fatal to Hillary Clinton's chances of winning the presidency. It's up
to the Democrat Party to figure out how to deal with the catastrophe,
but catastrophe it is, and there are multiple reasons why.
Everyone has been bending over backwards to give Obama the benefit of every doubt, including all Democrats, the fawning MSM, and the many many conservatives who would also like to enter a post-racial era of politics. That's the prime reason for The Anchoress's rare lapse of good judgment. Citizens in the electorate who perceive, emotionally or intellectually, that they are conceived of as "the enemy" by a presidential candidate can't be accused of "not making any sense" if they suddenly become intensely skeptical of that candidate. They have every right -- an infinitely greater right, in fact, than any candidate for the highest office in the land has to an unlimited benefit of the doubt about the sincerity of his rhetoric. The candidate's prime mission is to convince voters that he (or she) is not serving some narrow slice of the electorate at the expense of all others. If he fails to do this, he has not earned the office. Period.
For a variety of reasons, we all know very little about Barack Obama. His life has been much like his campaign persona, featuring some point of contact for all people. If you're poor and black, he at least is black. If you're white and highly educated, he at least is highly educated. If you're a struggling single mother, he at least was raised by a single mother. If you're a Catholic or a Methodist or a Presbyterian or a Baptist, he at least belongs to a nominally Christian church. If you're anybody who believes in the American Dream, he is at least, regardless of policy differences, a living embodiment of the American Dream. He has a finger in every pie. His speeches have been analogous. He wants things to be better. He wants less rancorous partisanship. He wants less conflict between America and the rest of the world. And he asserts his confidence, ever so believably, that all these utopian goals can be achieved because he is all of us, in one way or another.
But we don't know very much about him because the part of him to which any of us can relate is only a sliver. Hardly any of us had a white American college professor for a mother and a Kenyan muslim for a father. Hardly any of us spent large chunks of our youth living in non-European foreign countries. Hardly any of us went to the Harvard Law School. Hardly anyone in American history has been propelled to the summit of national politics with such frighteningly scant experience. He is the promising stranger who seems too good to be true. But he is a stranger, even to the 91 percent of genuine African-Americans who support him knowing that he shares none of their ancestry of slavery. And he is too good to be true.
The truth is, he is none of us. Which is absolutely fine for any individual citizen of the United States. But not for someone who aspires to be president of the United States. Ultimately, we all require some connection that goes beyond lofty phrases in speeches read off a teleprompter. The damage that will simmer and ultimately explode out of the Jeremiah Wright association is that Obama is a phony, no matter how he chooses to respond. Whether he defends his racist, anti-American pastor of 20 years or repudiates him with extreme prejudice. In his heart of hearts Obama understands nothing and no one, because he has never belonged anywhere or truly participated in anything. Which is why he has consistently gone overboard in trying to belong everywhere he's ever been. In the process, he has initiated a chain reaction that will do in his party, his rivals, the people he claims to want to serve, and himself.
He seems to present a forest of contradictions. His classmates at Harvard Law School, including his close associates at the Harvard Law Review, seem to remember him as a great guy, tolerant, friendly, and fair. Yet he chooses to be a member of a church that foments a continuous and deeply counter-productive racial rage. He forms a friendship with an over-privileged Vietnam-era radical terrorist whose knowledge of how to play "the system" is so advanced that he can cop a plea for bombing the U.S. Capitol and emerge from prison into a professorship without ever expressing a moment's remorse. Yet he marries a middle-class African-American woman who has had every conceivable advantage and who now, on the verge of becoming First Lady of the nation, publicly voices a churlish disrespect not only for her country but for white people. men generally, and even the husband who has opened up the golden path to power. He prospers politically through a murky relationship with a Chicago operator who has relationships with multiple dubious moneymen from the Wahabbi middle east that have benefited him politcally and personally. Yet he slams his female presidential rival for releasing a photo of him in muslim dress and objects to the speaking out loud of his own middle name.
Who is Barack Obama? There is only one thread of consistency in all these contradictions -- his distance from everyone in his life, save possibly the mother he chose to ignore in an autobiography focused on his distant, abandoning father. Barack Obama is whoever he happens to be around, whoever the emotionally strong people in his life choose to surround him with, whoever it serves him to be at the moment.
The argument is being made that Obama must hate America because he went to Jeremiah Wright's church, got married there, had his children baptized there, and contributed $20K to it in 2006. That's wrong, too. It's Michelle Obama who hates America, who believes the vile propaganda of yet anothe rich, phony, one-church Pope, who wanted to be married in a Farrakhan-esque cult denomination, and have her children baptized there. Obama was just reflecting her wishes because she was authentic African-American and he was merely determined to belong. She knows this. That's why she can barely conceal her contempt for him.
There is no Barack Obama. Everyone who meets him makes up their own version of him. He is an outstanding orator becaue he has learned to read the desire of those around him about who they want him to be and then to reflect and fulfill that desire. It has worked for him every step of the way until now. Be the ball? He is the words he says. When he says them. That's his whole identity, the wave of affirmation that flows back from the crowd when he has been a clear enough mirror.
He has been too many things to too many different people. But all those people expect to see what they're expecting to see every time, and it's no longer possible in the simultaneous pressures of a presidential campaign. Even he doesn't know how different he is from venue to venue and person to person. That's why he doesn't know how to recognize the urgency of repudiating Jeremiah Wright in absolute and unforgiving terms. There's a part of him that believes in the AIDS conspiracy, just as there's a part of him that believes in the fundamental decency of all the guilty liberals who admired and promoted him at the Harvard Business School.
All of this could possibly be overcome if he had any feel for the deep diversity of the American electorate. But he doesn't. From first to last, he's always been an outsider. He doesn't understand at all -- and neither does USA Today's eager young reporter -- that African-Americans have been on a deadly collision course with feminists since the mid-seventies. These two apparent and frequently avowed allies have been competing for the same finite pool of extra privileges all along, and because there are more women and more of the women are white, it is the feminists who have done more to slow the de-racialization of America than any other force. The feminists' anti-male propaganda has inevitably done far more damage to African-American males and their role in families than it has done to white men. The feminists' gradual achievement of female hegemony over child ownership, child-rearing, and abortion decisions has done more to destroy the black family and promote the epidemic of children born out of wedlock than any conspiracy Jeremiah Wright could ever dream up. The resistance -- in the virulent form of hip-hop hatred of women -- has made racism and sexism into the two supposedly allied causes that were destined to go finally and horribly to war with one another.
Regardless of how the campaign war turns out, both sides have been crippled. Obama cannot win because there is no one inside the gauzy, unreal image to battle through the contradictions to a mandate based on character rather than a mosaic of sliver identities. His white vote will shrivel as ordinary Americans discover they can't determine where his allegiance lies, unless it's to himself only. Women will sit on their hands because they've seen enough of the slick young operator who waltzes in at the last moment and swipes the opportunity from the deserving veteran female (and being half-white doesn't help him in this respect). But Hillary can't win, either, because of the one-drop rule. Even though Obama is not and never was an African-American, he has always been black enough to benefit from the superannuated slave culture that forgives every corruption and hypocrisy in those who have any claim on being black. If Hillary is the nominee, African-Americans will stay home in significant numbers. Unlike Jeremiah Wright, John McCain is the irascible uncle we'd go to for help in a pinch, not hide from because of the revolver he keeps in a cigar box.
At the end of the day, Reverend Wright is a self-fulfilling prophecy, the poison in the well. Like Moses, he can never accompany his chosen ones to the promised land When his people finally learn to stop following his like, they will find what they seek, as if by magic. But for now, the horse he groomed for them is scratched at the gate.
If you think we're wrong, you do not yet understand the power of YouTube.
It will "never stop, never stop, never stop..."
UPDATE. Thanks to Glenn Reynolds for the link. I owe him an apology. When he didn't link this post quickly enough to suit me, I sent him a cranky email. InstaPunk's customary arrogance is a persona that's a useful tool on a satirical website but has no place in other kinds of correspondence. Glenn has proved he's a fairer man than I am. We'll see if I can do better in future.