Saturday, May 4, 2019

"I'd require links so I can see that unicorn for myself"

In glancing over all those old posts in which P. Z. Myers is mentioned, I wanted to repost this one.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Atheist Web Presence As The Test Tube Of An Atheist Future

It is tempting to go through Amelia Thomson-Deveaux's article, one of the cooky cutter articles about how religion is dying because a third of young people are unchurched, or the such.  As I've noted before, the atheists claim me for their side because being unchurched describes my situation, so that shows you how meaningful that category is.   As I said, it's tempting to go over it the way I've gone over dozens of similar articles, though as soon as I saw her citing P.Z. Myers as an expert on the topic I knew it wasn't worth going through like that.  So I'll deal with one aspect of it.   The purpose of the article, other than telling atheists what they want to hear - I found it reposted at Alternet, afterall - would seem to reassure people that a society without religion, with a majority of people being atheists would be just ducky, democratic, egalitarian, etc.

Well, the history of atheist government, the only real life example we have to go on is all in the other direction, which I will never tire of pointing out, the disaster those were being as enormous as they are.   Though, come to think of it, I will use  P. Z. Myers from her article to make my point.

Nonbelievers’ efforts to create a moral, happy life in the face of prejudice has created, for some, a kind of angry optimism. PZ (Paul Zachary) Myers, an associate professor of biology at the University of Minnesota, Morris, and one of the proprietors of the blog Pharyngula—where you can read his take on science, current events, and cephalopods—is one of the latest to revel in the “joys of reality” and the folly of faith. His new book, The Happy Atheist, is a gleeful, self-righteous celebration of life without belief. Much of Myers’s happiness, at least according to the book, is derived from mocking the spectacle of religious hypocrisy. But Myers seems distressed by the outsider’s perception that atheists subsist on glib patter. “What we atheists are saying,” he writes, “is that we need to turn away from the powerless rationalizations of the holy books, no matter how poetic they might be, and recognize that their power and their appeal flows from their humanity, not from their religiosity.” Far from missing the point, he proposes, atheists are even more deeply embedded in the sorrows and joys of human experience because they sidestep the “magical thinking” of religious belief.

Setting aside the exquisite richness of online atheists whining about prejudice, it occurred to me as I read those words that a good guess at what kind of morality and principle that we could expect from an atheist majority country would be the comment threads of atheist blogs, as informed by the atheist content of the webloids that host those.  If you think that egalitarian democracy, a respect for difference, honesty, informed opinion, and a tolerance for those who disagree with you is anywhere in evidence on any atheist majority comment thread, I'd require links so I can see that unicorn for myself.   Even in the article, Thomson-Deveaux is forced by reality to say

Myers won’t win brownie points from those who want the New Atheists to temper their tone. Near the end, he calls believers “lazy-minded”—for him, that’s charitable. In his last essay, he seems almost ready to call a truce: quoting from The Epic of Gilgamesh, he declares that grief is “the touchstone, the common element that atheists and theists share.” But he can’t bring himself to admit that the concept of God might be anything but comical.

Which brings to mind Hemant Mehta's "moderate" religion bashing blog "The Friendly Atheist" which is hardly friendly to anyone who isn't an atheist and, though I won't go into details, is hardly a haven of honest assertion.   I would hazard to guess that's the best they can do because what you need to be nicer than that is entirely lacking in their shared ideology and the intellectual culture that results from that.

The extent to which being merely civil to each other is based in absolute moral obligations that are, frequently, not in our interest and the farthest thing in the world from what we feel from being is based on commandments contained in religious texts as commands from God needs to be considered seriously.  That is THAT NEEDS TO BE CONSIDERED SERIOUSLY AS IF IT REALLY WERE IMPORTANT.  Without that taken seriously as a moral obligation it will not be practiced, the increasing level of incivility contributing to a downward trend that only tends to get worse.  I am as guilty of falling into that spiral as anyone, though I'm working on it.

There is no reason for someone who doesn't believe there is a real and binding moral obligation who believes they can get away with being a jerk to someone else to refrain from being a jerk.   The named atheists in Thomson-Deveaux's article almost to a man became famous through being a rude, bigoted, dishonest jerk in the interest of atheism.   No one in the world outside of Morris Minnesota would likely have heard of P. Z. Myers had he not been the king of atheist assholism on his "Scienceblog".  And the star of most of them would either have set with their lagging careers if they hadn't turned to atheist invective or it would never have risen.

The extent to which intellectual integrity and honesty, as practice, are dependent on the real and effective belief in moral obligations to seek and speak the truth and not to deceive are, as well,  founded in moral absolutes which atheism can't provide also needs to be taken more seriously.   If someone who doesn't believe in a real and consequential obligation to tell the truth, they have nothing other than a fear of not getting away with it, to keep them from lying to their own benefit.  I would really like to study the religious orientation of scientists who are found guilty of professional fraud though I can't find that has ever been studied.  I'd like to know if the moral obligations contained in Christianity, Judaism, Islam have a real effect in lessening the commission of scientific fraud as compared to the merely conventional desirability to not lie, the best that atheism produces, on the basis of preference.

Only, as I'll point out to lead to the next paragraph, I don't know if that is the case because I don't have the evidence of it.   Atheists sometimes don't let that keep them from asserting they do know such unevidenced things and calling it "science".

The typical response to those points is to make up some kind of evolutionary strategy that would turn getting away with doing bad things into some kind of reproductive disadvantage when there is absolutely no evidence in present day, observable life that being a rude and obnoxious jerk is more of a reproductive disadvantage than being polite and honest.  Compare the number of offspring an Antonin Scalia has produced as compared to Stephen Breyer,  John Sununu to Hamilton Jordan.   There is no evidence that even the most dishonest jerks leave fewer offspring than nice people, so that "scientific" explanation, like all of those invented to ameliorate the savage amorality of natural selection is, in itself, dishonesty in the service of ideology whose promoters have every confidence they can get away with promoting.  That it was a theory promoted, in every case I'm aware of, by atheists* who have tried to cover up the inescapable logical conclusion that natural selection destroys traditional morality says more about the nature of atheist morals than it does the mechanisms of evolution.

No, I think we should take the atheist web presence as our closest thing to a test tube we have of what we can expect if this new world of the new atheists happens and the political, legal, social and interpersonal ideals of religion give way to a world based on materialism and science.   Hemant Mehta, Jerry Coyne,  P.Z. Myers, Ophilia Benson, Greta Christina, and all the way down to TunderfOOt and the atheist comment communities they host are the future if atheism takes political control.   It won't be tolerant, it won't be, polite,  morals and ideals will be summarily denied as desired, except in the shifting, inconsistent, whimsical ways of those folks (WHO is dissing the Muslims is all that counts with them, as mentioned here last week, it's a question of ranking who is hated more at any given time.)   And, given the track record of atheists with control of a government a military and the police, don't expect anything like democracy or a tolerance for different points of view or much in the way of restraint in summarily disposing of such folk.

*  The problem of maintaining natural selection and traditional morality has been noted since the 1860s, with some, such as Darwin's closest German colleague, Ernst Haeckel, reveling in its destruction of morality while others such as Frances Cobbe were, rightly, horrified by the prospects of people taking that seriously.   The history of natural selection in politics for the next century and on to today, proves Frances Cobbe was more realistic about that than the Peter Kropotkins who tried to make the to-the-death struggle of Darwinism go away. The more recent attempts under Hamilton's theories is no more successful and, as I've noted before, one of its main promoters, E. O. Wilson has taken the logical step of saying he'd been wrong about it.  The political presence of evolutionary psychology has not been a noted success for the idea that all people are created equal and that laws should promote racial and gender equality.

Update:  Well, you see, natural selection leads to the conclusion that people are subject to its amoral mechanisms as a part of material causation may be a necessary conclusion of materialism, if you accept that people aren't bound to act in accord with material causation because they are free not to, then there is no reason to assert that "survival of the fittest" is a law that applies to human conduct and human society.  I'm trying to remember any assertion in the Jewish-Christian scriptures in which God tells the animals to do unto others as they would have done unto them, and I'm coming up dry.

Moral obligations, equally applied, are a gift to the human species, from God.

It is impossible to believe that natural selection governs the human population due to material causation and hold that you should do unto others as you would have done unto you - the rock bottom, on the basalt, foundation of egalitarian democracy.  I have given up the a-historical lie that any progress we've made in that direction is not a direct result of taking that commandment as a binding moral obligation on the basis of religion.

Many of the most influential atheists in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries have either explicitly denied the validity of that moral obligation or have tried to define it away in the method of Dawkins and Dennett.

Update 2019:  I think my point that the conditions prevailing in the atheist online community were what we could rationally form some idea of an atheist future to be like is vindicated by what P. Z. Myers bemoans in most of his online obituary for the new atheism.   So, I guess he would have agreed with that point I made four years earlier.  

The thing is, atheism has a history of being in power in a number of places and times and it is a told in the history of genocidal gangster-dictatorships going back through history, in the west back to the Reign of Terror in the French Revolution.  As I've had to point out many times, any "Most Christian" princes, monarchs and Popes who waged bloody war, killed people, enslaved people, oppressed people had to overcome their alleged allegiance to the teachings of Jesus, Paul, the other writers of Epistles, The Mosaic Law and the Prophets.  Atheists who wanted to do that had to overcome nothing about atheism to do it, there is no durable moral prohibition against that in atheism, atheism recognizes nothing as being a durable moral prohibition.  If you want to praise their fidelity to atheist amorality, I guess you could do that.  

I have no doubt that English speaking Americans or Brits or other atheists who gained control of a government could be expected to be as viciously ruthless in killing off, enslaving, etc. as atheists, certainly as much so as those of the past who gave lip service to the teachings of Jesus as they did all of those things.  And, especially in the line of thinkers coming out of Malthus and Darwin, some of those greatest heroes of atheists have advocated ruthlessness of that kind.  Read The Descent of Man if you don't believe that, read Darwinists such as Karl Pearson.   Those are exactly the same kinds of thing as atheists did while speaking Russian and German and French and Chinese languages and Korean.   As I mentioned yesterday,  Nietzsche predicted that would be the outcome of an atheist future and he was certainly a lot more spot on in that than those dear old commie folkies Tom Lehrer made fun of were.  I doubt even P. Z. Myers would deny that possibility if the fanboys of the pathologically Muslim hating Sam Harris or Thunderf00t were the atheists in charge.  As can be seen where atheists rule, it is generally the most ruthless who will crush their rivals more likely to try to be nice.  That is a tendency in government even when leaders make a pretense of believing in Christianity.  See Trump on the appallingly hypocritical spectacle of him at the ill-advised National Prayer Day earlier this week.   

While I disagree with Chris Hedges a lot more than I agree with him, while sharing many of his same stands, he got that right about the new atheists, their distopian utopianism was extremely dangerous, all of the atheist paradises claim to be Utopia and are sold with high flown idealistic claims.  Those are all lies. 

Note:  I am expecting to be out most of Sunday morning so this is being posted late Saturday. 

Saturday Night Radio Drama - Joe O'Byrne - Fish Climbing Trees

Clara's anything but, in Joe O'Byrne's new radio-play. Her name may mean clear, bright and famous in Old Latin, but, in modern English, this sad stand-up artiste must take it lying down: it's a pity laugh in the late-night cabaret where she performs and a hospital pass in the psychiatric facility where the day-job makes and/or breaks her. Is she a culprit or a casualty, a carer or a client? Maybe Mike, who thinks he's Leonardo, can paint her in her true colours.

Clara,Claire Barrettt 
Mike/Leonardom Peter Daly.
Harry and Kev, the other members of the Mosquito Trio, were played by Paul Ronan and Stephen Jones.
Joe Taylor, Dr. Maguire,
Deirdre Monahan, Ms. Johnson & Sadie
Kathy Rose O'Brien, Paula.

Sound supervision was by Richard McCullough,  produced by Aidan Mathews.

If nothing else, if you're sad and depressed being all alone on a Saturday night,  it could be worse, you could be in an improv club. 

Dull Mail

Paul Desmond wrote Take Five.  What can you expect from a pop music scribbler. 

Update:  I'd figured everything he knew about anything but pop-crap he learned from liner notes.  

The quartet achieved their greatest commercial success in 1960 with the Desmond composition “Take Five,” a widely acknowledged jazz classic and the best-selling jazz single of all time. A perennial crowd-pleaser, “Take Five” became de rigueur in the group’s concert performances, during which band members would leave the stage one at a time after their respective solos until only drummer Morello was left.  Encyclopedia Britannica online:  Dave Brubeck

At the time, I thought it was kind of a throwaway. I was ready to trade in the entire rights of “Take Five” for a used Ronson electric razor.—Paul Desmond

Desmond changed his mind about swapping the “Take Five” royalties for a shaver. Following his death in 1977, his will directed gifts of personal items and bequests of cash to a number of relatives and friends. The royalties went elsewhere. As recounted in the Coda chapter of Take Five: The Public and Private Lives of Paul Desmond:

The balance of Desmond’s residuary estate, after payment of debts and taxes, went to The American Red Cross. “Residuary” is the fateful word in that provision of Desmond’s will. Every year since his death, through his royalties from “Take Five,” his other compositions, his recordings and his share of the Brubeck Quartet recordings, Desmond has kept on earning. Noel Silverman (the executor of his estate) sends the Red Cross the money in increments of $25,000 as it accumulates in the estate’s account. In 1991 the total reached more than a million dollars. . . 

[Section critical of the mismanagement of the Red Cross under a regime of incompetent Republican heads, though it doesn't mention their partisan affiliation.]

. . . I spoke with Noel Silverman this morning. He told me that Desmond’s contributions to the Red Cross, largely by way of “Take Five’s” royalties, are now “well north of six million dollars.”

(1) Desmond On “Take Five.” (2) A Financial Report
April 15, 2011 by Doug Ramsey

Update 2:  No, it never surprises me when some of the other kewel-kids at Duncan Black's blog agree with widely held misconceptions, other than about five of those I recall whose names were showing up when I used to look at it were emotionally and intellectually still in high school.   You know, if you and he didn't send me notices I wouldn't even notice what was said there.  What a truly pathetic thing it is for people going into the twilight of their lives to still be in that mindset. What TV and movies and pop kulcha have done to people.  

Stale Mail - No, I Didn't Know PZ Had Declared The New Atheism Over

Way down in the pile of unmoderated comments someone tells me that P. Z. Myers has declared that the new atheism fad is over.  No surprise, to me.  I've been telling people for ages that Old White Men are the last people to get when something has gotten old and, as Myers lays it out, the new atheism was always mostly an Old White Man thing. 

Myers' goodbye to all that nothing,  The train wreck that was the New Atheism, starts, 

The title of the article is What Was New Atheism?. The use of the past tense is noted. The label was coined in 2006 by Gary Wolf in Wired, and we spent the next decade sort of agreeing that there is a kind of unified movement here (while trying to explain it wasn’t “new”), while what unity we had splintered beneath us. I guess it’s over now. The “New Atheism” had a 12 year shelf life. We should have used more preservatives, I suppose.

Yes, I was a New Atheist (past tense again). I promoted it, I happily wore the label, I was initially optimistic that we were going to change the culture, I was naive and stupid. I swallowed some of my early reservations — is this just a reaction against Bush fueled by xenophobia inspired by the September 11th bombings? — but figured that would pass, that people would step in the door and then find enduring meaning in science and evidence-based reasoning.

his valediction to what he, himself, admits was a "train wreck" ends:

Dennett has basically retired from the fray. Maybe he was the smartest of the four. [Good Lord, if that's the case then it was predestined to end in a wreck.  I loathe him but I actually think the sleazy, slimy, slithery, vilely dishonest Christopher Hitches was probably the smartest of them.]  Although I would argue with him fiercely on his misunderstandings of evolution, at least he kept his discussions on a philosophical plane. [See my discussion of his eliminative materialism if you want to see what a bad idea that was.]

Harris, the worst of the bunch,[I'd put him in the same category as Hitchens in terms of amorality.] is also the most successful. He has successfully pandered to the most regressive members of his audience, and continues as an alt-right, “Intellectual Dark Web” figurehead, and is continuing to profit. If anyone is a symbol of the moral and intellectual corruption of the New Atheism, though, he’s it.

Dawkins had the most well-earned prestige, and has ended up squandering his reputation with repeated foot-shootings. [I have to assume that Myers carries the typical post-war college-credentialed, history deficient view of Darwinist determinism, which always, inevitably, even among the post-war heroes of Darwinism always ends up in the same place as Dawkins (the genetic racism, racism, class inequality of the likes of Watson, Crick, evo-psy, etc.) either explicitly or just not mentioning the logical ends of that position.]

And me. I was never on a par with those big names, but I was a madly typing proponent of the New Atheism. Now, though…that period is the deepest regret of my life (not that that means much, I’ve been lucky to live a life with few regrets). I’m still a strong atheist, and will be on my deathbed, and I do not regret promoting godlessness and a reason-based life, but I was unfortunate to be part of that traveling shit-show before I realized it’s destination was where it is now: a shambles of alt-right memes and dishonest hucksters mangling science to promote racism, sexism, and bloody regressive politics.

I don't know how anyone knows what they're going to be in the future, I couldn't tell you what I'll be on my deathbed, except I hope, not there long.  The idea that "godlessness" is "a reason-based life" is one of the most laughably absurd ideas I could possibly think would come from someone with 12 years of looking at the thinking of thousands and thousands of atheists from the perch of P. Z. Myers, looking at his comment threads, his blogging and scribbling colleagues, the barely coherent, often teetering over the edge Jerry Coyne, some of his colleagues at the "Free Thought Blogs" especially those who share in Dennett's style of demotion of the idea of consciousness and the more widespread atheist debunking of the idea of free thought. 

I'll give Myers this, he didn't go in the direction of Thunderf00t but I can't think of any of the theologians I respect who would have gone anywhere like in that direction.  In my program of reading Hans Kung's work I can say that I have never read any atheist who is as devoted to following evidence, that of his opponents perhaps even more than those closer to his view point, none who has as deep a devotion to rigorous logical analysis and honesty about the limits of his case.  And I could say the same about most of the theologians I read.  I have read very few philosophers as devoted to logical rigor as the best of the theologians - certainly none of those I read who are still alive would ever come up with something as incredibly stupid as eliminative materialism. 

I think, in the end. Myers' atheism was based on that of all of the rest of them, a very superficial view of religion and its place in history and society, today.  That, in English language scribblage goes back at least to the 17th century, perhaps even farther back.  It is a facile, easily held belief not based in a deep reading and knowledge of history and the primary documentation of it, it is more likely informed by the bigotry of English writers of the 18th century than it is the primary documentation, and that's at its best.  Like Dawkins' God Delusion, it's most likely to be informed by a pretty vulgar level of pop-lit instead. 

I'll give my own take on the new atheism, it was the thing that opened my eyes fully to the folly of the old atheists and the fact that atheist materialism will always, always eventually dissolve the necessary beliefs that are the only thing that supports egalitarian democracy.  The new atheism was the thing that led me to believe atheism is and has been one of the most destructive forces working against the traditional American liberal tradition that is founded in the holdings of egalitarian democracy.

Myers and I probably agree on a lot in politics, the law and society.  He is obviously untroubled at the consequences of neo-Darwinist genetic determinism, the denial of the possibility of free will from a belief in minds being determined by physical causation acting on molecules in human brains, the constant recurrence of assertions of inherent, irremediable and consequential gender, racial, ethnic and class inequality that is the most fundamental holding of natural selection.  I read the 1976 statement of the Sociobiology Study Group and took it to heart, many of those who signed it were far more eminent biologists than Richard Dawkins or P. Z. Myers, including the teacher of Jerry Coyne, Richard Lewontin, and read their warnings that what was about to make Richard Dawkins famous was just such a recapitulation of scientific racism and neo-eugenics.  I also looked into the primary documentary evidence and history of that and see in it the same kind of "universal acid" that Daniel Dennett asserted Darwinism is for everything.  That wasn't exactly news, Friedrich Nietzsche had far more impressively predicted that consequence of the scientism of the late 19th century, even predicting it would, in the fullness of time, even eat away science as anything but a tool of power by the powerful.  I could go on but anyone who cares to can look up the citations on many of my blog posts to read that for themselves.

I think my belief is far more evidence based, far more an expression of applying logical analysis than Myers' atheism.  I would recommend anyone who wants to can read my posts dealing with previous issues concerning P. Z. Myers to see if they agree.
Had to sit with a sick relative this morning so I'm getting a late start.   I hope to post something later. 

Friday, May 3, 2019

Someone Still Has His Pinafore In A Twist Over Me Calling Lindsay Graham A "Faggot"

I didn't call the selfish princess Lindsay Graham a "southern belle".  Though, since you brought that up, don't know if you took French in high school, he definitely qualifies as a southern bel or could be if you follow that by a vowel, such as in the word "asshole".  South Carolina has produced a number of his type of wealth servicing aristocratic faggots since the antebellum period.  And I did mean that as a slam against South Carolina.  I hold my state guilty of inflicting Susan Collins on the United States, I'm not going to hold back on judging the majority of voters in the home of treason, one of the two original states who imposed so much original sin on us through the Constitution in the Constitutional Convention.  Maine might prove me wrong in the next election, I'll believe it when I see it.  I am not going to hold out for South Carolina doing that.  A state is to blame for what they send to Washington.  Especially to the Senate. 

I'm really not interested in what a straight man has to say about the word "faggot" as I used it.  Get stuffed. 

Update:  Grandmere_Poissonniere, T’es donc ben niaiseuse. 

Update 2:  I had to temporarily post a comment by the guy who slanders me at Duncan Black's blog to make sure I was really reading what I thought he had said, that when he, an old Jewish man - NOT A WOMAN - uses the sock puppet "Slutty  Jewish Girl" . . . Well, temporarily suspending my resolution, here's what he said.  "When a Jew, like me, does it, it's ironic and funny."  That would be him using it as a sock puppet over a number of years to post comments on blogs.  When I, a gay man, use the term "faggot" to out Lindsay Graham - a gay man in a party from a state hostile to equal rights for LGBTQ people and a party which has used hatred of gay men, like Lindsay Graham to win elections, a Republican-fascist, Trump tool, the Teaneck TV retarded expert on the real right way to do things said, "when you call Lindsey a faggot, you're being a disgusting bigot who doesn't remotely understand what a pig you are.. The reason you don't understand that is because you know nothing about irony and humor. Or prejudice when it's not you're ox being gored."

"You'll never get it, moron."

Passing up the opportunity of pointing out the misplaced apostrophe (he is always calling me out on my typos) but not passing up the opportunity to point out he accuses me of not understanding irony,  and then there the  rest of the comment, well, the rest of it says it all, doesn't it, right down to the word "moron".  Any irony in his comment was unintentional but lying there for anyone with more of a mind than he has to see.  

I have removed the comment itself, though by the method that shows it was once posted, in case he denies having sent it.  I did copy the whole thing and could post it, 

Assholes like that always figure its OK when they do things that they condemn other people for,  So the Teanecker has that in common with Lindsay Graham and the rest of the Republican-fascist faggots who support the Republican-fascists and Trump.  Irony is a weapon that should only be used by those equipped to use it.  it's so liable to end up wounding the stupid who make the attempt. 

Mary Lou Williams Trio - Dat Dere

Mary Lou Williams, piano
Buster Williams, bass
Mickey Roker, drums

Shiela Jordan and Gildas Boclé

Music Bobby Timmons
Words Oscar Brown jr.

Last Word On This This Week

If eliminative materialism, the holding that human consciousness is an illusory epiphenomenon of material causation acting on molecules that just happen to be present and in temporary proximity to each other in our heads is not false, then literally EVERYTHING, everything in all of human culture, the entire history of recorded and verbal human culture, education, academic discourse, including what the eliminative materialists construct their assertions out of and the collective audience of those they gull with their nonsense is totally and entirely meaningless.  Literally everything they publish, all of their ersatz erudition is as meaningful as the babblings of Kellyanne Conway on the White House Law, Sarah Huckabee Sanders from the podium and Donald Trump in his tweets, writ, as it were, on toilet paper.  In fact, I can think of no more valid comparison than among those things. 

To believe Daniel Dennett's philosophy is to reduce his philosophy to insignificance.  As I've pointed out many times, materialism is the only ideology that can only be true if it is false.  All of our perception and all of our conclusions about the material world would be exactly as illusory as the consciousness with which we have those perceptions and draw those conclusions and you would have to be a total idiot to not understand that in short order.  Materialism is an ideology that is held by a myriad of such idiots. 

The Laws Delays Are A Guarantee Of Unequal Justice Favoring the Favored

As I said the other day Lawman Robert Mueller's reported friendship with William Barr after the first two of the three things on the Honorable Mazie Hirono's list of Barr's obstruction for a Republican president and administration was one of the things which led to me being skeptical of his sterling character.  We're not talking about just one lawyer paling around with a lawyer who was also a massive sleazebag, we're talking about a lawyer who had been a prosecutor, who had held several very high offices in federal law enforcement, who, certainly, had sent or would be entirely prepared to send nobodies, the powerless, the middle-class to destitute to prison for far lesser instances of covering up for much pettier criminals over far pettier instances of law breaking.  I would love to have a comprehensive list of the people who Robert Mueller either had put away or helped put away with the information to see what the financial condition of those criminals were as compared to William Barr and those who he helped get away with high crimes up to and including, literally, murder.   

Robert Mueller certainly knew that about William Barr by the time the Republicans and the corrupt judges on that infamous three judge panel set up Ken Starr to chase after Bill Clinton's penis looking for something they could whip up into an impeachable offense - their publicly funded campaign to find an actual crime the Clintons had committed coming up empty.  By that time the OLC memo that William Barr had suppressed over the matter of George H. W. Bush invading Panama to arrest Noriega had come out, it came out early in the Clinton administration.  And the George H. W. Bush's cover-up pardons penned by William Barr were always known.   I can't believe that Robert Mueller, Lawman, would have been social buddies with some other lawyer-gangster who had done things like that.  Call me skeptical, but I doubt he'd maintain a friendship with someone who did that for a Democrat, though, as we know from the Ken Starr investigation, no Democrat has committed those kinds of crimes.   Just like I heard Linda Chavez, as she declared herself a never-Trumper yesterday, praised what he and Mitch McConnell are doing to the judiciary.  I strongly suspect Republican Robert Mueller probably likes that kind of thing, as well.  There are few Republican never-Trumpers who I don't suspect of liking everything about this except the vulgarity and irregularity of it. 

The long, long drama we are sitting through in regard to Robert Mueller is turning into the longest, most absurd and frustrating production of a Becket play in history.  I'm beginning to suspect the godly Godot of this production is never going to get here.   Hearing someone talking on one of the talk shows about how these things take time made me remember another famous scene, the big one, Hamlet Act 3, scene 1

For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
Th' oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely
The pangs of despised love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of th' unworthy takes

I'm hard put to decide whether Mueller is an example of patient merit or unworthy, an example of the insolence of office or maybe it's that he's too proud of his professional reputation in the law to facilitate justice.  Or maybe he's not all that bothered by what Republicans have been doing in this regard his entire professional career. 

One of the biggest eye-openers for me in this disaster, is the sickening sentimentality that people who have worked as federal prosecutors, in the FBI, in the so-called Department of Justice have for those institutions,  I think someone who ever claims someone is "an institutionalist" within reach of my fist is going to feel it in their teeth.   It has to be willful blindness of the kind that Mueller had to have practiced to be friends with William Barr.  When former prosecutors on MSNBC express their disappointment in their former colleagues, they choose to be blind to the real character of people like James Comey, Rod Rosenstein, William Barr and countless others.  Not just Republicans either, a number of them have either been Democrats or of unknown party affiliation.  That those are the very same people who have set up Robert Mueller in similar terms makes me all the more skeptical of his actual character.  I'm about out of patience with St. Robert Mueller, I'm beginning to think the dragons he slays are more likely on the scale of geckos than Gekkos. 

I strongly suspect that once before the House Judiciary Committee, Robert Mueller will hold himself above the level of disclosure that will be necessary to move us towards safety.  I expect him to be more like a marble statue of justice, than a professional administering it.   The longer he is silent, allowing his buddy Barr to shape the narrative that fits on FOX, the longer he participates in letting Trump and his crime family get away with this and going on to do worse.  I'm fed up with him in a way that is tasting a lot like it was when I'd had enough of James Comey's posing and posturing. 


The habit of media and insider babble sets up the legal arm of the federal government, the courts, and that overlap between the judicial and executive branch that is the bizarre and often bad Department of Justice as being above the vulgarity of politics, as higher than the Congress, of which the House is actually, set up as the most democratic part of the government.  That is the biggest load of crap there is.  I have been researching the history of attempts by Congress and legislatures to get the corrupting influence of money out of our politics and the long and disgusting history of the least democratic part of the government, the Supreme Court in destroying those efforts to clean big money and the influence of the billionaires and millionaires to control the government for their own benefit.  That history, alone, should shatter that absurd hierarchy of repute.  There have been corrupt Houses, we just had one under Paul Ryan, the Senate has always been far more prone to being a corrupt and anti-democratic through its anti-democratic constitution.   The presidency is more characterized by incompetence when it wasn't characterized by corruption.  But none of them have done more to produce the disaster we are in than the Supreme Court.   

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Literally The Stupidest Idea Ever Pushed Within Academia

No, I didn't listen to Daniel Dennett's TED Talk "The Illusion of Consciousness," which you sent me.  I've spent too much time on the idiocy of Daniel Dennett and Paul and Pat Churchland and other idiots whose emotional attachment to materialism and whose university philosophy dept. salaries depend on them holding to such idiocy as the idea that consciousness is an illusory epiphenomenon of molecules arranging and rearranging in brains.  Their every articulation of their philosophy is dependent on their denied assumption of consciousness, their own and that of their students and audiences.  , 

Eliminative materialism is, literally, the stupidest idea to have ever been pushed within academia.  Literally.   And I say that with Jordan Peterson running around, these days. 

The idiocy of that philosophical dung heap is most easily shown by pointing out the fact that illusion is a state of consciousness, as is every single thing they build their paper castles out of.  Any professional philosopher who could hold that consciousness is an illusion has proven only one thing, materialism is an illusory state of consciousness that leads to the ultimate in intellectual decadence as personified in Daniel Dennett, Paul and Patricia Churchland and the current field of English language philosophy, at least in so far as that philosophy is based in the ideology of materialism.  Anyone who can think is entirely justified in ignoring their bull shit and thinking less of any philosophy department that maintains them on salary.  TED, too. 

You know, asking me if I listened to Dennett and wanting me to be convinced by it all depended on you caring about my consciousness.  Though I suspect I just told you something you hadn't thought of.  Daniel Dennett isn't so much a meat head as a puzzlewit. 

Nancy Pelosi Says It

Hate Mail - Cut The Crap, Precious

I absolutely demand my right as a gay man to call Lindsay Graham "Princess" on the solid ground that it would piss off the little faggot fascist.  I claim a cultural right to do so as an old gay man who hates that little faggot fascist with the best of causes, his hypocrisy as a life-long and active faggot while denying it as a Republican-fascist. 

I claim the same right to point out the whoring of the media, the legal profession and other such venues of elite prostitution.  If any actual whores want to bring that up, I'll listen to them and take their objections, advisedly.  As a member of the middle-upper class (I know who you are) who will never know a prostitute except as a john, unless you or you loved ones have had your bodies rented for money, you have no standing to make that objection.  Graham is a whore, as well but I agree putting him in the same category as people exploited and destroyed by the sex industry would be going too far.  Everything about Graham's whoring is far more morally degenerate than that trade.  And the same could be said of every single Republican in the House and Senate right now. 

Inequality That Favors You Will Eventually Enslave You

People  may think it's over the top when I call the Republican Party the Republican-fascist Party but yesterday the Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee and House Judiciary Committees proved that that is exactly what the Republican Party is.  And we know that because of their tacit approval of one of the most extraordinary things that William Barr said during his appearance at the Senate committee

"The point I was trying to make earlier is that, in the situation of the President, who has constitutional authority to supervise proceedings, if in fact a proceeding was not well founded, if it was a groundless proceeding, if it was based on false allegations, the President does not have to sit there, constitutionally, and allow it to run its course, the President could terminate that proceeding, and it would not be a corrupt intent, because he was being falsely accused."

That is an articulation of the power of absolute dictatorship, an absolute dictator is one who is answerable to no one and no one has the power to restrain or remove.  Any president would have the power to commit any act and because they believe they have committed no crime, they could end any investigation into it - keep in mind how dependent the Congress is and has been on investigations conducted by the FBI and independent investigators who, under the U. S. Constitution are part of the executive branch.  That has been true in every significant investigation into crimes committed in the executive branch that I can recall.   

And William Barr made that declaration of Republican-fascism it was with the full knowledge that an American President had given any future one such as Trump all the excuse he needed to do just what he wants to do in this infamous exchange Richard Nixon had with David Frost

Frost: “Would you say that there are certain situations … where the president can decide that it’s in the best interests of the nation and do something illegal?”

Nixon: “Well, when the president does it, that means it is not illegal.”

Frost: “By definition.”

Nixon: “Exactly, exactly. If the president … approves something because of the national security, or in this case because of a threat to internal peace and order of significant magnitude, then the president’s decision … enables those who carry it out, to carry it out without violating a law. Otherwise, they’re in an impossible situation.”

And, apparently, it's such a president who decides which situations are those "certain situations,"  and "impossible situations."  That was something an elected Republican President said after he had been forced to resign in the one and only instance when Congressional action, or its possibility, has done that in our history. 

Nixon's presumption is one which we can see the Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee certainly are willing to extend to presidents of their own party because of their behavior in regard to the flagrant lawbreaking of Trump and other Republican presidents before him.   But, as in the case of the gap between the Lindsay Graham of the 1990s who was ready to impeach Bill Clinton over him lying about his sex life, Lindsay Graham has slavishly become the tool of Donald Trump.  That before it was clear Trump would become president Graham was predicting disaster if Trump were elected only proves how craven the Republicans in Congress are, even those who, formerly, wanted to pose as men and women of principle who believed in a nation of laws and not men.

That was all pose.  They never meant it.  That is made clear by their caving to Trump's gangster regime.  They are every suck up for every bully and gangster you've ever seen in life and in the movies.  That is a guarantee among the devotees of inequality. 

I also know that some people think I'm hard on the Founders - well, someone has to be.  But this is one case when the unitary executive fascists that the Ivys and Ivy equivalents have defecated over democracy are obviously not originalists because if there's one thing the Founders didn't do, it was give the United States an absolute monarchy, though they gave us a system which was bound to devolve into one if allowed to develop in that way.  And ours has.  At least it has when it is the list of Republican criminals I gave here yesterday,  Nixon through Trump, every one of them has committed impeachable crimes except Ford and what he did in pardoning Nixon was probably the most dangerous single act any of them ever took.  If Nixon had been convicted and imprisoned for his crimes, the crimes of the Reagan and Bush I administrations and the Bush II and Trump regimes would almost certainly have been fewer and less serious than they were. 

A couple of days ago I mentioned that while they were in the Fuhrer Bunker in the final days of World War II Goebbels read Hitler from Carlyle's biography of Fredrich the Great to encourage him to fight to the end.  It may be a little known in the United States that Hitler took that 18th century monarch as an inspiration for his absolute dictatorship.  

The Founders certainly knew of him and other such monarchs, it was the predominant form of government in every country they knew, including the one whose control of the 13 colonies they were throwing off.  Though some of them, like Hamilton, were warm to some level of monarchical rule, they ultimately rejected it. 

An absolute monarch is an absolute dictator, one of the things that the Founders knew in a relatively milder form in George III and they knew they didn't want to recreate that in the United States.   But they didn't want egalitarian democracy, either.  All being rich, aristocratic men, slave owners and financiers, merchants, they wanted the benefits of liberty for themselves unimpeded by a king who might impinge on what they wanted to do.  They wanted inequality that favored them.  Especially the slave owners among them, they wanted to avoid the rising idea that all men being created equal with God-endowed rights included those they wanted to enslave ever endangering the slavery that made them rich.  That is the reason that the very institutions that imposed Trump on us, as it did Bush II before, the electoral college, the anti-democratic inequality of the Senate, was able to overcome the power of the popular vote. 

The Republican-fascist legal establishment of which William Barr is certainly a member, as is Rod Rosenstein, the Republican members of both Congressional Judiciary Committees, favor the kind of inequality that the Founders favored for themselves, they clearly despise every attempt at equality for Black People, for Women, for People of Color, certainly, most of all and in every age, members of the economic underclass.  It is their entire reason for what they do.  

Now,  the seeds of that self-interested inequality embedded in the Constitution have come to fruition and we find that the very freedoms and liberties and advantages that the rich gave themselves are coming back to enslave us all.  It is no coincidence of history that the last two Republican presidents have been the result of Constitutional provisions slave owners put there to favor them.  Now it is resulting in fascistic powers being asserted by the Attorney General confirmed by the Republican Senate.  What William Barr said to no objection by Republicans gives away their game.  A president who can do what he claims he can is an absolute despot.  No one with genuine despotic tendencies cares about whether or not what they do is wrong, if they did they wouldn't have despotic tendencies, they don't care if what they do is wrong.  If they are the ones who get to decide if an investigation into them is legitimate, Barr would give exactly the worst kind of person the most power.  And it is clear that the Republicans who don't repudiate what he said are perfectly willing to do that in the person of Donald Trump. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

A Gay Man Of A Certain Age Shows His Age By Being Incorrect

It's just as well I'm not on the Senate Judiciary Committee because after Lindsay Graham did his patented outrage act after the most wonderful and truthful grilling of Barr by the most Honorable Mazie Hirono I think I'd have said,  "Come off it, Princess, you're not impressing anyone."  

Lindsay is the Republican-fascist's drama queen, he's done it on three occasions, his arranged setting off of Alito's wife, his rescuing Kavanaugh from the truth told by the heroic Dr. Blasey-Ford and, now, to pull William Barr's ample fat out of the fire before it ignites and burns down the whole Republican-fascist party.  Lindsay Graham is on that long list of Republicans I'd dearly love to see in orange and leg chains being walked before the cameras.  

Phil Points Out Why Corbyn Is An Idiot

I had to take a break from Barr's lying and the frustration that the Senate Judiciary Committee is at the best of times - this is about the worst of times, there.   

The adoration of Jeremy Corbyn among the play-lefty types in the United States is a sign of their stupidity and immaturity.  The idea that someone who is this much of a counter-productive idiot is someone the left will succeed with is an exercise in complete lefty lunacy.   Because he's supposedly the leftist with the mostest and that's the reason to support him (if you think I'm kidding, go listen to Majority Report for a while) all of his duplicity and hypocrisy and incompetence and failure is supposed to be OK.   I hope, hope against all reason that Jeremy Corbyn will be the last straw that breaks the hundred fifty or so year delusion that there is anything for the left in the authentic and formerly effective American liberal tradition in Marxism or Fabianism.

See Also:

By chance, going to check that last piece at the NPR website, they have this picture of the esteemed actor Lauren Bacall with Sinatra in 1957, the same year Bogart died from lung cancer. Looking at it, I can't help but remember reading that when Bogart started becoming aware of the dangers of smoking, he switched from Chesterfields to filters. I wonder if the stylish cigarette holder was adopted for that reason. 

Remember, this is the same woman who appeared in that ad I posted the other day.  I don't have the date but as Bogey died in January, chances are it was after he died.  

I will give Lauren Bacall this, ever much later, when she was in her 80s, she gave a very frank, horrible account of Humphrey Bogart's last act, his terrible death from smoking induced cancer, the very thing that had been so much a part of his celebrity and hers, something they'd made a lot of money out of.   I suspect the images in the movies, Bacall and Bogart lighting up has a lot more impact on peoples' behavior than the anti-smoking ads of a few years later.  I thought I remembered some of those featuring her or him, but I can't find those online.  I can find dozens and dozens of movie clips of them smoking together at the direction of the director, perhaps the writers and producers, too. 

I haven't watched TV since the high-definition switch was made, so I don't know.  Do they even have on anti-smoking ads anymore?   I'm sure the smoking scenes are still aired, regularly. 

Update:  Oh, yeah, and I should mention the drinks they've got, too. 

Defund And Kill NPR

OK, I had to cool down before typing this one.  As I decided to type this out NPR's Morning Edition had on two female talking heads whose names don't matter, even before we've heard from Mueller or the House committees have seen the relevant evidence,  spouting the "time to move on" "dragging this out will cost Democrats" lines, making NPR an active part of the cover-up for Putin regime corruption of our election.  NPR is repeating that shit taken right out of the mouths of the likes of Lindsay Graham without challenge.  NPR is good at that, I'll grant you, getting and repeating the current line coming from the likes of Lindsay Graham. 

NPR, the stated reason I told my local public station that I wouldn't donate to them, anymore, is an always reliable outlet of the current Republican talking points, it should be defunded and killed, I told my local station that when they started using the Trump budget cuts to public broadcasting to rally their listeners.   "Public" radio in the United States is less than useless, it is a force for corruption.  Not that I'd advocate something like Pacifica and the likes of Democracy Now! or The Young Turks as an alternative, they're just pushing the same kind of enablement from a slightly different angle. 

Cutting all government funding for NPR is about the only thing I agree with the Trump regime and the late John McCain on but I don't agree with them for the reason they wanted to do it.  I'm for it because NPR is a Republican whore house.  

We've Got To Take High Level Law Enforcement Out Of The Hands Of Republicans

I believe I'm right that the FBI has never had a director who wasn't a Republican.  I've looked and other than Andrew McCabe, who may or may not be a Republican, every other one seems to have been.  I just thought I'd lead with that.  That I couldn't find out what party Andrew McCabe belongs to may speak to his ethical superiority in removing his personal political identity out of his work,  of all of the figures from within the Department of Justice during the Trump era, he's the only one I can muster respect for. 

I doubt that if Robert Mueller had been reporting on the crimes of a Democratic President he would have done his Sphinx act in the face of Barr's cover-up of his report into seriously harmful and dangerous criminal acts by a president and his campaign mixed up into the Putin regime's corruption of an American election, I doubt if Barr hadn't been one of his long time Republican colleagues that he would have held back for MORE THAN A FRIGGIN' MONTH, he wouldn't have if another, especially a Democratic Attorney General, misrepresented what he had found in his investigation. 

In thinking about the leaked letter he sent to Barr  A FRIGGIN' MONTH AGO! complaining that he was misrepresenting the Mueller Report, I can't believe that Robert Mueller would have acted so weakly if Barr was not one of his Republican colleagues of long standing, reportedly a (maybe former) personal friend.  How anyone who values equal justice before the law could have been friends with Barr after his role in the George H. W. Bush cover-up pardons, A FRIGGIN' LAW MAN, FOR PETE'S SAKE, is something I don't understand.  I've broken with people over far smaller points of morality. 

As this drags on the repeated, rote assertions as to the professional excellence and sterling character of Robert Mueller ring increasingly dull.  I will point out that until a couple of weeks ago, a lot of those people issuing those encomia were lauding Rod Rosenstein, someone who I had figured for a sleaze all along.  Many of them gave us assurances that William Barr's professionalism and devotion to the Department of Justice would keep him from being a lump of crap. 

The excuse that is being given that Mueller is currently an employee of the Department of Justice is something that Mueller could fix with a resignation letter.  I wonder why someone who feels the way he claims to about the handling of what might be the most important work he's ever done figures that the Trump DoJ is going to be moved by anything but the House taking decisive action, decisive action that is awaiting the testimony of Robert Mueller.  

I'm not impressed with Robert Mueller's pose of professional restraint, it has already only aided the Trump cover-up for one crucial month, dragging it out until May 23rd will only help the Trump cover-up more.  I would expect that the Honorable Jerrold Nadler had reasons for setting that date for Mueller's testimony, I wonder if that date didn't have something to do with Mueller's schedule and not one set by Nadler.  The longer this cover-up goes on the more it helps Trump run out the clock.  If there is a more subtle plan in this that ends up with Trump and Barr and the rest of these criminals and sleazes indicted and, hopefully, convicted, I don't see any sign of that.  I trust Congressman Nadler, certainly to the extent that he can control things, I am sure there are things he can't control in this.  I'm not so sure I trust Robert Mueller's judgement,  his reported friendship with the always sleazy cover-up master William Barr and his party membership as a Republican in 2019 are enough to arouse my skepticism.

I think one of the things we need to do is force Democratic presidential candidates to promise to not appoint another Republican to high positions in law enforcement.  The character of that party, the criminality of the Nixon, Reagan, Bush I, administrations, the Bush II regime and now, the most florid corruption of the Trump regime (not to mention Republicans in the Congress) should be enough to impeach the ethical character and judgement of anyone who would retain membership in it.  That's especially true of those who are legal professionals.  William Barr who probably adds treasonous inclinations to the kind of corruption that John Mitchell practiced,  should be the poster boy of that brand. 

Barack Obama has reportedly said that James Comey to head the FBI was the worst appointment he made,  it's one of those rare occasions I'd agree with him.  Certainly one of Bill Clinton's worst was Louis Freeh as the head of the FBI, I remember the lobbying for them from the media and the DC insider class.  The next Democratic President should take those two instances of Democratic presidents being suckered like that to heart and find a dependable professional who isn't part of the indigenous criminal class that the Republican Party 2019 is.   No more Republican FBI directors, they've held that office way too long, already. 

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

More From "Firewater"

Today, we seem to be short of good scouts. Many of the artists don't seem to realize their role:  to protect us, to go out as a scout to warn us what is coming.  If the artists imagine only violence and sex, we cannot complain if we live in a very violent and pornographic society.  If, in all our stories, in our movies and television shows, we always imagine alcohol as a central part of our social structure, we cannot complain if everyone around us is drunk.  This is what we have imagined for the people.  These are the stories we've given them to live with. 

However, we can be thankful that there are some artists out there who are scouts,who give us stories of goodness to live by, scouts who live without alcohol, who show us a path to follow.  Buffy St. Marie speaks about how she doesn't use drugs or alcohol;  Ricard Wagamese is proud of his sobriety and sanity.  In The Reason You Walk , Wab Kinew writes of how both he and his father left self-destructive behaiviours behind choosing instead to live without alcohol.  Tracey Lindberg, author of Birdie, and Richard Van Camp, author of The Lesser Blessed, share their words of abstinence with us in letters near the end of this story.  [You should read the book.]

There are starting to be more and more artists.  If these and other artists go out, scout for us, and imagine a future without intoxication, give us art and stories that are more than about sex, drugs, and violence, stories where ethics and morals and values are more important than immediate gratification and making money, perhaps the rest of our people can and will begin to move in that direction

I know enough about the current culture of the arts to know that in any group of artists of any size any expression of the responsibility of artists to anyone but themselves will be met with derisive and cynical mockery and the declaration that artists have no responsibility to anyone but themselves.  

That is certainly a consequence of the culture of materialistic scientism I brought up yesterday, which, though it started in the 18th century and grew into dominance among intellectuals in the 19th century (realism) found its most developed form as an artistic expression in 20th century modernism.  And as a direct consequence of rejecting morality or even social responsibility during the rise of electronic media, art increasingly became no different from the culture of business, advertising and maximizing profits by appealing to the worst weaknesses in the buying public.  The substitute for morality in secular republics, the law, was hardly unaffected by that same program of amorality.  I've pointed out any number of times that his own intimate friend and secretary,  the lawyer and Nuremberg judge Francis Biddle described that most unlikely of legal heroes. anti-saint of free speech, free press,  Oliver Wendell Holmes' enthusiastically adopted view of life was in line with what George Orwell described in the passage I posted below.

But many or even most artists isn't all artists, some are not self-seeking sociopaths.  I generally find that's most true of those from communities and of identities who are not advantaged.   Harold Johnson is entirely right, those efforts by writers and artists such as the ones he named to present people with the material they need to imagine themselves as happy and sober, happier, able to respect themselves, able to be respected and loved without needing to consider conditions that anyone who gets drunk will inevitably require being overcome, need to be promoted and encouraged.  When I read his emphasis on People needing to be able to imagine themselves in new ways, better ways in order to become better, he is absolutely right.  They've been encouraged to imagine themselves as violent drunks, as sexually violent, domineering thugs by writers and directors and producers AND ACTORS WHO ACT THOSE ROLES.   They've been encouraged to by celebrity endorsements and product placement and advertisements of sexy men and women.  You're not going to get out of the results of that as long as peoples' imaginations are formed by those ubiquitous media images.  Peoples' imaginations and actions are formed from those images they take in.  Anyone who denies that is either too stupid or crooked to take seriously.  

I'm going to post some of those authors, starting here with the late Richard Wagamese

More about him, here

Inevitably, Medicine Walk will also highlight Wagamese’s lifelong battles with post-traumatic stress disorder and alcoholism, both of which figure prominently in the book. In March 2010, Wagamese was arrested and charged with three counts of driving under the influence of alcohol. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced in Kamloops provincial court on Nov. 21, 2011, to six months of house arrest, 50 hours of community service, and a 10-year driving ban.

Wagamese says he was ready to tackle alcoholism in Medicine Walk because he’s moved past it: “I’ve been sober for multiple years and I’ve been beyond PTSD issues for multiple years, so now I have clarity.” If a work of fiction puts his personal story under the microscope, so be it. “I can actually offer my sons and offer my friends and offer anybody clarity,” says Wagamese. “I couldn’t do that before.”

That's the best thing about doing this kind of thing, I find new things to read that I haven't read yet. 

Footnote On This Morning's Post

I do, actually, think there should be an almost complete right to publish the truth in the mass media, the only restriction on that that comes to mind is when publishing the truth could lead to the deaths of, for example, those who inform on criminals, those who inform on the activities of foreign enemies of democracies.  

What I think should be punishable and bannable is the publication of lies, malign misinformation, hate speech, incitement to violence.   I don't think there is any real right to lie or to incite hate or violence.  It is insane to think anyone has a right to do that which supersedes the right of The People to the truth they need to govern themselves, that is superior to the lives of those who will be discriminated against, injured and killed by the "free speech - free press" of liars and hate mongers.  The idea that people are too stupid to regulate those, as claimed by lawyers and judges and "justices" who decide far less obvious questions all the time would mean that they are unqualified to hold the jobs they do and should be replaced by those who aren't so stupid or dishonest.

Also, if gunmen where going into law schools and law faculty lounges,  courts and shooting up judges, and "justices" I think they would change their dogmas and doctrines given down from Supreme Court benches, those would change, pronto.  If the prospect of hanging clears the mind remarkably, I suspect a Republican-fascists in robes staring down an AK-15 might have an even more immediate effect.  I don't think the Supreme Court should be allowed security which they deny to citizens attending their Synagogue, Mosque or Church, schools, concerts, etc.  Neither do the other branches of government that leave us all open to being murdered by any demented degenerate with one of the guns they allow them to get. 

"what is now fashionable to call ‘realism’, meaning the doctrine that might is right"

Thinking about what Harold R. Johnson wrote about Orwell being an artist-scout for the rest of us, I remembered one of his most insightful essays I've read in which he contrasted the light fiction of the authors of the gentlemen thieves, Arsene Lupin and Raffles with the writer of more pathologically amoral, violent modern pulp fiction, James Hadley Chase.   

It is a shame that that essay is so little known, I suspect because the great George Orwell, the citation of whom is so often welcomed as a great hero when he was criticizing dictators and other political figures was far less welcomed when he pointed out the role his own profession, writers, artists, had and have in producing depravity.   It is remarkable how much of what he wrote more than 70 years ago, change a few names, clarifies exactly what we're seeing right before our eyes. Take this paragraph.

In borrowing from William Faulkner's Sanctuary, Chase only took the plot; the mental atmosphere of the two books is not similar. Chase really derives from other sources, and this particular bit of borrowing is only symbolic. What it symbolizes is the vulgarization of ideas which is constantly happening, and which probably happens faster in an age of print. Chase has been described as ‘Faulkner for the masses’, but it would be more accurate to describe him as Carlyle for the masses. He is a popular writer — there are many such in America, but they are still rarities in England — who has caught up with what is now fashionable to call ‘realism’, meaning the doctrine that might is right. The growth of ‘realism’ has been the great feature of the intellectual history of our own age. Why this should be so is a complicated question. The interconnexion between sadism, masochism, success-worship, power-worship, nationalism, and totalitarianism is a huge subject whose edges have barely been scratched, and even to mention it is considered somewhat indelicate. To take merely the first example that comes to mind, I believe no one has ever pointed out the sadistic and masochistic element in Bernard Shaw's work, still less suggested that this probably has some connexion with Shaw's admiration for dictators. Fascism is often loosely equated with sadism, but nearly always by people who see nothing wrong in the most slavish worship of Stalin. The truth is, of course, that the countless English intellectuals who kiss the arse of Stalin are not different from the minority who give their allegiance to Hitler or Mussolini, nor from the efficiency experts who preached ‘punch’, ‘drive’, ‘personality’ and ‘learn to be a Tiger man’ in the nineteen-twenties, nor from that older generation of intellectuals, Carlyle, Creasey [*] and the rest of them, who bowed down before German militarism.[**] All of them are worshipping power and successful cruelty. It is important to notice that the cult of power tends to be mixed up with a love of cruelty and wickedness for their own sakes. A tyrant is all the more admired if he happens to be a bloodstained crook as well, and ‘the end justifies the means’ often becomes, in effect, ‘the means justify themselves provided they are dirty enough’. This idea colours the outlook of all sympathizers with totalitarianism, and accounts, for instance, for the positive delight with which many English intellectuals greeted the Nazi-Soviet pact. It was a step only doubtfully useful to the U.S.S.R., but it was entirely unmoral, and for that reason to be admired; the explanations of it, which were numerous and self-contradictory, could come afterwards.

Change ink on paper to electronics, spoken words and pathological depravity spouted and committed by Hollywood beef cake, change a few names and you've got 2019 nailed spot on. 

All of what Orwell describes is a product of the scientistic materialist culture.  It's unfortunate that the habit of historians, social commentators, etc. to break down the history of culture into epochs does so much to blind people to the commonalities that unite a tradition that that division into ideological schools hides.  18th century "enlightenment" its scientism, its materialism, its secularism were largely retained through allegedly different epochs of romanticism, Victorianism, modernism, I think the uniting themes were a negation of moral responsibility or, in the case of some of the romantics, a modification and restriction of the range of moral responsibility.  I think that secular, scientistic, materialistic strain of western culture was, before the respectable churches started to give way to scientism, countered by the remnants of earlier Christian morality.  In the United States the abolition struggle grew out of the Quaker and Puritan traditions, not out of the "enlightenment" thinking of the Founders generation which proved to be entirely compatible and, in the case of someone like Jefferson, enthusiastic in its scientific justification of slavery.  It is the increasing influence of scientistic materialism in the "realism" of the late 19th century that turned into modernism which, contrary to what so many a naive and ignorant liberal or lefty will think, was remarkably compatible and, in so many cases, enthusiastic about fascism, Nazism, and, as Orwell pointed out, its equivalent in Marxism.

The current fashion of American "free speech - free press" jurisprudence certainly found its origin in the Darwinist scientistic materialistic savagery of Oliver Wendell Holmes*** and his fellow jurists on the Supreme Court.  That was what certainly influenced the largely Marxish when not overtly Marxist founders of the ACLU and so many other vintage institutions which have enabled our descent into fascism through their advocacy of "freedom" without regard to moral responsibilities or even consequences.  

I would guess he means the British military historian Edward Creasey and not the 20th century Brit scribbler of crime novels.  

** Here is something I wrote a few years back about that man, considered to be one of the most influential writers in the area of Brittish intellectual "MORALITY!" of the 19th century, Thomas Carlyle, which showed that his attraction to the depravity of German militarism went both ways:

I think the role that British and other intellectuals played in creating the conditions that produced Nazism and fascism are too little known or considered.  It is known that Thomas Carlyle and his "great man" theory of history, especially his biography of Fredrick the Great had a huge effect on Goebbels and Hitler.   I recall reading somewhere that Goebbels was reading it to Hitler in the bunker as motivation to keep the war going.  Carlyle's hatred of democracy was certainly influential in proto-Nazi German thinkers such as Nietzsche - though Nietzsche, understanding that both morality and materialism can't be true criticized Carlyle for both his idealism and his moral assertions.   Carlyle, in his book on "Chartism" is a hodge podge of stuff, but among other things he contemplated was the possible "necessity" of exterminating the Irish.   He also shared the typical British elite hatred of the poor, he favored enslaving the entire population of the underclass and was an opponent of abolishing slavery, in general. 

*** Here's my archive of going into Holmes' depravity.