The cup overflows with thought provoking reactions for this COTW. Wency on the drop in the stock price of liberal white women:
White feminists have endured a series of intra-left losses these last few years. World War T has cost them on both sides: MtFs (for whom abortion is at most a theoretical issue) have labeled them “TERFs” and taken much of the feminist high ground from them, while a number of butch left-leaning would-be lesbians have instead gone FtM and “non-binary” and attached themselves more to the LGBT wagon than the feminist one. All the while blacks (whose prestige within the Democratic Party is as high as ever) remain wary of white feminists and label them “Karens”.
Democracy is a zero sum game. That’s why it generates so much anger and resentment.
Wency again on the two most famous dystopian novels of the 20th century (with Fahrenheit 451 occupying the Bach position as a third option against Mozart and Beethoven):
Which dystopia rings more true as a possible vision of the future: the quasi-Communist 1984 or the quasi-liberal Brave New World? I read both of them as a teen in the Clinton years, and I had little doubt: the latter, even though it was written earlier. A couple of decades later, and that appears even more true to me today. I remember being astonished, at first, how old Huxley’s book was, that it predated the Sexual Revolution. Only the weird references to “Ford” really gave it away.
I could perhaps argue though that Huxley’s vision is less evil: I suppose I would prefer to live under it than Orwell’s. But then again, maybe that’s what makes Huxley’s world most threatening to the soul. If a boot is to stamp on our faces forever, then 1984‘s ending aside, maybe I could find it in myself to hate Big Brother and yearn for what could have been. But if we’re merely provided with a crass but comfortable life of selfish hedonism, and never allowed or taught to value attachments like family, then perhaps I’d find myself content with it, and I hate that idea even more.
Unless an authoritarian sadist, 1984 is pure dystopia. On the other hand, there are more than a few people who, if honest with themselves, might view Brave New World as something closer to utopia. They live like it is.
Drawing from his own fieldwork, nebulafox offers insights into hard drug addiction and approaches to help people break free of it:
Many junkies are sincere when they tell you they want to clean up. They aren’t lying to you or attempting to manipulate you. They believe it: in that moment. But their brains are “short-circuited” from addiction. Some junkies do become aware of this dynamic over time, and it’s often a highly depressing realization that leads to further abuse. If you don’t even trust yourself to that extent, you aren’t likely to think you are worth saving.
Detox, in many ways, is the process of repairing and rebuilding neural networks necessary for performance that the addiction destroyed.
So, the good news from that is, it’s possible for the junkie to clean up. They have to want it and know the responsibility lies with them, of course, and some don’t. But many sincerely do. The bad news is, the average person with average willpower who is dealing with a severe addiction is unlikely to have the faculties necessary to break it on their own, especially if they lack meaningful social networks or support. They need a highly regulated environment surrounded by people who care in the “right” way in the right amount: i.e, they genuinely want to see the junkie detox, but don’t have emotional ties that might lead to indulgence. They also can’t just sit around and focus on detoxing constantly: which is a mistake a lot of programs make. They need to rebuild the psychological scars that led to and/or fueled the addiction.
For men in particular, lifting weights is a great therapeutic tool because it emphasizes control and power.
The vulpine again on why an Iranian desire for nukes is rational:
Gaddafi: gave up his nukes. Sodomized and left in ditch.
Saddam: had his nuclear reactor blown up by Israel. Eventually lynched.
The Kims: successfully develops nukes. Endures the horror of mean Hollywood movies and YouTube videos being made about them.
Pakistan: successfully develops nukes. Actually gets away with harboring Bin Laden.
The mullahs draw the logical conclusion from the above about how much nuclear programs are worth, and (given what happened to Mubarak, a guy who was America’s friend for almost as long as the mullahs have been America’s enemies) how much you should trust anything Washington DC has to say.
John Johnson on how the reigning neo-liberal order of the brave new world we’re living in manufactures consent:
I saw this in college where very few students could conceive of professors being dishonest for the sake of politics. Most people assume that really smart people somewhere have already done all the work and it isn’t their place to question the result. This is argument from authority which is a logical fallacy that liberals have not only mastered but have entire areas of study entirely built around it. We saw this with the Wuhan virus where the liberal media said that it couldn’t have come from a lab because the WHO and all kinds of other experts said so. That actually isn’t an argument.
Riffing on the observation that it was not the existence of slavery but the ending of slavery that made America rich, TomSchmidt notes not only is slavery immoral, it’s also inefficient:
The bill was being paid even while it was active. It’s like hiring employees with intrinsic versus extrinsic motivation: you have to keep upping the dopamine dose for the latter. With slaves, you have to turn your energies to controlling them, a negative task, from the ones of innovating and growing.
That’s why Alexis D’T noted the extrinsically motivated slave lands as largely barren. They were suffering, but the elites that benefitted from the system kept it in place. Just like English commoners were kept a lot poorer by the Empire using the wealth of the industrial revolution to control India. The common man got no economic dividend from it, but the grifter class at the top of the British Empire did.
Dfordoom provides a pithy outline of weaponized wokeness in action:
[Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden] put the interests of bankers and billionaires ahead of the interests of the rest of us. That makes them pretty far right economically in my book.
To me that’s what neo-liberalism amounts to – looking after the interests of bankers and billionaires while using social left policies to distract us from the economic issues. With most neo-liberals the social policies (antiracism, LGBT nonsense, etc) are motivated by pure cynicism.
The doomer on how echo chambers are a feature of rather than a bug in social media:
Social media is re-creating the conditions of pre-industrial society in which people would spend their whole lives in a tiny social bubble and never have any exposure whatsoever to the wider world or to anyone outside their own immediate social circle. Ironically for most people the world of social media is like living in a tiny village and never interacting with outsiders and never becoming aware that such things as history and culture exist.
V.K. Ovelund on how neo-liberalism is neither purely capitalist nor socialist, but something more like crony capitalist with occasional showers of helicopter money for the rabble, managed by elites convinced they’re doing good:
I suspect that Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden see socialism through the Cold War prism of their generation and, thus, are sincere in their regard for capitalism as they understand it. They are also sincere in their desire that capitalists repay that regard with campaign cash and other favors. (If the CEO gets to retire with a net worth of $300 million, then what’s a mere $30 million for a good friend?)
Working Class on how on an all volunteer military allows the empire to wage its forever wars in ways it could never get away with under conscription:
With the abandonment of conscription after VietNam and the fall of the Berlin Wall, endless war became something that happens on television. For Americans, with the notable exception of our veterans, endless war abroad is a background noise forgotten in the midst of domestic culture wars. The woke are mostly silent regarding war and peace. They are engaged with real problems like pronouns and of course, white supremacy.
What’s the over-under on US troop presence in Afghanistan at the end of September?