Never, Ever, Ever Debate Anyone, Ever.

Our favorite litterbox-liner, the New York Times, must be run by some of the smartest, unbiased, even-tempered, and totally not insularly-clueless people in our great nation.  With Thanksgiving in mind—that glorious time of year the whole family gets together to have a good home-cooked meal—they released an interactive quiz-guide on how to deal with that weird, red-hat wearing, conservative uncle that’s ostracized himself from the rest of the family because he’s just too rough around the edges.

See for yourself.

This turned into a slightly longer post than I had intended, but the audaciousness of its writer needs a decent expansion in order to fully enjoy.

Take its little interactive test a couple different times and play around with both Uncle Conservabot as well as Uncle Libbot.  As always, the nature of the quiz and its answers reveals a lot more about the people who designed it than it did about the people it’s supposedly tempering you for.

Let’s take Uncle Conservabot first.  For the purposes of simplicity, we’ll call him Uncle Ted.  Uncle Ted’s a firebrand #MAGA Trump supporter, eagerly waiting for any opportunity to slander Hillary Clinton and proclaim the greatness of Donald Trump’s administration—a character that, clearly, all of us probably know in real life.  Except, apparently, me, or anyone that I know.  In fact, Uncle Ted seems more like something out of a poorly-thought out political cartoon (but I repeat myself) than a character in any way pertaining to someone that might exist outside of the imaginations of liberals.

Our friends at the NYT have a very simple, foolproof, and clearly enlightened method of dealing with Uncle Ted’s rampant political extremism: pointed and direct questions about his personal life, and in particular, his lousy finances and how the economy has left him destitute.  But uh, hey there… what’s her name, Dr. Karin (with an “I”) Tamerius, founder of SMART POLITICS and a FORMER PSYCHOLOGIST, what if our buddy Uncle Ted isn’t having significant financial troubles and isn’t as easy to distract with personal questions as you make him out to be?

The founder of Smart Politics made this quiz.  Shit man, I didn’t realize I was dealing with a professional.  Smart Politics.  Just saying it loud makes you feel like your IQ has increased a few points.

Okay, well, we get the gist of Uncle Ted.  The solution when dealing with a mad Trump supporter is to 1) expect them to be financially insecure, like most of America is, 2) commiserate about the economy, and 3) avoid talking about politics or engaging in any sort of debate.

So let’s look at his equally robotic liberal counterpart, Uncle Greg, from the perspective of a conservative nephew.  Right out the gate, Uncle Greg is convinced—unprompted—that Medicare for all is an unalienable right.  Like the atheist at the table, the implied “DEBATE ME” imperative goes unsaid.  This is where the quiz gets amusing.

Predictably, the line of questioning goes more or less the same: completely passive questions, noncommittal responses, and a distinct unwillingness to engage in any particular form of debate.  Amusingly, however, the entire form of the conversation is different.  The guide asks us to humor Uncle Greg, and listen to him make poorly thought-out remarks about universal healthcare, and we aren’t even given the option to ask about Uncle Greg himself.  So I guess the initial takeaway here is to ask Trump supporters personal questions but to humor liberal relatives when they’re speaking nonsense.

And it gets better.  When selecting a particular wrongthink response to Uncle Greg’s position on healthcare, our helpful big-brained founder of Smart Politics gives us this helpful tip:

Rebuttals reinforce the sense that you are on opposite teams. If you want people to listen to what you have to say, create an alliance by finding something to agree on before sharing your perspective.

Don’t engage!  Abort, abort! Pull up!

All of Dr. Karin’s helpful tips are oriented around the same socially frail method of interaction.  “Do X to SHOW the other person that you understand!”  “Do Y to make the other person FEEL SAFE!”  The whole point of a piece like this is to enforce this idea that all dialogue must be conducted as though everyone is standing on eggshells.  Mindfulness of words is one thing; hypersensitivity to disagreement is something else entirely.  After all, you might find out what their opinions are!  You might start to learn about who they are!  You might even end up unable to generalize them into some kind of stereotype!

At the end of each segment we reach this doctor’s conclusive method of talking across the aisle:

1. Ask open-ended, genuinely curious, nonjudgmental questions.
2. Listen to what people you disagree with say and deepen your understanding with follow-up inquiries.
3.
Reflect back their perspective by summarizing their answers and noting underlying emotions.
4.
Agree before disagreeing by naming ways in which you agree with their point of view.
5.
Share your perspective by telling a story about a personal experience.

Remember being in grade school and having large, brightly-colored posters on the wall about how to follow rules or how to write a paragraph?  This is what that is—it’s even worded the same way—but the difference is that it’s targeted at people older than seven.  You shouldn’t feel informed by reading this.  You should feel patronized and condescended.  The NYT really does believe you’re dumber than a seven-year-old.

But the real diamond in the rough is after this.  I have to quote it directly because if I didn’t, no one would believe that the staff of the NYT, to say nothing of the FOUNDER of SMART POLITICS, would be so bold as to make this admission:

People cannot communicate effectively about politics when they feel threatened. Direct attacks – whether in the form of logical argument, evidence, or name-calling – trigger the sympathetic nervous system, limiting our capacity for reason, empathy, and self-reflection.

That’s right, folks.  Logical argumentation and evidence limit our capacity for reason and self-reflection.  Reasonable debate is a form of personal attack.  Rebuttals, counter-evidential claims, and arguments from rationality are all bullying tactics that just make people feel really gosh-darn sad!

This says a lot more about the writer of the article than it does about anything contained with in it.  Debates trigger the sympathetic nervous system?  Evidence of a claim puts you on the defensive and limits your ability to assess your own perspective?  Maybe if you’re functionally retarded–or, apparently, an ex-psychologist and the FOUNDER of SMART POLITICS.  No wonder she’s an ex-psychologist.

Who is offended by a sound argument?  Who fears being proven wrong, except those that might have something to lose?

Who fears the truth?

Well, I think we know the answer to that one, at least.

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What is Modernity?

I’ll be writing a shorter piece for The Nightly Grind on the topic of Pope Pious X’s encyclical next week, for any of you who are interested. Keep on keeping on!

qnuw

I’ve written a bit about modernity over the past couple of years, and in fact, I think the entire QNUW project at this point could be defined as a reaction against it.  But the concept is a tricky one, because it’s a term for the very air we breathe in contemporary society.  And it’s not something as simplistically defined as “the present day” or even “the present operation of things,” since those would imply that modernity is a definition related to a period of time rather than a term that applies to specific systems of ideologies.

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Don’t Eat the Rich—They Taste Bad!

Imagine writing something like this.

Here it is: adhere to a narrative.  Screw the rich—they’re bad people, they’re sad people, they’re pathetic and impotent and whatever.  Maybe the writer is correct!  They probably are sad or pathetic or impotent.  The modern world demands that wealth comes with sacrifices most of us aren’t willing to put up with: horrendous work weeks, miserable jobs, awful clients, and, of course, nepotism that most of us simply don’t have access to.  Plenty of skill and intellect go into it, at least at first, but beyond that, it’s up to your contacts after a certain point.

But these people aren’t the super-rich.  Are they the one percent?  Maybe, but numbers mean little in a world run by a technocratic elite.  But having an outside service come in and clean your home while you’re at work as a doctor, or on a meaningless date at some random bar?  No, the super-rich don’t work that way.  The people whose opinions actually matter, who really run things—they don’t just let some random maid in to clean their home office.  They also don’t go to random bars in town that, apparently, some random maid can afford to meet her own date at.

On that note, I’ll take “Things That Never Happened For $400, Alex.”  The writer had me going—I did start to think she was being truthful—up until she described being at some bar and casually spotting some madam of the house that she cleaned before.  That sort of thing simply doesn’t happen.  The super-rich don’t even look at such bars, and the rich-enough generally don’t go to them—particularly when they’re on a date with a person they’re already involved with.

So what’s the point of an article like this?  For context, I found it recommended to me by my browser upon startup.  That recommended feed just grabs stuff off the internet based on parameters I neither set nor influence, given that it’s always recommending me articles from sites I never browse based on topics I never search.  So this was clearly something that was “recommended” in order to steer me towards it in the first place.

Articles like this attempt to steer the narrative.  “Don’t wish that you’re rich,” it’s saying.  “Look forward to being poor.”  “Rich people are all unhappy losers.”  “Rich people don’t pay attention to anyone but themselves.”  Rich people!  It’s sort of a you-know-it-when-you-see-it thing, I guess.

You know that’s what the message is because the piece is purely anecdote and rhetoric, written in scenes and spiced with statements about the author’s feelings and reflections.  It’s a self-indulgent exploration into the writer’s own sense of self-importance.  “Look at what these rich people are like based on the garbage I had to pick up at their houses!”  Judge a man by the garbage he leaves behind and you’ll only ever have a negative opinion of them.  If I remember right, the adage goes “by their fruits ye shall know them,” not “by their refuse.”

But that’s how it goes.  That’s what counts as publishable and worthy of recommendation.  Thanks.

The Midterms Weren’t Bad!

All things considered, the election turned out pretty swell!  Despite the liberal news & entertainment complex’s decree that Trump and his party would suffer during the midterms, the opposite seems to have transpired.  Now yeah, we have to admit, the GOP could have swept the house and turned the Blue Wave into a Red Tide, but we’ll take what we can get.

And what we got, it turns out, wasn’t bad at all.  The House is still divided to a point of near-gridlock, though it now has a Democratic majority and that joke of a politician, Nancy Pelosi, who famously had Obamacare pushed through congress with the words “We have to pass it in order to find out what’s in it,” is back in her clown chair at the head of it all.  Meanwhile, the GOP made history by losing their majority in the House but gaining several seats in the Senate, where most of the legislative power is held.

It turns out that many if not most of the GOP seats lost in the House were those moderates who tended, more often than not, to be thorns in the side of the Trump agenda.  Such seats deserve to be lost in an embittered political landscape that has polarized beyond hope of any immediate solution.  Republicans equipped to debate the nuances of the free market, or those who seem to still think that Democratic voters can be convinced with rhetorical arguments of Reagan, are of no use today.

The lessons from Tuesday should be the same lessons from 2016, albeit perhaps more in the vein of verification rather than discovery.  The important take-away is that the voting blocks of the United States are divided across ethnic lines.  This is not up for dispute.  Falling back on a liberal point of view and simply expecting the entire voting base of the country to respect each other’s wishes as free thinking, autonomous individuals is as blind as it is cowardly in today’s political field.  It is now no longer feasible to call “well-meaning but deluded” any republican politician running on a platform of classical liberal values; attempts to do so, when confronted with the obvious reality of the opposition’s race-fueled platform, is intentional suicide.

Worse, the GOP has no hope of capturing those Democratic voters invested in their ethnos.  Between the entrenchment of the propaganda system at the top of American life and the fierce in-group ethnic dedication among these voting blocks, the GOP’s only hope is to rest its laurels on white America.  The problem is that white America has only a few short years left as a national identity.

The second lesson: radicalism is the way forward.  Not violence, although the country’s accelerating slip toward balkanization should be clear to those paying attention.  Rather, ideological radicalism; the two sides of this political argument are well past the point of listening to one another.  Around dinner tables, fortunately, there still exists some semblance of political sanity—at least for now.  But at the federal level, and at the national level of media and entertainment, neither side can afford to paint the other as worthy of the same respect due to a neighbor.

The GOP has to play to win and play to keep.  Trump understands this.  If there is any hope of curbing the takeover of the country by the Democratic party, it’s to breakdown on immigration and start taking aim at the media giants and monopolies—tech valley, I think, will soon be under scrutiny for this reason.  If this sounds partisan, just sit back and remember a few things: major Democratic leaders slandered Kavanaugh during his hearings and propped up a liar purely to suit their political agenda; Democratic leaders like Maxine Waters have called for public hounding—arguably violence—against Republican congressmen; Democratic leaders have given platforms and sympathy to radicals who loudly proclaim “Abolish I.C.E.” as if I.C.E. is America’s gestapo unit; Democratic leaders are all cozied up to the handful of people who run the entertainment industry, the major internet sites, and the mainstream news establishments, all so they can be turned into mouthpieces for their own ridiculous agenda.

These people are not your friends.  They aren’t even their own friends.  They are motivated by power and have ceased to bother attempting to conceal their unapologetic disgust for the American identity.  These midterms did not teach us anything new, but for those who had any lingering doubts after 2016, those doubts should have now been driven firmly from your mind.


Sorry for the infrequency.  Been a rough couple of days at home managing a few real-life projects and family obligations.  I expect to make a post related to one of these things in the future, but as yet it’s too early to start.

I have a lot of content planned for the coming few weeks for both this site and the main blog, so stay tuned.  Hopefully I can get a few of the recordings done that I’ve fallen behind on, as well.

Are Video Games Art?

Continuing on with the art stuff we covered on Wednesday. In other news, I’m setting up a Discord server. See how this goes. Link will be up in a while.

qnuw

Spend enough time around internet forums and video games and you’ll encounter the same tired pseudo-intellectuals that pretend to philosophize about arts and entertainment.  There is always a trend, no matter the fandom, to take your hobby a little more seriously then it probably deserves.  There isn’t usually anything wrong with that, so long as you don’t go overboard and start calling it something it isn’t or investing unhealthy amounts of time into it.  Hobbies are, after all, hobbies.

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The Code of St. Benedict Should Be Used For Every Code of Conduct

Earlier today, it broke that SQLite was probably pressured—presumably by SJWs—into drawing up a code of conduct for its platform.  This follows the trend in SJW convergence across the tech platforms, the most recent relevant occurrence being Linux’s top dog getting taken out after years of resistance.  Apparently, though, it’s been up for a while.

D. Richard Hipp, SQLite’s creator, explained that the code of conduct had been up for more than half a year, but for some reason it’s only getting attention now. Maybe it only just now get out that he used St. Benedict’s Rule, which established and governed the monastic life of the Latin Church for the last millennium and a half. See for yourself.  Good for him!

But let’s go back to that Register article.  Interspersed with the obviously leftwing slant that favors a secular default culture are a couple of comments from SQLite users, including this one:

“”Well, it looks like it may be time to stop using SQLite as it’s readily apparent that my kind is not welcome there,”

If “your kind” includes, as a staple of your identity, an absolutely staunch unwillingness to submit to Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, then golly gee willikers, James, I think ironically quitting SQLite is the least of your worries.

I think the world could use a bit more radical Catholicism in everyday life.  I mean this sincerely.  If the opposition is going to frame a theology built upon charity, hope, and love as being hateful and exclusive, it’s probably because that theology has built the worldview built upon hating sin and excluding the incomprehensible madness entailed by evil.  But when confronted with logos, the unrepentant sinner can only ever choose to reject logos.  Repentance is simply too difficult.  So sits the state of the opposition.

Who is actually mad about the embrace of the Rule of St. Benedict for an open source code of conduct?  Who would actually find themselves excluded from software, or consider the Benedictine Rule hateful?  Well, you already know the answer to those questions.  It’s the ones who already carry guilt with them everywhere that they go.

It’s late, but here’s the next podcast, for those of you whose lives are too jam-packed with excitement to be able to read:

http://www.buzzsprout.com/208924/837416-goodbye-intellectual-dork-web

It’ll be on YouTube in a day or so.

Assassin’s Creed and the Liberal Narrative

Been playing video games in what little spare time I’ve been able to waste. Prompted me to write this piece for the Friday Longpost. Enjoy.

qnuw

Now I’m going to talk about a video game.

I just completed a run-through of some the old Assassin’ Creed 2 and AC: Brotherhood games that first came out back in 2009.  It’s hard to believe that was nearly a decade ago, considering how the gameplay itself seems only to have aged a few years.  Granted, I played the remastered collection that was released in 2012, so maybe that has something to do with it.

I’m behind the times.  Sue me.

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