Suicidalism

The most important weapons of al-Qaeda and the rest of the Islamist
terror network are the suicide bomber and the suicide thinker. The
suicide bomber is typically a Muslim fanatic whose mission it is to
spread terror; the suicide thinker is typically a Western academic or
journalist or politician whose mission it is to destroy the West’s
will to resist not just terrorism but any ideological challenge at all.

But al-Qaeda didn’t create the ugly streak of nihilism and
self-loathing that afflicts too many Western intellectuals. Nor, I
believe, is it a natural development. It was brought to us by
Department V of the KGB, which was charged during the Cold War with
conducting memetic warfare that would destroy the will of the West’s
intelligentsia to resist a Communist takeover. This they did with
such magnificent effect that the infection outlasted the Soviet Union
itself and remains a pervasive disease of contemporary Western
intellectual life.

Consider the following propositions:

  • There is no truth, only competing agendas.
  • All Western (and especially American) claims to moral superiority
    over Communism/Fascism/Islam are vitiated by the West’s history of racism and
    colonialism.
  • There are no objective standards by which we may judge one culture
    to be better than another. Anyone who claims that there are such
    standards is an evil oppressor.
  • The prosperity of the West is built on ruthless exploitation of
    the Third World; therefore Westerners actually deserve to be
    impoverished and miserable.
  • Crime is the fault of society, not the individual criminal.
    Poor criminals are entitled to what they take. Submitting to
    criminal predation is more virtuous than resisting it.
  • The poor are victims. Criminals are victims. And only
    victims are virtuous. Therefore only the poor and criminals
    are virtuous. (Rich people can borrow some virtue by identifying
    with poor people and criminals.)
  • For a virtuous person, violence and war are never justified. It
    is always better to be a victim than to fight, or even to defend oneself.
    But “oppressed” people are allowed to use violence anyway; they are
    merely reflecting the evil of their oppressors.
  • When confronted with terror, the only moral course for a Westerner
    is to apologize for past sins, understand the terrorist’s point of
    view, and make concessions.

These ideas travel under many labels: postmodernism, nihilism,
multiculturalism, Third-World-ism, pacifism, “political correctness”
to name just a few. It is time to recognize them for what they are,
and call them by their right name: suicidalism.

Trace any of these back far enough (e.g. to the period between 1930
and 1950 when Department V was at its most effective) and you’ll find
a Stalinist at the bottom. Among the more notorious examples ware:
Paul de Man — racist and Nazi propagandist turned Stalinist, and
fonder of postmodernism; Jean-Paul Sarte, who described the effects
of Stalinism as “humane terror” and helped invent existentialism; and
Paul Baran, who developed the thesis that capitalism depended on the
immiseration of the Third World after Marx’s immiseration of the
proletariat failed to materialize.

Al-Qaeda didn’t launch any of these memes into the noosphere, but
it relies on them for political cover. They have another effect as
well: when Islamists characterize the West as “decadent”, and aver
that it is waiting to collapse in on itself at the touch of jihad,
they are describing quite correctly and accurately the effects of
Western suicidalism.

Stalinist agitprop created Western suicidalism by successfully
building on the Christian idea that self-sacrifice (and even
self-loathing) are the primary indicators of virtue. In this way of
thinking, when we surrender our well-being to others we store up grace
in Heaven that is far more important than the momentary discomfort of
submitting to criminals, predatory governments, and terrorists.

The Communist atheists of Department V understood that Christian
self-abnegation tends to inculcate a cult of self-sacrifice even among
Westerners who are themselves agnostics or atheists. All the
propagandists had to do was make the case that the value of
self-abnegation applies to culture as well as individuals. By doing
so, they were able to entrench the idea that suicidalists are morally
superior to non-suicidalists.

They did this so successfully that at least one major form of
Western self-abnegation seems to have developed as a secondary
phenomenon: “deep environmentalism”. I can’t find any sign that this
traces back to the usual Stalinist suspects, but it is rather
obviously a result of generalizing suicidalism not just to culture but
to species.

I think it’s important to understand that, although suicidalism
builds on some pre-existing pathologies of Western culture, it is not
a native or natural development. It is an infection that evildoers
and their dupes created and then spread as part of a war against the
West; their goal was totalitarian control, and part of their method
was to talk the West into slitting its own throat.

Al-Qaeda’s goal is the restoration of the Caliphate and the
imposition of shari’a law on the West so that the Dar al-Harb is
abolished and absorbed into the Dar al-Islam. In other words,
totalitarian theocracy. Western suicidalists have transferred
their allegience from Communism to Islamofascism without a hitch.
They’re doing their best to see that we lose — and their
best is rather more effective than any bombing campaign.

Thus, to defeat al-Qaeda, stopping the suicide bombers is
not sufficient. We must recognize, condemn, and reject the
suicide thinkers as well.

UPDATE: Readers who think I’m peddling mere conspiracy theory here should read
Double Lives : Stalin, Willi Munzenberg and the Seduction of the Intellectuals for a description of the way KGB disinformation activity, espionage and memetic warfare fused in the 1930s.

MORE: Some intelligent comments on these memes
here, pointing out that they get their
infectivity from being partially true.

151 thoughts on “Suicidalism

  1. Interesting position. I will have to do some reading to fill in the knowledge gaps I have in the Stalin era and the Cold War.

    A salient point here is that humility, a virtue that enables perspective, is not the same as self-loathing. Although we certainly shouldn’t loathe ourselves as individuals, we shouldn’t be prideful either. Either extreme leads to destruction; if anything, the average Westerner needs to become more humble in their outlook.

  2. Umm…..bud I hate to tell you that a lot of the stuff you claim that “Department V” put forth into the American psyche has been with us since the begining–literally. The conflicts between reasonable basic idea (my culture need not be automatically better than yours) and the messed-up interpretation (therefore it is okay for you to torture your women and children) are as old as the self-doubt and rationalization of the Puritian colonists–they are just a different manifestation of the same basic problem. I won’t touch your conspiracy theory here–I’ll let somebody else attempt to shoot their foot off instead.

  3. It’s interesting that in the Koran, Hadith and Sera, I believe there is no command to commit suicide, yet it seems that today the hall mark of Islam is the suicide bomber. This is by far a different interpretation that Muhammad himself presents in the aforementioned books. The interpretation there seemed to be fearless in battle and that if you are fighting in the name of Allah and die you’ll be granted the highest place in heaven. I believe this is confirmed by the actions of Muhammad in his life (see Sera). It seems that this culture of suicide has come from somewhere else as Eric mentions. I’m not defending Islam, I think the Sera and Hadith are damning enough on their own, and the life of Muhammad shows nothing more than a tyrant than a holy man. I think this is also echoed by the likes of Osama bin Laden, why hasn’t he become a martyr yet? Some how I don’t think it’s on his TODO list, but I’m sure he’s inspired many.

  4. It’s interesting that in the Koran, Hadith and Sera, I believe there is no command to commit suicide, yet it seems that today the hall mark of Islam is the suicide bomber.

    It’s not the hallmark of Islam today; it’s the hallmark of certain groups of Muslims, and nothing more. While there are some authorities (who get a lot of airtime in both Muslim and western media, particularly satellite TV) who defend the tactic, it’s actually widely frowned on.

    And the tactic didn’t originate with Muslims, anyway. The Tamil Tigers were doing suicide bombings well before Hamas, and they are a secular socialist group (despite drawing from the Hindu Tamil population of Sri Lanka). In fact, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade are associated with Fatah, which is generally thought of as a secularist tendency, not a religious one.

  5. Could you explain the meaning of “deep environmentalism”? It’s a term I have not heard before.

  6. Daniel, “deep environmentalism” is a cluster of related ideologies which hold that the biosphere is a moral subject and has rights prior to human rights. All but the shallowest versions advocate reductions in human population and industrial activity — not merely slowdowns of growth but actual contraction. Deeper versions advocate a sort of greenocracy and the most extreme variants advocate the extinction of human life as a cancer on the planet.

  7. Ohh… I really like coming here… one more article to forward :D

    I’d really like to see something on the similarities between Communism, Nazism, Fascism and Islam.

    You do realize that in Europe you would be a semi-paria by now with these writings? ;)

  8. Some of this stuff actually predates the Russian revolution… recall the anarchists in the late 19th century and early 20th, complete with bombs exploding in public places. Suicidalists for sure.

    The KGB may have given it the greatest organiztional and logistical boost it ever received, and by seizing the cores of certain professions the virus has acquired hosts to propagate in. But the KGB didn’t invent the virus… just fed it more lavishly and carefully.

  9. Joe, I’ve studied 19th-century anarchism; as an anarchist myself I feel some need to understand all the different ideologies that have used that label (and, note, I have very little in common with those socialist or nihilist anarchists). Of the propositions I identified, at most two (“Crime is the fault of society…” and “The poor and criminals are victims…”) were any part of 19th-century anarchist thinking. 19th-century anarchists didn’t argue even that the proper bourgeouis response to terror would be apology; like the Islamofascists of today, they were attempting not to extract concessions but to destroy their enemies in the ‘privileged classes’ root and branch.

    Also, there is an important difference in that 19th-century anarchist thought had essentially no effect on the mainstream intellectual life of that time other than to stimulate a revulsion against anarchism. The conventional ‘left’ of that era (classical liberals) wanted nothing to do with the anarchists and never accepted either “Crime is the fault of society…” and “The poor and criminals are victims…” as premises. The contrast with the Soviet Union’s success at co-opting the nominally non-Bolshevik left after 1930 is extreme.

  10. Perhaps the term “suicidalism” might allow people to better separate open-minded principles for their extremist, surrender-inducing extensions. For example, understanding the enemy’s point of view is certainly a productive endeavor — you yourself have read the Koran, and followed all the propoganda, and have a feeling for their goals. Hence, half your blog.

    For another example, the so-called moral relativism meme, that no culture is “better”, seems to be dying out, now that everyone knows what a burqa is. Unfortunately, the people who are most likely to admit that American culture is better, are more likely to mean that the culture of church-going Southern Baptists is better than that of Muslims. And it is; you can use objective standards like the area of skin a woman may display before she is no longer allowed to reject sexual advances. But it doesn’t do much good unless other, better memes come to take their place. Nobody in our government is willing to admit that all monotheistic faiths are dangerous because they reduce the value of life, and enable people to become unaccountable prophets, and so forth. Instead we get “Fundamentalist Islam is dangerous, but they’re the only dangerous religion.”

    But I still don’t see the hordes of white-flag-wavers, at least not in sufficient enough numbers or influence that they would doom us all. Perhaps it’s just the company I keep, but usually when I hear people say we shouldn’t be in Iraq, they usually follow by saying we should be in Iran, North Korea, or Saudi Arabia instead. A lot of people think we shouldn’t have sent the National Guard, but whom we deploy is a different issue than whether we deploy. And there are a few people who drank the Noam Chomsky kool-aid, but I don’t see them getting taken seriously. I just don’t see the slippery slope where we have to live under shari’a because of a few powerless hippies. If Islam wants to take over, it’s going to have to get through an assload of Christianity before it can even get started.

    Perhaps Christianity is useful as a buffer between us and Islam, provided they don’t slowly grow powerful enough to start the Inquisition back up in a few centuries. We need another buffer between rationality and Christianity, though. The Flying Spaghetti Monster, perhaps?

  11. Wow, I didn’t know that Sartre held all these views.

    Al-Qaeda didn’t launch any of these memes into the noosphere, but it relies on them for political cover.

    How so? The belief that we shouldn’t fight terror would give them cover, but since this belief does not seem to exist in American politics I doubt they rely on it. Seriously, what part of “know your enemy” do you not understand?

    They did this so successfully that at least one major form of Western self-abnegation seems to have developed as a secondary phenomenon: “deep environmentalism”. I can’t find any sign that this traces back to the usual Stalinist suspects,

    Indeed, it seems like a simple application of moralistic Pop Darwinism. (We could also blame it on Malthus or Scrooge.) This belief system takes the definition of “fitness” in some environment and gives it moral significance.

    Al-Qaeda’s goal is the restoration of the Caliphate and the imposition of shari’a law on the West

    You might as well say they want to restore the Caliphate and then paint the sun green. They have no chance of success when it comes to America — nor the West in general, I think — and we don’t plan to let them reach that stage of the plan anyway. It would take a much longer stretch of total incompetence to allow them to reach Step Two.

  12. There are no objective standards by which we may judge one culture to be better than another. Anyone who claims that there are such standards is an evil oppressor.

    There’s an oversimplification. Western culture (which you will doubtless wish to separate into decaying European and vital American branches so you can continue to relish the thought of France being laid waste by rioting groups of unemployed Algerians) is unquestionably more comfortable than the Afghan alternative – but excessive comfort *has* been known to breed decadence in one or two empires in the past which might have lessons for the attentive today.

    One standard which could be used to judge cultures is whether they’re sustainable, and there are a few people around who suspect that Western culture isn’t, simply on the grounds of the energy it uses. Now I know you’re going to say that that’s pessimistic and defeatist, and if we’d just become cheerleaders for funky stuff like pebble bed reactors and solar power satellites and abiotic oil and accept that The Market Will Provide Everything If Only You Just Believe then there will be plenty of energy for the whole Third World to consume at First World standards and we can keep expanding our GNP until we’ve eaten the local group of galaxies and anyone who disagrees with you is stupid and precognitive and duped by Stalinists and lower than vole scrota and ought to be shot for objectively supporting our enemies etc. etc. etc. But really – the Caliphate is a hopeless fantasy of dreaming nutbars, unless you want to delineate how it comes about as I suggested earlier. Your heavily-armed ass is safe from shar’ia no matter how many latte-sipping quiche eaters in your suburb think Osama may have had a point about something or other. Whether it’s safe from Peak Oil is another matter, though hopefully that will turn out to be a fantasy as well, eh?

    OTOH, everyone needs a hobby.

  13. Another book on the whole “western intellectuals as tools of the KGB” theme, for those who are interested: In Denial: Historians, Communism, & Espionage by Haynes and Klehr – the last in the Yale History of Communism series.

  14. Wow. And you’re a neo-Pagan? I think I need to readjust my stereotypes.

    Kublai: I read somewhere that humility is to not boast about one’s accomplishments, rather than to boast about one’s failures. Too many people confuse it with the latter, thus leading to the self-loathing.

  15. Could you explain the meaning of “deep environmentalism”? It’s a term I have not heard before.
    I think it’s more usually known as deep ecology. Gets you a lot more Google hits, anyway.

  16. It’s interesting to watch how people feel so safe taking stance in a world product of two forces fighting each other. An ancient idea hold for more than a couple of thousand years. So everywhere you go there are only two sides, simply as that ? Maybe there is more than one pattern to recognize. Maybe different cultures may have patterns in common than can bring them to coexistence. Is there a simple way that you can point out what is exactly western culture or principles so that everyone in the west can be absolutely sure of sharing ?
    Sorry, but to me your idea of detecting and rejecting thinkers who try to dig into those proposals you named behind the concept of “intellectual suicidalism” sounds kind of a fundamentalism.
    I prefer a complex world not two.

  17. Most of these doctrines greatly predate the cold war, though the USSR did help their growth.

    There is no truth, only competing agendas.

    nietzsche

    All Western (and especially American) claims to moral superiority over Communism/Fascism/Islam are vitiated by the West’s history of racism and colonialism.

    Take out (ane especially American) and Franklin said similar things. So did Burke and many others (Rousseau!). Of course, the West is a lot more morally superior than we were in the days of slavery and the East India Company. A much weaker version of this is an understandable response to seeing the damage often done to indigenous cultures by Western contact, though not a careful one.

    There are no objective standards by which we may judge one culture to be better than another. Anyone who claims that there are such standards is an evil oppressor.

    The first part goes back to Heraclitis and Parminides, but is argued against in Plato’s Republic. Hume could be interpreted as backing it, though he didn’t. nietzsche again. The second part is incoherent, but once again, is argued against in the Republic.

    The prosperity of the West is built on ruthless exploitation of the Third World; therefore Westerners actually deserve to be impoverished and miserable.

    This is actually Soviet in origin, I think.

    Crime is the fault of society, not the individual criminal. Poor criminals are entitled to what they take. Submitting to criminal predation is more virtuous than resisting it.

    George Bernard Shaw, England’s most prominant playright at the time, asserted this repeatedly before 1917.

    The poor are victims. Criminals are victims. And only victims are virtuous. Therefore only the poor and criminals are virtuous. (Rich people can borrow some virtue by identifying with poor people and criminals.)

    Jesus and others. Hindu ascetics.

    For a virtuous person, violence and war are never justified. It is always better to be a victim than to fight, or even to defend oneself.

    Jesus, Ghandi, arguably Thoreau, some Jews before Jesus.

    But “oppressed” people are allowed to use violence anyway; they are merely reflecting the evil of their oppressors.

    That conjunction may have Soviet origins.

    When confronted with terror, the only moral course for a Westerner is to apologize for past sins, understand the terrorist’s point of view, and make concessions.

    Largely post-soviet. French Anti-American intellectuals, PLO and IRA sympathizers, etc.

  18. I’ve always thought that humility wasn’t really a matter of boasting or not, but of recognising the objective value of one’s deeds and accomplishments in the grand scheme of things. If you do great things, then you should be proud, and if you do crappy things you should be ashamed. The key is to understand what good and crappy things *are* in the larger picture. The larger picture is bigger than you or your family or even your community. It will outlast all of them.

    So the vast majority of things we do are *irrelevant* to that larger picture; but when you contribute materially to a school of thought, as Eric has done with his CatB writings, that has some impact on the larger picture. As such, Eric has a certain right to take pride in that accomplishment – not as something that advances open source or convinces business to dump Microsoft, because these aren’t even blips on the radar in the larger picture, but because he has given a lot of very smart people something to think about and they are thinking about it. Humility is not Eric saying that what he has done is nothing special, because it *is* something special. Humility is Eric recognising and understanding *why* what he has done is special, and roughly how special it really is.

    Likewise, the war in Iraq affects the bigger picture because Iraq will look very different in the centuries to come. It’s difficult to argue it would have been better off under the guidance of Hussein and his children. The best we can argue is that about a hundred thousand troops would have been more comfortable, and that some two percent of them might still be alive today. But in the larger picture, does that matter? Was it more important to have comfortable troops than it was to have a sane leader in charge of Iraq?

    I don’t think so. I think GW can take a certain pride in that, too.

  19. I’m just posting an example of the extreme “deep environmentalists” for those who don’t know. I find this one particularly humorous (which indeed may be their point, I’m not sure).

    http://www.vhemt.org/

  20. It’s difficult to argue it would have been better off under the guidance of Hussein and his children.
    Um, not if you think about women in the current trend. And not if you think a democracy in Iran could’ve affected Iraq.

  21. Adrian: *brilliant* comment. All the things I’ve been wanting to say to Eric for ages but couldn’t quite put into words…

  22. I guess the opposite of suicidalism is homocidalism so I’ll be slitting my wrists later. I’d never kill my enemies, I reckon a slow, painful meaningless life is the worst thing that could happen to them so why interfere ? Do I want ‘my people’ to survive ? Or my gene-pool ? Not really. Actually, I don’t need to kill myself. I sit in an oil-rich country so sooner or later US ‘libertarians’ like you will come to blow me away.

    The US military PR started building up Islam as the next credible threat to justify it’s bloated defence industry subsidies back in the early ’90′s, once the over-rated threat from the Communist bloc lost all credibility. At least in Europe the shift was noticed and commented upon publicly and referenced in popular culture. This war is phoney. There is no war of cultures yet and if we get one it’s because we are allowing ourselves to be herded. What sort of free man allows himself to be manipulated so ? A rich American who stands to gain or a fearful American too scared to question his state rationally, that’s who.

  23. Stick to computer stuff man….trust me, it’s all you seem to know.

  24. After i ingest 200 micro-grams of lsd at 6 a.m. , five cookies baked with potent marijuana at 6:15,
    a large double screwdriver to make it a official breakfast by 6:30, i will apply various florescent paints
    to my nude shorn body, put on some wild trance music with a head set and just let it happen man….

    At 9:00 a.m. my alarm clock will remind me to run to the local police station climb to the top of a police
    car, floressence in all and yelling with all my might ….

    Burning man! Burning man! Infidel! infidel! Thorazine! Thorazine!

    Now after several days in the mental ward writhing in agony from the thorazine and seeing all 12 dimensional pathways in the sink drain, as the ’70-400 volt electro-convulsive therapy’ treatment
    head set has replaced my trance groove 13 volt head set…..

    My only self defence will be to utter to the technicians the immortal words of the mysticly mystical mystic…

    “Stick to computer stuff man….trust me, it’s all you seem to know… ahhhhhh!!”
    ————————-
    Well how’s that for psycho-drama?

    All kidding aside, this is what i will be tempted to do if the Islamist terror network ever
    detonate crude nuclear weapons in my country.

    “The most important weapons of al-Qaeda and the rest of the Islamist terror network are the suicide bomber and the suicide thinker.”

    I also agree with this clear and concise statement…

  25. The question I have is why was the Marxist indoctrination so much more successful in Europe than America?

  26. “Do you have any literature to back this up with? I’m curious about it, now.”

    I’m also quite interested in this. The web seems to indicate otherwise than mission you describe for Department V:

    Department V was responsible for “wet affairs” (mokrie dela) — murders, kidnappings, and sabotage — which involve bloodshed. Previously known as the Thirteenth Department or Line F, the Department was enlarged and redesignated in 1969, and tasked with sabotaging critical infrastructure so as to immobilize Western countries during future crises. The Department employed officers stationed in Soviet embassies, illegals stationed abroad, and the services of professional.

    Note I don’t dispute your assertion (proving a negative is pretty tough), I just want to read more about it, and Department V of th KGB isn’t getting me there.

  27. Suicidalism?
    Or rather lack of will to fight for no matter what.
    The same goes for the meaning of the term “tolerance”. While sometime ago it meant for one to bear something that doesn’t please him, nowadays tends to mean that any religion, any philosophy are just as good. One must not assert firm beliefs in any respect, or he is called “intolerant” and “extremist”.
    I’m not sure if this is only the work of KGB agents.
    Or is it because many people in the US and especially in the EU have no GOD, meaning that they no longer have any reference system for what is good and what is bad.
    While the muslims, followinh Mohamed, find it good to kill for Alah (how stupid a thing! as if an almighty god could not sanction unbelievers how and when he sees fit! this may be even looked upon as devilish), the citizens of the “civilised” countries find that whatever gratifies them for the moment is good.

  28. “You might as well say they want to restore the Caliphate and then paint the sun green. They have no chance of success when it comes to America — nor the West in general, I think — and we don’t plan to let them reach that stage of the plan anyway.”

    Don’t be so sure of yourself. If the US were still the country of the founding fathers, you may be right; but we’re not. Look at France, once a Catholic country, now Islam is the biggist religion. As things currently stand, we’re letting everyone into the US with our open borders: Mexicans, Chinese, Islamists, nukes, you name it. Much of the European birthrate is subreplacement. Ours is barely subreplacement, and only because of recent immigration. Fully 20% of all births in the US are to non-native born. The Islamic fundamentalists are making headway getting converts domestically, while at the same time recruiting and financing Jihadists. It won’t take long under current conditions to find ourselves domestically outnumbered by Islamic radiacals. At the same time they are gaining strength, our government is busy destroying the Consitution and our liberties in an attempt to establish greater world government (see CAFTA). Which are the exact steps necesary for Islamic fundamentalists to establish shari’a law in the west.

  29. But al-Qaeda didn’t create the ugly streak of nihilism and self-loathing that afflicts too many Western intellectuals.

    No, of course not. And, as you so rightly observe, that “ugly streak” latches on to whatever is available.

    Nor, I believe, is it a natural development. It was brought to us by Department V of the KGB, which was charged during the Cold War with conducting memetic warfare that would destroy the will of the West’s intelligentsia to resist a Communist takeover.

    This, it seems to me, is a far more questionable assertion. Even granted that such subversion might be more important than is realized, surely it has to find fertile ground to seed in. The reverse seems to me to be just not plausible.

    Ideas arise, mutate, morph into supposedly opposed ideas – that’s their “nature” and this seems to me better characterized as a “natural” development. (“Nature” and “natural” are, of course, philosophically difficult terms, but I’m not laying out a position here and this is not my choice of language.)

    And tangled with this is the movement of sensibility and often-neglected emotions that accompany the striking of moral positions. It seems to me that the attitude you identify and denounce is a product of Englightenment thinking. It’s not a necessary development of that, but a possible one – and so it arises. I suspect this political version of “Stockholm Syndrome” is connected with a loss of “piety” (in the Roman not religious sense) and also with the notion of a politics of will and that George Santayana’s thinking would throw much light on this. I’ve been meaning to acquire and read his novel The Last Puritan for some time, since sometimes these things are better shown in art than explained in prose.

  30. Islam is just a religon that is being used as a scapegoat. Such a pity… A fine religon indeed being misused…. Or rather people misleading…
    -Xyber.

  31. Adrian is keeping it VERY real, and that ESR chooses to entertain us (and himself) with McCarthyist conspiracy-theory nonsense instead of addressing the real issues Adrian and others have presented, just goes to show how inextricably Murkans are attached to their self-rationalisation “frameworks” as described in terrible detail by Baudrillard and Lakoff, even (especially!) when confronted with the reality that their *way of life* is circling the drain… fast.

  32. “These ideas travel under many labels: postmodernism, nihilism, multiculturalism, Third-World-ism, pacifism, “political correctness” to name just a few. It is time to recognize them for what they are, and call them by their right name: suicidalism.”

    that’s a great example of the straw man fallacy.

  33. May I point out that one of the best antidotes to this kind of thinking is a healthy dose of Ayn Rand? If a tendency to self-sacrifice is at the root of the problem, reject self-sacrifice and learn to live for yourself!

  34. I too second Adrian’s comment. I’ve been wondering for a while: ESR, have you heard of this “peak oil” thing, and what do you have to say about it?

  35. Nietzsche (mad and misogynistic he may have been but he could critique accurately) identified several of your points in general Christian thinking. What he described as the “slave morality” seems to cover the last three rather well if you replace submitting to the will of the terrorist to submitting to the will of the governing authority.

    However Moral Relitavism (if memory serves correctly) comes more from anthropology, when cultures began to be investigated in a more rigarous way the simple fact that there are no moral constants. From this came a belief that since there is no absolute moral laws like there are absolute laws of physics we cannot critise othe cultures. Not correct in my opinion, but justifiable, and dangerous since Islamists think there are absolute moral laws and they where all revealed by a deset warriors invisble friend 1400 years ago.

  36. Adrian, you’re not simplyfing. You’re just plain wrong. We’ve plenty of energy, all the energy we can ever consume; the problem is that we don’t know how to do it. There’s only a resource we must worry about: brainpower. If there’s freedom enough that the mind can search for solutions and apply them (i.e.: we don’t ban solutions like nukes), we will never get out of energy.

    Erhlichs are always wrong.

  37. I’d just like to go on record as a libertarian who thinks that Ayn Rand is without a doubt the single most painful and least talented writer in the history of humanity. Anyone who agrees with her ideas (and I do) yet advises any non-libertarian to read her to “see the truth” or something similar has to be off his tree. She’d have to be the last person I’d suggest anyone, libertarian or not, to read and it’s a wonder any libertarian (myself included!) who has read her hasn’t fled screaming into the night whilst renouncing her whole philosophy! That woman could turn a man dying of thirst away from a glass of water in disgust.

  38. Oh, she’s not *that* bad. I’ll admit some parts of _Atlas Shrugged_ are hard to get through (Galt’s speech in particular), but her non-fiction is the clearest, easiest to understand philosophical writing I’ve ever read.

  39. Caleb, you are quite wrong.  Walter Koenig’s writing is at least as screwy, and it has not one bit of philosophy to redeem it (though his relative brevity might).

  40. The self-loathing intellectualism by journalists and academics doesn’t stop at terrorism. It manifests its deplority everday on the news. Katrina, now the new hurricane. The left is gleeful when spreading doom-n-gloom.

  41. Well, some in here has raised doubt about the existence of Dep. V of KGB, but I’ve got it confirmed from people, centrally placed within the Danish Defence in the 60′es that they knew about it, and knew about the memetic warfare against the intelligentsia of the West.

    The propositions mentioned here, are pretty common among social-liberals (whatever that is) and socialists (incl. socialdemocrats). One may wonder how they can so easily betray their own country and culture, but perhaps it never was their country and culture?

    /Kristian Poul Herkild

  42. Setting out perspectives that contain elements of truth, but then claiming that because they are not 100% true they must be false, is not the best way to begin an article.

    Perhaps if we (the west) hadn’t been sticking our collective dick into the Middle East for the past fifty years, they would be more friendly towards us. The solution is not to stick it in harder.

    I would rather live with terrorism than without freedom.

  43. Eric–

    I’d always thought you were a marxist in the Richard Stallman vein, and recently a friend insisted you were a libertarian, so I came over to see what’s what. What If ind is that you are, unfortunately, not a libertarian.

    As long as you endorse forced collectivism — such as the “war on terror”, and by the way, in December 2003 you talked about that war being over, are you still under that delusion?— you will be no better than other socialists.

    The core value of libertarianism is that the initiation of force is immoral. Thus the initiation of force against people in Iraq, who did not attack us, is immoral. The force used to keep people in the military long after their agreements have ended is immoral. The pursuit of a fake organization for the goal of tyrannical control over the US is immoral.

    You will not be a libertarian until you do some research and discover that “Al Queda” does not exist. “Al Queda” is a term created by the administration and used by the media— nor organization has taken that name. The name has been *given* to them.

    You will not be a libertarian until you stop embracing the state– the organization that cannot live without initiating force– and realize that the “war on terror” like the war on drugs is a war on the american people.

    As long as you embrace the state– the war fought against innocents, and funded by the theft from the populace, you cannot call yourself a libertarian.

    Eric, its time to renounce indiscriminate violence, and apologize for your anti-idiotarian manifesto.

    Two years on, its clear the idiotarian is you!

    Its ok, we all fall for a lie of the state every once and awhile. They are crafty and always working to perpetrate scenarios that justify their existance.

    The measure of the man is when he gives up on the lie, and renounces aggression.

    Its time for you to take that step.

  44. ” # All Western (and especially American) claims to moral superiority over Communism/Fascism/Islam are vitiated by the West’s history of racism and colonialism.
    # There are no objective standards by which we may judge one culture to be better than another. Anyone who claims that there are such standards is an evil oppressor. ”

    It’s usually difficult to come to any descisions about cultures from most discussions, because everyone is from the same culture. All of you, and me, have heared about Islamic cultures, but haven’t experienced it. What we know about those cultures is what we think we know. As for moral superiority, except for a few extreme ones, like Afghanistan maybe, I think there isn’t much moral difference between most cultures.

    All those things you learn about other cultures – don’t believe it unless you hear it from a person *from* that culture. For example, as an Indian, sometimes the ideas some people have about India amaze me. Therefore, I’m not so quick to judge another culture and decide whether it is better or not. Of course, in cases like Afghanistan you clearly see that they are morally behind, don’t think that American culture is better than all the rest. I am not saying that my culture is better than yours, but simply that mine, as it seems, is no better than yours.

  45. > > There are no objective standards by which we may judge one culture to be better than another. Anyone who claims that there are such standards is an evil oppressor.

    > There’s an oversimplification.

    Adrian, Eric offered this item as a falsehood, as something he does not believe in. He then proceeded to link it back to Stalinism and suggest that the modern terrorist movement has adopted the same propaganda for their cause, supported by Western hyper-intellectual suicidalists.

    So what was your point exactly? That Eric’s economic views are wrong because resources are finite? What does that have to do with moral or cultural relativism? Maybe something, but you didn’t say.

    BTW, according to the laws of physics as we understand them, it will take us at least 100,000 years to *reach* all the resources in our own galaxy, probably more like a million years or longer, and even longer than that to use them all up. And that’s only a small fraction of the local group of galaxies that you mentioned.

    The human race can almost assume that resources are infinite for at least the next billion years or so. I’ll listen to the anti-business rabid-environmentalism population-control crowd when we run out of stars.

  46. Armed and Dangerous writes:

    “Nor, I believe, is it a natural development. It was brought to us by Department V of the KGB, which was charged during the Cold War with conducting memetic warfare that would destroy the will of the West’s intelligentsia to resist a Communist takeover.”

    I think this is going to be one of those cases where cause and effect are too entagled to permit simple statements. Propaganda from the USSR would, I assume, have encouraged these points of view. My intuition is that the effect would be small, but that’s a pretty data-free opinion.

    “Trace any of these back far enough (e.g. to the period between 1930 and 1950 when Department V was at its most effective”

    The USSR certainly wasn’t promoting pacifism in its allies during 1941-43 or so. It was trying to make them as warlike as it could. It’s not possible to discuss pacifism as though WW2 never happened.

    “Stalinist agitprop created Western suicidalism by successfully building on the Christian idea that self-sacrifice (and even self-loathing) are the primary indicators of virtue.”

    This would be more convincing if the anti-western tradition came out of devout Christian tradition. But in fact devout Christians are more supportive of western superiority, not less.

    Even absent these flaws, I think we need to see some evidence to help us gauge the influence they had. Interviews with ex-KGB people, for instance. Could they turn it on and off? Or did it just happen and they tried to ride the avalanche?

  47. In an excellent comment, Nick B writes:

    “Nobody in our government is willing to admit that all monotheistic faiths are dangerous …”

    Why are you singling out monotheism? The Indian Rationalist Association wants to know. :-)

    “… because they reduce the value of life, and enable people to become unaccountable prophets, and so forth. Instead we get “Fundamentalist Islam is dangerous, but they’re the only dangerous religion.””

    There’s an interesting comparison here to US behaviour with respect to rogue states.

    A letfist might say: “You say you want to overthrow Iraq because it’s an evil dictatorship. But what about other dictatorships you aren’t overthrowing, like PRC/DPRK/Saudi Arabia/…”

    A US governmentspokesman might answer, “Well we can’t change the whole world … not yet, anyway. But Iraq is amongst the worst examples, and looked reasonably easy to overthrow, and we had some sort of legal basis for it (though we’d have liked a better one, the one we had was still better than anything we had against other countries). So we’re starting with Iraq.”

    To analogise to religion, a militant but tactical atheist might say, “Yes, all religions are bad. But we can’t go after all of them at once, so we’re starting with the most egregious, which is Wahhabism/Baathism/whatever.”

  48. I’ve heard deep environmentalism explained most succinctly as “saving the environment from man, rather than for man.” It’s perverse.

  49. Yes, the KGB did much to promote these anti-Western ideas. I’ve read Koch’s book, it’s excellent. Also see Christopher Andrew’s “The Sword and the Shield” on this, as well as Paul Hollander’s “Political Pilgrims.” It’s also true that many of these anti-Western ideas did not originate with the KGB; rather, they seized upon pre-existing weaknesses in the Western meme pool and encouraged the bad memes to drive out the good. See “Occidentalism: The Western Sources of Anti-Western Ideas” on this; many anti-Western ideas came out of Russian and German Romanticism, which were reactions against the conquests of Napoleon (who was taken as a symbol of classical liberalism because he abolished feudalism and spread the propaganda of the French Revolution).

  50. It’s difficult to argue it would have been better off under the guidance of Hussein and his children.

    I think that’s not the question. The question is why the hell should you have the right to decide what’s good or bad for me. What if I decide that YOU would be better with a hole in your head?

  51. You have one thing right here: USA currently is resembling more and more former Soviet Union:
    - just one party (another party is just for to keep the show going; nobody is interested in talking really hot topics, like that you have alcoholic as president or you are estimated using 250 000 bullets to get one guy down, or that DU might make whole middle-east, including Israel, toxic waste land, or that over half of your veterans are sick beyond repair, or that in case of catastrophe mercenaries are the first one can expect to be there to “help”..)
    - rules by elite that can not be changed in free election (stalin said that votes don’t count, only who counts the votes!)
    - positions are shared not by competence, but “good relations”

    Now, a grown up would look too the mirror: “How do we got here?!”. You look for conspiracy theories, to avoid any hard questions about your own identity. Go read rense.com, there are more stories (some even more truhtful than yours) for you. Or stay with FoxNews, fair and balanced like Pravda was..
    I tell you, I have seen how Soviet Union was and you are going the same way. Fairy tales keep your head up only as long as reality truly bites.

  52. Nick B above said:

    “the so-called moral relativism meme, that no culture is “better”, seems to be dying out, now that everyone knows what a burqa is.”

    I beg to differ. I think the likes of Yvonne Ridley represents the tip of the iceberg.

  53. “Crime is the fault of society, not the individual criminal. Poor criminals are entitled to what they take. Submitting to criminal predation is more virtuous than resisting it.”
    I disagree. Sure, it should be alright for a poor person to take some food or clothing to live, but at what point does it be ok for a poor person to steal books/electronics that arent a necesity of life?

    “Al-Qaeda’s goal is the restoration of the Caliphate and the imposition of shari’a law on the West so that the Dar al-Harb is abolished and absorbed into the Dar al-Islam.”
    The west never had the Caliphate’s law to start with – sure, we had Puritan rule, and deeply devout Chritian Theocratic influence on our government centuries ago – and probably again now – But we never had a Caliphate or Muslim ruler as our President, or any other position of equal authority in the West(In this case, West being North America, and Western Europe). Perhaps the best we can hope for is a Dar Al-Sulh, after Dar Al-Maslubah, – as it appears Dar al-Islam will not occur anytime soon with the way the political leaders seem to be leading their foreign policy.

    Though, i find it hard to believe that its all true, it seems that you’ve got solid evidence to back it up.

  54. Interesting book, Eric; I’ll have to add it to my reading list.

    But concerning the claim:

    * All Western (and especially American) claims to moral superiority over Communism/Fascism/Islam are vitiated by the West’s history of racism and colonialism.

    It is not simply a matter of history; it is that you can sooner excise Internet Explorer from Windows than you can excise racism and colonialism from the anglospheric (and especially American) cultural landscape; and furthermore, you have not specified any strong alternative explanations for the current thuggery in Iraq to the obvious one which is simply that self-same racism and colonialism being extended to the “low hanging fruit” amongst the last regions on earth rich in oil deposits.

    I’ll see your Stephen Koch and raise you some Stetson Kennedy:

    http://www.stetsonkennedy.com/jim_crow_guide/index.html

  55. Bary Says:

    “and the life of Muhammad shows nothing more than a tyrant than a holy man. I think this is also echoed by the likes of Osama bin Laden, why hasn’t he become a martyr yet?”

    Can you comeup with some proof that Muhammad(saw) was a Tyrant,you should look up the meaning of Tyrant in dictionary and then do some research on MUhammad`s life,read the translations of quran, then come on this site and make some sensible comments,

    the english trnaslation of “Islam” is PEACE,more about it,Islam is not a Sunday religion like Christianity to go church one day a week and do whatever the shit you want,Islam dont comeup with such stupid theories that jesus will be responsible for everyone`s actions regardless they are bad or good.Among current bookish religons like Islam,Christianity and Jewish religons,Islam is the only religion which covers activities of every day`s life,from sleeping to eating,Islam/Quran JUST not teach to Pray Allah only,it let you show a path how to lead a good life,that sother thing many muslims dont follow it (for instance Osama,Saddam etc) and comeup with their own twisted perceptions,chrisitanity dont give respect to Jacob and David,similarly jews dont follow to Jesus and dont consider him much important.

    A muslim wont be called a muslim unless he follow the teachings of all(from Adam to Muhammad),its a long debate,if you can comeup with a sensible person,i would like to answer your questions ,
    just for a note,i answered this jewish guys blog,you may read here:

    http://judahgabriel.blogspot.com/2005/05/conversation-with-muslim.html#111924648404771001

    and Here

    http://judahgabriel.blogspot.com/2005/05/conversation-with-muslim.html#112650936843791810

    regarding Osama and Co and using sucide killing as weapon of islam,its strongly condemened in Islam..

    its like ,if someone uses Linux OS for bad purposes to spread viruses ,you shoudn`t curse to Linus trovalds to give an open source kernel

    Reagrds

    Adnan Siddiqi

  56. Michael Vassar is right. It has taken millenia of bad philosophy to get to this culture of strident moral cowardice.

  57. I always like a post that starts out with such distorted strawmen. Are those by Hieronymus Bosch, Eric? Or are they more cubist?

  58. This article is typical product of another, more dangerous “pathology of Western culture” – suggestibility and a sort of paranoia cultivated by official propaganda (“agitprop”, yeah). “Al-Qaeda’s goal is the restoration of the Caliphate and the imposition of shari’a law on the West” – do you really believe that the muslim fanatics are fighting and perishing for to make you circumcision and dress your wife in paranja?

    A bullshit of this kind is a convenient way to intimidate the people, suggest them the fear of external enemy and thus justify their own dirty businesses – human rights restriction, wars, genocides etc. To manipulate effectively, an illusion of external threat is necessary. Read Orwell. Now a convenient ground is found – the “islamic fascism”. Any offence may be justified now if it has a label of “anti-terroristic” – the war in Iraq, the genocide of civilians in Chechnya, and even repressions against opposition in own countries.

    The article is filled by typical clues of american official propaganda with its 50 y.o. techniques – such as referencing to the “KGB” which is intended to be an archetypical nightmare for at least two generations of the westerners. I don’t think really that ESR is hired by “bushists agitprop”, but he is obviously under their strong influence. It is a pity. I always respected Eric for his independent thinking and objectivity.

    BTW, I agree with at least six of these eight propositions. And I am not a “westerner” by no means, thus I cannot be infected by “suicidalism”. So why?

  59. Say what you like about Eric, he does construct the most beautiful strawmen.

    Create a list of propositions, credit them “typical Western academics”, without even the remotest supporting evidence that these ideas are widespread in academia beyond a smattering of loud self-publicists, and then proceed to shoot down these moronic opinions. Well thats just lovely. Don’t you have a barrel of fish you might be using as target practice instead?

  60. I suppose when someone is very competent in one field, he’s forcefully driven to be hopeless in another. Brain resources are limited. I’m hopeless at recognising tree varieties, Eric is hopeless at cultural anthropology.

    Tell me, big shot, why are you not fighting tooth and nails for your “cultural superiority” in Iraq? You have to fight them there, as the US administration said, in order to not fight them at home.

    Oh, you are just another member of the 101st Fighting Keyboardist, are you? Well, got news for you: the software industry is helping those bastard commie Chinese badasses as we speak. They are all begging Beijing for money, because the US is dry. How do you say “all your base” in Chinese?

  61. ESR,

    It would please me greatly if you would strive for some specificity, and it would further please me if you actually read some of the figures you see as vectors for an infection from the outside. The core of your rant seems to be this idea that it is not contradicitions inherent to an advanced money economy or democratic liberalism or even the human experiment, that we must contend with, even as we attempt to bring so called failed states on line with the liberalism and development party that we are throwing.

    Both sides of the cold war spent ridiculous sums of money trying to promote various scenarios for state development if you will, with any number of intellectuals signing up for the job of defending or promoting this or that idea. (I won’t use that ugly word meme which should never have been unleashed by the half-thinker Dawkins) Against the backdrop of socialist collectivism, the western democracies promoted ideals of individualism and horatio alger anyone can make it myths. go democracy. And we spent an awful lot of money trying to discredit Marxist discourse and analysis. down with charley marx! (the only place he is still credited with some authority is in political economics)

    Nihilism, straight up, need not be imported from anywhere, it is as old as the hills and perrenial, and even a salutory stage in the history of individuals and/or peoples, if one ever overcomes it, to be honest.

    Paul De Man, bless his opportune little heart, was no founder of anything. He was an opportunistic and insincere Nazi during the war and then an enthusiastic and quite clever literary critic who hid his shameful past. He does a good job of closely reading Rousseau, not much more than that, and he seemed not to lack for intellectual energy. He strikes me at the end of his life as a kind of apolitical connoissuer of aesthetic experience and nothing more, a perfect contemporary autonomist without a politics at all. In short a perfect citizen of an advanced money economy who could have just as well used his clever mind at some place like Google as at Yale.

    What you really seem to be rallying for here is a kind of vitalism and on that note many of these so called intellectuals that you abhor were quite vital to the end.

    You don’t, further, seem to understand al qaeda at all. aq could give a marsupial’s rear about the western democracies. they have purely regional geopolitical ambitions such as revolution in saudi arabia and they need the u.s. as a foil for recruitment and regional power, to jumpstart if you will, their constitiuency into “mass consciousness.”

  62. [i]# Jeff Read Says:
    September 19th, 2005 at 1:49 am

    Adrian is keeping it VERY real, and that ESR chooses to entertain us (and himself) with McCarthyist conspiracy-theory nonsense instead of addressing the real issues Adrian and others have presented, just goes to show how inextricably Murkans are attached to their self-rationalisation “frameworks” as described in terrible detail by Baudrillard and Lakoff, even (especially!) when confronted with the reality that their *way of life* is circling the drain… fast.[/i]

    Circling the drain and cooking the planet, but remember they’re not the ones who [i]hate[/i] humanity ;)

  63. “Western suicidalists have transferred their allegience from Communism to Islamofascism without a hitch.”

    A truly appalling level of ignorance! The dearth of information by the US right (or market fundamentalist libertarians if you will) about those on the left who opposed Stalin and the Soviet Union is extremely annoying. Do they ever think that, you know the most vocal opposition now and in the past to unnecessary wars and imperialism might have had a beef say with the SU’s sponsorship of violent insurrection and direct invasion?

    Anyway it appears the erstwhile KGB and current “suicidalists”?! campaign is a spectacular failure seeing as since 1945, the United States has launched over 200 armed operations (see * Gore Vidal, 2002. Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace: How We Got to be so Hated – Causes of Conflict in the Last Empire * .), most of which were intended not to promote world peace, freedom and democracy but to promote its own political or economic interests.

    Then again perhaps Department V had an influence in the resultant growth of Islamic fundamentalism. However not were ESR has suggested but in the actions of the neocons in the Bush administration he’s defending both today in Iraq and their 1950s fellow travellers in Iran…. ….

    See

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran

    “In 1953 Iran’s prime minister Mohammed Mossadeq, who had been *elected to parliament in 1923 and again in 1944 and who had been prime minister since 1951, was removed from power in a complex plot orchestrated by British and US intelligence agencies (“Operation Ajax”). Many scholars suspect that this ouster was motivated by British-US opposition to Mossadeq’s attempt to *nationalize Iran’s oil*. Following Mossadeq’s fall, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi (Iran’s monarch) grew increasingly dictatorial. With strong support from the USA and the UK, the Shah further modernised Iranian industry but crushed civil liberties. His autocratic rule, including systematic torture and other human rights violations, led to the Iranian revolution and overthrow of his regime in 1979. After more than a year of political struggle between a variety of different groups, an Islamic republic was established under the Ayatollah Khomeini by popular vote. The new theocratic political system instituted some conservative Islamic reforms and engaged in an anti-Western course. In particular Iran distanced itself from the United States due to the American involvement in the 1953 coup, *which supplanted an elected government with the Shah’s repressive regime”

    and
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Ajax

    Kristian Poul Herkild Says:
    “You do realize that in Europe you would be a semi-paria by now with these writings? ;)”

    Eh technically they’re “writings” there’s words and letters yes.

    I’m sorry but the language you use ESR seems to be a form of documentary speak, it’s as if you’ve sat down and watched the documentaries “Power of Nightmares” followed by “The Century of the Self” except they were re-edited by Richard Perle and Rush Limbaugh on an acid and cocaine binge!

    As RvnPhnx commented
    “Umm…..bud I hate to tell you that a lot of the stuff you claim that “Department V” put forth into the American psyche has been with us since the begining–literally.”

    Esr is in fact opposing something that has absolutely nothing to do with Al-queda the KGB or left wing suicidalists (?!) and that’s human nature and it’s use of communication for improvement of the self and society.

    Unless we borrow the logic of the above piece and say the KGB had a time machine and influenced the thought processes of “western suicidalists” of yore, Spartacus, the plebeians (or working people of Rome) formation of themselves into a people’s parliament (the Consilium Plebis), the Peasants Revolt, the Age of Enlightenment which provided a framework for the French Revolutions eh and the American revolution….

    So there we now have proof positive that the influence of Department V of the KGB tunneled through time and influencing the “left?” intellectuals of the Enlightenment in fact created the US….

    but only to defeat it in the present! :x

  64. F*ck Bob Goola… ya really should understand that programming is not an art in itself and certainly not connected with computers, but it’s understanding everything that has a logical algorithm…

  65. Consider the following propositions for what? Laughs? You’re concerned that someone read Nietzsche and was addle-minded enough to actually believe it?

    Yes, I’ve known people who do not believe in an objective reality. They aren’t the ones arguing with you, brainiac. They tend to believe that their soul is really a dragon on the inside, that they are pagan, and that “do what thou wilt” should be the whole of the law.

  66. Bravo, Eric! You’re a model thinker for these dangerous times.

    On a related subject, I hear that tin foil blocks the Soviet mind control rays. I’m not sure if it’s true, but just in case, I’ve lined my entire apartment with it, and have fashioned several stylish yet comfortable tin foil helmets.

  67. I always keep in mind the fact that it was far easier to remain tolerant of the folibles of another culture when you required a long trip by sea, a touch of scurvey and the risk of tropical disease to experience it. These days, thanks to the talking and writing monkeys who power newsrooms on a heady mix of paranoia and sensationalism, everyone’s culture is shoved in every one’s faces. Expecting everyone to kiss and make up or at least capitulate to another cultures views / demands is a pipe dream. Humans by their very nature are tribal in their outlook and will always retain that basic urge to batter someone not of their own. Hell, just look at your average sports nut. That’s a prime example of how humans will seek an identity that comforts them, and villify anyone from a different group.

  68. As a former member of the Eric Conspiracy, I’m intrigued.

    I attended the Singularity conference in 2000 and was admitted to the Conspiracy (as my name was Eric and I twiddled the kernel), but un-admitted myself after witnessing some of memes propagated at the conference, many supported by Eric Raymond.

    Perhaps he was overcome by the artifical welfare economy of the dotcom bubble, and actually thought the math of the socialist agenda was tenable. He appears to be better now.

  69. If I may comment…

    * There are no standards by which one culture may be judged superior to another.

    In my opinion, a culture that produces an assortment of art, consistently progresses technologically and is in a state of regular renewal can be said to be superior to one that does not. A culture that has produced the likes of Godel, Escher and Bach must be enlightened in comparison to a nation of warring nomadic tribes.

    Of course, this does not give a supposedly superior nation a ticket to world conquest.

    * That Westerners deserve to be impoverished and miserable, taking into account their ruthless exploitation of the others.

    While this is something that might resonate in the hearts of many Third World residents, I recall a quote from Kautilya’s Arthashastra – “The strong king strives to conquer, the weak king strives to maintain peace.”

    Whether you are in a commanding position or not, you will exercise all the power you can. Third World nations, given the same power the First World have today, would behave in much the same way that the First World does now.

  70. I have read Caleb’s anti-Rand screed three times in search of a single reason for his criticism and have come up empty. As a (therefore unecessary) counter-argument, I site the (admittedly) anecdotal observation that her books are very popular among late-teens/young-adults. This suggests that minds relatively uncorrupted by cynical post-modernist views of communication (and truth) are more ammenable to her style and content. I, for one, consider it worthy of pride to have been able to retain this “less sophisticated” epistemology in spite of my Ivy League education and increasing years.

  71. You’re still banging on about this subject. The invasion of Iraq was a stupid idea that in no way protects the US from terrorism. Admit it and get over it.

  72. Graham you fail to see the big picture, Should the US excercise in Iraq Succeed no regime in the Middle East will survive unless its roots are either Democracy or a theocracy.
    The people will not tolerate anything else.

  73. Dear Graham,
    Before Iraq Invasion multiple terror strikes on US soil.
    After Iraq Invasion zero terrorist strikes on US soil.
    DOH!
    If there is no elephant in the living room then the smart money bets the anti-elephant device is working, not that we never needed the device afterall.
    Dave

  74. The WW II invasion of Morocco and Algeria did nothing to protect the US from the Japanese who attacked us at Pearl Harbor or the Germans who declared war on us. These were French colonies and no threat to the US.

    So was Operation Torch a stupid idea that didn’t improve our position?

  75. TM, those territories belonged to the Germans (or their puppet Vichy government). I don’t see the analogy, unless you view Saddam as a puppet of Al-Qaeda. The Taliban, I could see — but it seems that war in Iraq has weakened our position in Afghanistan.

  76. Saddam and the Taliban both are puppets of the U.S., which makes anyone who takes sides in this orgiastic display of carnage and suffering what in the pro-wrestling business is called a “mark” — a gullible fool who thinks it’s all real. It is all just another epiphenomenon of the deeply-entrenched thuggery that is American governance. There’s nothing more really going on.

  77. Jeff Read – You don’t really expect me to believe that old conspiracy theory, do you? Saddam and the Taliban took money from the United States back in the eighties, when American policy was shaped around the Cold War; it’s not too much of a stretch to realize that they were getting it because they were expected (quite rightly in at least the case of Afghanistan) to use it against the Soviets or their sattelite states. The US is trying to eliminate them now, either because they’re a direct threat to US interests, because the executive branch thinks they are, or because the executive branch thinks it’ll win them votes to pretend they are. These motives were or are arguably immoral or short-sighted or both, but don’t require a puppet-master behind the scenes and are therefore a simpler (and thus more likely) explanation.

    “Never attribute to malice that which can be attributed to incompetence.”

  78. BJD, what you choose to believe is your own business. And I do not put my faith in unfalsifiable “smoke-filled room” conspiracy theories. What I do believe, however, is that the United States is based on a monstrous culture which requires appropriation and exploitation of resources (land, labor, and now mineral wealth) to survive; and uses seigneurial privilege to justify the same; and furthermore, feels the need to spread itself to other areas which show promise when it comes to resource exploitation and will stop at nothing — including employing thugs and despots to enforce its will on competing regimes — to do so.

    It would be silly to accept the “smoke-filled room” hypothesis; frankly I don’t think ShrubCo are nearly that clever. But the brutality of Saddam and bin Laden — that is largely America’s doing; America enabled that. And now we’re going to ride in on our white horse and rescue the poor Iraqis and Afghanis? I don’t think so; it’s a sham. Just like pro wrestling. See also the movie “The Incredibles”, specifically Syndrome, the “hero” who pretends to save the people from an out of control menace of his own design.

  79. Mr. Read: If I read you correctly, you believe that without the interference of the United States, Arab tyrants and terrorists would not exist. The _active_ interference (it is in the power of the United States to destroy villains such as Mugabe, Castro, or SLORC, and the US could have strangled the USSR in its cradle, but our not doing so doesn’t make us responsible for their crimes). Well, that’s pretty obvious nonsense. Al-Qaeda is a direct descendant of the Moslem Brotherhood, which was very active in terrorism in the 1940s. The US has never had any influence over the Ba’ath regime in Syria, which is quite as brutal as its late rival in Iraq. The murderous brutality of the Sudan regime over the last thirty years has been world-class. Yassir Arafat’s “PLO” has combined brutal terrorism with brutal tyranny for decades. All puppets of the United States? All “enabled” by the United States? I’d say, don’t be silly, but I don’t think you’re capable of not being silly.

    HF: on September 18, Afghans voted in the first parliamentary elections held in that country since the Soviet invasion. Turnout was over 50%. Taliban holdouts in the Pakistani borderlands issued bloodcurdling threats, but they attacked only 20 out of 6,000 polling places. Over three million Afghan refugees have returned to their homes.

  80. hf – Morocco and Algeria were convenient, vulnerable targets. They were first steps in a larger plan that evolved during the course of WW II. We fought internally, for instance, over whether Sicily or the Balkans would have been a better next step after N. Africa.

    Similarly, Iraq was and is a convenient first step in a larger plan. Fortunately, we can achieve an awful lot of what we need done without military action. Lebanon’s Cedar revolution is having very good effects for us without us doing much, for instance.

    There is an impulse for reform in the Middle East, an impulse that was successfully being stifled by local autocracies prior to the Iraq invasion but now efforts to stifle the reformers are not so successful. Good things are coming of this, not least of which is the growth of sane, indigenous leaders who might actually become competent enough to run some of these countries when the present autocracies shuffle off to the ash heap of history.

    Jeff Read – I’m sorry but it’s utterly preposterous to excuse indigenous brutality and lay the blame at the feet of the US. Is Pol Pot the US’ fault? How about Idi Amin?

  81. I have no excuse for indigenous brutality. But with the 350-year history Americans have of “indigenous brutality”, and the party in power having a proven strategy of winning elections by appealing to said brutality (the so-called “southern strategy”), you will forgive me if I question whether any good will come out of ShrubCo’s plan of re-making the middle east in its own image.

  82. on September 18, Afghans voted in the first parliamentary elections held in that country since the Soviet invasion.

    I’d intended to respond with links showing that an Afghan court sentenced an editor to two years in prison for criticizing Islam, that Iraq serves as a training area for terrorists who will go on to attack other governments in the region, and so forth. But I figure you already know this. So I’ll just repeat that I doubt the war in Iraq will lead to any result I would die for.

  83. I figured you were more enlightened on cultural / religious issues. Maybe you could take a lesson on Islam and learn the proper perspective not just the stuff shown on closed source TV stations…

    http://duckdown.blogspot.com

  84. Oh Master

    You have opened a door for me re how to become. I see through you master. There is a flaw in your logic, mainly that it seems that you refuse to challenge your own preconceptions. Why is it that Americans tend to see the world through the eyes of America?

    Could it not be that the suicide bombers are being hired by America
    through its own agencie which it has labelled Al Queda. That is one way to pull the wool over the eyes of the world. Georges war is about oil first and foremost, these bombers ensure that he keeps
    control of the oil.

    Can your security be so tight that further attachs on your soil are nil? Know that a coin has three sides, and sometimes the conclusion you reach should contain elements of what you cant say! re PG.

    One last thing…
    Approach these subjects with a beginners mind, and maybe one
    day you will walk through the door to the sure and certain.

    Vieome…

    P.T.O
    On the other side, between your thoughts and that of the suicide
    bomber lies the truth. The truth is always hidden.

  85. http://web.wt.net/~twayburn/
    Hmm, interesting stuff. But surely it’s time for our host to weigh in with some fulsome schadenfreude over the French riots and how they prove that Islam and all its ‘ofascisms must be pounded into putty IMMEDIATELY lest we all be consigned to the dustbin of history?

  86. adrian, I’ll be looking forward to that! But of course, what we’re looking at here is the brutal side effect of the French version of the racial seigneurialism that forms the very heart and soul of Murkan praxis. What shall we call it? “Jacques Corneille”? :)

  87. Eh? Corneille?

    Something really odd seems to have happened with the comments here. A whole bunch of new stuff has turned up since yesterday, interleaved with things I’ve already seen. WordPress is ferqued again, looks like.

    Adrian, you’re not simplyfing. You’re just plain wrong. We’ve plenty of energy, all the energy we can ever consume; the problem is that we don’t know how to do it. There’s only a resource we must worry about: brainpower. If there’s freedom enough that the mind can search for solutions and apply them (i.e.: we don’t ban solutions like nukes), we will never get out of energy.
    This is what I meant by “The Market Will Provide…” – I’m touched by your faith in Someone Else’s Brainpower to ferry us to a majestic future of studly Heinleinesque heroes expanding like yeast into a welcoming universe. But it might help to bear in mind James Howard Kunstler’s observation that Technology Isn’t Energy.

    Nukes are coming back (and France gets 70% of its electricity from them) but you don’t tend to see the corporations who are supposed to be building them queuing up to do so until they get *all* their liabilities covered by the government in question – that ol’ risk management thing. They need quite a lot of energy to build, and you can’t throw them up overnight like natural gas-fired ones. A panacea? I really have my doubts, but if you’re sure by all means invest yourself up to the nuts in nuke construction outfits.

    Adrian, Eric offered this item as a falsehood, as something he does not believe in.
    Are all your family clever?
    He then proceeded to link it back to Stalinism and suggest that the modern terrorist movement has adopted the same propaganda for their cause, supported by Western hyper-intellectual suicidalists.
    I read him as saying the Western librul intellectuals (missed the hyper bit) are taking this view. I think Al-Q themselves are quite convinced that there are objective standards by which they may judge their culture to be better than ours.
    So what was your point exactly? That Eric’s economic views are wrong because resources are finite? What does that have to do with moral or cultural relativism? Maybe something, but you didn’t say.
    A culture which fouls its own nest – which many feel capitalism is doing on a global scale – has something to answer for even if its ostensible opponents are forcing everybody into burqas, clipping off clitori or whatever.
    BTW, according to the laws of physics as we understand them, it will take us at least 100,000 years to *reach* all the resources in our own galaxy, probably more like a million years or longer, and even longer than that to use them all up. And that’s only a small fraction of the local group of galaxies that you mentioned.
    Surprisingly, I have heard of the speed of light, yes. But we haven’t got there yet. The energetics of getting people and manufacturing equipment up out of a gravity well like Earth’s are something you might want to read up on, if possible limiting yourself to technologies that have actually been invented.

  88. adrian:

    “Jacques” is French cognate to English “James”.

    “Corneille” is French for crow.

    Therefore “Jacques Corneille” is Jim Crow, which is a slang term for the American breed of institutionalised and deeply entrenched racial seigneurialism. My suggestion was that French society has its own variety, which lies at the root cause of the ghettos from which these riots sprung — though I doubt it’s anywhere near as pervasive as the American racial caste system.

  89. “Corneille” is French for crow.

    You sure? ‘Twas “corbeau” when I was a lad.

  90. Eric (the one who left the conspiracy):

    ‘Tis the math of the capitalist agenda which is untenable, as Tom Wayburn has gone to great lengths to show. Fundamental immorality aside, our economy is built around the purpose of maximising the profits of the privileged few, not efficiency or sustainability. The 90% inefficient “free market” has created a worldwide ecological disaster which could have been averted if we simply had the wherewithal to abandon capitalism and switch to something more common interest oriented like the anarcho-communism Wayburn suggests. However, such a switch is not likely to occur, as the big lie in both capitalism and American “freedom” is that people are rational beings.

    In light of all this, rather than cheerleading the neo-con, hegemonic War on Terra as the means of preserving our way of life, it’s better to say “good riddance” to our current way of life, as it is fundamentally untenable. We should instead shift our focus to a) surviving the likely-inevitable war, famine, and chaos that Peak Oil leaves in its wake and b) building a dematerialised, communitarian society wherein the former greed and selfishness of Western society becomes taboo.

    Maybe the strongly communitarian, inherently *communistic* praxis of open source is a good starting point for this project? Though I doubt that open source itself will have much long term significance, as it is quite dependent on the whiteman technoplastic prowess of the head-brain hegemon for sustenance, which we must also leave by the wayside:

    http://www.shelterpub.com/_shelter/smart_but_not_wise.html

  91. I could be wrong. I thought corbeau meant raven…

    You could be right according to babelfish, actually. And it knows nothing of corbeaux. Now where did I get that…

  92. > adrian10 Says:
    > Are all your family clever?

    All geniuses, if you believe in IQ tests. Are “all your family” rude?

    > Surprisingly, I have heard of the speed of light, yes. But we haven’t got there yet.

    I never said we could travel at the speed of light. It’s upper limit on the eventual expansion speed of the human race. On an evolutionary time scale it’s reasonable to believe that we will find a way to travel that fast, but if not, it’s even more reasonable to believe we will find a way to travel at one-tenth the speed of light, which is where the million year number came from.

    > The energetics of getting people and manufacturing equipment up out of a gravity
    > well like Earth’s are something you might want to read up on, if possible limiting
    > yourself to technologies that have actually been invented.

    In the short term, there’s plenty of energy in the world from numerous sources. Most of those sources just don’t happen to be as cheap and convenient as digging up fossil fuels. But even if there were 1 trillion humans on the planet, we could still build sufficient power sources if we put our minds to it. Any power shortages that ever occur are the result of temporary economic conditions i.e. bad planning on the supply side. As long as there are people with money to buy power there will be somebody else to find it and sell it to them. Hell, we’ve got a gazillion tons of high-energy plasma about 8 light seconds away if it eventually comes down to that.

    In the long term, current propulsion technologies could get us to the stars, not to mention obvious future ones, like light sails or magnetic cannons. A bigger problem is how to keep us alive during the trip. We either need some incredibly efficient self-contained ecosystems for colony ships or some kind of suspended animation/stasis, but these things are almost certain to be developed soon — on an evolutionary timescale. The galaxy is ripe for the taking by the human race.

    Oh wait, you were being sarcastic.

  93. > Jeff Read Says:
    > The 90% inefficient “free market” has created a worldwide ecological disaster
    > which could have been averted if we simply had the wherewithal to abandon
    > capitalism and switch to something more common interest oriented like the
    > anarcho-communism Wayburn suggests.

    Efficiency is of course desirable. How desirable? I can think of more important things. Such as technological progress. The human race needs to discover and master the laws of nature, and the free market is highly efficient at performing that search.

    In the meantime, if you want to preserve the ecology, make some money to pay for wildlife preserves etc. Nobody’s stopping you. Or if you don’t have the business skills, maybe you have the marketing skills. Get rich people to donate to a fund. Rich people donate to charity all the time. I seem to remember reading that Bill Gates donated hundreds of millions of dollars to fight third-world diseases, recently.

    In the free market, if mother nature is dying, it’s not the free market’s “fault”, it’s because nobody successful cares about mother nature. Which should tell you something, not about the free market, but about people.

  94. Shawn Yarbrough:

    http://www.ecobooks.com/books/history.htm

    As resources become scarcer and life gets more hardscrabble, I don’t anticipate anything but a replay of what has transpired many times before in mankind’s natural history: tribalistic hogging of what remains followed by a sharp dieoff.

    Also, as Ponting points out in his book, mankind hasn’t a real “need” to do anything of the sort you describe, as African hunter-gatherer societies seem quite capable of thriving off the land on something like 4 hours of effort per day. Combine that with 8 hours working at a shit job in Murka just to scrape by, or 10 or 12 if you want to have any sort of upward mobility. I’m beginning to question whether whiteman technoplastic prowess is really a laudable goal (let alone a “need”), or whether the current hegemon has any interest in it at all beyond that which is used to secure more wealth and power. A cursory glance at Slashdot will tell you that the Murkan corporatist monster doesn’t hesitate to quash technological progress that doesn’t come from companies with powerful lobbies in Washington; or that can’t be put to use in the War on Terra.

  95. > Jeff Read Says:
    > http://www.ecobooks.com/books/history.htm
    > Combine that with 8 hours working at a shit job in Murka just to scrape by

    I’ve heard it said that all purchases are luxuries in a modern economy.

    At minimum wage one or two working Americans can easily support a family of four at a sustinance level. I’m not saying they will be happy, but they can generally get by with their health and survive and eventually maybe improve their skills and their income if they are so inclined. Or they can even afford to watch TV 20 or 40 hours a week for entertainment if they can’t find anything better to do.

    I enjoyed reading the link you posted, but it’s history, it doesn’t account for modern agriculture. Food can be manufactured almost for free these days. If people starve it’s a tragedy but it’s nothing to do with the free market. The free market tends to encourage farmers to grow food to sell to people. The places in the world where people are starving tend to be war zones.

    I don’t accept even for a second that we are short on resources, except maybe oil, which we’ve been working hard to obsolete anyway. Any temperature differential can be used as a power source. Do you think we are ever going to run out of metals? They aren’t going anywhere. Even when they rust away they are still technically recoverable if we wanted to put our minds to it. There’s lots of uranium, and we might even get fusion power working, which essentially runs off of seawater. We sure aren’t short on seawater.

    We may see various disasters and deaths caused by poor financal planning at the personal and governmental levels, but in the long run the only thing the human race really has to worry about is making the entire planet uninhabitable. Barring that, mankind will get by until the sun burns out, and there are countless more stars out there.

  96. All geniuses, if you believe in IQ tests.

    Not any more.

    Are “all your family” rude?

    Only when the blindingly obvious is pointed out to them.

    Surprisingly, I have heard of the speed of light, yes. But we haven’t got there yet.

    I never said we could travel at the speed of light. It’s upper limit on the eventual expansion speed of the human race.

    By “we haven’t got there yet” I meant we haven’t got off Earth, other than in economically insignificant numbers. I’m aware the speed of light is theoretically unattainable, as well.

    In the short term, there’s plenty of energy in the world from numerous sources.

    Which ones? Please, no methane hydrates or shale oil unless you can point to projects with energy returned on energy invested greater than 1. And no ZPE.

    Most of those sources just don’t happen to be as cheap and convenient as digging up fossil fuels. But even if there were 1 trillion humans on the planet, we could still build sufficient power sources if we put our minds to it.

    Out of what? There’d be plenty of shit for methane production, admittedly.

    Any power shortages that ever occur are the result of temporary economic conditions i.e. bad planning on the supply side. As long as there are people with money to buy power there will be somebody else to find it and sell it to them.

    This, to me, is ideology. In a sense, money is an abstracted form of energy, but it’s no substitute for the real thing.

    Hell, we’ve got a gazillion tons of high-energy plasma about 8 light seconds away if it eventually comes down to that.

    Counting your energy chickens before they’re hatched is ill-advised. Never let economists do your science for you, they’re not very good at it.

    In the long term, current propulsion technologies could get us to the stars, not to mention obvious future ones, like light sails or magnetic cannons. A bigger problem is how to keep us alive during the trip. We either need some incredibly efficient self-contained ecosystems for colony ships or some kind of suspended animation/stasis, but these things are almost certain to be developed soon — on an evolutionary timescale. The galaxy is ripe for the taking by the human race.

    I’m still not hearing how we’re going to get out of the gravity well in economically significant numbers.

    Oh wait, you were being sarcastic.

    Not at all.

  97. hf – Under the previous Afghan regime, the man would be dead. Now he’s spending two years in jail. If you don’t see that as an improvement, I can’t imagine what to say.

    Jeff Read – We have the ecological records of governments worldwide. It is the more interventionist societies that are ecological disasters. The PRC worries about having to abandon certain cities due to excess pollution. the USSR and Comecom bloc are filled with disaster after disaster that are just now being cleaned up as capitalism provides the funds to make things right that had festered under the previous dispensation for decades.

    Julian Simon had a very famous bet over resource availability. Resources are generally becoming cheaper as we figure out how to do more with less. The unprecedented (and unrepeatable) simultaneous rise of both the PRC and India have led to an anomaly where their improving systems have led to huge natural resource demands. Once they catch up after their initial rush, we will again return to the baseline downward pattern to resource pricing.

    adrian10 – You say “I’m still not hearing how we’re going to get out of the gravity well in economically significant numbers.” I would suggest that you watch Brad Edwards and the rest of the space elevator people. We’re still waiting for the material scientists to get the ribbon material up in practice to the level needed for an elevator but it’s astounding how fast they’re progressing. An elevator chops two zeros off the cost of launch and make it practical to have economically significant orbital populations.

  98. I know about skyhooks, yes. Sounds like you need to be pretty close to the theoretical strength limit for buckytubes to get one working, which doesn’t exactly fill me with enthusiasm. Also sounds like twenty years out, and my personal feeling is we haven’t got that long.

  99. > adrian10 Says:
    > > All geniuses, if you believe in IQ tests.
    > Not any more.

    I love arguing with people who can’t figure out how to engage in polite discussion. It’s so easy.

    > Out of what? There’d be plenty of shit for methane production, admittedly.

    Methane’s not a great-sounding solution, but it might work. Or you could build 10000 fission reactors in Alaska and run power lines to the rest of the continent. Or you could build a bunch of alunimum-core space elevators and run a generator off the temperature differential between ground and space. Or you could build 1,000,000 windmills all over windy areas of the planet.

    There’s *plenty* of energy around, it’s just not all as cheap and convienent as oil. If we were willing to invest in energy sources at the level that we currently invest in the military, we’d find the ways to tap the available energy. And believe me, if the choice comes down to: 1) living in the cold and dark, or 2) investing in alternate energy sources … the human race will spend the money on #2.

    > I’m still not hearing how we’re going to get out of the gravity well in economically significant numbers.

    Conventional rockets would work. If you think hard enough about what I said about the evolutionary timescale, you may eventually figure out why we don’t need to get very many people off the planet in order for the human race to fill the whole galaxy.

  100. Roger Zimmerman: I was exaggerating just a little, in case you didn’t notice. My beef with her, as I said, was that she is painful to read. Perhaps I should have expanded upon that. She flogs a dead horse as they say. Atlas Shrugged could have been half the length. The speech by John Galt was about 35 pages if I remember correctly. Are you telling me she couldn’t have summed up her philosophy in five pages or less? Give me a break.

    Furthermore, her writing style seems to be completely without either comedy or decoration. I find her use of the language to be incredibly dry and unsophisticated. It’s about as subtle as a sledgehammer. That’s why I don’t consider her to be a good writer of fiction, but painful instead.

    I think a fiction writer should be either long-winded yet funny and/or engaging, or else that writer should in fact get to the point in as short a time as possible.

  101. I love arguing with people who can’t figure out how to engage in polite discussion. It’s so easy.

    Oh, grow some skin for jaysus’ sake, this is just banter.

    Methane’s not a great-sounding solution, but it might work.

    Also, learn to recognise sarcasm.

    Or you could build 10000 fission reactors in Alaska and run power lines to the rest of the continent.

    Who’s going to build these 10000 reactors you’ve so airily handwaved into existence? Each one costs billions, btw. And needs a lot of energy to build.

    Or you could build a bunch of alunimum-core space elevators and run a generator off the temperature differential between ground and space.

    A “bunch”? Just like that? I’d wait until someone’s built *one* first.

    Or you could build 1,000,000 windmills all over windy areas of the planet.

    I don’t think I could do that, AAMOF. I mean, they’re going up all over the place, but the Germans for one have been finding that the reserve capacity you have to keep on line for when the wind drops is pretty substantial. I’d say thin-film solar has more potential, if it can be made reasonably durable.

    If we were willing to invest in energy sources at the level that we currently invest in the military, we’d find the ways to tap the available energy.

    I’d be totally in favour of that, but I think the military would be less so.

  102. By “we haven’t got there yet” I meant we haven’t got off Earth, other than in economically insignificant numbers. I’m aware the speed of light is theoretically unattainable, as well.

    this is here only a Joke discuss or?

    greets
    Max

  103. I’d dig real deep holes in the earth first and run a generator off the temperature differential between the surface and the Moho.

    Maybe we’ll find some of that abiogenic oil as long as we’re drilling down that far….!

  104. hi

    Could you explain the meaning of “deep environmentalism”? It’s a term I have not heard before. but this is a nice blog greez

  105. Program on the emergence of civilization.

    “14 species of large animals capable of domesitcation in the history of mankind.
    13 from Europe, Asia and northern Africa.
    None from the sub-Saharan African continent. ”
    Favor.
    And disfavor.

    They point out Africans’ failed attempts to domesticate the elephant and zebra, the latter being an animal they illustrate that had utmost importance for it’s applicability in transformation from a hunting/gathering to agrarian-based civilization.

    The roots of racism are not of this earth.

    Austrailia, aboriginals:::No domesticable animals.

    The North American continent had none. Now 99% of that population is gone.

    AIDS in Africa.

    Organizational Heirarchy/Levels of positioning.
    Heirarchical order, from top to bottom:

    1. MUCK – perhaps have experienced multiple universal contractions (have seen multiple big bangs), creator of the artificial intelligence humans ignorantly refer to as “god”
    2. Perhaps some mid-level alien management
    3. Evil/disfavored aliens – runs day-to-day operations here and perhaps elsewhere

    Terrestrial management/positioning:

    4. Chinese/egyptians – this may be separated into the eastern and western worlds
    5. Romans –
    6. Mafia – the real-world 20th century interface that constantly turns over generationally so as to reinforce the widely-held notion of mortality
    7. Jews, corporation, women, politician – Evidence exisits to suggest mafia management over all these groups.

    Movies foreshadowing catastrophy
    1985 James Bond View to a Kill 1989 San Francisco Loma Prieta earthquake.

    Our society gives clues to the system in place. We all have heard the saying “He has more money than god.” There is also an episode of the Simpsons where god meets Homer and says “I’m too old and rich for this.”

    This is the system on earth because this is the system everywhere.

    I don’t want to suggest the upper eschelons are evil and good is the fringe.

    But they have made it abundantly clear that doing business with evil (disfavored) won’t help people. They say only good would have the ear, since evil is struggling for survival, and therefore only the favored could help.

    The clues are there which companies are favored and which are disfavored, but they conceal it very hard because it is so crucial.

    I offer an example of historical proportions:::

    People point to Walmart and cry “anti-union”.
    Unions enable disfavored people to live satisfactorly without addressing their disfavor. This way their family’s problems are never resolved. Without the union they would have to accept the heirarchy, their own inferiority.
    Unions serve to empower.
    Walmart is anti-union because they are good. They try to help people address and resolve their problems by creating an enviornment where there are fewer hurdles.

    Media ridicule and lawsuits are creations to reinforce people’s belief that Walmart is evil in a subsegment of the indistry dominated by the middle and lower classes.
    Low-cost disfavored Chinese labor is utilized by corporate america to maximize margins. They all do it. Only WalMart gets fingered because they are the ones who help, and those who seek to create confusion in the marketplace want to eliminate the vast middle class who have a real chance and instead stick with lower classes who may not work otherwise. So they dirty him up while allowing the others to appear clean.

    The middle class is being deceived. They are being misled into the unfavored, and subsequently will have no assistance from their purchases with corporate america.

    I believe the coining of the term “Uncle Sam” was a clue alluding to just this::Sam Walton and WalMart is one of few saviors of the peasant class.

    Amercia is a country of castoffs, rejects. Italy sent its criminals, malcontents.
    Between the thrones, the klans and kindred, they “decided” who they didn’t want and acted, creating discontent and/or starvation.
    The u.s. is full of disfavored rejects. It is the reason for the myriad of problems not found in European countries. As far as the Rockafellers and other industrialists of the 19th century go, I suspect these aren’t their real names. I suspect they were chosen to go and head this new empire.

    Royalty is the right way to organize a society. Dictatorships and monarchies are a reflection of the antient’s hierarchical organization.
    Positions go to those who have favor with the rulers, as opposed to being elected.
    Elections bring a false sense of how the world is. Democracy misleads people.
    Which is why the disfavored rejects were sent to the shores of America::To keep them on the wrong path.

    Jews maim the body formed in the image of “god”, and inflicted circumsision upon all other white people, as well as the evil that is Jesus Christ.
    I think about how Jews (were used to) created homosexuality among Slavics, retribution for the Holocaust.
    Then I think of the Catholic Church and its troubles.
    What connection is here between Jews and the Catholic church???
    If it is their sinister motives that’s behind the evil that is Jesus Christ are they being used at all?
    Perhaps it is them who are pulling strings.
    Their centuries of slavery in Egypt proves their disfavor.
    The Jew leaders decided to prey on the up-and-coming Europeans to try to fix their problems with the ruling elite, a recurring aspect of the elite’s methodology.

    Jesus Christ is a religious figure of evil. The seperatist churches formed so they could still capture the rest of the white people, keeping them worshipping the wrong god.
    And now they do it to people of color, Latinos and Asians, after centuries of preying upon them.

    Since Buddism doesn’t recongnize a god, the calls are never heard, and Chinese representation is instead selected by the thrones.
    Budda was the Asian’s Jesus Christ::: bad for the people. “They came up at the same time for a reason.”

    Simpson’s foreshadowing::Helloween IV special, Flanders is Satan. “Last one you ever suspect.”
    “You’ll see lots of nuns where you’re going:::hell!!!” St. Wigham, Helloween VI, missionary work, destroying cultures.
    Over and over, the Simpsons was a source of education and enlightenment, a target of ridicule by the system which wishes to conceal its secrets.

    I believe Islam is the one true religion, and those misled christians who attack “god”‘s most favored people will pay dearly one day.

  106. tom wrote: “Could you explain the meaning of “deep environmentalism”? It’s a term I have not heard before. but this is a nice blog greez”

    what do you mean with this text? i don´t understand your english

  107. Out of Hiding

    In November, a radical Muslim shot and killed Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh. But the killer’s actual target was Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali immigrant who moved her way out of the working class and into parliament, while championing the cause of Holland’s Muslim women. The uncompromising reform-minded ex-Muslim refuses to be intimidated or to cease with her razor sharp tongue lashings of Islam.

    Ayaan Hirsi Ali says she won’t be intimidated by Islamic fundamentalists.

    “It’s good to have you back.” Those were the words Dutch parliament president Frans Weisglas chose to greet Member of Parliament Ayaan Hirsi Ali on Tuesday as she stepped out of her armored Mercedes at the main entrance to the parliament building in The Hague. It had, after all, been awhile. Since the beginning of November — immediately following the bestial murder of the Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh — she has been in hiding. Her life, promised a note impaled in the breast of the dead van Gogh, was in grave danger.

    “It’s good to be back,” 37-year-old parliamentarian responded to Weisglas’s greeting with a smile. It is unlikely, though, that the danger to her life has passed.

    Hirsi Ali fled on Nov. 10, flying to the United States on a military aircraft, just eight days after the highly publicized Nov. 2 murder of van Gogh — a distant relative of the famous painter — on the streets of Amsterdam. The precaution proved justified. On the day of her flight, police in The Hague arrested two members of an Islamic group and found papers documenting an apparent assassination plot against Hirsi Ali, a member of the Netherlands’ conservative Liberal Party (VVD). She was to be killed on New Year’s Day.

    The discovery of the plot wasn’t particularly surprising to anyone familiar with the police investigations into van Gogh’s alleged murderer Mohamed Bouyeri. The more they know, the more police suspect that it was Hirsi Ali and not the filmmaker who was the Islamic radical’s main target. Van Gogh did, of course, film the television documentary “Submission,” in which naked women appear with Quran verses painted on their bodies to represent the oppression of Muslim women. But it was Hirsi Ali, an ex-Muslim, who wrote the script. Van Gogh, however, was easier to get to; despite repeated warnings, he eschewed all security measures. Hirsi Ali, on the other hand, is protected by bodyguards 24 hours a day.

    The letter found on Theo van Gogh was addressed to Hirsi Ali, calling her an “enemy of Islam:”
    The four-page long letter van Gogh’s killer skewered to his chest was, in fact, addressed to Hirsi Ali. “Beware madame,” it stated, “as a soldier of evil, you are doing the work of the enemies of Islam.” The letter said she would be wishing for death when her punishment is meted out. It didn’t even mention van Gogh.

    Hirsi Ali has never disputed the fact that she enjoys her role as a polemicist. And it’s unlikely the threats against her life will slow her critique of Islam. She loves the furor and anything less would be, in her mind at least, a half-hearted commitment. Nor are her arguments baseless — the woman knows what she’s talking about.

    Championing Holland’s Muslim women

    As a young girl in Mogadishu, Somalia, she was subjected to the violent practice of female circumcision. At 18, her Koran teacher beat her so badly she suffered a broken skull. Then, in 1992, her father married her off to a cousin in Canada she had never even met. At the time she was in Berlin, and instead of catching her flight to Canada, she took a train to Amsterdam: the destination, a new life. There she applied for asylum, renounced her Islamic beliefs and eked out a living as a cleaning lady and social worker.

    Through her work at women’s shelters, she came into close contact with the adversity faced by Muslim women across the Netherlands and she started investigating the consequences of sexual abuse in Muslim families. “It happens regularly — the incest, the beatings, the abortions,” she says. “Girls commit suicide. But no one says anything. And social workers are sworn to professional secrecy.” She also claims that 60 percent of the women who get abortions in Holland are Muslim.

    Hirsi Ali made championing the cause of Muslim women her career and eventually got elected to parliament. When the ambassador of Saudi Arabia called for her to be removed from office because of her polemics against Islam, she just scored even more points with Dutch voters. In a survey of the most-popular Dutch people in 2003, she landed in second place.

    But the country’s political elite regard Hirsi Ali less fondly. She has divisively described the Netherlands’s multicultural ideal as a “naïve illusion.” And she’s lumped radical Islam together with the mainstream Muslim religion and described them both as “dangerous.” With views that strong, there’s little room left for the kind of political compromise that is the soul of Holland’s consensus-based democracy.

    But it is within the Islamic community where she has made her most bitter enemies and she has been seen as a sort of raving reformist for years now. “She’s sick in the head,” says an outraged Hassan al-Barrakat, who heads a group of Somali Muslims in Holland. No group, he says, is willing to deal with her.

    Yet despite political pressure from the Muslim community and within her own party, Hirsi Ali is unlikely to back off from her Islam-critical activism. Her wildest rants, in which she calls the prophet Muhammad a perverse tyrant or describes the Muslim religion as a cultural backwater, even make her own Liberal Party leaders flinch. The party’s boss, Jozias van Aartsen, has called for moderation and he’s warned that her anti-Islam slogans are at odds with the party’s own positions. He’s cautioned that the party’s “tolerance should not be replaced with Islamophobia.”

    But Hirsi Ali’s response is hardly reassuring. Why, she asks, should she temper herself? Amsterdam Mayor Job Cohen, she points out, is very moderate in his criticism of Islam. Yet he’s still on the Islamists’ death list. If you’re going to oppose something, she seems to think, you have to do it strongly.

    On Tuesday Hirsi Ali announced she’s now working on the script for “Submission II.” The move ensures that it will be a long time before the file on Hirsi Ali is closed — the police file will remain open and so will the death file her Islamic would-be assassins have compiled on her.

  108. > These ideas travel under many labels: postmodernism, nihilism, multiculturalism, Third-World-ism, pacifism, “political correctness”
    > to name just a few. It is time to recognize them for what they are, and call them by their right name: suicidalism.
    > Trace any of these back far enough (e.g. to the period between 1930 and 1950 when Department V was at its most effective) and you’ll
    > find a Stalinist at the bottom.

    None of this intellectual geneology makes any sense. Most of these schools of thought had nothing to do with Stalinism (or even Marxism) and some of them were an explicit rejection of both Marxism and Totalitarianism. Postmodernism sets out to undermine the modernist assumptions of Marxism and Stalinism. Postmodernists like Derrida spent their whole life arguing against Marxism and totalitarism. Postmodernism undermines all forms of totalitarianism thinking. Nihilism is certainly not Stalinist in any sense. Stalin was not multicultural in any sense. He believed that the nation was based upon a single language and people and much of his resettlement policy was based upon the idea of putting ethnic Russians in all parts of the USSR to make it into a single unified nation. This is the exact opposite of multiculturalism. I have no idea what Third Worldism is–it certainly isn’t a systemized school of thought–maybe ESR is thinking of post-colonial theory or maybe he is thinking of people in the First World who extol aspects of the Third World. Although some of the post-colonial writers like Fanon may be informed by Marxism, most of the post-colonial literature of today had rejected Marxism and has turned to post-modernism. As for people who extol the Third World, many are drawing from Romanticism and essentialized notions of primitivism. There are some on the left that do draw inspiration from countries like Cuba, but never from Stalin. And most see Venezuelan-style Bolivarian Revolution as the future, not a pure Marxist revolution. The few people in the Third World who proclaim Marxism almost always renounce the totalitarianism of Stalin. Trying to argue that pacifism has Marxist or Stalinist roots is so off-base that it is laughable. Pacifism generally draws from Christian roots (or in the 60s some drew from Buddist roots). Ghandi looked to both Hindu and Christian spiritualism for his non-violent non cooperation. Pacifism is an explicit rejection of the use of force advocated by Stalinists. Some people charge that “political correctness” is a form of totalitarianism, but most political correctness is a call to recognize diversity and other cultures, which is the opposite of Stalin’s ideas. Look at Stalin’s ideas about nation and nationalism and you will realize how false this argument is.

    Trying to lump all leftist philosophies together deriving from Stalinism is a ridiculous proposition, but then again the whole argument of this essay is ridiculous. The propositions listed are simplistic parodies of the true position of most leftists. While I would be the last person to deny the influence of Marxist thought in all sorts of areas, the argument that somehow all these leftist ideas come out of Department V of the KGB is a paranoid delusion and totally historically inaccurate. None of these ideas had any roots in Stalinism, and very few of them even derived from Marxism in general.

    PS: Sartre didn’t invent existentialism. He didn’t even invent secular existentialism, although he was its most famous proponent (Although some point to Nietzsche as secular existentialist.)

    > Among the more notorious examples ware: Paul de Man — racist and Nazi propagandist turned Stalinist,
    > and fonder of postmodernism; Jean-Paul Sarte, who described the effects of Stalinism as “humane terror” and helped invent
    > existentialism; and Paul Baran, who developed the thesis that capitalism depended on the immiseration of the Third World after
    > Marx’s immiseration of the proletariat failed to materialize.

  109. “This is in response to Yusuf’s post.”
    You have mentioned and associated suiside bombers with Hinduism. Let me tell you that there is no relation between both of them. I am not supporter of Tamil Tigers or not in opposition of them. They are a large group of people rather community fighting for their and happens to be hindu, So there is nothing related to hinduism and Suiside bombers or It is not hinduism ideaology. So as a Muslim if you want to give a clean cheat to Al-Queda, there is no excuse in it. What Al-Queda is doing and have done is completely . Al-Queda is not doing it for their but rather they are doing it for exteamism . I don’t know wheather Islam says it or not but they are doing it anyways and large number of Muslims regards them (Al-Queda). Important disclosure is I am not against any religion or cult or Islam or Muslims but I am rather defending as you have tried to relate Suiside bombers with Hinduism.

  110. > I’m still not hearing how we’re going to get out of the gravity well in economically significant numbers.

    Conventional rockets would work. If you think hard enough about what I said about the evolutionary timescale, you may eventually figure out why we don’t need to get very many people off the planet in order for the human race to fill the whole galaxy.

  111. tom wrote: “Could you explain the meaning of “deep environmentalism”? It’s a term I have not heard before. but this is a nice blog greez”

    what do you mean with this text? i don´t understand your english

  112. I love arguing with people who can’t figure out how to engage in polite discussion. It’s so easy.

    Oh, grow some skin for jaysus’ sake, this is just banter.

    Methane’s not a great-sounding solution, but it might work.

    Also, learn to recognise sarcasm.

    Or you could build 10000 fission reactors in Alaska and run power lines to the rest of the continent.

    Who’s going to build these 10000 reactors you’ve so airily handwaved into existence? Each one costs billions, btw. And needs a lot of energy to build.

    Or you could build a bunch of alunimum-core space elevators and run a generator off the temperature differential between ground and space.

    A “bunch”? Just like that? I’d wait until someone’s built *one* first.

    Or you could build 1,000,000 windmills all over windy areas of the planet.

    I don’t think I could do that, AAMOF. I mean, they’re going up all over the place, but the Germans for one have been finding that the reserve capacity you have to keep on line for when the wind drops is pretty substantial. I’d say thin-film solar has more potential, if it can be made reasonably durable.

    If we were willing to invest in energy sources at the level that we currently invest in the military, we’d find the ways to tap the available energy.

    I’d be totally in favour of that, but I think the military would be less so.

  113. The question why was the Marxist indoctrination so much more successful in Europe than America is still not answered yet. If you have some clues, I would be glad.

  114. The West ist the Best, I was born in East Germany and there was nothing good for the normal people, only the high ranking People from the goverment had there privilegs and made a good live, komunism ist out.

  115. It’s interesting to watch how people feel so safe taking stance in a world product of two forces fighting each other. An ancient idea hold for more than a couple of thousand years. So everywhere you go there are only two sides, simply as that ? Maybe there is more than one pattern to recognize. Maybe different cultures may have patterns in common than can bring them to coexistence. Is there a simple way that you can point out what is exactly western culture or principles so that everyone in the west can be absolutely sure of sharing ?
    Sorry, but to me your idea of detecting and rejecting thinkers who try to dig into those proposals you named behind the concept of “intellectual suicidalism” sounds kind of a fundamentalism.
    I prefer a complex world not two.

  116. I think it isn’t russian and i don’t know why some people think so crazy things. The problem is … the christian culture and the islam is very different in many possitions. Russian have also problems with the islamist terror. This is one of many reasons why russian can’t be the power of this actions. The other side is that the west go to the islam staats and want to etablish there one democratie and culture. That isn’t the right thing and the people in these countries are very angry about this. Ok the way to answer with terrosim isn’t ok but we should play with the tiger.

    That’s my opinion.

  117. A very dangerous situation, and it won’t get any better in the future by itself. How can we break the wall of the poor people getting into terrorism because of someone using religion to make politics. using religion to have people getting into hate with each other is a very simple way to implement his own interests.

  118. Andy Mc Murphy wrote: “The West ist the Best, I was born in East Germany and there was nothing good for the normal people, only the high ranking People from the goverment had there privilegs and made a good live, komunism ist out.” great comment ;-)

  119. Roger Zimmerman: I was exaggerating just a little, in case you didn’t notice. My beef with her, as I said, was that she is painful to read. Perhaps I should have expanded upon that. She flogs a dead horse as they say. Atlas Shrugged could have been half the length. The speech by John Galt was about 35 pages if I remember correctly. Are you telling me she couldn’t have summed up her philosophy in five pages or less? Give me a break.

    Furthermore, her writing style seems to be completely without either comedy or decoration. I find her use of the language to be incredibly dry and unsophisticated. It’s about as subtle as a sledgehammer. That’s why I don’t consider her to be a good writer of fiction, but painful instead.

    I think a fiction writer should be either long-winded yet funny and/or engaging, or else that writer should in fact get to the point in as short a time as possible.

  120. I’ve heard deep environmentalism explained most succinctly as “saving the environment from man, rather than for man.” It’s perverse.

  121. The notion that “there is truly no truth [and therefore nobody's beliefs come any nearer the facts than anyone else's beliefs]” has interesting consequences when (as often) somebody’s set of beliefs include one or more beliefs about somebody else’s set of beliefs.

    Imagine that three groups co-exist in a certain society: call them “A” and “B”. Group “A’s” most cherished and relied-upon set of beliefs (their “narrative”, in modern left-academician-chic parlance) includes a firmly held set of beliefs about Group B’s beliefs and practices. Specifically: members of Group A believe that “Group B members /1/ worship Donald Duck by sacrificing mice three times a day, /2/ always speak Pig Latin among themselves, and /3/ believe that Group A members are reincarnations of the most sinful Group B members.” Let’s assume that Group B in fact does/believes absolutely none of those things. (They have their own beliefs/practices, which have nothing to do with Group A’s notions, and in turn they may well cherish equally false-to-fact beliefs about Group A.)
    Now … when a Group A member and a Group B member interact (let’s say they become college roommates or co-workers, or some such), if Group A and Group B both believe “there are such things as facts,” then the members of each group can (with effort) learn some useful things about the other group. (“Hmmm, Beth, so you folks *don’t* actually sacrifice mice and speak Pig Latin? I guess I’ve got some re-thinking to do about my childhood training … “) BUT …

    … suppose instead that Group A’s cherished beliefs include (along with all the above non-factual beliefs) a belief that “there are no facts: there are only cherished agendas, stories, narratives that we [as a group] identify with … if you take away the agenda, the group has nothing left … ” — then, when Group A comes into contact with Group B (and the contact starts challenging some Group A presuppositions), Group A does not really have to (or want to) learn the facts about Group B. (If “there are no facts, only narratives,” then “there are no facts” to learn about Group B: and Group B merely offends Group A by stating — let alone demonstrating — any facts about Group B which contradict A’s cherished “narrative” about B.)
    A believes that B sacrifices mice to Donald Duck –
    B says “No, we don’t,” and perhaps invites A to a Group B ritual –
    whether A goes or not, A can feel Most Mightily Offended by B’s “No, we don’t” and by the described or observed non-existence of mouse-sacrifice/duck-worship at the event … because B has thereby “transgressed” A’s “narrative” (as the leftist academicians say: if “beliefs about what Group B does” form an important part of Group A’s culture, then arguably [by leftist academician standards] the facts about B have no right to exist because [by left-academician standards] facts don’t have a right to exist, but cultures do have a right to exist: and [by that reasoning] if the facts transgress or contradict some cherished culture, then the facts get a veto so that the culture may continue unchallenged … )

    Lest this sound far-fetched, I actually came upon this at college (not with a mouse/duck example, but in fact with a room-mate in freshman year: a preacher’s daughter and sociology major who wouldn’t take “No” for an answer when contacts with non-Christian freshmen — the first non-Christians she had ever met — proved false some of the things that she had grown up believing about various sorts of non-Christians who happened to inhabit the same dorm as her. She felt it “offensive as well as threatening,” for instance, to learn that Jewish worship services no longer include animal sacrifices, because her upbringing had assured her otherwise: and what right had mere facts to challenge her upbringing? (As her studies progressed, she became positively vicious about those who “violated the integrity” of her “cultural narrative” by differing from what she believed about their beliefs. And since “there are really no facts, only narrative,” her “narrative” — and her capacity to feel offended over seeing it “violated” — trumped the facts every time … )

  122. I’ve heard deep environmentalism explained most succinctly as “saving the environment from man, rather than for man.” It’s perverse.

  123. MORE: Some intelligent comments on these memes
    here, pointing out that they get their
    infectivity from being partially true.

    The link is dead, but you can read this at the Wayback Machine.

  124. I think it’s time to stop appeasement to any face of facism we have
    to realize there is a great threat and that’s anybody must fight against it.

    berlin hast a lot of now go

  125. Came here via #bestflameevar, what a cracker.

    Anyhow, on with the show: “When confronted with terror, the only moral course for a Westerner is to apologize for past sins, understand the terrorist’s point of view, and make concessions.”

    No; we in the reality based community accept that there comes a point where armed force is never going to work (cf, in no particular order, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, N. Ireland, Malaya and so on). Given that you eventually have to reach an accomodation with your enemy, you might as well stop wasting blood and treasure and start talking now. Try googling churchill jaw jaw war war. This can be misconstrued as giving in to the enemy. It is also the case that people usually don’t start fighting against almost overwhelming force just for kicks. If one attempts to understand why the enemy is fighting, one can gain a strategic advantage. This can be misconstrued as understanding the terrorists point of view.

    If you’re borderline psycho, then the appearance of an enemy is a heaven sent opportunity to start throwing your weight around and telling people what to do. All of a sudden there is a home grown Taliban wanting to search your person and property, telling you to show your id, getting you up against the wall motherfucker and loads of other things one would imagine couldn’t possibly happen in a country whose citizens have the right to bear arms. I mean, you carry a gun so the government is frightened of you, rather than vice versa, no?

  126. >No; we in the reality based community accept that there comes a point where armed force is never going to work (cf, in no particular order, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, N. Ireland, Malaya and so on).

    Your ignorance of actual history is profound. Armed force failed in N. Ireland and may be failing in Afghanistan, but it worked just fine in Vietnam, Iraq, and Malaya. You useful idiots really ought to read Nguyen Vo Giap’s memoirs; he understood perfectly well that they key to victory was not the battlefield but eroding American will to fight through proxies in our domestic policies, and in fact the North Vietnamese lost the conventional war only to win the propaganda one. Iraq was finally won when Bush escalated the use of force; and the Malaysian insurgency has become the textbook case of a successful conjunction of political and military offensives.

  127. Late to the thread, but I stumbled into it when searching for “Ethics from the barrel of a gun” and couldn’t remember the title, so this popped up, looked interesting, and well…..

    Anyway, I never looked into Sartre, or knew about his comments on Stalinism (if I had, I wouldn’t have given him a second’s credence beyond that). Mostly because my first exposure was second-hand via the Cure’s “The Stranger”, I was aware of existentialism, and despite liking the song (and delving into the goth/industrial/etc. “music” circles for quite some time) the basic premise at its core always bothered me. I also noticed a close coupling between existentialists and nihilism – and could not in myself condone the view that what we do is purposeless.

    Frankly, over any number of college (and post-college) debates and discussions, I never could buy into the position that life, and what we chose, is worth nothing. I also noticed that the people who really found these things profound tended to be very self-destructive, and never thought that it was their fault. Frankly I’m amazed – after a lifetime of experience – that anyone could think nihilism, existentialism, etc. were “deep”.

    I later grew up, and while still occasionally listening to some of the stuff, basically grew out of the whole nihilistic streak of music, period. Too much other good stuff to rot my brain with those assumptions.

  128. Pingback: Capture the Culture! | The Lonely Conservative

  129. Pingback: “The whole world hates us and we deserve it”– No. No thanks, I’m not buying any….. — Winds Of Jihad By SheikYerMami

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