About a month ago, one of my regular respondents asked me to blog about self-awareness in animals. I’m doing so now because it will be useful for an essay I’m planning to write about ethical and legal definitions of humanity.
I enjoy strategy games. I’ve been playing them since the heyday of the elaborate hundreds-of-tiny-counters hex-map historical-simulation wargames in the 1970s and early 1980s. But those games don’t get played much any more, largely because they took so long to set up and
learn; after 1985 or so younger gamers moved to computer simulations instead, and as the hex-wargame genre stagnated many old-school gamers eventually abandoned it in favor of military-miniatures gaming.
Bwahahaha! My sinister master plan for world domination is
working. Straight from the pages of the highest-quality general-news
magazine in English, check
this out! The money ‘graf is the last one:
Moreover, the ease with which the internet spreads
wrong-headedness–to say nothing of lies and slander–is offset by the
ease with which it spreads insights and ideas. To regret the glorious
fecundity of new media is to choose the hushed reverence of the
cathedral over the din of the bazaar.
There’s an old saw to the effect that there’s no limit to what you
can accomplish if you don’t care who gets the credit. More precisely,
when your signature memes start showing up as generative metaphors in
elite and popular usage with your name stripped off them, you
know you’re winning.
Winning, that is, at the only game that is really interesting —
changing the world.
(Hat tip to my blogson Walter Hunt over at Stone of Remembrance,
though I’d have seen it anyway in my weekly Economist and
In the beautiful-irony department, I have just learned that my name
and copyright now appears in the EULA (End-User License Agreement) of
a Microsoft product. A vector-graphics editor called “Microsoft
Expressions”, apparently — thanks to Martin Dawson for the
The history behind this is that GIFLIB is open-source software for
hacking GIF images — the direct ancestor of libungif, which is
the name under which the codebase is more widely known these days.
The original software was by Gershon Elber for DOS; around 1987 I
ported it to Unix, cleaned up the architecture, added numerous new
features, and wrote documentation. When Unisys started to jump salty
about the GIF patents in the mid-1990s, I handed the project off to a
maintainer outside U.S. jurisdiction, Toshio Kuratomi.
I have no idea why the copyright on this EULA is dated 1997, I
think that is a couple of years after I passed the baton to Toshio
Subsequently I did a lot of work on libpng, implementing 6 of the
14 chunk types in the PNG standard and designing a new more
object-oriented interface for that library. So if you use open-source
software that handles either of the two most popular raster-image
formats, it is rather likely that you rely on my code every day. Yes,
that includes all you Firefox and Netscape and Konq and Safari users
And now, my code is in a Microsoft product. This may not be the
first time; in fact, thinking about all the other places it would
have been silly for Microsoft to pass up using libpng and giflib,
it probably isn’t even the dozenth time.
I’m OK with this, actually. I write my code for anyone to use, and
‘anyone’ includes evil megacorporate monopolists pretty much by
definition. I wouldn’t change those terms retroactively if I could,
because I think empowering everyone is a far more powerful
statement than empowering only those I agree with. By doing so, I
express my confidence that my ideas will win even when my opponents
get the benefit of my code.
Besides…now, when Microsoft claims open source is inferior or not
innovative enough or dangerous to incorporate in your products or
whatever the FUD is this week, I get to laugh and point. Hypocrites.
Losers. You have refuted yourselves.
Since I posted Dan Simmons’s
Message From The Future, I’ve had a couple of Muslims show up on this
blog protesting that I’ve got it all wrong, that Islam is a peaceful
and tolerant religion and Islamic terror is an aberration not sanctioned
by the Koran.
Here’s a challenge to all you apologists for Islam: stand up in
your mosque and declaim, loudly, that religious violence is an
abomination against Allah — that those who use terror in a
program to restore the Caliphate, those who would execute ex-Muslims
who convert to any other religion, those who would condone ‘honor
killing’, and those who incite hatred against Jews and other Peoples
of the Book have fallen from the Narrow Way and will burn in hell with
the sons of Iblis.
If you are unwilling to do this for religious reasons, or fear to
do it because of the reaction of your fellow Muslims, then shut the
fuck up about your so-called ‘religion of peace’, because you
are a liar and a hypocrite.
That is all.
I deleted a coment this morning.
This is not something I normally do, except for comments that are both anonymous and content-free — abuse and invective do not count as ‘content’ for this purpose. The comment I deleted this morning was not anonymous, and it could be argued that there was some content in it.
However, the content (if any) was drowned in a sewer-main’s worth of crude insults hurled by one respondent at another. I will not tolerate this, even when the insult-hurler is nominally on ‘my’ side of an issue.
Armed And Dangerous is not a public square and “free speech” standards do not apply here. If you have nothing to contribute to debate over the things I write about, I can and will cut you off at the knees. This applies to those who broadly agree with me as well as those who disagree. (If anything, I give my opponents a little more leeway than my allies.)
In my own small way, I’m trying to defend civilization here. So keep it civil. Or else.
I very seldom post just to forward my readers to someone else’s writing, but SF author Dan Simmons has earned it with this potent warning. Read the whole thing. Because it is indeed our future, unless we wake up.
I’ve been warning since 2002 that the West really is in a war to
defend civilization against Islamic barbarians, and had better face up
to that fact before the consequences of whitewashing Islam as
a “religion of peace” get worse.
Comes now Fjordman, a blogger from Norway who tells us that Moslem
immigrants to Sweden report themselves to be
at war with Swedes. See also his earlier post about how Swedish
society is disintegrating — not despite its commitment to
‘multiculturalism’, ‘tolerance’, and the welfare state, but because
that commitment is being ruthlessly gamed by Islamofascists who see
themselves as the conquering vanguard of the Dar al-Islam.
Sam Harris’s The End of Faith is a well-executed polemic of a kind that, in retrospect, has been curiously absent in the West over the last fifty years. Not since I read Bertrand Russell’s Why I Am Not A Christian in the early 1970s have I seen an attack on organized religion as clear, uncompromising, and compelling as this one — and Russell’s book was expanded from a lecture he gave in 1927.
Why, in a supposedly secular and modernist society that is heir to the anti-religious Enlightenment of the 17th and 18th century, do we not see more outright attacks on particular religions, or religion as an institution in general? Mr. Harris supplies a surprising answer: he thinks ‘tolerance’ is a problem, that the modern West has agreed to accept almost any form of unsanity or fanaticism as long as it is labeled ‘religion’.
Logicians know that when you deduce a contradiction, your premises are broken. When human beings express a contradiction, it usually means their true beliefs are not their stated or conscious ones; they’re rationalizing a position which they may not be fully aware of.
I had planned my string of meditations on the movies to stop with
three. But, having succumbed to the mischievous blandishments of my
beloved wife Cathy, here’s a fourth. Today I shall consider hotness in
Hollywood — some movies that at least partly sold me with
sex, and how they did it.
Movie ticket receipts in North America dipped by six percent in
2005 to nine billion dollars, comes today’s report on the status of
the film industry.
The most hyped movie of 2005 was a depressing, pokey flick about
gay sheepherders. The Oscar nominations were otherwise dominated by
one movie that flogged us all for our supposed racism in a wearisomely
familiar way, another that rehashed left-wing grievances against a
minor and ineffective demagogue who’s been dead for pushing fifty
years, and a thriller that made an Islamic suicide bomber out to be
a saint and Americans parasitic villains.
Call me crazy, but I can’t help but think there might be some tenuous
shred of a hint of a connection here…
The Oscar night of 2006 brought us the unedifying spectacle of
George Clooney (whom I must say I truly admire when he shuts his yap
and acts) celebrating Hollywood’s bravery for being willing
to make movies like Brokeback Mountain and Good Night
and Good Luck.
Conservative commentators have already pointed out
how hollow and laughable it is to suppose that left-wing political
correctness is in any way ‘brave’ in today’s Hollywood, so I won’t
re-plow that ground. Instead, I’ll propose eight movies I think
Hollywood would make if it were really brave.
Just a minor edit. Correcting some translation URLs and removing C# from the bad-languages shitlist now that Mono has made it portable. Read it here.
One of the effects of the Soviet meme war I’ve been writing about
recently is that to most educated Westerners it is absolutely taboo to
think that Western imperialism might have been a good thing. Since
the end of World War II, even conservatives have generally conceded
this point, as a way not to look reactionary with respect to a class
of controversies that seemed safely dead. Why defend imperialism when
your country no longer has either the desire or the capability to
engage in it?
WASHINGTON — Media analysts sounded an increasingly gloomy
note today following news that a full-scale outbreak of civil war in
Iraq had been averted. “The prospects for regime change in Washington
seem increasingly remote,” said one senior White House reporter who
spoke on condition of anonymity.
When other groups decide that the way to get favorable press is to
use violence, those who have wimped out now will have no one to blame
but themselves. As a reader emailed me a while back, what use is a
free press if it doesn’t believe in free speech?
People talk about Eurabia, but what’s really happened is that
Europe has become Weimarized, with governments and institutions too
morally and intellectually weak to stand up for the principles they
pretend to embody. And we know what that led to last time . . . .
Glenn’s ellipsis points to the same future I’ve foreseen, one in
which true fascism re-emerges as an important ideology in the West.
If that’s the only reservoir of Western will to resist Islamism
remaining, may the gods help us all because we are going to hear
marching jackboots again. And what’s worse, we’re going to learn to
like that sound. To hear salvation in it, because the
alternative of surrender and creeping dhimmitude is worse.
This is why understanding the nature and scope of the Soviets’ meme
war against the West is important — because, whatever native
defects in Western political culture there may be, European elites did
not simply fall into a state of “morally and intellectually weak”.
They were pushed. Manipulated, memetically poisoned, seduced
by the agents of tyranny for more than sixty years.
Humans are a fractious lot, but we’re instinctively wired to
respond to external threats by standing shoulder-to-shoulder.
Exposing the Soviet meme war is more than just an exercise in
recovering the truth of history, it’s a way of re-framing our
intramural political conflicts that may allow us to purge suicidalist
thinking and find a collective backbone again without having to go
through a neo-fascist episode to get there.
I’ll go so far as to say that if no actual conspiracy to drag the
West into intellectual
nihilism and moral paralysis had existed, it would be necessary at
this point in our history to invent one.