Stuff is not “Just Stuff”

These argument have been popular lately with the fallout from the Black Lives Matter (sort of, now antifa) riots and banditry: that you can replace your stuff and that crime arises from conditions the criminal has no choice over. These arguments are actually totally incoherent. Let’s dive into them, both as they are articulated here as well as the wider “debate.” First, the premise that physical goods are replaceable is false. Some things are replaceable, other things are not. I can replace my copy of Lord of the Rings. I cannot replace the photographs of my dead grandparents. Even goods…

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Tolerance, “The Good” and the Social Order

When it comes to assessing what kind of behavior ought to be accepted, tolerated, or punished, I find it useful to consider the categories of behavior in a social context. Keep in mind that this ordering is mostly in the context of the greater discussion of state power and its moral use, as well as the difficult question of what “the good” actually is. When it comes to undesirable behavior, that is behavior that the greater culture does not want or does not itself exercise, there are three categories: antisocial behavior, delinquent behavior, and deviant/degenerate behavior. Antisocial behavior is that…

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The Left Can’t Meme

It’s an old meme at this point that the left can’t meme. I had a great discussion last week with Brian Niemeier about his book, Don’t Give Money to People Who Hate You, and in it the subject of memeology of the left came up: I mentioned a former friend that had an image of her turned into a meme, so she started trying to make her own memes of herself as some sort of gatcha. The results were as you would expect – a wall of text trying to explain something crowding out (and thus reducing the impact of)…

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The Logic (and Strategy) of the Witch Test

If you don’t know about Brian Niemeier’s “Witch Test,” here’s a succinct rundown of it: The response to this is to say: Proclaim that Jesus is the Christ, and God has raised Him from the dead! The resulting discussion can go a number of different ways. It’s called the “Witch Test” because a witch will be unable to proclaim the divinity of Christ. This isn’t to say it always identifies real honest-to-goodness witches, but it is useful. Recently I’ve had some people push back on the use of this, attempting to say it is some sort of logical fallacy. It…

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It’s about dunking on you

I didn’t watch the super bowl. I haven’t in some time; Even if I wanted to, I lack the means, but as time goes on I’m ever more thankful for this. The halftime show, as usual, was a debacle of sorts. Two (middle-aged) women went on stage in skimpy attire and danced erotically for the biggest TV audience of the year. I saw some clips after the fact; I won’t link them here for reasons that will be clear. As usual, most people are missing what such a display is really about. It’s about dunking on you. It’s also about…

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Postmodern Politics: Beauty Edition #hotgirlsforbernie

Oh boy, #hotgirlsforbernie has it all. You don’t want to click, but you will. Your curiosity will overcome your better sense. https://twitter.com/hashtag/HotGirlsForBernie?src=hashtag_click This is a perfect example of how post-modernism, with its core ideas of “challenging assumptions” by attacking the meaning of concepts, is fully at home with and ingrained into the modern, western political left. This whole thing is a bit a take-off of the meme that “conservative girls are hotter,” but it all goes so horribly, horribly wrong. ANYONE can be a hot girl for Bernie, you see, even if you aren’t a girl (apologies my friends) and…

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Judging things by their outcomes

This post is beyond the contest between consequentialism and deontology, before anyone starts firing up his philosophy brain. I notice in our society there is a profound resistance to judging actual outcomes, whether it is a public program, government service, educational process, or even a workout routine. The tendency is to try to judge either the process for its own sake or to judge the intended outcomes of the process. A workout program seems fun at the gym – it’s a great program! But… did you gain strength and muscle, cut fat, or increase your athletic capacity? We can’t abandon…

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“Star Wars Fans” and created identities

Just a little follow-up to my post yesterday: Being a “fan” is no to a large part a function of identity. However, it is fundamentally different from other forms of identity, such as race, ethnicity, or religion. For ethnicity, membership is generally obvious and immutable – either you are the descendant of an ethnic group or you are not, with the only grey area being multi-ethnic individuals in some circumstances. For religion, identity is primarily how one views himself and his alignment with tradition and creed that has been passed down, and so is in most cases not up for…

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Social Proof

“Social Proof” is something you NEED to become familiar with. It’s essential if you are going to be doing any kind of marketing. What is social proof? Basically, it’s this: Other people think this, therefore it is likely to be true. If you are thinking straight away that this is a logical fallacy, just hold your objections. I’ll explain how social proof is different than an appeal to popularity. Social proof is a very fast method of judging initial likelihood of truth – A filter, more than “proof” in the logical sense. This is in the realm of induction, obviously.…

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What is Talent?

The word “talent” is not always used consistently in the English language. Often, it is used interchangeably with the word “skill” to denote a level of accomplishment, such as, “Michael is a talented translator.” However, most people will admit that it is something distinct from mere skill, which can be acquired. “Talent” communicates something deeper than the result of practice – something is at least partly inherent in the subject. At the same time, it is impossible to discern talent in the absence of outcomes which include skill development. Nobody will recognize the talent of an artist who has not…

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