Show Trial

I’m writing this before the Chauvin verdict comes in, because there is a real question, and one that may not even be answerable: Is it a criminal trial, or is it a political trial – a show trial? This is one of those points in time where politics penetrates both culture and civics. At least for the actors outside the courtroom, the trial is not about “justice” in a particular case, which is what our criminal court system is supposed to decide in the lower courts, but rather a competition between “friend” and “enemy.” Chauvin represents a member of the…

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Blind Spots on the Right

Again, “left” and “right” are outdated, but quickly get to the point – friends and enemies. The American right has a huge blind spot, and that is the near-religious support of certain elements of the state, specifically the military and enforcement wings of the state, even when these elements are acting against their interests. I pointed this out in “Republican Bugmen” – that the republican bugman is still obsessed with state solutions to personal problems, just with a different focus – and it ruffled a few feathers. The defense of these parts of the state is a natural reaction, due…

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Republican Bugmen

I wrote a recent article on the profile of a bugman. Because this included many traits that have been recently associated with “the left” (for lack of a better term), a few people have wondered whether there are bugmen on the “right,” or as part of the republican party. There absolutely are. Not only are there Republican bugmen, they are a very large and vocal part of the Republican apparatus, which explains to a large degree why we are where we are. The real divide is between the corporate and the local, not right/left. That’s why we have the modern…

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Profile of a Bugman

Yes, this is a stereotype and not every Bugman is going to hit every point, but most bugmen will represent some concentration of most of the following, including bugwomen: White Overweight Childless, even if married At least one bad physical consumption habit (drinking beer, starbucks, smoking, etc.) At least one purposefully unattractive physical choice, such as colored hair or messy beard Lives in a city No real religion Carries a large amount of debt Seemingly large amount of disposable income and budget for entertainment Somehow always has a new phone and other gadgets Low long-term planning and investment ability Moves…

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Low Trust America

People talk about America becoming a “low trust society,” but what does that mean, exactly? The normal take is that in a low trust society, there are low interpersonal moral standards beyond the tribe. So is the future of low trust America a Balkan-like tribal warfare state, or is it something else? I actually think what we will see is an appeal to paternalism to a much greater degree: This is much, MUCH worse. In America (and other western countries), bloodlines don’t hold loyalty. The tribe is not the tribe; rather, it is an artificial construct of ideology, dogma, and…

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It Goes Both Ways

We’ve spent the last 4 years on the butt-end of Trump Derangement syndrome, a very real psychological phenomenon affecting millions of people worldwide, not just Americans. They’ve been conditioned to vacillate and quiver by a constant stream of emotionally-charged “information” (using that term loosely, because as I have pointed out, most news is false even when the journalists aren’t lying, which they often are). What I think we forget is that these things can go the other way as well, not so much in “Democrat derangement syndrome” but in viewing Trump as something more than he is. To most of…

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Politics: Coalitions of Ethnicities and Ideologies

There is no “Republican” position on any issue. There is no “Democrat” position on any issue. This is because the two major political parties in the USA are not coherent wholes, but are coalitions made up of disparate, often conflicting, groups which each have their own particular position on particular issues. What you end up with, at best, is a general compromise from within the group on some issue, like Republicans being, in general, for free markets and Democrats, in general, being for welfare benefits. I line those two up because what you quickly find is that there is rarely…

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ECONOMIC ARGUMENTS

The obsession with the material… That’s what the vast majority of “conservative” arguments are these days – appeals to the material. I write this article on a state-of-the-art (from five years ago) computer powering two huge monitors whose inner workings might as well be magic, surrounded by walls full of guitars – and not just any guitars, some of the best ever made. I have a magical electronic drum set a few feet from me, just in case I want to play drums without bothering my neighbors. I live in a huge house in one of the most expensive states…

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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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Apolitical™

Sorry, folks, the Apolitical™ brand is just that – a brand. I get it – you don’t like the politics being forced into your favorite franchises at the expense of story, gameplay, aesthetics, and the general effect of the medium itself. I get that female Thor is lame and super-buff She-Hulk is an eyesore. I know that it’s not fun to be lectured about global warming in the middle of a space-opera game, or to be forced to play a game as an uggo who’s bent on killing your favorite franchise characters – and will succeed. I know it’s annoying…

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