Friday, October 31, 2014

Make Trick or Treat count for something this year, hand out "Hands Off My Gun" by Dana Loesch

If you want to give your favorite leftist a big scare this Halloween, put Hands Off My Gun, by Dana Loesch in their Trick or Treat bag (and treat yourself to a copy as well!). I can't say it will do much for their heart health (the cover alone might be too big a shock), but their mind could benefit greatly from it. Either way, I strongly recommend this - it's sobering, LOL entertaining, blunt, informative and surprisingly optimistic.

Dana succeeds in putting the emphasis where it belongs, not upon particular weapons or their accessories, but upon the reason for which the 2nd Amendment was written - the Individual Right and ability to defend your and your family's lives, and the liberty we should all expect to enjoy. This is a solid book through and through, and I'll make particular note of the following highlights:

From the opening pages of the Introduction and Chp. 1 'The Tragedy Caucus', using anecdotes from her own experiences growing up, she drives home and personalizes the importance of the Individual Right which the 2nd Amendment defends - and the importance of knowing, especially for the young, that it, and they, can be defended. This isn't simply a political ad issue, it is important to everyone's life, whether you choose to own a gun or not.

Chp. 2 'Obama's War on Guns', traces the views of Barack Obama from his early years, when in answering a questionnaire on whether he
"...supported a law to "ban the manufacture, sale, and possession of handguns."
...Barack Obama simply answered,
, to his later political responses that
"a complete ban of handguns is not politically practicable."
- let the implications of that answer sink in - to his administration's support for the U.N.'s 'Arms Trade Treaty' that would establish and maintain a national control system, with lists provided to the U.N.'s Secretariat. From that and much more, it is clear that the progressive left in general, and this administration in particular, would like to end the protections provided by the 2nd Amendment as we know it, and that we must oppose them by informing ourselves and speaking up.

Friday, October 17, 2014

The Materialist's inversion: When power is not forced to serve Truth, truth is abandoned for Power - Progress or Regress pt.4c

Yesterday's post illustrated a few useful points of History to keep in mind: that savagery is normal, even easy, for human beings, that power over others is naturally tempting for people to seek after and to excuse using in order to maximize their political and personal security. And maybe most important of all, that neither primitive grass skirts, fashionable tweed jackets, nor their accompanying technology (or lack thereof) are reliable indicators of whether or not the people wearing those clothes are savages themselves.

We also left off noting that it would be the simplest and the most natural thing in the world to be socialized into such a society - unless you happen to experience the interference of something which somehow helps to dispel that society's illusions, rather than being drawn in to them. What that is and how to magnify it is a question that's worth asking, continually, because doing so is what leads you to steady Progress, upwards and outwards from the societal baseline. But examining that, for the most part, will have to wait for a later post; not that we won't see hints and flashes of it here and there, but as important as that certain something is, we've still got to get a clearer picture of what it is that we hope to make real progress away from. Because if you don't have a clear idea of what regressive movement would be, we're all too easily tempted to pursue what unknowingly cannot lead to real progress, and so confusing motion itself with making real Progress, and History is replete with this tragic trajectory, we become Pro-Regressive instead.

A worthwhile distinction to make is that while savagery is the historic norm for humanity, being natural, has almost nothing to do with whether it is Right or Good. And if you'll continue to question appearances, you find that the features with which a society naturally flatters itself with, being 'Modern'; having technological skills, material wealth, and a wide web of cultural habits and stylized dress; you'll find that they are not only not, in and of themselves, marks of real progress, but more often than not they are the means of suppressing worthwhile change and avoiding real progress, dressing their natural savagery up in more appealing clothes. The widespread acceptance of the significance of appearances ( from race to technology to fashion) and unquestionably meaningful and distinctive, is a sign that most people are unaware of or unconcerned about the differing directions that Progress and Regress would lead them in.

The problem of Materialism isn't in pursuing stuff, but in becoming stuff
The features of the societal baseline worth taking note of are not those features that seem so very different on their surfaces - remember from the last post that despite what appearances might lead you to expect, the anthropologist's academic brethren behaved every bit as savagely as the Yanomamö did. And so as with other appearances, from war paint to web pages, they are but variations and elaborations on the eternal theme of getting, protecting, and in one way or another, becoming, stuff - the fruits of power. And by 'stuff' I do not mean Money, or 'Property', but the mental action of reducing them to possessions; so that these very different things are easily mistaken for being one and the same. The problem of materialism isn't the quest for more material goods - antibiotics and Smart Phones can be fantastic things to have, improve on, and get more of - but the process of seeing ourselves and our ideals as little more than materials that we desire more of for utility, gain, attaining pleasures and overcoming obstacles, is. The truth is that reducing our goals to these won't differentiate them from of the goals of any other savage in any way other than that of fashion.

The action of seeing people and values as but materials for your goals, is the materialist inversion, and is a most common and time honored societal norm, and key to redirecting movement towards the societal baseline, rather than away from it, and when you seem to see all change reduced to appearances, it's a trick you'll willingly perform upon yourself - a judo flip of the soul.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Savagery has a History in the past and the present - Progress or Regress pt.4b

In yesterday's post I proposed taking a trip into the not so distant past, for two reasons. The second reason was the more traditional of the two, to more clearly see the troubles of our present. Has anyone ever fed you that line before? How is that supposed to help? Has anyone ever sat up in History Class (or the 'social studies' that passes for it), and asked
"Why? Why do I need to know what so & so did x hundred years ago?!"
If the answer they give you is only that it's for you to learn 'important and and useful cultural references', you might want to consider leaving. If their answer is 'to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past', you should probably go ahead and get up and start for the door. If their answer is 'to get an appreciation for diverse points of view', I suggest burning rubber to get out of there.

Not that those points, even the last one, aren't useful, and even necessary results of 'inquiry, knowledge acquired by investigation' (the original Greek definition of History), they are, but they are not, in and of themselves, separately or combined, worth your wasting hours of your life every week to 'learn'. The purpose, the benefit, the value of studying history, aside from it being just plain interesting (and if yours isn't, then you are probably studying it from a... let me guess... 'textbook'? RUN!) is to gain a better understanding of yourself and your position in your life, and how to better your life, here and now. History enables you to identify and familiarize yourself with the tendencies that are common to men in society everywhere, meaning common not only to those of the past, present & future - but to that space between your own two ears as well,

History isn't for learning about dead people, but about the living, about yourself, so that you can understand something of, and develop the habit of reflecting upon, how people end up doing what they do - that is after all, what History is made of. If you aren't trying to put yourself in the minds of those you are reading about, if you aren't managing to, in some way, identify with the thinking of the slave holder as well as the slave, then you aren't learning any lessons worth the time you're spending on learning them.

Seriously. And if that isn't what you get out of history, or if it seems that those teaching it to you are intent on your not getting those valuables out of their lessons, then you should either figure out how to do it yourself, or get the heck out of there, or if that's not possible, at least do some serious daydreaming.

But I digress. Back to why we're here.

The first reason I'd given was a fairly tangible one: to begin to identify a 'societal baseline', a recognizable point which any sound claims of progress should be clearly moving your society away from, rather than back towards.

Make sense?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Gwyneth Paltrow & Moral Mondays: The Recognition of Progress begins with its absence - Progress or Regress pt.4a

Movement is only progress if it moves in the right direction. That's a fairly non-controversial remark to make, right? I can't imagine that there'd be too many who would argue with that, saying "Nah, it doesn't matter which way you move, forwards or backwards, it's all progress, right?!" Right?
Vis consili expers mole ruit sua.
Power without wisdom falls by its own weight:

Horace - Odes Book III, ode iv, line 65.

Yet many people blithely, even enthusiastically, promote those political actions they find superficially pleasing, without bothering to consider whether or not those actions are good, or even can be good. And forgive me if my bias is showing, but yes Gwenyth Paltrow, I'm looking at you, for saying this:
“It would be wonderful if we are able to give this man all the power he needs to accomplish the things he needs to,”
, because I do take it as uncontroversial - I pray that it is - that wanting to give an already powerful head of state even more power, and with fewer restraints upon that power to do as they please, is an exceedingly poorly thought out... thought.

Any arguments with that? No? Good.

Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but if you don’t know whether or not the actions you are taking are good, if you haven’t carefully considered what those actions mean, what premises they rely upon, and what they are likely to lead to, and yet you advocate for them because of the fond feelings you have for them (whether Left, Right or Center matters not), can you really be said to be for ‘Progress’? You might be Pro-Furthering your personal agenda of the Left, Right or Center, but that cannot legitimately be called Pro-> Progress. True?

Can any of you tell me how taking any action at all, differs from taking an action you find pleasing but don't understand? Anyone? Personally I find it difficult to see the difference between the two. And unfortunately many of our leaders, intellectuals, business leaders, reporters, legal counsels, members of congress and legislators, are more of Paltrow's mind, than mine.

How could such a thing possibly be Progress? And the answer of course, is that it can't. A further answer is that when people speak of Progress... they don't know what they are talking about - and worse - they don't know that they don't know what Progress is, or what it could not be.

That's a problem. Especially since everyone is running around urging us to make progress, could anything come of that but Regress? No. Which means that what such people are actually advocating for is Pro-Regressive. That's disturbing. Isn't it?

This is not simply a political matter, it is far greater than that, and I'm continually amazed that the question of Progress vs Pro-Regress is not seen as a bi-partisan, tri-partisan, if not entirely non-partisan affair. But too many otherwise intelligent people that I know are oblivious to the fact that the positions they are advancing, have far more to do with ideas that are entirely regressive, rather than progressive - and it is their ignorance which has enabled the dangerous state of foolishness we have today, where people laugh at 'brainless' starlets, yet nod at 'deep thinkers' who say the very same things, but with more words.

For those who may be riled up by that, can you explain why? Can you base your explanation upon anything other than a reference to what some party, politician or other such person said or did? And can you explain in your own words, why? If you can, please do, I've been waiting a very long time to hear from you. Otherwise, I'll continue.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

DESE: Facilitating the control of your education

Show Me MO Shame!
I spent two days last week in our state capital of Jefferson City, becoming a member of one of the work groups tasked with rewriting our states educational curriculum standards over the course of the next year. While I was there I learned a nice lesson in self governance, and the consequences of its abandonment, a lesson that was willingly taught by DESE (Department of Elementary and Secondary Education). Their lesson was very instructive, in one part teaching how to use chaos to control the sale, and in the other part how it is just as important what you do not to do, and not allow to be done, as is what you offer to and intend to do.

If you want to understand this lesson yourself, as well as how you and your children's education is being sold down the river by it, then there are five key issues that need to be addressed:
  1. Why do we have work groups to write our curriculum standards.
  2. Were the work groups convened with an eye towards success.
  3. If not, why.
  4. What does DESE need for a win.
  5. What does Missouri need for a win.
1) The issue here is that the state of Missouri recently passed a law, HB1490, to undertake the significant task of rewriting our educational curriculum standards.The sole reason why this law was passed, was because of DESE's ham-fisted and incompetent attempts over the last several years to roll-out their pet Common Core standards by steam rolling them over any and all questions, debates, and opposition. That behavior infuriated both parents and teachers alike and caused the Missouri Legislature, Left and Right, to pass HB1490 into law, stating that our curriculum standards will be written by representatives from across the state of Missouri, selected from experienced teaching professionals and parents selected by Missouri's Governor, Lt. Governor, Speaker of the House and Senate Pro Tempore.

2) To successfully lead large numbers of people, departments, divisions and other entities who may have either no history of working together, or worse, a history of working poorly together, there's a common practice to follow. To getting all members working towards a unified goal, the formula would be to,
  • Kick it off by gathering all parties together in one place for a launch meeting,
  • giving leaders from the various stake holders involved an opportunity to set the general tone and key points for the project;
  • clarify your project's purpose and getting understanding and buy in from the various departments and people involved.
  • let participants know who they'll be working with and making them aware of any slots yet to be filled,
  • establish clear channels for coordinating efforts and preserving communication between the several groups,
  • informing all of who will be attending meetings, who to contact with questions,
, and so forth.