Watershed

Everybody’s excited about the scandals swirling around the Obama administration: Benghazi, the AP wiretaps, Sebelius demanding payoffs from corporate execs, and the IRS conducting politically motivated vendettas against a whole crowd of perceived enemies of the Cathedral: Tea Party groups, a Catholic editorialist, Billy Graham, and assorted other targets.

For example, their criminal investigation division interviewed me last year about a former business associate. They wanted to know if he had expressed to me the belief that he shouldn’t have to pay taxes. He’d never even hinted at anything of the kind; he’s a Ron Paul enthusiast, but nothing resembling an anarchist. When I informed them that as far as I knew he was ideologically clean, they got bored with the whole conversation.

It was an interesting experience, sitting in a room with people who could destroy my life on a whim. I kept myself on a pretty tight leash. "Yes". "No". "Not that I recall". They didn’t pretend to think I was human and I didn’t pretend to think they were either. Strictly business.

Anyhow, here’s the thing: Lots of folks think this set of minor embarrassments is a watershed, the beginning of the end. They’re wrong.

First, all of these things together do not add up to as disastrous a fuckup as invading Iraq, and nobody got impeached over that one.

Second, it’s not that far beyond what we’ve been seeing since 2007, and the real Believers have never been shaken yet. I know a few ex-believers, but they were never real Believers, just compulsive cranks who eventually hate anybody who’s in office. The beginning of their end with this prick in the White House was when the last prick handed him the keys, four years ago. In 2000 they started out liking the last guy because they hated Clinton so obsessively, though they’d welcomed him as a liberator in 1992. I would bet that anybody who’s lost faith in Obama fits that description.

Like Larry Auster used to say, Obama’s approval rating has hit 43% several times a year, and it never goes lower, but every time it does, the usual suspects on the right crow that he’s "in free fall". Don’t count on it. Four years of that kind of "free fall" put him back in office.

Third, with the possible exception of Benghazi, it’s not coming down from the top. It’s all just the garden-variety background-noise corruption of progressivism. Nobody ordered the IRS to persecute everybody; nobody had to. Everybody at the IRS "knows" that a dissident from the Cathedral is a threat to all that is good and valuable and decent in America, and they all "know" that the institutions they defend are too precious to be endangered by a foolish ideological consistency. They’re puritans. They do value the rule of law, but as they see it, the rule of law and the Cathedral are the same thing, and any speck of impurity in American life is a terrifying existential threat to the Cathedral. Every chickadee looks like Godzilla to these little creeps. They feel compelled to purify America, even at the cost of the rule of law, in order to protect the rule of law.

There are no mainstream Democrats who honestly disagree with that assessment. They’ve all been stewing in the echo chamber for too long. They may think they believe in principle that the government should apply the law even-handedly and not persecute its ideological opponents, but in practice, they cannot think of ideological opponents other than as unholy monsters.

As for the media turning on the administration over the AP mess, are you fucking HIGH? They’re bootlickers, toadies, and slaves. Do you see another master handy? Do you see another pair of boots for them to lick? No. They’ll whine a little bit, and then they’ll beg forgiveness and reapply their loving tongues to the boot with renewed vigor.

There are no free men in the media. Once, reporters were proud, cynical men who didn’t like being played for chumps. They saw politicians lying to them, and they took pride in their own status as an independent center of power. Now, they figure politicians are lying through them to somebody else, and they take a cockold’s sordid pride in serving somebody else’s power. Their pride in their servile role is like the snobbery of a poor man waiting tables at an expensive restaurant.

This is the start of a watershed, but it’s not the watershed you think.

This is the watershed where people start admitting out loud that yeah, if people want to limit the growth of the power of the IRS, it is right and proper for the IRS to "defend itself" against the citizens who were once thought to be its masters.

It’s important to know who to blame

All immigrants arrive here in a state of preternatural innocence, dreaming of becoming the right sort of wh^WAmericans, reading the NYT, raising their little boys to be trannies, and shopping at Whole Foods. Then the Hobbesian racist nightmare of Middle America kicks in, and the mystical influence of the wrong sort of white people turn the immigrants into… actually existing third world human beings, not unlike the people who screwed up the hellhole they came from.

The operation of that mystical influence is not well understood. Maybe something to do with priming. But that’s not important.

What’s important is that our infallible progressive instincts have told us who to blame. And, in a stunning proof of the infallibility of the progressive instinct to blame the wrong sort of white people, everybody who always blames the wrong sort of white people has independently, with much thoughtful mindfulness and mindful thought, concluded that it’s the wrong sort of white people. HA! Nailed ’em! Dead to rights!

Robin Hanson, Irony, Whatever

I don’t actually read Hanson, much less the comments (*shiver*), but while I applaud his intent, people tend to go looking for reliable rules that dictate, for any given person telling you something, whether precisely 100% of what that person says is true, or precisely 100% is false. And so if you try to sort of work around that and try to identify and neutralize the kind of cognitive malfunctions that lead you to think that way, you will IN FUCKING EVITABLY collect a large, vibrant, enthusiastic community of deep thinkers who instinctively understand that you’ve invented a much more effective, paradigm-shattering heuristic for identifying which people are always 100% right and which ones are always 100% wrong. Or can be presumed to be, for the sake of convenience.

Basically, the ones who make noises that sound like the commenters at Hanson’s blog are going to be, obviously, on top of their own cognitive biases and others’, so they can’t be wrong, and inductively, anybody they trust ditto. Which is cool, because when we get all these cognitive biases identified and tell people about them — which can’t be that hard, after all — everything will change, and we’ll have flying cars that steer themselves, and, and mining the asteroids, Mars, geriatrics, Q.E.D. future. DUH. Robots. Google. Singularity.

Is Hanson a techno-futurist? I don’t give a shit, he might as well be.

So, we figured out what TED talks are.

I can’t remember where I found out about this post about TED talk profile-picture assholes, but there it is, read it. People who’ve done TED talks, or just TEDx talks (which are a smaller, shittier, even stupider version of the same thing), are into using frame grabs from their talks as social-media profile pics and PR handout shots. And when you look at them, it’s always the same pose, The TED Talk Pose:

There are variations, but the favorite is a 3/4 profile shot from below with the arms spread like Jesus, with an exalted facial expression signifying the Impartation of Joyful Wisdom, gazing upward at the audience. An orgasmic fit of self-satisfaction and validation, wallowing in the special warm feeling of playing mutual narcissistic supply with a room full of affluent chin-strokers.

Has a single shrewd question ever pooted forth into the hushed NPRian gravitas of a TED Talk? Just one?

It’s Steve Jobs doing a keynote, with a little Jesus mixed in. TED talks are a mechanism for demi-micro-vips and nano-vips to have vanity videos made of them pretending to be Steve Jobs doing a keynote speech. Like women pay to have “glamour shots” done by photographers.

The content of TED is the Jobs Jesus Pose. That’s it.