Science Fiction Topic: Longevity and Maturity

  • by Gitabushi

The other day I shared that I think the Left, and particularly the US Left, are politically children.  This isn’t a political post…I bring it up as an introduction: I identify them as immature because they are only concerned with some power giving them what they want, without costs or trade-offs.

This is from my assumption that with maturity comes wisdom. Chesterton’s Fence is a good example of how a mature mindset plays out in real life. The more times you’ve been around the sun, the more times you’ve seen well-meaning policy changes founder on reality, due to unintended consequences or short-term thinking. After all, we haven’t needed this fence within the last 10 years or so of memory in the person wanting to tear it down…it is only the aged that realize the fence was established to prevent or ameliorate a once-every-twenty-years event.

barbwire fence on wheat field
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Game of Thrones includes the warnings of wisdom in its repeated reminder that “Winter is coming.” Most of the people battling for power and control had lived their whole lives in one of Westeros’ sometimes decades-long summers.

We are creatures of experience, and we doubt our parents. We consider them moribund, hopelessly behind the times, and clueless about the way the world works now.  This is one of the themes of Generation Ships, or even of interstellar colonies in which civilization collapse: the parents have stories of Old Earth, and the Old Ways, and technology, but the children consider them fairy tales and society devolves to a lower level of civilization in ignorance.

So there is a a good story topic, if you want: We haven’t had a new Generation Ship story in generations, I don’t think. Except instead of writing how children dismiss the stories of their parents and civilization devolves, you could write a story of what the on-ship society does to prevent the devolution of technology and civilization. Instead of what goes wrong in a cautionary tale, explore the obstacles and propose solutions. There is still a good story in the drama of overcoming obstacles to retain civilization, and of the people who live through it.

The reason I have been thinking about “generation” ships, however, is because the pace of counter-aging research appears to be picking up. I think this is because Moore’s Law means computing power has advanced to the point that we can actually begin to control for all the variables in the aging process. We can actually track the degradation of cell functioning, and how the decline of one cell, or one tissue, or one system, impacts and affects others.  The human body is so complex, and so the aging process is so complex, it makes sense that the computing power of 10 years ago might still be inadequate.

In any case, there are reports that some researchers are already conducting trials on counter-aging of pets, like dogs.  Researchers already have a better grasp of how telomere length impacts aging, and the problems of artificially lengthening the telomeres. We have enough modern data to know how exercise and learning help preserve and retain youthful health so that fewer years are spent in mental and physical decline…this is important, because with lifespan extension, you want an increase in enjoyable years, not an increase in years spent in a nursing home, or attached to a machine.  Even a few years ago, researchers discovered that you can extend both life and functional youth by at least a decade with just a combination of two substances that clear out senescent cells, which prevent aging damage to nearby cells.  Of the two substances, one is cheap (you can get sufficient quantities by eating a spoonful of capers every day), and the other is rare enough to cost $50k/dose (which I think is every month).  Obviously, the goal is to reduce the cost of the second substance to a realistic number. And even aside from that, there is some compelling evidence that simply getting transfusions of young blood can help delay aging…but I’m not sure if it can actually reverse it (can it cause hair gone gray to begin to recolor?  Doubtful.)

As I like to say, I originally thought that aging, and thus most disease (which if often aging-related, as body systems that prevent disease break down), and even natural death would be fully solved in my grandchildren’s lifetime.  Then I began to think my children might have a shot at it. Now I believe that if I keep myself in good shape, staying as mentally and physically young as I can, they will conquer aging in my lifetime.

I *hope* it will end up as the ability to select the age you you want (and I would probably choose late 30s…just before presbyopia set in), but even if it just ends up at only being able to slow aging to the point that we have extra decades, I have made it my goal to live to age 130, with enough health and vigor to enjoy it.

grayscale photography of man sitting on wheelchair
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But what would that do to society?

Tolkien’s elves live for centuries. He then posited a lower birth rate, or else elves would have choked the world with their numbers, and I think that is probably correct.

Larry Niven had boosterspice in his stories, and it was the key to one of his plots, in that a woman was concealing her advanced age as part of a scam, and had to “pretend” to trip…Niven assumed that with age and experience would come grace that would arise from greater experience on how to avoid things like tripping.  [shrug]. I guess I can understand that, from the standpoint that kids are clumsy…we even call teenagers or young adults coltish, in that they aren’t yet accustomed to new height after a growth spurt.

Some vampire stories certainly try to display the increased knowledge vampires have from centuries of experience on the earth.

But for the most part, I am not really impressed with the maturity shown by most of the long lifespan individuals in most science fiction stories.

This is a problem for writers: how do you write beyond yourself? Can you only write at your own intelligence?  Meaning, how can you write a genius character if you aren’t a genius yourself?  I think this is easier than it sounds: most of intelligence is speed.  The more intelligent you are, the fewer repetitions you need to learn and understand something, the more quickly you learn when and where you can take mental shortcuts, etc.  Intelligence doesn’t always mean insight that leads to wisdom. So you can write a brilliant character merely by thinking things through, and having the character able to make leaps of logic or grasp things immediately, that other people would need more time to get.

But maturity….that’s another problem.

Some maturity issues are easy to see and understand. Obviously, children want immediate gratification, so you can write a mature character by having them delay gratification, see the long view.

woman wearing grey long sleeved top photography
Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Pexels.com

I know I’ve matured quite a bit since age 25. But I also think I’ve matured quite a bit in just the last few years. I understand so many more things about my wife, about relationships, and about male/female differences in just the last five years, and I’m over 50.  So what insights will I have when I’m closing in on 100?  Can I imagine those?

One aspect of maturity is because you’ve seen it all before, you have more patience in frustrating situations. On the other hand, with age comes an “I’m too old for this crap.” impatience.  I’d argue the first is mature, the second is merely advanced age immaturity, but that’s an aspect worth considering more deeply yourself.  But I do think if we had leaders with three centuries of experience, there would be an increased willingness to let things play out on their own, to not see urgency in most crises, because intervention too often makes things worse.

The vampire stories posit that with age comes an understand of human nature that makes it easier to manipulate people.  That might be true.

But I’d counter an inability to remember immature mindsets seems to come along often with maturity. The adults cannot remember the angst and worries of youth. The elderly don’t have the interest in keeping up with fashion, and trends, and fashionable thinking. It is possible to keep tabs on modern thought, but is it possible to do so well enough to be master manipulators?  Without seeming out of touch?  I’m not sure.

In any case, this is the science fiction topic you could tackle: if/when humans no longer *must* die (although accident, murder, suicide, and some illnesses will still result in death), how does it change society? Do people suicide when they get bored? Do we finally have the longevity to make terraforming Mars and colonization of interstellar systems possible (imagine a “generation ship” that takes two centuries to reach a Alpha Centauri, crewed/populated with people who fully expect to make the return trip within their lifetime). Do the aged withdraw from society as they grow bored with the immaturity of the young? Does the birth rate plummet?  Or does colonization of the moon, Mars, Jupiter’s moons, and interstellar systems create enough room that we have a population explosion? Do the elderly ensconce themselves as leaders, guiding all of society with their greater knowledge?  Do the young now chafe at the reduced chance of earning key roles, since no one ages out of a prominent position anymore?  Or do they win key positions in corporations and government due to youthful exuberance and innovation?

If nothing in society changes except for everyone alive suddenly having a realistic chance to live for 500 years or more, what happens?  There are a hundred different story possibilities to explore right there.

Go do it. I want to read some good stories that explore this issue, that will help us be prepared for it when it eventually happens.

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Stalkerbook (Updated)

  • by Gitabushi

Target knows your daughter is pregnant before you do.  Your TV watches you back.

Creepy.  That’s one good word for how Silicon Valley tech giants watch all of us.

I think emphasizing the Creepy Line is what might finally get enough people incensed about Big Silicon Brother enough to actually scale back their surveillance of us.

Facebook watches you and everything you do in a way that would freak women out if it were a guy doing it. Instead, women use it more than men.  I think it’s because the creepiness of Facebook’s surveillance is downplayed, and so broadly unknown or underestimated.

How did we get here?

I think we naively sold our data for a handful of beads, and for convenience.

We embraced free email, never spending much thought on how a company can make enough money to store all those petabytes of email at no cost to the user.

Well, there is a cost. You just don’t know you are paying it.

Email companies can scan your emails.  You are not allowed a presumption of privacy unless you encrypt…and maybe not even then.

Email companies can show you advertisements. But it would be silly to assume they get enough revenue that way.

I don’t have the numbers, but I have to believe email companies get most of their money by selling source code to the Silicon Valley giants. Every email you send has invisible code embedded that track you. They report back where you navigate to, where you navigated from. Almost every webpage you visit has those same trackers. Facebook has a file on you, even if you never made a Facebook account, even if you have never visited Facebook.

That’s why I call it Stalkerbook.  The Facebook webpage is just the smiling face of their data-mining and manipulation operation. You make it easier on them by posting on Facebook, but you certainly don’t slow them down by not.

The Internet of Things and 5G are eagerly awaited by Big Corporations. You should not be excited.

Because they will tout “blazing fast data transfer speeds” and then add so much ad bloatware that you’ll still have download pauses and it will still take about the same amount of time to load a page.  The human psyche can handle a certain amount of delay/frustration and no more.  Silicon Valley and other Big Businesses will use that tolerance to identify and track you.

Convenience explains the rest.  It’s *easier* when the credit card company watches your purchases and flags anything that seems fraudulent.  Which sounds great, until you have your card declined while on vacation, trying to purchase dinner a time zone away from your normal stomping grounds.

Silicon Valley tracks us because we let them. We were insufficiently suspicious of all the free social media programs.

We aren’t going to get them to stop by passing laws.

The only way they’ll stop is enough people are both aware of the tracking, and creeped out enough by it to demand they stop.  We’re gonna need to get the women upset about this, it seems.

But let’s say we burn down Facebook and salt the earth where it stood. Let’s say we break up Google. Let’s say we are all up in arms about tracking and we actually get effective laws passed to regain our privacy.

What happens to commerce? Because one side effect of that is they won’t be able to target advertising for us. It might actually be harder to stumble on something you would like, but don’t know you would like.

I’m not sure how I feel about that.  There are times where Amazon’s algorithms have actually helped me find something I wanted, and so my life is slightly better as a result.

I realize that contradicts the first 80% of this post. I don’t have an answer that resolves it.

Do you have one?

 

Update:

Dark Patterns.

Episode Six: In Which I Find I Have More to Say About Vox Day

  • by Gitabushi

I recently wrote about my opinion of Vox Day, as part of completing an assignment from a friend to read his book, ‘Jordanetics,” to see if I would be convinced Jordan B. Peterson is a con man.

I ended up convinced that Vox Day is a con man.

However, I now think I have a little bit more to add to that.

To be honest, I rushed through my first response. Partly because I was just irritated with having read what felt like a steaming load of nonsense, but partly because I wanted to discharge the obligation.  But I kept thinking about it, and I think there are a few more points I want to make.

First, Vox Day gives his own “12 Rules.” The most charitable take is that if he’s going to spend a book criticizing JBP’s 12 Rules, he should have his own.  The churlish take is that he wanted to demonstrate his superior intelligence by providing a list better than JBP’s.

Actually, Vox Day’s list isn’t bad.

  1. Embrace the Iron
  2. Take the wheel
  3. Be the friend you want to have
  4. Envision perfection and pursue excellence
  5. Put a ring on it
  6. Set your face against evil
  7. Do what is right
  8. Tell the truth in kindness
  9. Learn the easy way
  10. Believe the mirror
  11. Get back on the horse
  12. Find a best friend

But at best, Vox Day doesn’t realize what JBP’s purpose is; at worst, Vox Day simply doesn’t care.  Because this list is largely inaccessible to the people JBP is trying to reach.  “Put a ring on it,” indeed. One of things JBP is addressing is males who cannot attract a woman, because their life is in chaos.  “Take the wheel.” The whole point of JBP’s teachings are to help males learn that they can take the wheel, and to avoid disaster when they try. You can’t just tell them to take the wheel; you have to teach them to walk before they can run.

So Vox Day’s rules aren’t bad, they just reveal that Vox Day doesn’t comprehend JBP.

This is a problem.

It indicates that Vox Day is criticizing JBP because JBP’s advice doesn’t apply to Vox Day.

It may even indicate that JBP’s concepts threaten Vox Day in some way.

Vox claims to be very, very smart, and expensively educated. We aren’t told exactly what “expensive” means to Vox Day, but based on his writing, he isn’t very highly educated. It seems very likely to me that he never continued past a baccalaureate.

To characterize Vox Day’s fundamental error that underlies his entire book, his choices demonstrate that he has no interest in constructing a compelling argument, but feels it is sufficient to merely make a plausible one.

You see this error in several places.  As I pointed out in the last post on this topic, he comes up with a single plausible argument why Ben Shapiro would get his work promoted over Vox Day’s. Having found that single plausible argument, he assumes and declares it must be true. He makes little attempt to consider other reasons. He doesn’t address all the potential challenges to his theory.  He makes his claim, explains why he thinks that, and stops.

This is undergraduate level thinking: “Here’s what I think, and why.” Period. End of thought.

Studying for a Master’s Degree, providing a single plausible explanation isn’t enough.  You must make a case for why your view is the most compelling.  You must provide multiple chains of logic that support your view, and address competing arguments.  Heck, the first thing you have to learn is to recognize that there *are* competing arguments.

Vox Day rarely take that step, and certainly doesn’t do so in any systematic effort.

For all the problems in our education system with Marxist indoctrination, this is one reason I still recommend people go to college, and in some cases, study for their Master’s.  Education teaches you better ways of thinking, understanding, and arguing.

Elementary education is mostly (or should be) rote learning.
Secondary education is about regurgitation of what you are told, but with more complexity than just memorized tables.
Undergraduate education is about demonstrating that you understand what you are taught, that you can understand arguments that are made for or against something; to research what others think; to analyze and come to basic conclusions.
Graduate education is about synthesizing conclusions: sorting through existing knowledge to find new connections and new conclusions.  Your master’s thesis should result in new conclusions and new understandings of existing knowledge, and learning to make arguments to support your new conclusions, so they can be accepted as accurate.
Post-graduate (doctoral) education is all about creating *new* knowledge: researching, experimenting, and studying to find accurate knowledge that was either not known, or was an incorrect conclusion.

Vox Day’s writing never gets beyond the Undergraduate level.

I can tell he’s intelligent.  But his intelligence hasn’t been trained or honed into useful application.

His argument is, in a nutshell: “I’m smart and accomplished. I don’t like JBP’s teachings. Therefore, no one should.”

But let’s look deeper at that first claim.

One of Vox Day’s claims is that JBP’s advice is for Gamma males. Elsewhere, he says JBP is a confirmed Gamma male.

The last time, I criticized Vox Day as not understanding that the high status/low status lobster is just one paradigm of how life works, and JBP likely was saying to reject that paradigm, and *not* to try to end up at a mediocre status of not being bullied, yet not being a high status lobster, either.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that Vox Day embraces the paradigm of Bully or Be Bullied because he fancies himself an Alpha Male, and wants to enjoy that status.  Naturally, he would resist encouraging people to reject that paradigm: what good is it to have high status if people don’t recognize that status?

Look at the things Vox Day points to for credibility to criticize JBP and to claim the right to dismiss Jordan and his followers as Gamma males:

  • National Merit Finalist.  Who is going to know what this means, except for those vying for it (i.e., geeks)?
  • Game designer. Who cares, except for geeks?
  • Member of “successful” techno band. Main claim to fame was being on a Mortal Kombat soundtrack. More geekness.
  • Started a Science Fiction publishing house. Geeks.
  • Nationally syndicated writer.  Okay, this one doesn’t seem related to geeks.
    Hot wife.

These are not things to be sneered at, but clearly aren’t accomplishments most people would recognize as providing credibility to criticize the works of a popular Self-Help guru with a PhD in Psychology.

To be sure, you don’t really need credentials to criticize ideas.  You merely need enough of a platform to promulgate your ideas and criticisms of ideas, and let the ideas speak for themselves.

I think Vox Day provides his accomplishments as credentials for two related reasons. First, he has a sense his criticisms aren’t compelling, and so wants to claim a status that elevates him above JBP.  In a sense, it is a dick-measuring contest. “Pay no attention to his ideas.  My dick is bigger than his. You can tell this because I have a hot wife.” Second, he is signalling to an audience that is actually receptive to that sort of posturing.  What sort of person would be convinced by the “I have a hot wife” argument?  Gamma males.  Which is why I emphasized the geekness above.

So when Vox Day is arguing that JBP is a Gamma male preaching to other Gamma males, he’s actually making a Beta male gambit to maintain his standing as leader of Gamma males.  He can’t understand that a true Alpha male wouldn’t give a crap about JBP, they’d just go get laid.

And this all goes back to Vox Day being the con man in the scenario.  He doesn’t understand the needs of low status males, has absolutely zero interest in helping them improve their lives.  His entire criticism of JBP is predicated on maintaining his preferred world order, with Vox Day as an Alpha Male with a bunch of lower status males in their proper position as subordinate to, and in admiration of, Vox Day.

This is Vox Day’s con. He is attempting to protect the brand that is Vox Day.

I wish him good luck.

Letters to the Editor: An Apology

  • posted by Gitabushi

I received an email yesterday, requesting I post this letter. So here you are:

This year, at a client’s Christmas party, we were challenged to “Pay It Forward” – we were all given a $50 bill, and told to change someone’s life. It’s an incredibly hard task. It seems easy enough, just give it to charity. Can you change someone’s life that way? Collectively, sure. I tried a lot of different things. I was shocked at how HARD it is to find someone to take your money. I found wishlists. I tried to fulfill them. But then couldn’t get callbacks to go and drop off what they wanted. I already do Angel Tree. I already buy toys for kids who need them.

But life changing? That’s a big job.

I finally donated the money we were given, along with some extra, to buy 750 meals for those in need in my area. We had a deadline on the Pay It Forward, and I had to do something.

Life changing? No. Day changing.

But there has something that has haunted me for over 30 years. A person I have wronged. I think about her quite often, to be honest, and wonder how she is doing. No way of making it right. Probably not a chance in Hades that she would ever answer the phone, if I even had her number.

I bullied her.

As a kid, I pretended to be her friend, and then spilled and laughed about her secrets. I made horrendous remarks on her appearance for laughs. For 13 years. She found out in 8th grade. I remember the day.

I know what you’re probably thinking. Believe me, I’ve thought worse about myself. But I have to forgive myself now, and not hold onto it. I chose her as my victim because she had a great father. Mine was into abusing me – sexually, verbally, and physically. HER father went to her events, was fun at sleepovers, loved his kids. So I chose her.

When I was thinking about changing lives, I thought – that’s the one thing I’d like to fix. In my life, and in hers. And maybe if I share this story, I can change yours, too.

If you have ever been bullied, take this note, and let me apologize for them too. There are sometimes stories behind a bully. Nothing makes what I did right. Nothing. But find forgiveness – for yourself. That’s life changing.

Saturday, she will receive a box from me – with goodies and this note. And I hope she forgives me. And I hope I forgive myself for Christmas.

 

“There will never be a good excuse for what I did to you when we were kids. There’s no way around it. I bullied you.

You were a wonderful, kind person to me. You didn’t deserve what I gave you. I’ll always regret that. I could go into the “whys”, but that’s not what is important. What is important to me, is that you know this – I am terribly sorry, I always have been, and you’ve been in my prayers for decades.

I hope you have the happy life you so richly deserve.”

That’s pretty heavy. And pretty brave.  Admirable, as well.

We all do stupid things. We all hurt people. Most of us have a cruel streak; some of us even try to eliminate it, or at least suppress it.

The person who wrote this was a child when bullying. I agree: that doesn’t excuse it. the actions described in this missive were clearly wrong.  But we have to forgive ourselves as we forgive others.  It is very nearly as wrong to live with the guilt of this for so long, as it was to cause the harm in the first place.

I’m not a Christian. I lost my faith. Interestingly, I lost my faith due to my musings on sin.  Too long and complicated to explain here. The salient point is I still spend time musing on the nature of sin.

Sin can be defined as any time we treat others (or ourselves) as objects. Sin can also be defined as the damage we do to others.

Sin begets sin. The father of the writer sinned, and cause damage that led to additional cruelty, i.e., more sin.  And I’m sure that the recipient of the bullying acted out her pain and sinned against others.

We all sin.  There is not one single person on this planet that has not sinned, and does not continually sin.  The burden of our sins would be crushing, if we don’t learn grace and forgiveness.

Healing cannot begin until after forgiveness has had its impact. It shouldn’t be cheap, or easy. But I think the obvious anguish displayed in this letter makes it clear forgiveness in this case could be neither.

Whether or not the victim is comforted, whether or not the victim forgives, good was done here.

Would that we all had the courage to face up to our own sins.

 

The Narcissism of Taking Offense

  • by Gitabushi

Every successful system attracts parasites.

There have been plenty of parasites attracted to the trust that results from the rules of manners and decorum that provide the structure for society.

im-offended

One of the more recent, relatively speaking, is the Offense Industry.

In order to remake society according to their Progressive wishes, they exploit human nature’s natural tendency to want to get along by taking offense at minor “mistakes”. There are multiple, dovetailing purposes behind this, I think.  One of the main ones, of course, is to make you accept the Progressive worldview: someone’s identity as a man or woman is subject to a personal feeling, racism is endemic and prevalent in society, etc.  But in some (most? all?) cases, it is also an exercise of power: if they can make you apologize or change your word choice when speaking, they have power over you, and the feeling of power of others is a pleasure, for some.

But it’s wrong.  It’s just plain wrong.

Taking offense puts the offended at the center of the universe. They expect everyone to know their preferences and sensitivities, and to act according to those arbitrary and unknowable rules. If you “misgender” someone (i.e., call them by a pronoun they don’t want to apply to them), it is *your* fault, and you are wrong.  They’ve made a push to make it actually criminally wrong in California, and possibly other places.

One person, and their preferences for speech, is thus elevated to rules of politeness for everyone else. For anyone else they might happen to meet. They might walk through a city of millions, but each of those millions must immediately recognize and employ only the terms the Perpetually Offended wishes them to use.

This is ridiculous. Society develops organically.  Norms and manners and customs are developed over centuries as the framework by which we are able to interact with some level of trust, without having to have every interaction be governed by an explicit contract, or without killing each other.

The Offense Industry destroys this. One person can demand that everyone else follow their own personal, arbitrary rules, and if others don’t play along, they will be punished. And then this is multiplied by the millions who take up the mantle of Taking Offense.

This is truly a situation where the only way to win is to not play.

Don’t just refuse to be sorry for not coddling their delusions, call them out on it.  Shame them. Take offense at their taking offense.

This, like most Progressivism, is a cancer that destroys social trust, and makes every man an enemy of every other man.

Why do they do this?

Because they can’t take power in society any other way.  If people’s lives are happy, prosperous, and stable, they won’t turn to government for help.

The problem is they destroy all social cohesion to do it. They literally make humans ungovernable in order to get their shot at governance.  They don’t care, because they have no problem using force to obtain compliance. And if they fail, they still exult in exercising their power to smash what they consider stultifying traditionalism.

They will happily destroy the village to “save” it.

Okay, sure, most of these Offense Puppets aren’t thinking that far.  But make no mistake, that is the strategic consensus.  They aim to destroy to rule, or to make sure no one else can.

This is why we can’t have nice things.  Don’t let them win. Stand up for traditional mores, standards, norms, manners, and politeness forms of traditional society.

 

Culture > Race

  • by Gitabushi

I’ve encountered some white racialists a few times.  By the term “white racialists”, I mean those who see “white” as an identity, the same way blacks, Hispanics, Asians, etc., see it as an identity, or as a shorthand for making accurate assumptions about people.  You could also call them White Identitarians, White Nationalists, or similar names.  I think they are distinct from White Supremacists, although they apparently hold some views in common.

Anyway, I don’t like white racialists.  Here are some of the views they’ve expressed that I disagree with:

  • calling other races “mud people”
  • claiming the US Constitution was written for white people
  • claiming only white people (for the most part) can understand the US Constitution or live according to its precepts
  • claiming that low IQ, violence, and other negative character traits are inherently and inextricably connected to race

I disagree with all these notions.

But SCIENCE! they cry.

Nonsense.  First, I understand there are high correlations between race and IQ, and high correlations between IQ and success in life. But what science *actually* tells us is that correlation, even *extremely high* correlation, is not causation.  The white racialists who cite statistics on IQ and its relation to success, and thus conclude that blacks and Middle Easterners cannot live peacefully in a liberty-based society are clearly reasoning based on assumptions of causation.  Race *is* IQ, and IQ *is* destiny, so therefore Race must be Destiny.

Again, I say: Nonsense.

I am not a scientist, and I will not attempt to replicate or debunk any studies.  However, I do understand how science works.  I do understand that a science experiment is only as good as the researcher, that the conclusions they draw are not always supported by the data (again, only as good as the researcher), and that social science is much less definitive than physical science.

As such, the scientific method is based on observation, forming a hypothesis, and testing that hypothesis. If that hypothesis cannot explain what you observe, it is a false hypothesis, and should be rejected.

And the hypotheses of the white racialists doesn’t stand up to even casual scrutiny.

First, the notion that because the US Constitution was written by white Anglo-Saxons, it only works for Anglo-Saxons doesn’t follow.  I point to the fact that two of the most prominent and effective advocates for the US Constitution  and its original meaning are Thomas Sowell and Clarence Thomas.  They counter with arguments of IQ and point to inner city blacks to claim that there may be exceptions, but the vast majority of blacks prefer to live in violent squalor, dependent on government largess.  They point to the mess that is most of the nations in Africa, and will throw dozens of charts at you showing the average IQ of Africans by nation, with many averages of 85 IQ or lower.

But, again, correlation isn’t causation.

There are significant problems with the efficacy of IQ tests.  Moreover, if IQ and race were the defining factor, then we would see successful liberty anywhere a majority of Anglo-Saxons dwell.

But the whites who vote Democrat are Anglo-Saxons. They are the biggest threat to liberty in the US, bigger than blacks, illegal aliens, and Islamic refugees.  In fact, they are the ones *enabling* illegal aliens and Islamic refugees to dilute US commitment to liberty and the Constitution.  And these are the highly educated US Elite, with IQs significantly higher than average.

Their theory of race and IQ doesn’t address that.

Their theory of race and IQ also doesn’t address that the highest IQs are scored by Asians and Jews, who should thus consider white Anglo-Saxons to be mud people, too. Asians and Jews, having the highest IQ scores, should have the most advanced technology, culture, society, and sustained success.

And yet: nope.  It’s the Anglophone world.

Sort of.

Because here’s the other aspect that destroys their racialist argument: Modern-day UK.

They do things like ban clapping.  They’ve banned guns, disarming their citizens and making it impossible for them to enjoy their Right to Life, and when that actually encouraged violence, banned knives.  They *lurve* them some big-government socialized health care.

This is the People that brought us the courage in the face of the Nazi Germany Blitz. This is the People of the Stiff Upper Lip.  The People that had the largest empire ever known to man.  They have fallen.

And how did they fall?  They sold their culture for security.  They couldn’t resist the lure of socialist policy.

And it’s happening in the US, too.  Moreover, as I’ve already alluded, it is happening in the US with white Anglo-Saxons as the leaders and instigators.  Blacks and other minorities are adjunct, followers, beneficiaries, support troops at best.  Whites are ruining US culture.

This is already long enough, so I’ll wrap up quickly.

Culture comes from the standards you set in  your family and your community. Very generally speaking, mothers impact most the way the family works, and teach you your role and status in your family.  Fathers impact most the way society works, and teach you your role and status in your family.  Mothers tell you that you are special, wonderful, unique, and uniquely valuable.  Fathers tell you that everyone you encounter every day is equally special, wonderful, unique, and uniquely valuable, so you need to respect others’ rights and ego, and work hard to outperform them.

Both views are valuable.

If you take away fathers, the culture declines and dies.  If you marginalize and weaken the role of women, the culture declines and dies.

There are negatives in the typical black culture and typical middle-eastern culture.  In the typical black culture, white Progressives have destroyed the role of husbands and fathers.  In the typical middle-eastern (Islamic) culture, they have marginalized and destroyed the role of wives and mothers.

This says nothing about individuals.

Culture > race.  Take a family from Korea and drop them in rural Alabama, but have them still only marry other Koreans. The first generation who are children here will be fluent in English.  The second generation of children will never learn any Korean.  By the third generation, the kids will have a Southern drawl.

Humans aren’t a true blank slate.  There *are* some racial differences.  But the differences aren’t significant enough or distinct enough to explain what we see.

But culture explains it well.

Culture > Race.  Fight for US Culture.  Let’s return to Constitutional-based governance, and restore our high-trust society, assimilating all minorities and/or immigrants into the best culture in the world (and, of course, ending the massive influx of those who want to exploit US freedoms rather than embrace them, but that’s another can of worms).

“Cultural Appropriation” in Fiction

Let me start by saying that I find the concept of “cultural appropriation” itself to be wrongheaded, foolish, and kind of absurd. It assigns some kind of collective ownership of the nebulous basket of language, tradition, customs, food, clothing, fashion, and all kinds of other ill-defined elements that supposedly belong to a given people.

Nevermind the fact that peoples and nations interbreed and change and that cultures develop and assimilate and adapt.

And who is supposed to arbitrate these transgressions? If one single Chinese person indicts me for enjoying their dim sum, am I guilty of creating a problematic situation?

Does it matter that another Chinese person rules that it’s ok for me to eat dim sum, but that I may not make it myself? Or that a third, more rational native doesn’t give a crap?

Does it change the calculus when the majority of a country or culture like having their culture appropriated (the real term is “appreciated”)? I can tell you from my time living in Japan and consuming Japanese media that the people over there are flattered and pleased when foreigners try on kimono, or dress up as a popular anime character, or take an interest in  Japanese language, lore, history, whatever.

It’s ridiculous to think cultures should be treated like private (group) property.

And so I was disappointed when I was listening to an otherwise quite interesting discussion of an old weird tale yesterday, and the speakers posed the question of whether a white man writing about a black protagonist was cultural appropriation.

Really?

Thankfully they were gracious enough to rule that this was not the case – after all, the white (racist) narrator was really who the story was about.

I’ve gotta say, I find it quite troubling and a bit confusing, how such big fans of speculative fiction could conceivably buy into the idea of cultural appropriation, especially when it comes to the fiction they read.

Scifi and Fantasy are full of stories about aliens and other non-human beings. But they’re not real, so I guess this is in-bounds. Well, women write male characters and men write female characters. Should this gender appropriation be pooh-poohed?

Is Captain Blood cultural appropriation, because it sees an Irish protagonist written by an Italian author? Or is this okay because they’re both white ethnicities? Do “White People” all get lumped together into one culture?

Is Othello problematic because its noble Moorish (often portrayed as African) hero was written by a white Christian?

Should books written by White People only feature white characters? If you think so, it sounds like you’re ready to nix an awful lot of cool SFF and other great literature. And why? Because a few emotionally unstable people have nothing worse in life to worry about than some white dude writing a story about a black guy?

51isW1RdvyL._SX308_BO1,204,203,200_51oo82fc0kl-_aa300_Zorro

(Whoops – forget that last one – he’s one of those white hispanics!)

Are Japanese manga and anime highly problematic for featuring so many Caucasian characters?

And if you answer “yes” to all these questions, or even if your response is more nuanced or qualified, what’s the solution? Do we need a tribunal to determine which cases are acceptable and which are “problematic,” and then to rule on a remediation?

It’s such a silly piece of business. I’d be tempted to ignore it if I didn’t see the idea as such a threat to creativity and freedom of expression. Of course no one’s talking about outlawing cultural appropriation, but if it’s such a bad thing, I could imagine things moving in that direction in some quarters, someday. And really is there much practical difference between outlawing something and drubbing it out of polite society?

-Bushi

bushi