Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

It’s not Just a Meme

23. June 2017

Most political cartoons in newspapers are left-wing and most and most memes on the internet, at any rate political memes are right-wing.

fucking fascists

Right-wing Memes

The cartoons seem more likely to come off as propaganda because they are caricatures trying to distort reality and they are not funny. They are unconvincing for the very same reason that American caricatures of the Japanese and Nazi caricatures of the Jews are unconvincing. They try to create an augmented version of reality but when the real thing is placed next to the augmented version it becomes just a caricature that exists to push an agenda and couldn’t exist otherwise even in the eyes of those who believe in the rhetoric.

 

Memes, on the other hand, are purely fantastic. Even from the time that the left used to clearly have the upper hand on the internet  around 2008 to early 2013 there isn’t much in the way of image based humour from that period except  some anti-Christian memes by some atheists but nothing as fantastical as pepe the frog. Of course I am aware that much that goes on the internet is inconsequentional and that that is made further so by the segregation of different ideological groups into different corners of the internet. There are some who have tried to change this (i.e. to reach out to the normies) but it still is an interesting phenomenon that such ‘subversive’, ‘reactionary’, ‘problematic’, ‘counter-culture’, ‘irony’ what you will call them will depend on your political affiliations, at any rate, these ideas are not mainstream or socially acceptable can be made socially appealing  through humour.

Left-wing cartoon

I am not convinced by the ‘it’s just a meme’ excuse at all, that they are doing this just for shits and giggles and to say the things that most would not dare to say. I think many of them believe in what they profess. It would be just as well to claim that the great composers and poets faked their faith in God.

 

 

Thomas Paine’s Rights of Man by Christopher Hitchens Book Review

1. June 2017

This is a biography of one of the founding father’s of America Thomas Paine by a journalist called Christopher Hitchens. To be more precise this is more of a biography of his works rather than a retelling of Paine’s life. Only those events relevant to the texts by Paine and other contemporaries(such as Edmund Burke) and some non-contemporaries are discussed. I have not read any of Mr. Paine’s works so this has served me as an introduction to his works. All that I know about Paine comes from this book, so the character I will discuss here is Christopher Hitchens’ Thomas Paine. Paine the emissary, the republican, the revolutionary, the committee member, the deist and opposer to organized religion. I have to confess to have lost the plot once as it is easy to get lost in history when one is met with references to events and people that one is not aware of. Overall it felt like reading a long article whose climax was somewhere in the latter half but even that is better than a forced climax.

It was interesting to read how Paine’s views changed over time especially after he was imprisoned in France (rather than his views themselves) but I couldn’t understand how he could have still being in favour of France and then of the Bonaparte regime even after he had declared himself emperor. It almost felt like his hatred for monarchy had blinded his judgement. I think that the reason that I did not find Paine interesting as Christopher presented him was because I already agreed mostly with Paine’s views are and where I didn’t Christopher didn’t either and it was mainly due to Paine’s overly naive and optimistic views about government and human nature. The most interesting bit of the book was when Christopher briefly in a slight detour from the subject and discussed his views on human nature and human solidarity, I have heard Christopher bring up human solidarity as a source for human morality before but this is the first time I have seen him say that it wasn’t about idealism, altruism or benevolence or in other words that morality is simply born out of necessity, convenience and desire (and that “it hardly matters” if this is selfishness or not).

The back and forth argument between Paine and Edmund Burke constitute the first half of the book. Burke’s argument about chivalry in Europe being undone by evil economists just was ridiculous and it felt that the argument was about who had the better rhetoric skills and Burke overdid his hand with irrelevant romantic twaddle and “misplaced gallantry” about a certain Austrian woman aristocrat in France, Marie Antoinette and King Louis of France. After that it was too easy for Paine to win there. Burke however was vindicated by history as the French revolution degenerated exactly to the military despotism where all dreams of human equality would fly out the window. Christopher then concludes that they were both right in some ways as Paine’s was right about the end of Chivalry and Burke about the French revolution. Though in my opinion Napoleon’s rise is strictly speaking an argument to keep the army totally under the states control and not an argument for the monarchy, as any weakening of the state with or without a monarchy can lead to a power imbalance with an unchecked army. Just look at Thailand and see how the military junta has taken control of the country by worshipping the royal family and in turn worshipping themselves but I digress. Paine however seems to be correct on principles as he rightfully scorns Burke’s notion that the dead should be allowed to rule over the living for any generation let alone forever.

There is a brief discussion about the advantages of having a constitution and indeed I wish we in Britain had a written one too, not leaving the liberty and rights of the people entirely in the hands of trends. A constitution is in fact a better guard against trends than a populist monarchy can ever hope to be. The final part of the book is a recantation of Paine’s anti-organized religion (and therefore anti-Christian) but pro-deist Age Of Reason which according to Christopher acts as a sequel to Rights of Man as well as Paine’s most potent work. Once again the criticism by Paine against religion and the bible seem so obvious and self-evident that it’s boring. That little Irish poem was appropriately placed and Paine’s legacy is present in Christopher Hitchens writing if anywhere else.

Persepolis Film Review

1. June 2017

Persepolis is the autobiographical story of an Iranian girl living through the Iranian revolution, the counter-revolution and the war with Iraq and then about her experiences in the west. The film is an animated adaptation of the graphic novel. I haven’t read the graphic novel so I can’t compare it to the film. There are many memoirs like this, of young brave women escaping the despotism of their home countries and then finding it hard to adapt to their new host countries, but what is different about this one is that it is animated.

This animated film is originally in French but the English dubbed voices did a pretty good job and there were only a few inevitable immersion breaking moments where it was obvious that the language that they should be speaking in should not be English (Then again I doubt they should have spoken in French in Iran either). But these are minor concerns given that the characters in this story are cartoons. The film never tries to make you forget that they are cartoons and this works for the dark comedy that it uses. The art style is simple, perhaps a little bit too simple to someone like me who is accustomed to more detailed Japanese animation, but this story wasted no time trying to impress me with pretty colours. The animated medium of this show also helps it cram a lot of varying events in a short amount of time. For example those scenes in which the little girl talks with God in her dreams would have been too serious or strange or artificial in film. The very artificial nature of animation gives this film its genuine-ness or perhaps its the other way around the genuine-ness of the story can fully make itself shown through the animated medium.

This film echoes a lot of what the journalist Christopher Hitchens has said about Iran and Iranians. Christopher was always keen to stress how the younger generation in Iran did not like its clerical overlords and its repressive practices mainly because the young know about an alternative in the west from relatives who lived abroad and the western media which the people consume despite the lacklustre efforts by the regime to ban them or in other words Iran is not a closed country as North Korea. What Christopher failed to mention however is that there exists an older generation in Iran who was betrayed in the counter-revolution, then again given that hundreds of thousands of them have been murdered I can understand why they are not a revolutionary force in the country. This film places particular attention to this generation who was betrayed through the eyes of a young girl. By far my favourite character in this film was the grandmother who acts as the girls real parental figure throughout the film even when she was not there, no especially when she was not there in Europe. One scene in particular cemented this point: A pretentious European youth says that politics don’t matter because nothing really matters, the protagonist is quick to rebuke him by saying that her uncle’s death under the regime was not meaningless and promptly points that he is a pretentious prick. Christopher Hitchens once said something to the effect of, that totalitarianism is some young men who cannot get a date being given guns and told that they are special. This comment instantly reminded me of the revolutionary guards (the black shirts of Persia) with bushy beards(1) that were harassing the Iranian youth in this film(and sadly not just in this film).

Persepolis is not a single issue film as it is a memoir more than a piece of journalistic fiction (2) which tend to be specific in its focus as most fiction with a political agenda does tend to, it also touches the issues of love and drugs for depression. Love is a Stalingrad, the protagonist utilizes love to put away the feeling that she doesn’t belong in Europe or in Iran. In the end though it is clear which part of the world adheres more with her beliefs, and her grand mother’s beliefs of personal responsibility, integrity and freedom. When she returns to Iran a psychiatrist who likes to draw doodles in his notebook while his patients talk (this is a comedy) prescribes the protagonist with some medications that make her lethargic and further removed from society. Discussing any more events would be no different than retelling the story because the film has got many creatively drawn and animated expositions and monologues. If I may say so I do not agree with some of the actions the protagonist took but I don’t think the author will care or should care.

The ending was a bit of an anti-climax as Iran remains an Islamic Republic. This wasn’t an heroic tale, I am not going to say that most heroic tales are fiction as the essence remains the same, or as Yuuki Shinjuuruo(3) put it, “it is something beautiful that has been sullied.”

An obvious recommendation to those who like this film would be to read Maus, a graphic novel set in the Nazi era with themes similar to this film. I haven’t read Maus yet, so I cannot compare the two.

(1) I have never understood why some Muslims think that growing a beard is a modest thing to do when it clearly is a fashion statement. This kind of false (superficial) modesty is nothing more than a pathetic virtue-signalling political statement just like having a tattoo or wearing a t-shirt with something pretentious written on it. This has nothing to do with modesty, in fact it is a symptom of attention-whoring and virtue-signalling of the highest calibre. Then again virtue-signalling and attention-whoring are the least worst things about those who have set out to destroy the great civilization and past of Persia and also its future.

(2) “Journalistic fiction” is a weirdly worded term, after all if something really happened then it’s not fictional and if something did not happen then it’s not journalism or at any rate proper journalism but a rose is a rose.

(3) Yuuki Shinjuuruo is the protagonist of the japanese detective animation “Un-Go” based on the works of Ango Sakaguchi.

Why I don’t want to believe in God. A Reply to Peter Hitchens’ question: ‘Why don’t you want to believe in God?’

23. May 2017

To put it bluntly if there were an omnipotent God then I think He should burn forever in eternal hellfire in deepest depths of hell.

peter-hitchens

Peter Hitchens

Peter Hitchens, columnist for the Mail on Sunday has on several occasions asked the question ‘why don’t you want to believe in God?’ in his debates with atheists. He believes that as it is unknowable whether there is a creator to this universe arguments presenting evidence for and against the existence of God and the historical validity of scripture are irrelevant. He has also stated that the reason he wants to believe in God is because he wishes that there was some sort of universal justice or in other words it is highly implied that the reason that people don’t believe in God is because they don’t want to and the reason they don’t want to is because they don’t want there to be universal justice, they want injustice, they want to get away with their evil actions. Hitchens also brings up the fact that he wishes that his dead relatives and friends do not simply disappear and that this is also why he wants to believe in God. Hitchens also implies that as these were his motives for not believing in God in his youth they must be those of his opponents.

Let me start by addressing the last point, I admit that some people may wish not to believe in God because they don’t want to be held morally accountable for their actions however some religious people may want to believe in God for selfish reasons too, for example they may simply be faeces-licking cowardly opportunists with no regard for morality or truth or others but who are simply after a blissful afterlife(pure hedonists) not to mention the moralizing hypocrites and authoritarians who will like leaches latch on to anything  including but not limited to left-wing ideologies and Christianity. The point I am trying to make is that it is possible to believe or disbelieve in God for reasons that have got nothing to do with morality, truth or selflessness. I think it is only fair to mention both.

I don’t want to believe in God for moral reasons – given the level of injustice in this world throughout history which I am sure he is aware of, even if I did believe in God I would only hate him for all this cruelty and I don’t want to live constantly with that sort of hatred in me. This argument is commonly known as The Problem of Evil. To put it bluntly if there were a omnipotent God then I think He should burn forever in eternal hellfire in deepest depths of hell. Speaking of hell Mr. Hitchens fails to mention that to believe in the Christian version of an afterlife means that he must also want to believe that there is a possibility that his close relatives and friends may be burning in that hellfire. Just as the existence of God is unknowable the criteria to get into heaven and into are hell are unknowable, I don’t want to live under constant fear that I or my close relatives and friends may end up in hell for breaking unknowable rules, Hitchens assumes that the Christian rules he adheres to are the right ones but he can only ever assume, frankly this is Orwellian, I think it is Orwell who said that all totalitarian states are in effect theocracies, as it also opens holes for baseless moral authority to seep through and such baseless moral authority can only devalue moral authority as a whole by binding moral authority to superstition and then when the superstition is burned so will the moral authority be gone. I do not wish this to happen and this is why I don’t want to believe in God.

I would also not underestimate the desire for truth in itself as a motive to disbelieve in God. The distinction between agnostic and atheist is an illusive one, most agnostics tends in practice to assume that there is no god, that is to say that they do not believe in god and both insist on the need for evidence to explain phenomena and to brush off the lack of historical validity of the bible is disingenuous. I doubt that Mr. Hitchens would as a journalist given a source which makes ordinary falsifiable claims trust in the unprovable extraordinary claims which it makes simply because it affirmed his own biases.

Note: In the debates I have watched I have seen Peter Hitchens also equate theism with deism and yet provide no justification for this. I feel confused by this point. It would be nice if he could provide some further clarification. Not that I would expect him to read this little blog.

Dear MGTOWs

22. May 2017

[The Question Answered]
What is it men in women do require?
The lineaments of gratified desire.
What is it women do in men require?
The lineaments of gratified desire. – Willaim Blake, Several Questions Answered

The relationship between men and women cannot be reduced to a simple antagonism obviously. It is true that we are all pushing our ideals on others and that’s fine to an extent after all we are the ones who have to live with and look at one another. Let me put it bluntly to the MGTOW crowd, what women desire in you is most likely what you desire in yourself. I don’t see a conflict of interest there. I don’t think that the MGTOW ideology has a positive effect on behaviour. I can understand that there are certain injustices in the family court system that ought to be corrected and that things like boys education in the west need to be reformed, however, these societal problems are hardly a reason to cast all women as hypergamous treacherous opportunists. All human beings act out of self-interest to an extent, that’s a given, for men and women, they are not saints. I am not deaf to the bitter men on MGTOW forums with their personal stories of being betrayed and humiliated by women – by their girlfriends, wives, mothers and by the women who they fancied, I am sure it hurts, however let me ask you this, in an ideal world in which going your own way was not necessary what would women be like? Would they be saints? Saints who would never betray you and who would never hurt you or stop loving you? If you look closely enough your desires are not that different from those of women.

I am tired of the ‘nice guy’ stereotype being plastered all over any debate people have with you, but keep in mind that just like you can’t help applying the standards you do on women nor can women help it. Any and every kind of discrimination is present and allowable during mate selection after all if you take away the right of others to discriminate who they want to have a romance with then on what grounds can you discriminate on what kind of partner you want? A solution to this can be found in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World where it is very impolite not to have sex with anyone who asks you to, but given the largely conservative underpinnings of the MGTOW movement I doubt that that would be palatable to you, and even if I am wrong such a thing is not possible yet.

To elaborate more on my point that ‘women desire in you is what you desire in yourself’ lets look at the most common accusation levied against women by MGTOW, that of hypergamy, now it is true that roughly speaking human females mate across and up dominance hierarchies. But let me ask you this, if it weren’t for women would you really want to be at the bottom of as many dominance hierarchies as you could?Obviously not, therefore there is no conflict of interest hereas far as mate selection is concerned but then what about after a couple has been formed and the girl runs off to another man with a deeper pocket purely because of his status? Well, then you have my full endorsement in evaluating her as a gold-digging whore. Now, onto my next point, actually it’s more of a complaint – I really don’t like the language used by MGTOW and for that matter the pickup artist community, talking about ‘alpha male’ ‘beta male’ and so on. Human behaviour outside of high school is a bit more complex than that (for one because there are many more dominance hierarchies to consider). But let’s set aside my amateur sociology before I make a fool of myself, if it’s not too late for that.

I don’t really really think I can convince you to stop being a MGTOW, I just hope this was an interesting read. But hey, girls are not that bad. They are just as bad as we are. Oops I hope I didn’t offend a feminist there. And remember try to treat people as individuals in your personal lives, give them the benefit of the doubt, they might just turn out not to be arseholes, in politics, ah, it’s hard.

 

Abortion and other socially permissible forms of murder

22. May 2017

“Abortion is murder and is immoral but ethical” – Vee

I have been reluctantly in favour of abortion for a long time, and after watching this video my opinion has remained unchanged. It is a form of murder but looking at the social consequences banning abortion has it is a socially permissible form of murder. I believe the social consequences of banning abortion in Romania are enough of a justification for this.

But the question then is, if this is a socially permissible form of murder then what other permissible forms of murder are there? What’s the criteria? I am not a pacifist and I believe that some wars are justified consequently I have to accept that it is justifiable to for soldiers to kill the minimum number of combatants and civilians necessary to win wars, as Orwell put it to say that war is evil is a one-eyed view, but then again war is evil. I believe that the same can be said about abortion, that is to say that abortion is evil is a one-eyed view but then again it is evil. The point I am trying to make is that just because an individual is innocent of any crime that doesn’t that it is unjustifiable to kill him or her, and this applies to civilians in a war as much as it does to a baby in a womb.

The analogy that Vee brings up of a private hospital being forced to give expensive life- support to a poor patient brings to the forth the moral dilemma that that I have been facing when it comes to abortion. Is it right for the hospital to be forced to give expensive life-support to the patient who will not be able to pay for it? Is it right to let the poor man die? To state the obvious, the choice seems to me to be between one wrong and another wrong. So ‘why do I choose the woman over the child?’ is the question that those in favour of abortion should ask themselves and ‘why do I choose the  baby over the woman?” is the question that those against abortion should ask them selves, now I know some of the people against are going to say “but Stefan, we don’t want the woman to die and they want the child to die, clearly we have the higher moral ground” on a superficial level they do but there is a high likely hood that that child’s and that woman’s life may be ruined. It’s like argument people have about drugs being a victim-less crime when clearly the families of drug addicts have been adversely affected by their drug abuse. I do believe that doctor’s should try to convince a women to not have an abortion by reassuring her that she will still have options in life by bearing that child, but those options actually need to be there, i.e. properly funded orphanages, financial and family support etc… and if the woman still feels that she needs to have an abortion then she must be allowed to have one. Perfect is the enemy of good, I am not satisfied with this solution but to try to find a perfect and final solution by either banning abortions entirely or marketing abortions in a ‘come and have an abortion 2 for the price of 1’ manner as Vee put it is only going to make people morally disgusted and against abortion. In foresight I predict that some may criticise Vee’s analogy for dehumanizing the woman, to that I have to say that they are right to an extent but it also accurately represents the power relationships between the baby and the mother, and for those, if there are any (I hope not) that are bothered that the analogy humanizes the baby by casting as ‘the poor man’, well in the case of late-term abortions it is hard to not consider it a human.

Another form of murder that is socially permissible in many places is the death penalty. I have failed to see any conclusive evidence that the death penalty deters crime but I don’t think it is unjustifiable for the state to kill someone entirely as a form of revenge for the party that has been wronged. I do think however that this lends purely vindictive mode of thinking, or in other words the reason that a woman must not have an abortion is not really because it would harm the child but because the mother should be held responsible for her actions just like a criminal must be killed for his crimes a woman must be punished for her crime, i.e. having sex. I hope that it looks I am setting up a straw-man because that is the gist of argument I have seen the youtuber Black Pigeon Speaks make. The problem with being against abortion and also against the death penalty seems to to be that in one case one has dispense the view that the innocent should not be killed and in the other one has to hold the view that the guilty must not be killed because the potentially innocent must not be killed. Now I am sure that the pro-choice people will say that these are two separate issues, and indeed in many ways they are, but the similarity is that in both cases the discussion hinges on what circumstances it is justifiable to end someone’s life and by ignoring the social consequences and purely judging the amount the crimes committed by fetus and by the criminal, the criminal is (potentially) guilty of a serious crime while the fetus is not. It all comes back to the million dollar question, at what point does a fetus become a baby but that information is not available to us because the science to determine at which point we become conscious still isn’t there, so we cannot answer that question therefore I have decided to turn towards the social consequences of abortion and the death penalty to decide whether I am for or against them. And I have reached the conclusion that while the death penalty does not seriously deter crime banning abortion has a significantly adverse effect on society by causing dangerous illegal abortions. There is a possibility that some pro-lifers may feel like these are not my real motives and will therefore bypass all of the points I have made and accuse me of actually being in favour of abortion because I want to have sex without repercussions, this is a motive fallacy as well as whataboutism or a tu quoque, of the same kind by the way used by the pro-life movement when they say that men should not have a say on whether abortion should be allowed or not, as if the validity of an opinion depended on gender. Nonetheless so that it doesn’t look like I am trying to dodge an accusation merely by quoting this or that fallacy, I will answer such accusations in kind by asking the following question from them: Do you want sex to have dire consequences? It goes without saying that sex has got its risks whether we want them to be there or not and I believe that we should do what is necessary to reduce such risks, now as to what exactly is necessary to reduce such risks is debatable but accusing pro-lifers of wanting to have sex without repercussions is disingenuous as it would suggest that we ought to make the repercussions for having sex as painful and damaging as possible.

Note: Please do not say that not all killing is murder because that opens the can of worms that is saying that the killings we find convenient are not murder while those that our opponents find convenient are murders. Please do not engage in such sophistry.

Finally on a related note I have to say that positive natality is evil, by this I mean politically mandated higher birthrates, now communist Romania(Ceausescu’s Romania) was obviously an extreme form of this. Now I know that a lot of people are extremely worried by the reduction in birth rates in the West and in the Far East but we must not panic, eventually the economic situation is going to become so dire that the birth rates will increase again as people become poorer and so less educated or the economic situation may improve and birth rates may improve. What the state should do is not hand out money to women who have more children as this ends up with women having more children than they can raise just to get the money, no what the state should do is to make it cheaper to bring up children and to give more opportunities to the young, or in other words do what’s necessary to improve the economic situation. Mass immigration can only be a temporary patch and as it has become clear that can have negative effects on the stability of the state.

The following is an informative BBC documentary about the ban on abortions because Ceausescu’s obsession with increasing the birth rates.

The Problem with Blogging and “New” Media

22. May 2017

Journalism can broadly be divided into social commentary  and reporting. I think Christopher Hitchens was right when he pointed out that the problem with blogging and news commentators is that it is essentially feeding off “old” media. I think that what he means by that is that bloggers (i.e. politics youtube videos, most social commentary on the internet) do not have the resources to do their own reporting so they are dependent and effectively leaching off traditional media. Arguably any social commentator, and that includes Christopher Hitchens is dependent on other sources and reporters for their news but this is more true for bloggers to the extent where it feels they may be just regurgitating what is already available, that they are just reading news out of the papers and make it seem new by putting their own spin on it. I guess in defense of political bloggers and youtubers it could be said that they are bringing to the forth stories that would otherwise go unnoticed and are ignored by the public and by the media but the criticism still stands that they are just social commentators and not reporters.