“Evil Is Universal”

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, let me take the speck out of your eye” when all the time, there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye” – Matthew 7:3-5

I find myself in a position that is generally antithetical to my being as a politico; I am feeling a calmness and a bit of disappointed resignation to where we are headed as a country. I am not happy about what’s coming, but I don’t see an alternative. We have a toxic, angry, partisan bubble completely devoid of complex thought or good faith conversation and nothing good can come from that. We’re seeing that cycle play itself out particularly in the field of racial injustice. Black Lives Matter, the organization, seems to be so-named as a semantic sleight of hand. Those who are against the organization can be said to be against Black people generally. In the same way, those against “the Affordable Care Act” were against “Affordable Care” or the “Patriot Act” dissenters were unpatriotic and so forth. The tactic of usurping the moral high-ground through the use of language is a simple, dirty trick. 

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Anger+Inertia

There is a trend in politics today where the people who were ultimately wrong are only proven wrong after most people stopped paying attention and subsequently fall silent, one assumes this is because they are hoping the other people didn’t notice. This is true in most cases except one. First, it is obviously true in terms of the COVID lockdown where the people who were ranting about anything short of a full lockdown was killing grandma and everything else up to and including domestic abuse was effectively collateral compared to the viral wave that was fast approaching and yet always two weeks away before cresting on the shore with an anti-climactic shudder.

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A Sign of threes

Two of the most contemptible arguments right now, easily in the top 3, are the arguments in favor of the lockdown and the arguments in favor of gun control. On one hand, anyone in favor of the lockdown restrictions as they are in the Northeast is still looking at the damage being done to small businesses, domestic/child abuse victims, cancer patients and the like, to say nothing of drug abuse, suicide and how many people were sent into poverty over this and insisting that it will all be worth it in the end, once we get that magic vaccine…and once the vaccine is universally available, and then once the new vaccine is proven more than 90% effective, then, one imagines, when the vaccine is taken by 95% of the population. Only then will the lockdowns be able to end.

If you think I’m joking, the goalposts have jet engines on them that were just installed in April. Those things tend to last a while. Put nothing past the people under the sway of this “heroic” argument.

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Dangerous

Think for a moment on the think pieces we’ve saw on the 4th and there is no clearer paradox than the progressive activist.
Someone standing on the shoulders of the Constitution, the pinnacle of Western Civilization, declaring that the entire system is irredemably racist, evil, classist, oppressive, violent and from which nothing good can come from and deciding that the solution is Marxism, which possesses all of the characteristics they claim to despise. Not only is the premise a bit absolutist, but their solution is made up entirely of what they claim is the root cause of all the problems here.
They will couch these ideas in saying they “love their country” and then go on about everything I just mentioned and how the system needs a fundamental restructuring. Whats more is that one doesn’t often see them addressing the concepts of freedom or how to maintain the inherent good of a system founded on the ideals of Locke, Mill and the Founders. It’s just all bad, all the time.

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Abdication

When I was at Point Park, our final English Comp 2 project was to craft an argument for or against some proposition. The same professor had given us the simple instruction to write a story about a friend of ours the year before. The objective was simple: write well, present well. No arbitrary page requirement, word count, nothing. Just make your case. Because it was a theater school primarily and a cinema school a close second, there weren’t many conservatives in the room save for me and a running theme of the presentations was always a conclusion of “what the government should do” to correct this or that societal malady. It’s a pattern that continues on the left, even in matters of the Constitution. The government needs to pass hate speech laws, the government needs to take away guns, the government needs to protect people and so on.

And I noticed a theme here in the discourse, everyone who disagrees any of the above is declared to be one who hates the poor, likes the status quo of people dying senselessly or some other emotional ploy.  But what I realized was that, like most things on the left, good intentions are used to hide intellectual cowardice or some other insidious agenda. Continue reading Abdication

WKSK

Our theme for the semester ties in with the theme for Jubilee about how “Everything Matters” and tonight, I am going to talk about community and relationships. I want to start with a strange paradox. We are more connected than any people in history, you can reach someone through Hangouts, Messenger, WhatsApp, WeChat, iMessage, regular message, Hangouts, Skype, 50 different email accounts and God only knows what I’m missing, and yet survey after survey such as one from the HRSA seems to demonstrate that people here feel alone. Loneliness, especially long-term leads to depression, anxiety, feelings of hopelessness and if you already have it, it’s likely to get worse. There are physical health risks as well, but the studies I found had comparisons to being alone is comparable to smoking 15 cigarettes a day, which that implies you need to be around people all the time, which as we’ll see isn’t really accurate, let alone realistic. We could say that “Community and relationships matter because loneliness is a serious health risk” and leave it alone. But that’s basically telling someone who is an introvert or has had bad experiences with people or just isn’t great socially to just “go out there and talk to people”, which is completely against what they think they’re capable of.  And it seems that Christian culture is more bent towards extroversion and being with all of the people, all of the time. In his book “Introverts in the Church”, Adam McHugh points to a 2004 study of Christian students to describe Jesus according to temperaments mentioned on the Myers-Briggs scale. Most showed a tendency to paint Jesus in their own image with one exception; regardless of where they were on that system, 97% of them said that Jesus was an extrovert.  McHugh writes that “the perception of an extroverted Jesus might reflect a tendency within American culture to value extroversion over introversion…the slant toward extroversion in the larger culture has infiltrated the church”. He goes on to say he interviewed Christians who identified as introverted who said they were having difficulty finding their place in their church. He tells the story of one friend who was intensely closed off and so even the positive relationships she did have came with a caveat. The “ideal” he says of intimacy with the community was that people were constantly together and deeply involved with what’s going on with each other, and the more engaged people were, the closer they were to God. Her level of faith became tied to how outgoing she was. That standard, to me is terrifying, I barely talk about what’s going on in my life, which I’m about to do that quite a bit but there’s a purpose behind it Continue reading WKSK

2 AM

Funny story, and if you saw something similar to this a few weeks ago, I’m sorry but I got rid of it because I felt my older instincts of “this is saccharine and must be eliminated” kick in. I had mentioned in the past that I have only started to come to grips with a long history of gaslighting, and bad friendships, the kind that make someone into the Meckenian cynic  “One who, when he smells flowers looks for a coffin”,   As a refresher, I have had two major groups in my world prior to the CCO and both were disasters, I’ve also been gaslit for about 15 of my 30 years.

I am going to just get the good parts out. because the urge to finish the essay I’ve been working on for the last few months, is at the moment solely based on A) I have to finish a talk on the importance of community for LaRoche next semester and B) I can’t do that, until I get the parts I want to say on paper, and I haven’t figured out how to bring that to bear and I’ve rewritten this damn thing 3 times now. Continue reading 2 AM

Four-Thirty-Five

Because I haven’t been enough like Jordan (we’re fraternal, I swear.) I’m kind of reflecting on the meet. I don’t have to work or train today, so now here’s a dryer look at what happened. Jordan calls these “After Action Reports”. What follows reads like someone who can’t write positively about anything is telling you about a positive expereince, because that’s exactly what’s happening. I’m a bit concerned this comes off as ungrateful or something, but I really don’t know how to express anything beyond “yeah, it’s cool.” I’m working on that for part of the 5 Points project, but it’s really just part of a slow, wildly uncomfortable change that I reference near the end about being social. Anyway, here goes:
The truth is, my head was about 50% out of it at the beginning. I am, -by myself-, a fanatical pessimist for reasons I may or may not mention in a future essay. My thoughts are usually that the worst outcome, however statistically unlikely, is the result I’d best prepare for. Effectively, if I’m right, I’m not as disappointed as I would’ve been as an optimist. If I’m wrong, I’m pleasantly surprised. So in the lead-up, all I can think of is the crowd, the new environment, losing control of my head, I have war-gamed every negative outcome, and I don’t want to do this again after its over. I just want to go at least 6 for 9 and for my current deadlift PR (412) to fall because it’s the Pittsburgh zip code and for literally no other reason and go home.

Violence as Physics.

What bothers me about the conversation on shootings is the need to either complicate it or manipulate it to fill a political end.
 
Two points, one, violence is not complicated, not at its core. It is basic physics with moral implications. One force (the gunman) is either met with resistance or it isn’t. The end result is a loss of life the extent of which is based entirely on how effective the opposing force is.
 
There’s your “complicated” scenario.
 
Two. I haven’t said this in a while, but evil is universal. Talking about a motive or some other political thing like “well he supported Trump” or some crap like that solves nothing. Looking at the shooter’s race says nothing (for V-Tech, the LAPD guy or the dude from El Paso.). It serves no purpose than for a particularly unctuous sect of the country to say “you support X, so obviously you must be fine with this.” As if the average Joe supports people being killed because people share some political beliefs.

Continue reading Violence as Physics.

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