The Pivot: A Catalogue

1.Saturday, I went on a retreat with our RCIA candidates (that’s Right of Christian Initiation for Adults, the 8 or 9 month process someone who is interested in getting (as needed) baptized, confirmed, confessed, and communicated into the Catholic Church goes through). Nice retreat house in the hills.

Of the 25 or so of us – the candidates, sponsors and team members – three wore masks. One stayed completely shields up the entire time. But two wore their masks on their chins. The entire 7.5 hours.

I can’t even. On the plus side, 80%+ of everybody was done with the masks. On the down side, even with the social pressure of being the only 3 people masked up in a group of nice folks, the three holdouts – and especially the two with the masks on their chins – just couldn’t let go.

2. Yesterday, my wife, who is a group leader, and I, a guest speaker, attended in a teen Confirmation prep class of about 100 kids. The meeting was outside in the lovely 70F sunshine. ALL the kids were masked up. My wife to her little group: you know, you’re outside, so you don’t need to wear the masks. Plus, you’re healthy kids, so it very unlikely to hurt you even if you catch it.

So, do the kids take off the masks? Nope. 100 young, healthy people sitting in the glorious sunshine – all masked up.

3. At daily Mass, since last June when the ‘outbreak’ ‘raged’ through Cape Cod killing no one and putting 4 people (out of a million plus visitors) in the hospital, my family was one of about 3 or 4 groups who had had enough and simply refused to mask back up on command of our cockroach overlords. Then, a few week’s back, the indoor masking order was lifted – as long as you were fully and officially jabbed. So, in a congregation full of very compliant and obedient people, almost all fully jabbed, do the masks come off? Several weeks into, and few old coots like me have done away with them – but we’re still around 90% face-diapered up.

4. When I go shopping – I have a route I take that includes up to 5 stores – I’m seeing masks everywhere. Costco for bulk items: 90% masked; local produce market and the local ‘health food’ (they have bulk high-gluten flour, fresh ground peanut butter, lots of bulk spices – things like that) maybe slightly less; Safeway, 90%. I haven’t been to the 2 ethnic specialty markets since the indoor masking mandate was lifted. The immigrants and 1st gen Americans who frequent those places are definitely a mixed bag: some barely complied under threat of getting tossed, but there’s probably 5 people who no doubt shower with their mask on for each scofflaw. I don’t know. Maybe I’ll get some more curry ingredients and gyoza skins, just to check it out.

The mask I see when I see a mask. Insanity made concrete.

Several people have made the obvious point: Brandon has a speech to give on Wednesday. People are fed up. Don’t be fooled: if ‘improving’ ‘numbers’ mattered, this would have been over at the end of April, 2020. So our cockroach overlords have ordered their brown-nosing courtesans to detach their lips from the hind quarters of their betters and switch to Narrative 2.0, or make the Great Pivot, or reprogram the NPCs, or whatever you want to call it. See? We fixed it! Nothing to see here, move along. As some wit put it: What’s the difference between conspiracy theory and established science? About 2 months. SNL can now run skits mocking the Masks Forever crowd; the NYT can now say that lockdowns did little, if any, good – positions that got you – me! – labeled a ‘terrorist’ about a month ago. Vaccines? Not very effective, and kinda dangerous – say that a couple months ago, and get fired. Now? Well, maybe they’re not so good – and you can hear it from the ‘real’ press.

But most important, the key message of Narrative 2.0: We’re just going to have to learn to live with the Coof, just like the flu. This is what I, and greater lights such as Brigg and Berenson, have been saying from very early on back in 2020. All the steps – lockups, masks, social distancing, and especially the jab, have made no material difference to the better, and caused immeasurable harm. What is happening now, what would have happened by the end of May 2020 in a rational world, is that whoever is going to get it, got it. Whoever was already dying, died. And the few otherwise healthy that really suffered from Covid are just the inevitable unlucky, like the kid who catches his death of cold, or the poor sucker whose flu descends into pneumonia. These things happen. They didn’t happen to a panic-inducing degree with the Coof. Sane people could have stayed home when not well, washed their hands, tried not to sneeze on people – and the results would have been the same or better, except $7 trillion or so worth of the economy would not now be in the hands of gigantic corporations, millions of small businesses would still exist, and the population in general would not be terrified out of their wits.

Herd immunity isn’t just a good idea – it’s the law.

Bottom line, based on the observation above: the NPC reprogramming has a long way to go. I expect about 70% of the people will eventually succumb to the unspoken peer pressure of being surrounded by unmasked people – when they are. Maybe 30% will be wearing a mask as they are placed in their caskets.

The real problem: those kids. We have terrified the shit (pardon my language, but it’s the word) out of an entire generation of small children and teens. The damage has been done. I don’t know how to heal them, or if it is even possible.

Nuremberg Trials. Anything less, and we have failed.

Lafferty Quotation

No reason…

The first King who played the game of King, of chess, was the Persian Pad-Shah Shapur II, who was taught it by his wazir who had invented it. The wazir was the better player, but the King was always the winner of the game.

The King obtained victory by the ingenious device of overturning the chessboard at a crucial point of the game and declaring himself winner. This showed an imagination of the sort the wazir did not have; and it is for this reason that Shapur was the King, and the wazir would never be anything but wazir.

The larger view, the seeing that a problem need not be confined to one narrow framework, is useful in many fields. It comes into the solution of certain puzzles and riddles where a narrow framework, implied but not stated, limits the ordinary mind and prevents solution by such. But the breaking out of the framework gives the answer to a mind with more scope.

Lafferty, The Fall of Rome, CH XI

I’m reminded of Musk’s rule: the best part is no part. The common mind, faced with an engineering problem, easily falls into perfecting whatever solution his predecessors came up with. Such an engineer, if he is skillful, ends with a wonderfully optimized widget. Musk’s point is to question the need for the widget before investing time perfecting it. And it seems to work well for him.

For us little people, we need to remember that we needn’t play the game by the rules defined by those who hate us.

Three Quotations and a Link and an UPDATE

Off in a bit to begin the ceremonies – rehearsal, rehearsal dinner today, then wedding and reception tomorrow – demarking the handing off of Younger Daughter to her husband.

UPDATE: Logistics are a bit – interesting for this wedding. The church is a little over an hour away, near where Younger Daughter lives; the hall where the reception will be is about 20 minutes from there. BUT: the team doing the catering is my middle son (bride’s older brother) and his lovely wife of all of 6 months. They both have years of experience in food service, so it’s not as crazy as it seems. Issue: our nice kitchen has been volunteered for all the food prep – an hour and a half away from the hall. The hall also has a nice kitchen. The proprietors of the hall generously allowed us access starting at 3:00 today for a reception that start around noon tomorrow. But (almost) everybody involved is in the wedding itself, so we need to do as much set up between 3:00 and 4:40 (5:00 start of the rehearsal, a 20 minute drive away). Then, morning of, do the final cooking of the hot stuff so that it comes out warm around noon.

Future son-in-law knows a big Catholic family, the patriarch of which also knows my middle son and his wife – two of his daughters worked with them in the kitchens at Thomas Aquinas College. So, as we’re prepping here like mad, son gets a call from the matriarch of the above large family asking: how many of my kids do you want me to send over to help? So three daughters, two of whom have worked with and for my son, will be meeting the posse at the reception hall at 3:00 to help with set up and prep. Pretty darn cool. One friend of a friend also volunteered to get the cooking started morning of the wedding.

So, it’s working out. I rented a house for tonight in the neighborhood of the church, so we all can crash after the rehearsal, rehearsal dinner, and the finishing touches on the reception hall, and mom can support the bride without a 1:30 (at least – there’s snow on the mountains, skiers will be jamming the road Saturday morning) drive. Again, we are grateful and blessed.

So, quotations – first up: Eddie Burke, because why not?

Where trade and manufactures are wanting to a people, an the spirit of nobility and religion remains, sentiment supplies, and not always ill supplies their place; but if commerce and the arts should be lost in an experiment to try how well a state may stand without these old fundamental principles, what sort of a thing must be a nation of gross, stupid, ferocious, and at the same time, poor and sordid barbarians, destitute of religion, honor, or manly pride, possessing nothing at present, and hoping for nothing hereafter? I wish you may not be going fast, and by the shortest cut, to that horrible and disgustful situation. Already there appears a poverty of conception, a coarseness and vulgarity in all the proceedings of the assembly and of all their instructors. Their liberty is not liberal. Their science is presumptuous ignorance. Their humanity is savage and brutal.

Reflections on the Revolution in France

And

All circumstances taken together, the French revolution is the most astonishing that has hitherto happened in the world. The most wonderful things are brought about in many instances by means the most absurd and ridiculous; in the most ridiculous modes; and apparently, by the most contemptible instruments. Every thing seems out of nature in this strange chaos of levity and ferocity, and of all sorts of crimes jumbled together with all sorts of follies.
In viewing this tragi-comic scene, the most opposite passions necessarily succeed, and sometimes mix with each other in the mind; alternate contempt and indignation; alternate laughter and tears; alternate scorn and horror.

Ditto
Ready, Eddy?

The consistently incisive and depressingly accurate analysis of Clarissa, who grew up under the Soviet Union and teaches at Woke State someplace, commenting on the thought processes of the Supreme Court considered as a bunch of aging Boomers:

Sotomayor has already asked how “a human spewing virus is different from a machine spewing sparks.” As one’s brain ossifies with age, one begins to perceive the world through analogy. Everything gets referred back to one’s past experience. Everything is “just like.” Accepting that anything can be genuinely new means facing that one is outdated, possibly even mortal. And no, not every old person is like that. There are rare but important exceptions. For the most part, though, this is exactly how it works. If you don’t subject your brain to rigorous daily training in processing new information from new sources, you will become that sad old fart who “justlikes” every conversation into the ground.

And her further thoughts. Sigh. I’m so sick of her being right.

Finally, a slightly more amusing quotation:

“Let no one wear a mask, otherwise he will do ill; and if he has one, let him burn it.”

St. Philip Neri

Probably check in again next week. Until then, party hardy.

The Predicament & “Experts”

(Wow – that last Predicament post was all over the place. There’s a real idea in there someplace, at least I imagine there is. Here’s another crack at it.)

When I was 23? 24? I thought I’d like to go to grad school and get a masters in – Liturgy. No, really. The reasoning was as bass ackwards as it sounds: I had already learned a little about the Catholic Mass and traditions through a volunteer job I had after graduation, and wanted to share my (24 year old. Sheesh.) wisdom – but nobody’s going to listen to me! But if I had a *masters* in Liturgy, they’d have to! Right?

And then it dawned on me: that’s all supposed expertise is, in the ‘reality will not be allowed to disprove you’ world of most academics- I get the advanced degree so that I can push my own special brand of nonsense on the world, and they have to listen because I’m an *expert*! In the vastly less popular ‘put-up-or-shut-up’ fields such as engineering or even business, your degree might get you a job, but you run a real risk of losing that job if you fail to perform. Not so with ‘education’ or social work or the odd liberal arts degree. Those are ‘reputational’ fields, success at which consists of getting and maintaining a suitable reputation among others in that field.

Impressive-sounding degrees really help get that reputation going. There’s also a strong feedback loop: once you get that Master’s or PhD or law degree, you become part of the pool of people who set reputations. Since their reputations begin with the sort of official certification they have received – he’s a *doctor*! She’s a *lawyer*! – people in the field are very unlikely to disparage such degrees, at least to ‘laymen’. To take an extreme example: people who get a degree in Gender Studies will not get very far – build a solid reputation in the field – by disparaging Gender Studies degrees. Perhaps lawyers among themselves talk about law as the votech field it is, I don’t know. But just try having an opinion about law around a lawyer, and see how fast (however subtly) they will mount their defense upon the barbican of their degree. Since the whole law degree/bar exam thing was set up as a way to restrict supply (and raise prices/income) by what are effectively lawyer’s guilds, the magic of the law degree must first of all be defended against laymen. John Adams and Abraham Lincoln, who practiced law rather successfully without the benefit of formal academic training in law, are not the model here, regardless of their reputations.

Over time, the highest reputations in reputational fields will necessarily be held by the people who pay the most attention to reputations. Thus, when introduced to such people, we will often find out quickly their degrees, where their PhD was obtained and where they teach, maybe about some publication that enhanced their reputation in the field. Most important, these high-reputation people then become the gatekeepers of – reputation.

Such people then generalize their expertise. Reputation comes to equal brilliance – he teaches at Stanford or Harvard! He must be an expert! A genius, even! Such a one’s intellectual dogs are soon off the leash, so to speak, nosing about in every field that smells promising. Given the feedback loop of reputational fields described above, if I, the sort of glib poser who is the type-specimen here, hold a degree and agree with the experts in my field, I am likewise a genius and an expert! I of course will pay a certain reverence to my betters in my field, as a primitive worships the sun whose light is the source of his reflected glory. But to outsiders, I am a recognized expert! Bow to me!

First order of business for the expert class: keep the non-credentialed posers in line. In business school, I had to take a business ethics class. Can virtue be taught? Who cares, as long as there’s a paying gig to offer required classes in it. The prof was as bad as you might imagine, a procedure obsessed self-righteous prick. He’d explain his grading methodology in elaborate detail, so we’d all know how fair and transparent it was, and then ask us open ended moral questions for which there were no wrong answers unless he didn’t like them.

He didn’t like mine very much.

Seriously, how does one become an *expert* in business ethics? Is there this long noble tradition of business ethicists, experts in how to be virtuous at business, respected if not loved by their enlightened and now equally virtuous students? To ask the question is to laugh. Instead, a vita is constructed wherein degrees and studies and even experience are aligned in such a way as to make the claim of expertise in business ethics palatable – to the ‘experts’ on the hiring committee. Oh, he studied philosophy, and then worked in industry where he was on an ethical review committee? Then got a PhD in something? Good enough! Once you get that first job as a professor of business ethics, that becomes the star of your vita, and the battle is over.

Similarly, there is science, and there is policy. They are not the same thing, any more than the principles of business are morality. The charge of the electron is something scientists – Mikkelsen and his successors – figured out in a series of elegant experiments. Arsenic was isolated by Albertus Magnus, and, centuries earlier, a process to isolate it was described by Jabir ibn Hayyan (I had to look that one up – full disclosure). But knowing everything about the observable properties of electrons or arsenic tells us nothing about whether we should drive an electric car or poison somebody.

The Predicament rears its ugly head: we want to follow somebody, an expert seems like somebody good to follow, but we humans seem incapable of distinguishing what, exactly, an expert is an expert *in*, let alone only following the lead of experts insofar as what they are leading us through is what they are experts in.

We seem – I think, maybe not, the world is insane – to know that an auto mechanic fixes cars, but is not by that fact an expert on where or how you ought to drive the car he just fixed for you. Somehow, we shelve this simple, obvious truth when faced with more decorated and aggressive (and thin-skinned) experts.

Our predicament: most of us all of the time, and all of us some of the time, must rely on somebody else’s opinions. We have been taught to rely on the opinions of experts. We have not been taught to question the nature and limits of expertise. Therefore, most of us all of the time, and all of us some of the time, are made uncomfortable if not angry by the mere thought of pushing back or questioning the limits of expert opinion.

In the expert opinion of the founders of this nation and of centuries of English law, the most crucial, life and death decisions are too important to leave to experts. What else are trials by jury and elections than the manifestation of our long-standing distrust of experts?

Yet, as a people we are lost, terrified, and angered by anyone who questions the approved experts. This needs to stop. An expert worth respecting acknowledges the limits of his own expertise. Does he have special knowledge of proper policy? Really? How did he get it? If not, why is he attempting to dictate policy?

The Predicament

(4;30 a.m., wide awake, so let’s blog!)

What I’m here calling the Predicament is something with a thousand faces, touched on in a million ways; Pournelle’s Iron Law, Gell-Mann Amnesia Affect, herd mentality, group think, mass psychosis, class distinctions, compulsory schooling, ‘news’, ‘political campaigns’, sports fandom, and I’ll think of more.

Call it human nature, if you want. Or, better, canine nature. Even allowing for the irresistible tendency of people to project human motivations onto the behaviors of dogs (itself yet another example of the Predicament), dogs and people have a lot in common. When we say dogs are pack animals, what we mean is that the typical dog just wants to know who’s in charge. Dogs are easy to train, because, once the trainer establishes that he is in charge, the dog becomes eager to do what he wants. A skillful trainer first never lets the dog wonder who is in charge, and second is good at communicating what he wants the dog to do.* A happy dog is one that knows exactly where he stands in the pack hierarchy.

In feral packs, some dog becomes the alpha. Sometimes, there are battles between the alpha and wanna be alphas, but most often, the lead dog can just stare down any pretenders. The important part here: almost all the dogs just want to know who is in charge. They really don’t care which dog leads, they just want a leader. The average dog just wants to follow, and is really unhappy when he doesn’t know who to follow.

Once read a blogger’s story about being drummed out of the army. Turns out he was naturally immune to the intimidation techniques used by drill sergeants to break down the recruits.** When his would yell at and bully him, he just laughed, and couldn’t control himself. They had to get him out of there, fast, before he destroyed the whole process for the other recruits.

So: the Predicament. Whatever we may think, whatever we may pledge ourselves to, even when we are most rebellious – hell, sometimes *especially* when we’re most rebellious – what’s really going on is that we’re just looking to see who is the big dog, who it is that we’re supposed to follow.

(Agent Smith voice:) I had a little revelation, in my old age here: without ever trying, without ever even desiring it, I won almost every alpha male battle I was ever in. Now, while I may look a little like an alpha – 6’2″ tall and, as a young man at least, strapping – I’m about as intimidating as a puppy. BUT – by a combination of cluelessness and not having any f’s to give, I was simply immune to a lot of the gamesmanship and intimidation used to establish pecking orders. So, on sports teams, in social groups, in groups of volunteers, at work, when the subtle little games got played by which people are put in their places, I ignored them (if i were even aware of them) – and so I won. I got voted team captain, head of the crew, head of the department, the guy people looked to for ideas. People would see that I was not backing down and not being intimidated in any way, and assumed I was the alpha – and so I was.

Huh? Me? But the facts stand. I tell this story only to illustrate how desperately and reflexively people want a leader to follow.

So here is our predicament: wanting to belong -which, in practice, means wanting to know who to follow – is a need so dramatically and powerfully prior to any desire for the truth that the truth simply doesn’t enter into it. The truth will be sacrificed; hell, the truth will never be acknowledged. It is so dreadfully uncomfortable, so terrifying, really, to not know who you are following, that 2+2 really does equal 5, as far as you are concerned, for all of us most of the time, and for most of us all of the time.

The drumbeat of lies we’re being subjected to doesn’t even register with most people. They just want to know who is in charge, and find some relief in belonging to the vast herd of followers. The level of trauma needed to disabuse most of us probably exceeds death – many of us would rather die than to fall out with our group. We won’t even notice the inconsistencies, the hypocrisy, the insanity of our beliefs. When Goebbels said he could make a Brown from a Red in a couple weeks – turn a fanatical Communist into a fanatical Brownshirt – he meant that he, a master propogandist, could leave the fundamental fanaticism intact while changing the object of allegiance. He could take advantage of the fanatic’s overwhelming desire to belong to swap out the much less real object of his fanaticism.

And we, ourselves, we habitually skeptical few, will fall for some of it some of the time. We are only human, after all. The price of sanity is eternal vigilance, it seems.

*A little twist worth thinking about: dogs who are best at doing what the humans want get to breed; dogs who defy their humans don’t. Over time, only sports defy their humans.

** Militaries have learned over time that the more human instincts of the recruits need to be broken down and replaced with those that promote obedience and unit cohesion. That’s what basic training is all about. In the Civil War, all sorts of untrained volunteers quickly assembled into regiments and divisions and headed straight off into battle. When the guy next to him got blown apart, that volunteer turned out to be unimpressed by orders from his commanding officers – Ohio farm boys and New England shopkeeper’s sons tended to drop their arms and walk away after a few hours of battle, tops. So – boot camp, to minimize that sort of thing. They minimize it largely through – you guessed it, right? – peer pressure. The deserter is the outcast.

The Visitation of Mars

From That Hideous Strength:

Down in the kitchen MacPhee sharply drew back his chair so that it grated on the tiled floor like a pencil squeaking on a slate. “Man!” he exclaimed, ” it’s a shame for us to be sitting here looking at the fire. If the Director hadn’t got a game leg himself, I’ll bet you he’d have found some other way for us to go to work.”

Camilla’s eyes flashed towards him. “Go on!” she said, ” go on!”

“What do you mean, MacPhee?” said Dimble.

“He means fighting,” said Camilla.

“They’d be too many for us, I’m afraid,” said Arthur Denniston.

“Maybe so!” said MacPhee. “But maybe they’ll be too many for us this way, too. But it would be grand to have one go at them before the end. To tell you the truth, I sometimes feel I don’t greatly care what happens. But I wouldn’t be easy in my grave if I knew they’d won and I’d never had my hands on them.”

“Oh,” said Camilla, ” if one could have a charge in the old style. I don’t mind anything once I’m on a horse.”

“I can’t understand it,” said Dimble. “I’m not like you, MacPhee. I’m not brave. But I was just thinking as you spoke that I don’t feel afraid of being killed and hurt as I used to do. Not to-night.”

“We may be, I suppose,” said Jane.

“As long as we’re all together,” said Mother Dimble. “It might be … no, I don’t mean anything heroic … it might be a nice way to die.” And suddenly all their faces and voices were changed. They were laughing again, but it was a different kind of laughter. Their love for one another became intense. Each, looking on all the rest, thought, “I’m lucky to be here. I could die with these. “But MacPhee was humming to himself:” King William said. Be not dismayed, for the loss of one commander.”

Chapter 15

Be not afraid.

Quotation For Today and Every Day

Oddly busy these days, and getting the house prepped for sale certainly doesn’t help, free time wise, so I’ll leave you all with this.

I’ve posted this story from John Taylor Gatto’s Underground History of American Education before, bit this is needed today more than ever. More actual education takes place in this one scene than in 16 years of standard schooling:

The greatest intellectual event of my life occurred early in third grade before I was yanked out of Xavier and deposited back in Monongahela. From time to time a Jesuit brother from St. Vincent’s College would cross the road to give a class at Xavier. The coming of a Jesuit to Xavier was always considered a big-time event even though there was constant tension between the Ursuline ladies and the Jesuit men. One lesson I received at the visiting brother’s hands2 altered my consciousness forever. By contemporary standards, the class might seem impossibly advanced in concept for third grade, but if you keep in mind the global war that claimed major attention at that moment, then the fact that Brother Michael came to discuss causes of WWI as a prelude to its continuation in WWII is not so far-fetched.3 After a brief lecture on each combatant and its cultural and historical characteristics, an outline of incitements to conflict was chalked on the board.

“Who will volunteer to face the back of the room and tell us the causes of World War One?”

“I will, Brother Michael,” I said. And I did.

“Why did you say what you did?”

“Because that’s what you wrote.”

“Do you accept my explanation as correct?”

“Yes, sir.” I expected a compliment would soon follow, as it did with our regular teacher.

“Then you must be a fool, Mr. Gatto. I lied to you. Those are not the causes at all.” It was like being flattened by a steamroller. I had the sensation of being struck and losing the power of speech. Nothing remotely similar had ever happened to me.

“Listen carefully, Mr. Gatto, and I shall show you the true causes of the war which men of bad character try to hide,” and so saying he rapidly erased the board and in swift fashion another list of reasons appeared. As each was written, a short, clear explanation followed in a scholarly tone of voice.

“Now do you see, Mr. Gatto, why you must be careful when you accept the explanation of another? Don’t these new reasons make much more sense?”

“Yes, sir.”

“And could you now face the back of the room and repeat what you just learned?”

“I could, sir.” And I knew I could because I had a strong memory, but he never gave me that chance.

“Why are you so gullible? Why do you believe my lies? Is it because I wear clothing you associate with men of God? I despair you are so easy to fool. What will happen to you if you let others do your thinking for you?”

You see, like a great magician he had shifted that commonplace school lesson we would have forgotten by the next morning into a formidable challenge to the entire contents of our private minds, raising the important question, Who can we believe? At the age of eight, while public school children were reading stories about talking animals, we had been escorted to the eggshell-thin foundation upon which authoritarian vanity rests and asked to inspect it.

There are many reasons to lie to children, the Jesuit said, and these seem to be good reasons to older men. Some truth you will know by divine intuition, he told us, but for the rest you must learn what tests to apply. Even then be cautious. It is not hard to fool human intelligence.

Then, we’re stuck with a world hell-bent on illustrating an observation by Mark Twain: It is much easier to fool somebody than to convince them they’ve been fooled.

Support & Encouragement: Principle & Tactic

As mentioned earlier, Clarissa made a valid point about engaging Normie: at this point, all you’re doing is feeding the illusion that there is or ever has been open, honest discussion of COVID, lockdowns, masks, vaccines, election fraud, and the constellation of related issues such as ANTIFA and BLM and the various acts of terrorism committed against non-Normies. Normie ain’t interested, and won’t be convinced. If he was willing to set aside panic and fear, pay attention and look at things even remotely objectively, he wouldn’t be spouting this nonsense in the first place. So, it may feel better to us to engage, but it is not helping things at all.

This is no longer a debate. This – 2021 America – is, as Clarissa pointed out, a hostage situation. One side can talk, if they want. The other side can and will destroy the heretics and non-believers, as soon as it can. They have already begun. Sprouting heresy to the faces of their mindless minions is therefore unwise.

Normie, to be clear, is just the guy who has swallowed the stories whole – not an enemy essentially, like a college professor of ‘journalist’, but completely taken in, and committed to staying there. Normie believes what he hears on the news, and is frightened by the prospect of thinking for himself.

Enough of what we can’t do. What can we do? First, maintain basic human dignity. Among other things, this means acknowledging, supporting, and encouraging those who are not buying the lies. I think that the resistance – perfectly good word, we should commandeer it – is basically pretty good at this, since we are much more likely to have families, go to church, and in general hang out with the people around us, than pink-haired nose ring folks, whose entire approach seems to be first: alienate everyone who, by nature, should love you.

Basic decency should be a principle of civilized behavior, but in this current vale of tears, it is also a tactic. I’m going to make supportive interactions – friendliness, I think it was once called – a more conscious practice going forward. It is a great evil that people have been separated, masked, and taught to fear each other, first before all things, as disease vectors. It is easy to get discouraged and tempted to despair, so we need to show friendship and support.

Then, in my circle, are many people who are frustrated, pissed off, and scared. They or people they know have lost or are threatened with the loss of their jobs, are being kept out of restaurants and bars, are seeing mule-headed stupidity among family members and (former) friends. Tell them you understand, we are fighting the good fight, and that giving in is only a short-term salve – we are still the carbon they want to reduce. Fight on!

Invite someone over for dinner. Shake hands. Give a non-Brandon hug where appropriate. Smile. Act like a normal person, with a strong preference toward those others likewise resisting.

And then imagine how and where you will defend yourself, if it comes to that. But, in the meantime, be kind.

Strategy and Tactics?

Let’s round up a couple interesting points. This is all highly speculative on my part, I have little idea what to do. First off, from Clarissa’s blog a couple days ago:

I engage in exactly zero discussions with liberals / leftists / Biden voters / ‘democratic socialists’ / pandemicians / anti-racists or whatever they call themselves. I don’t try to reason with them, I don’t offer evidence, I don’t explain my position. I’m open to discuss shopping, recipes, weather, gossip, etc. But the moment they start on with vaccines, Trump, horse dewormers, insurrections, etc, I change the topic or use the bathroom. There can be no debate with people who hold the power to wipe you out of productive life on a whim. The very act of engaging in a discussion perpetuates the massive lie that there is free and open debate.

Recall that Clarissa grew up under the Soviet Union. Her point: we’re way, way past the point of talking this out. It’s like Mao’s Hundred Flowers campaign: people were encouraged to criticize the regime, on the principle that even the regime could use some constructive criticism. All Mao really wanted was to identify those who needed culling – and culled they were.

It’s not that, by now – heck, by April of 2020 – I had written enough badthink on this blog alone to mark me for culling. I’d assume the majority of the people reading this are in the same boat, have said too much. That train has left the station. It’s that those in the grip of the insanity are not in the least interested in, or even capable of, being convinced. Clarissa continues:

I’m talking right now about normal everyday people who have been duped by propaganda. The actual stormtroopers at NYTimes – these are horrid people working for a horrid organization. Only days ago they knowingly perpetuated the lie about 900,000 pediatric COVID deaths. This is a despicable thing to do but it’s one in 25 even worse thing the paper did on that day.

OK then. Confronting Normie is a non-starter. Got it. What I and mine have been doing: as much as possible, simply don’t comply. It’s that ‘as much as possible’ part that killing me at the moment. It’s not my goal to get other little people in trouble, especially churches. One thing near the top of Our Evil Overlord’s agenda: crush churches out of existence, or, at least, drive them underground. People freely attend churches, hang out and talk with each other, spreading badthink. Can’t have that. So, while I don’t usually wear a mask in church (in direct defiance of the state health authorities) I have one on my person, in case the stoolies are on duty. Oops! Musta slipped off there!

But shopping for food? Well, the sad reality is that all I’m likely to do would be putting some low paid worker bee on the spot to tell me to mask up – how is that different from confronting Normie? Not saying I *like* this, but that I want to get out of this alive, not make grandstanding statements.

That said, I’ve now gone to In-n-Out twice since they stood up to the San Francisco Cat Fanciers. Both times, once near dinner time, but once in the middle of a Saturday afternoon, drive-through lines around the block and walk-in lines out the doors and into the parking lot. Two different outlets. In-n-Out was very popular before all this, but not that popular by half. Is this a positive development? How is this going to help, other than getting people to show up at Tiananmen Square, as it were, the better to mow them down?

Or is it the scariest thing to our betters? To see people not complying? Sadly, I kind of doubt it. First of all, there is no uniform group of people doing ‘this’ – however ‘this’ is defined. We may imagine a conspiracy involving thousands, but that’s unlikely. A conspiracy involving dozens or maybe even hundreds -sure. But the major victory here is sidestepping any need for rational (however evil) cooperation: the Faucis and Fergusons of the world don’t believe their own B.S., but they do believe what’s happening is beneficial to them, and, since they can’t imagine otherwise, beneficial to the world.* And it’s what their betters want.

Years of training in bureaucracy and deceit (but I repeat myself) have created legions of such creatures. These Front Row Kids have learned to get ahead by delivering what the people above them want, and have driven any interest in whether what they want is true or good – that never entered into the equation. They have learned to hold those poor, benighted back row kids in utter contempt, for, to even acknowledge the possibility that those not playing the game might have a point about anything has been rendered unimaginable, far too emotionally risky, an attack on their own fundamental sense of self. We *must* be wrong! They *must* be right!

So the cake chart looks like this:

  • On the bottom are those who will not comply. A thin layer.
  • The next layer up are those who comply under duress. A much thicker layer. (I straddle the these first two groups – I do put on a mask to shop, but won’t get the jab.)
  • Then comes those who comply out of reflexive obedience, who don’t really believe this stuff but find making a fuss about it too inconvenient.
  • Then the great mass of those who have been convinced, because they have been trained to view only authority as convincing.
  • Next, the useful idiots: BLM, Antifa. BLM imagined they were much higher up on the cake, flexed their anti-jab muscles, and promptly got memory-holed. If they prove too unmanageable, people know people who do things. Stuff will happen. But as long as they remained useful, they were darlings.
  • Then the Borderline Personality cases and sociopaths of varying degrees, who live to lord it over people. The voluntary enforcement police. Lots of medical professionals, nursing home staff, and ‘educators’ fall into this class – they fell into their professions because it gives them the power to abuse people. This ‘pandemic’ merely poured gasoline on their open flame.
  • Then the bureaucrats, climbers, suck ups. Truth? What is that? Fauci is legion.
  • Then those who imagine they are in charge. Gates, Zuckerberg. They’d get the pillow in a minute if they proved difficult. But the idea that they run the world is simply too intoxicating, and because they think themselves geniuses, they eagerly embrace it. Arrogance make you stupid, and they are very, very arrogant.
  • Then the tiny group who might, on some level, actually be in charge. They, I imagine, are nameless by design. They names we know are no more in charge than Brandon.

Now, there is not and cannot be any sort of consensus among such a mishmash. Even the top layers are at odds, fearing those above and despising those below, all wanting most of all to keep their positions or, better, to move up. If they do move up, they hate those at their previous level more than any others, if possible. Looking for clear goals and agreement in such an environment is a fools game. But I imagine there’s enough agreement among enough of the small group at the very top of this thing to keep the general direction clear.

Example: the top wants the ‘pandemic’ to continue. The level of bureaucrats, climbers, and suck-ups, including most especially the media, will execute this without question. There’s no memos needed -everybody in this layer knows this is the game, or they have already lost their jobs. Thus any good news is simply hunted down and buried, and any lies that promote the panic become banner headlines. (And, to drive sane people crazy, the ‘corrections’ are put at the bottom of page 23 in small print. They don’t care they’ve lied, they issue corrections as a way of rubbing their lies in our faces.)

And, finally, the Father of Lies is at the top. He will burn everything down, especially all the layers immediately beneath him, once he sees he is losing. And the layers immediately beneath him will enthusiastically comply! To their own destruction. And – here’s the problem – do everything in their power to take as many of us down with them as they can.

Strategy? Get the hell out of here. Away from the insanity, as much as possible. ‘Here’ being far too close to the bluest of blue cities in an insane state. Lay low, and ride it out. Homestead-lite. Dispose of the tech toys. (Except that Linux machine to write on, VPN, and? I guess I’m weak – should just go samizdat?) Provide a fall back for the kids, who aren’t as free to pick up and move – or don’t yet think they are.

Tactics? Working on it. Don’t engage Normie seems worth considering. I’ve long held far, far too optimistic a view on the reasonableness of the average American. This fauxdemic has been cold water to the face. And lay low.

*One of the more maddening bits in all this: Fauci’s claim that he lied about masks for everybody for our own good, saying at first that they weren’t needed and then saying they were mandatory. He establishes a principle: Fauci and his ilk will lie their asses off to us – for our own good. What they imagine to be our own good remains unknown and, on this principle, unknowable, because they would lie about that, too! For our own good! And yet – people defend him and comply. Sad.

Some Quotations

I’ll post something cheery, or at least less dreary, later.

Apropos of nothing, three from Meerloo:

“The Pavlovian strategy in public relations has people conditioned more and more to ask themselves, “What do other people think?” As a result, a common delusion is created: people are incited to think what other people think, and thus public opinion may mushroom out into a mass prejudice.”

“Where thinking is isolated without free exchange with other minds and can no longer expand, delusion may follow. Whenever ideas are compartmentalized, behind and between curtains, the process of continual alert confrontation of facts and reality is hampered. The system freezes, becomes rigid, and dies of delusion.”

“The totalitarians have followed this rule. They know they can condition their political victims most quickly if they are kept in isolation. In the totalitarian technique of thought control, the same isolation applied to the individual is applied also to the groups of people. This is the reason the civilian populations of the totalitarian countries are not permitted to travel freely and are kept away from mental and political contamination. It is the reason, to, for the solitary confinement cell and the prison camp.”

Joost A.M. Meerloo, The Rape of the Mind: The Psychology of Thought Control, Menticide, and Brainwashing

(Again, this is a book mentioned by Severian. The books he recommends are good reads in these interesting times.)

Then some Solzhenitsyn

And as for him who lacks the courage to defend even his own soul: Let him not brag of his progressive views, boast of his status as an academician or a recognized artist, a distinguished citizen or general. Let him say to himself plainly: I am cattle, I am a coward, I seek only warmth and to eat my fill.

Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn, “Live Not by Lies.”

When we neither punish nor reproach evildoers, we are not simply protecting their trivial old age, we are thereby ripping the foundations of justice from beneath new generations.”

What would things been like [in Russia] if during periods of mass arrests people had not simply sat there, paling with terror at every bang on the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but understood they had nothing to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people?

Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918–1956

I keep saying: we’re not quite there yet. But when we are, will I recognize the moment we passed from Clown World into Mao World? Will I ambush people who come for me and mine?

Simply saying ‘no’ to everything – the ‘news’, the Covidiocy, the Karens, the whole stinking lot – is, for now, the first and main thing any sane man must do.

No reason for this meme, just like it. From John C. Wright’s blog.