Tag Archive | ignorance

Demons, Demons Everywhere, and No Exorcist In Sight

“Nazi.”

The very word inspires fear and enmity from those who hear it, evoking emotional responses that leave rational discourse behind in ashes like those of the Reichstag Building. The “Nazi” is the Go To enemy for video games, movies, television shows, and literature, whenever an unambiguously evil enemy is needed, and no further justification for killing them or defeating them is necessary. They are Nazis, and so they deserve death. It’s that simple.

It would appear, based on widespread reactions from otherwise normal and rational people, that this mentality has carried over into the real world, and real people are reacting to the presence of Nazis in Charlottesville with the disgust and hatred typically reserved for cartoonishly evil supervillains, which is dismaying, because one look at any of the photos or videos circulating of these Nazis will reveal that they are just cartoonishly comical.

This is what happens when a word, a label, is demonized to this extent. Yesterday, I was repeatedly called a Nazi Sympathizer, and even blocked by one person in the liberty movement, for having the audacity to point out that it is required, if we are to have peace, to actually listen to these people and acknowledge their concerns. This is a foolish interpretation of my position—I’ve long been anti-authoritarian, and that will not change simply because many of my allies are demanding that I become authoritarian to forcefully stop the other authoritarians. And that is, in essence, what many libertarians are demanding.

After all, the libertarian idea is that the state is an institution of force and coercion, and they wish to use force and coercion to eliminate the Nazis, from suggestions of widespread murder of them to just beating them all unconscious. It is not in any way different from what the actual Nazis of Germany did to Jews—a comparison I made last night on The Call to Freedom—except that, as of right now, most of the anti-Nazis have not yet carried out their plans to round up and exterminate everyone who disagrees with them to that extent.

Co-host of the show Thom pointed out that the Nazis have chosen their ideology, while they targeted people who were born with a certain heritage. Ironic, isn’t it? Especially given that so many of these Nazis are flying Confederate Flags and throwing around that word “heritage” with reckless abandon. There is also the fact that Judaism is a religion, and that not all of the Jews killed by the Nazi Regime were Jews by heredity; some were converts to the religion, and were exterminated all the same.

It shows a remarkable disconnect, since the position is basically that the Neo-Nazis (the term I’m going to use to continue differentiating these people from, you know, actual Nazis who actually exterminated people) are basically told that they can have their heritage—as long as they aren’t proud of it, as long as they don’t expect any monuments to their heritage to remain standing, as long as they don’t try to protect it from being erased from history, as long as they don’t take pride in it, and as long as they roll over for the “progress” of society.

I spent most of Saturday sharing memes mocking these people. Because, absolutely, they are worthy of mockery. These poor, pathetic basement dwellers with pedo ‘staches and tiny dicks can’t get laid, and so they figured, “Well, fuck it. I guess I’ll become a Nazi.” They’re terrified of everything and everyone that isn’t exactly like them, and they’re so meek and afraid that they refuse to allow their cultural values to be stacked in fair competition against other cultural values—because they know they will lose, because they are losing. It wasn’t long ago that I wrote this critique of “traditional values,” and pointed out that the beauty of the United States is that we are a cultural buffet, where a person can take dishes from whatever culture they want, grabbing only the dishes they like and leaving the ones they don’t. The net result of this, over a period of time, is that the dishes that very few people like fade away, as we are seeing with homophobia, transphobia, and racism.

Racism is on the decline, of course, with even the KKK, despite its resurgence in the last few years, basically defunct, and the reason is simple: racism is stupid. A businessperson who refuses to hire anyone but white people will not hire the best except by sheer coincidence. It is entirely possible that the best person he could hire is a black man, but instead he would hire an inferior white man, and his business would suffer as a result. This is why diversity is a good thing, and why diversity quotas are a bad thing—merit should be the sole determining factor. Using skin color, gender, orientation, and other things as factors is fundamentally flawed, even if we have twisted it such that it’s a positive thing to have your black skin factored into the equation because the company will hire you to meet its quota. It’s bad for the company if you’re not the best person for the job, and this is what the “Google Memo” was all about: these other, unimportant considerations have supplanted merit, such that a woman who is less suitable for a position is more likely to be hired because of her sex than a man who is more suitable for the position. Just as it is not good or acceptable for a company to refuse to hire a person because she’s a woman, so is it not good or acceptable for a company to choose to hire a person because she’s a woman. This should not be a controversial statement.

Yet it is.

And so extensive is the demonization that pointing this out results in one being called anti-diversity, misogynistic, bigoted, and hateful.

And this is what so very many people are getting wrong about the current political climate.

I watched former vice presidential candidate, Muslim activist, libertarian activist, and all-around awesome guy Will Coley have his work repeatedly spit upon and rejected solely because he is white. I’ve seen people say to him, “No, you are not my brother. You are a white devil.”

Yet this vile vitriol is considered acceptable, and it is a sentiment that is echoed all over the United States. The Southern Baptist Convention can’t even come together and vote by an overwhelming majority to condemn racism without being called racists. That’s the position we’re in today, and nothing is going to change if we pretend like that isn’t true, or that it isn’t a problem. It is. In fact, it’s the root of what the Neo-Nazis complain about. As I said, the root of their grievances is legitimate. They have, in their desperation to wear the Victim Badge that everyone is welcome, taken those grievances and blown them to ridiculous degrees, but what American group has not done so? Hardly a week goes by that I don’t see a trans person crying foul because they couldn’t use the restroom of their choice, and they present this as though it’s just the height of discrimination, and as though it’s just one step removed from extermination of trans people. It’s hard to take these people seriously, and I don’t think they should be taken seriously. But, as with the Neo-Nazis, there is a legitimate core to the grievances expressed by these misguided trans people: there is resistance among institutional powers to restrict one’s gender identity and sexual identity to whatever it happened to be at the moment of birth.

During the course of discussions yesterday, someone assured me, “I’ve been observing these people before you even knew they existed!” The exclamation point, of course, was part of his emotional rant–a rant so emotionally charged that he ended up unfriending me, calling me “he/his” purposely and deliberately to try to elicit an emotional response from me, and finally blocked me when these efforts failed. The conversation was quite interesting, because I provided sources directly from these Neo-Nazis to back up what I was saying, and he repeatedly declined to do so, saying only “Stormfront!” and “Google it!”

It really shows a remarkably myopic viewpoint, though, to say something like that to me–the Anarchist Shemale, born and raised in rural Mississippi to fundamentalist Christians who are openly racist Trump supporters. My grandfather and uncle own a gun and confederacy store called “Confederate State Arms.” In fact, I’d speculate that some of the flags waved in Charlottesville were purchased from my grandfather and uncle. I was born to these people. I grew up around these people. When I was 11 or 12 years old, my family was training me to fight the Anti-Christ, and telling me things like, “When we’re patrolling, if you hear something, turn and shoot. Don’t hesitate, don’t call out. Turn and shoot.” We had actual compounds for when the Anti-Christ took over. It would be really hard for someone to be more exposed to these people than I have been.

I’ve written an entire book about the brainwashing and abuse these people inflicted upon me. They are solely the reason that it took me to my mid-20s to come to terms with being trans, even though, as early as three years old, I preferred wearing female clothes and preferred women. Don’t even get me started on the many, many ideological problems these people have, or the grotesque abuses of which they are capable. There is, naturally, no dispute: the majority of these Neo-Nazis are white southerners and cling to their Christianity-inspired “traditional values,” despite anything that Jesus actually said.

So during the course of saying all of this–I, the transsexual atheist anarchist with a long history of arguing against authoritarianism and identity politics–was told that I was a Nazi Sympathizer, virtue signaling to the alt-right, a boot-licker, and then, when those claims proved wildly inaccurate, I was told that I couldn’t possibly understand the people we’re talking about as well as Random Guy #13 who occasionally browsed Stormfront. After pointing out that I have been around these people literally my entire life, fully exposed to their ideology and reasoning, and firmly rejected their positions, and that these are the reasons (aside from being trans) that I lost my entire family and many of my friends, predictably the phrase “Stockholm Syndrome” started getting thrown around.

Whatever it takes to discount what I’m saying, right?

Kangaroo done hung the juror with the guilty.

After spending Saturday laughing at and mocking these people, I spent yesterday attempting to build a bridge, because a bridge is necessary. We know how the alt-right and Neo-Nazis came into existence and prominence. They told us so. For years, they expressly stated their fears. They reluctantly accepted the social changes, but they routinely stated that the feared the changes would go too far. They reluctantly tolerated homosexual marriage, but stated the fear that churches would be forced to provide same sex marriage ceremonies. They stated they were worried that Christians would become oppressed by the state, forced to service people with whom they didn’t want to associate. They stated that they were worried that any random guy could claim to be trans in order to gain access to the women’s restroom. They stated that they were worried “LGBT Equality” would become “LET’S ALL RAVE NAKED IN THE STREETS AND BE DEGENERATES!” They stated that they were worried that Affirmative Action would become “Well, this person is a woman, and this person is a man, so… Hire the woman. Who cares that the man is more qualified?” and “Well, this person is Hispanic, and this person is white, so… Hire the Hispanic guy. Who cares that the white guy is more qualified?” They stated that they feared expressing their conservative positions would become demonized, and that their right to free speech would be trampled, that they would lose the right to say that they personally don’t approve of gay people–and they worried that they would lose the right to act in accordance with those beliefs. Because, whether we like it or not, the right to believe something necessarily includes the right to act in accordance with those beliefs.

Yes, Bob has the right to dislike homosexual people. He also has the right to act in accordance with that belief by refusing to associate with homosexual people. The two things are inextricably linked, because behavior, as we all know, is a function of beliefs and environment. A person’s behavior cannot be separated from their beliefs without threatening their right to belief.

Anyway, so that was what these people were saying in the mid-90s. Though they gritted their teeth and weren’t happy about it, they went along with it, for the most part, and didn’t do much to actively resist it, even here in the south. They did this because of their hope that it would be limited to tolerance, and “gritting one’s teeth and allowing the behavior in question” is literally what tolerance is. We’ve twisted it to mean “acceptance” these days, and have decided that Bob saying “I don’t like gay people” means that he is intolerant. However, he isn’t. In fact, “tolerance” strongly suggests disapproval. We don’t tolerate things that we like. We like them and embrace them. We tolerate things that we don’t particularly care for. I don’t enjoy having the cats sharpen their claws on the back of my furniture, but I tolerate it. It makes me grind my teeth, and it makes my skin crawl, but I tolerate it. When did we forget this? And why? Seeing “tolerance” twisted into “acceptance” put the writing on the wall–they were not going to be required to tolerate people whose behavior they didn’t approve of; they were going to be required to accept people whose behavior they didn’t approve of.

Meanwhile, the various identity politics groups allied together under the left’s banner repeatedly put on the Victim Badge, over any and every possible slight, no matter how trivial and inconsequential it was. This continues happening today. Trans people, of course, love crying about “oppression” and “discrimination” if they can’t use the restroom of their choice. In the grand scheme of things, that issue is wholly asinine, not to mention that it absolutely pales in comparison to the trans women who are placed in men’s prisons, where they are raped a reportedly 2,000 times in a handful of years. Additionally trans people pretend like they don’t have to tell romantic partners that they’re trans, and then they cry “I’m a victim!” when their romantic partner finds out and, quite understandably, rejects them. I know of one trans girl who purposely put herself in that position, where she was attacked, and used the excuse, “Why should I have to tell him I’m trans? It’s just normal to me, so I don’t think about it to tell people!”

Bullshit.

Let’s look at this from a related angle.

In essence, you’re a woman who can never give your partner children. Imagine a woman who is sterile going out on dates. How many dates are required before the woman confesses to the man that she is incapable of giving him children? I’d say “Before they had sex, at least.” Before there was too much emotional attachment, certainly. Because, for whatever weird reason, most people do want kids, and being unable to provide those is very often a deal-breaker. It is certainly the woman’s responsibility to tell the man that she cannot bear children, because there’s a very high chance that he will one day want children. As a trans person, she was incapable of providing children, and should have told him that. This would have led him to ask why, at which point the only acceptable answer would be the truth: “Because I’m trans.”

But despite all of this, she and others wear the Victim Badge. It’s not their fault that a man expects to take off a woman’s pants and find a vagina, not a penis. They’re the victim here, not the man who was deceived by omission of important details.

Then, of course, there was the disastrous attempt last year for people on Twitter to use the hashtag “Straight Pride.” Goodness, what a fiasco that was! The single most common response that anyone received for using that hashtag was “Die” and “Kill yourself.” What is the message here? “You’re allowed to be proud of your sexuality, unless you’re straight. Then fuck you.”

I recently saw a Tumblr post from someone who said something. One person replied, “Or, you know, straight people exist?” To this, someone else replied, “Ugh. Don’t remind me.”

Such hateful, divisive rhetoric. What did people expect?

You’re allowed to have LGBT Pride, Asian Pride, Hispanic Pride, Black Pride, Muslim Pride, and Female Pride. And asinine though all of these things are, and asinine though this response is, if you dare try to take pride when you’re not in one of these groups, you will be condemned as a bigot. People will gleefully tell you to kill yourself.

Now we see a good employee, and certainly a qualified employee, dismissed from Google because of his dissenting opinions. He went against the status quo, and the status quo is “LGBT Pride, Asian Pride, Hispanic Pride, Black Pride, Muslim Pride, and Female Pride are good. And it’s perfectly okay to hire a woman who isn’t qualified over a man who is, or a minority who isn’t qualified over a white who is.” That status quo is wrong and needs to be changed. We shouldn’t take pride in the fluke conditions of our births, and this is true whether one wants to take pride in being LGBT, being white, being 6 feet tall, being brunette, being black, being female, being male, or whatever.

That is egalitarianism: sexual orientation, race, and gender shouldn’t be determining factors in things. This is what Martin Luther King, Jr. advocated. He never said, “I dream of a world where black men are hired because they are black.” He explicitly and repeatedly said, “I dream of a world where a man is judged not by the color of his skin, but the content of his character.” And giving someone a job because of their skin color… is judging them by the color of their skin, even if you’re doing it to their advantage. Just as it was racist and messed up to give people jobs simply because they were white, because this actively harmed qualified people who weren’t white, so is it racist and messed up to give people jobs simply because they aren’t white, because this actively harms qualified people who are white. Skin color shouldn’t freaking matter to any of this. We should all be treated as individuals with our own merits, abilities, thoughts, and gifts, not as monolothic entities defined by arbitrary flukes of birth.

The alt-right saw this, too. They saw these changes. They saw how “skin color shouldn’t matter” became “this black person should be hired, because he’s black.” They saw how “gender shouldn’t matter” became “this person should be hired, because she’s a female.” All of this shit happened in plain sight for anyone with the intellectual honesty to look and see it.

Some small portion of them resisted, certainly, and clung to the past, to what they thought were the “glory days” of racism, sexism, and sexual orientationism. But these people were very small in number, and they continually waned over the last few decades. By and large, most of them came to tolerate the changes, even if they didn’t like it. But it doesn’t matter if they like it or not. That’s up for them to decide personally. It’s not up to us to tell them they have to like it, to make them like it. We can choose to disassociate from them if we don’t like the fact that they don’t like it, sure, but that’s not what we did. We went further than that, as they feared we would.

Their response to this has been to play the Identity Politics game themselves, and to clamor after the Victim Badge that everyone else is wearing. They want to be victims just like everyone else. They want to feel like martyrs, like they’re oppressed and treated like dirt because of relatively small and almost imperceptible slights. And, ironically, many on the left demand specific examples of this institutional assault on straight, white, normal, Christian men, which is an inevitable byproduct of shooting past equality and going straight to elevation of all non-straight, non-white, non-normal, non-Christian non-men, even though, if you ask them for specific examples of the “institutional racism” that they talk about, they scoff at the idea. Yet there they go, demanding that same thing of the right.

They were being called “Nazis” long before they really started looking and talking like Nazis. Do you remember when Hillary Clinton referred to Trump supporters as “a basket of deplorables?” Do you remember how they responded to that? They adopted the moniker proudly, getting it emblazoned on hats, and happily called themselves deplorable. Since they disagree with the left, there is no greater honor for them than being called “deplorable” by the left. That, to them, means they’re on the right track. “If you’re a degenerate, disgusting maggot and you call me deplorable, then I guess I’m on the right track!” was their take on it, and this is why they consciously took on the label.

But they weren’t just called “deplorable.” Goodness, no. Through the last two years, it’s been almost non-stop attacks from the left, with increasingly hyperbolic and vicious insults thrown at them. Racist, misogynists, sexists, homophobes, transphobes, bigots, fascists, xenophobes, Nazis… Again, what did people expect to happen? We didn’t listen to their relatively benign and genuine concerns that they expressed meekly twenty years ago, when they said they feared it would become a celebration of degeneracy, anti-white racism, anti-male sexism, anti-Christian hatred, and so on. We laughed at them and mocked them, saying, “Yeah, equality only feels like oppression when you’re privileged. Hurr dee hurr dee hurr!”

Even today, the overwhelming majority of Americans insist that we haven’t even reached equality–and we haven’t, in many places, but this isn’t a dichotomy–in any meaningful sense, and that straight, white, Christian men still have so much privilege that no amount of wrongdoing done to them because they’re straight, white, Christian men could possibly matter. “Fuck them. They’re privileged. Who cares that he didn’t get the job because someone less qualified had a vagina? Who cares that he didn’t get the job because someone less qualified is black?*”

I’ve been through it–twice, in fact. I was the only white person in the Pizza Hut that I worked at, and I faced minor slights regularly. The most egregious example was when I worked 10a to 6p one day, and other drivers began showing up at 4:00. There hadn’t been a delivery the entire day. The girl who came in and started dispatching assigned deliveries back-to-back-to-back to the other drivers, even though I was first in the queue to do a delivery, since I’d been there 6 hours before anyone else, and yet they took several deliveries. I didn’t get a delivery until I brought it up to her and pointed out that I had been there all day and she gave the deliveries to people who were behind me in line. The distinction? The other two drivers was black, and so was she.

I went through it even moreso when I worked at Sam’s Town in the hotel housekeeping department, because I was literally the only white person in the entire department. There, the most egregious example came about one New Year’s Eve. Everyone had to work on New Year’s Eve, that was the policy for the first year. By the time the second one rolled around for my employment there, I was second in seniority, and business had slowed down considerably–people were actually going to be allowed off. So even though New Year’s Eve fell on my regular day off, I was told to come in and work, while one of the newer guys was given the day off, even though it was, for him, a regular work day. There were countless smaller examples, like how I was always given a secondary set of keys instead of one of the primary sets, even though I had seniority, and I was always the one sent to the backdock to unload the truck. Always. What’s particularly odd about that is that one needs the primary set of keys to get into the backdock. Their argument for having me unload the truck every day that I worked was that I had seniority, of course, but the backdock required the primary keys. But that “seniority argument” didn’t matter then, and I routinely had to call someone who had been there a full year less than I had to come and open the back dock for me. It’s insulting to be treated that way, and so I have the greatest sympathy for anyone who has experienced racism. But if you think the fact that I’m white and experienced racism somehow discounts it, then you are the problem here. You are the racist.

All of these things are real, and they actually happen. It doesn’t mean that anti-black racism has ceased to exist. Certainly, it still exists, and it needs to stop. How do we stop it? By treating people as individuals, and by not having skin color as a factor. That’s how we stop using skin color as a factor, which is the definition of racism.

Now I’ve been demonized for having the audacity to treat the Neo-Nazis as anything other than detestable scum who need to be shot and killed. I’ve committed the groupthink heresy of daring to admit that the core of what they’re saying is a valid point, and it’s their solution that is wrong. Many of them are simply idiots who are throwing out Nazi salutes and flying swastikas for the same reason they wore t-shirts that said “Deplorable,” and have no interest in killing anyone, forcing anyone to leave, or any of that other shit that the more extreme ones–who do exist–want. But we’re not talking about those extreme fools who have always been white supremacist idiots. We’re talking about the ones who begrudgingly accepted diversity in the 90s, and who have since warped into Neo-Nazis.

Those types can be talked back from the edge, and they should be talked back from the edge. We’re not going to achieve anything by continuing to push them, by continuing to insult them, and by escalating it into violence against them, because they will perceive it as a violent attack against straight, white, normal men. They will. If you attack them, you will reinforce their position. What are you going to do? Kill them all? Kill everyone who has even the smallest seed of these ideas in their heads? If you’re proposing that, then I would suggest that you are the actual Nazi here.

Stop demonizing them and listen to them. Go back to the source of their arguments, put aside the hyperbole, and put aside the emotions. It didn’t have to come to this. It did not have to come to Neo-Nazis marching in the streets. It came to that because no one listened back when they reluctantly went along with the social changes. Instead, they were mocked and derided, and slowly pushed into a corner. Now they’re in that corner, and they’re beginning to lash out, as cornered animals do, and as terrified people do. We will achieve nothing by pushing them further.

If we’re to resolve this situation peacefully, it’s going to take doing something that apparently few people are wiling to do: listen to them. Already, though, that’s nearly impossible, because of that word–that demonized word that invokes so much emotion that people instantly and vehemently reject the idea that they could have anything worthwhile to say. But we can’t forget the critically important fact that, ten years ago, very, very few of these people were Neo-Nazis. They were pushed to that, because they embraced Identity Politics and Victimization–the left’s tactics–to use against the left. This is, of course, wrong.

They can be shown that.

But to show them that, we have to drop our own Identity Politics and Victim Complexes. We have to start advocating actual equality, not this shit that people call “equality” but is actually just a reversal of the power structures. We have to start advocating that skin color, sex, orientation, and religion should not matter, not that “they should matter, as long as historically disenfranchised groups are benefited by it.”

It’s not an easy road ahead, and it may already be too late, considering that I can’t even say this without being accused of being a Neo-Nazi, or being a Nazi sympathizer, of being on their side, licking their boots, and so on. Because when you’ve demonized people to that point, you split the world into Us and Them. You dehumanize Them into a homogeneous blob of pure evil. This has been going on for a long time. Just last week, I read someone on Quora who said, “I can’t for the life of me figure out why these otherwise moral people can still support Trump…” I couldn’t help but wonder, “Did you consider asking them why they still support Trump?”

No, of course not. Because Trump supporters are pure evil, and nothing they say matters. We don’t want to hear what they have to say, because they’re pure evil.

I once pointed out to a girl that the confederate flag does not represent racism to the people who fly it. It really does just represent an anti-government heritage for them. She disagreed. I asked whether she had actually asked some of these people what it means to them. Naturally, she said she had not, and that she wasn’t going to.

It’s a widespread refusal to given any credence whatsoever to the other side. We’ve seen how refusing to acknowledge the validity of someone’s grievances results in escalation. It’s what caused 9/11. If we had listened to Al Queda and others who told us for years and years and years that their issue was that we wouldn’t leave them the hell alone, 9/11 wouldn’t have happened. But instead, what happened? People booed Ron Paul when he got on-stage and pointed out that the United States was in the wrong.

“I’m in the wrong? INCONCEIVABLE! The people who are saying I’m wrong are evil and clearly in the wrong themselves!”

Refusal to listen.

We absolutely must start listening to the other side. And we must start now, before this shit escalates further.

* Obviously, qualifications are independent of skin color and sex. It’s sad that I have to say this, but a person is more or less qualified regardless of their skin color, and there are plenty of examples of women who are more qualified for jobs than men, and plenty of examples of black people who are more qualified for jobs than white people. This is a given, and there’s no reason I should have to say it to ward off cries of sexism and racism.

 

When Scientists Become Pimps

Michio Kaku, Stephen Hawking, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Bill Nye–

I’m looking at you.

I see you; I see what you’re doing, and it needs to stop. Your scientific credibility isn’t a whore for you to pimp you to lend weight to your political positions. There is no correlation between physics and immigration, yet that hasn’t stopped Michio Kaku from coming out and discussing how Trump is wrong about immigration*. The headline for the article? Why, of course! “This celebrated scientist says Trump is wrong!”

And? This celebrated scientist knows no more about immigration than any layperson who has read a few articles or books on the subject. But because he is a “celebrated” physicist, as there’s no such thing as some generic “scientist” except as a catch-all term for people who study a hard science, the media and the public treat his political position as though it has scientific weight behind it, as though being able to say “I’m a celebrated physicist” makes his statements about economics, government regulation, or immigration any more worthy of being accepted.

While obviously, Kaku, Hawking, Tyson, and Nye–and others, of course–it’s not your fault that the media chooses to treat your words in this way, but you know they do, and you know the public does. You know that if you say something about economics or the evils of capitalism–as Hawking has done–that your words will be taken to be truth as a given, and from there will become popular arguments for or against whatever it is you’re advocating. In this way, you have sacrificed your integrity. You have turned your scientific credibility into a whore, to be pimped out at your leisure in support of whatever Popular Opinion of the Day you think will help you sell books.

Don’t bullshit me, man.

There’s a reason that virtually every popular YouTube personality through 2016 came out in support of Bernie Sanders, and the reason isn’t particularly hard to see. Hell, half of those YouTube personalities couldn’t give a single, solitary reason, when confronted, why they supported Sanders. Yet they supported him anyway. Why? Because it was the popular thing to do. They’d have lost subscribers for coming out in support of Hillary or Trump–Stein and Johnson became more or less neutral. YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and Reddit, where your words circulate the most, are overwhelmingly dominated by younger millennials, the same people who cast their lot in with Sanders whether they had any articulated reason to or not.

You’re doing the same crap. It doesn’t matter to me if you can pseudo-rationalize your positions, but I’m willing to bet that most of you can’t. Why? Because “scientists” today, as a class, have totally forgotten what the Dunning-Kruger Effect is, and seem to think that being an expert in physics makes one an expert in economics, politics, and the nature of the state. This, of course, despite the fact that all hard sciences are increasingly specialized, and a scientist in one larger field–say, “physics”–may be only marginally less ignorant than a layperson on some subfield–say, “plasma physics.”

Oh, here’s a shock for you: Bill Nye is pro choice. Well, I’ll be! Who would ever have guessed?

And while I’m pro-choice, too, I’m not out there pimping what little scientific credibility I had–because, let’s face it, Bill Nye is an engineer without an abundance of credibility to pimp out–to cast my lot in with a political side in the hopes of rekindling or enhancing my popularity. When I say something about abortion, I give fair treatment to the other side, and provide a logically consistent explanation for my position. I don’t say, “Hi, I’m Bill Nye the Science Guy. Here are some scientific facts interwoven with arbitrarily defined concepts presented as scientific facts, which combine into a pro-choice position. Good luck separating the arbitrarily defined concepts from the actual science, because I’m going to present this information in such a way as to make them indistinguishable to a layperson. Why? Because I’m Bill Nye the Fucking Science Guy, and if there’s anything worth pimping out for popularity and fame, it’s scientific credibility.”

You remind me of the left-wing media. And I’m curious, actually, whether the four of you would even admit that the dominant media outlets lean hard to the left, with the sole exception of Fox, which leans hard to the right. John Stossel recently wrote about his time at ABC, and reported that he was the only one who was stated to lean any direction; everyone else insisted they didn’t lean at all. Except they did–they leaned hard to the left, and they continue to. But that sort of bias is common–we know people don’t generally see or acknowledge their own biases. My father doesn’t think Fox News leans to the right. A colleague of mine thinks that Fox News is probably “as close to fair and balanced” as any media outlet is. They’re wrong, of course. Fox is right-wing. There’s nothing fair and balanced about any of it.

I would be fucking floored if the four of you didn’t honestly believe yourselves to be neutral politically. But you aren’t. You’ve jumped on the left-wing bandwagon. You’ve engaged in too much “What does my gut tell me about this?” thinking. You’ve mistaken your emotions for rational positions. And even if, by some freak chance, you do end up saying something that isn’t demonstrably false, you end up being right for the wrong reasons, which is only a little better than being wrong for the right reasons.

So here’s what you guys should do–I mean, assuming your scientific credibility and integrity are important to you. You should use some of that fame and popularity you’ve acquired by jumping on leftist bandwagons to remind people that, when discussing areas outside of your expertise, you are no more or less knowledgeable or insightful than any other layperson. You should take the time to remind the public that education and intelligence aren’t necessarily the same thing, and that holding a doctorate doesn’t mean you’re one of the smartest human beings alive.

Maybe you’ve studied some of these matters. That would be fantastic–but it would also show in your words and actions. For example, we know that Hawking hasn’t studied capitalism; he doesn’t even seem to know what capitalism is. However, this has not stopped him from repeatedly waxing on about the evils of capitalism and how it will bring about the destruction of humanity.

But no. He’s not biased at all. That’s totally not an alarmist, radically leftist position based on gut feelings, assumptions, and ignorance. How could he be biased? How could he be an alarmist, radical leftist basing his statements on gut feelings, assumptions, and ignorance? He’s Stephen Hawking! He’s a scientist! Surely he knows what he’s talking about!

* And yes, I agree–Trump is wrong about immigration. But the reason Trump is wrong about “immigration” is that “immigration” is an arbitrarily-defined concept based around arbitrarily-defined borders that don’t exist in the real world and that serve only to divide people. Borders are human inventions; they aren’t real. We simply treat them like they’re real, and they end up doing tons of damage. Trump is wrong about “immigration” because there’s no such thing as an immigrant; there’s only a human being who decided to exercise his innate right to travel.

 

Ballot Initiatives Are Stupid; The Government Can’t Fix Problems

…because they allow ignorant people to directly voice their opinion, no matter how ignorant they are, and have exactly the same impact on the situation as people who aren’t ignorant. Now, based on what I’ve said so many times about the failures of direct democracy, I need to point this out: an informed and educated person would not vote on a ballot initiative about which they were ignorant. Look, if you put on the ballot an initiative that we would expand fracking, I would gladly abstain from voting, because I know nothing about the issue.

A lot of people wouldn’t abstain. A lot of people would vote “Yes” because “fracking means oil, and oil is good.” A lot of people would vote “no” because “fracking is bad for the environment, and that’s bad.” Well, I’m sorry, but if that’s the extent of my knowledge on the subject then I simply don’t feel qualified in voicing an opinion.

Many people would be surprised by this newfound humility, but it’s not newfound at all. Sure, it often seems like I think I know everything. This is because i tend to discuss subjects that I know about, and I tend to avoid subjects about which I know very little or nothing. I would say that I have studied a wide enough range of subjects to be able to say whether or not I’m ignorant of the subject, and that’s where the Dunning-Kruger Effect kicks in. See, most people have no idea how ignorant they are.

Earlier today, I saw Will Coley, former Libertarian Party Vice Presidential candidate, say that he doesn’t “believe” in the Big Bang Theory, and he went on to say that the idea was invented by the Catholic Church as a method of explaining Genesis.

Well, no… That’s not true. Science isn’t something to believe in or not believe in; it’s something to accept or to deny. It’s not a matter of belief but a matter of bowing to the facts. It’s far beyond me to get into all the nuances of the Big Bang Theory and the overwhelming amount of evidence that supports it, but a simple Google search will yield a person all the information they need to make an informed opinion. And I will be adamant about this: there is an enormous difference between an informed opinion and an ignorant one. For example, Coley’s remark about the Big Bang being invented by the Catholic Church is wholly incorrect. The person who first proposed the theory was a Jesuit priest, but he was also a physicist, and was most certainly not doing the work of the church. His work, like Galileo’s, was very much at odds with the church.

At any rate, it’s absurd to accept some parts of science while rejecting the rest, at least on issues that haven’t been politicized into oblivion such as global warming. There are politics involved in the Big Bang Theory, or in the Theory of Evolution, and both theories are as airtight as General Relativity. They are widely accepted for a reason, and the DNA evidence alone would be enough, even if there were no fossils whatsoever, to confirm the theory of natural selection and changes over time.

This won’t stop the influx of people who say that evolution suggests “a tornado would tear through a junkyard and create a Boeing 747,” though. It won’t change the mass of people who say that “Yeah, God said ‘Bang!’ and then it happened.” It won’t change the minds of the people who believe the universe is 6,000 to 10,000 years old. C’est la vie. I’m not trying to change minds. If they want to reject the theory of evolution in favor of their religious beliefs, that’s fine, but I would demand that they stop taking antibiotics, vaccines, and other treatments that are products of biology, since modern biology is inseparable from evolutionary theory. I would demand that they stop using their cell phones, the Internet, and their televisions, since all of these things work only because of satellites that orbit the Earth thanks to our understanding of Einstien’s Special and General theories of Relativity, both of which are tied very much to the Big Bang. If you want to argue that the scaffolding doesn’t work, that’s fine–but to be consistent, you must say that the building built from the scaffolding doesn’t work, either.

But most of these people–Coley among them, I would bet–have no idea what evidence supports the Big Bang Theory, but that won’t stop most people from having an opinion on it one way or another. I was stunned a few years ago, when I remarked to my sister that I found the evolution of snakes to be fascinating, and she replied, “You know I don’t believe in evolution, right?”

I was stunned. What do you mean, you don’t believe in evolution? Evolution doesn’t need you to believe in it. Evolution is a reality of life in our universe; accept it or not, but belief has nothing to do with it at this point. The knowledge is there; the information is there. And I will adamantly insist that her rejection of evolution is not in any sense on the same solid ground as my acceptance of evolution. Mine is built from facts, from having read The Selfish Gene and The Extended Phenotype by Richard Dawkins, and biology is still my weakest area. If there was a ballot initiative asking if we should do “some imaginary thing” to purposely “affect evolution in some specific way,” I would readily abstain from such a measure, because I know nothing about it.

I’m Going Somewhere With This

If there was a ballot initiative stating that we would install 8 GB of DDR5 memory into every computer owned by the government, I would gladly vote against the initiative. I can imagine the arguments of everyone in favor of the initiative. “DDR5 is so much faster!” the headlines would go from the pro-upgrade crowd. “It’s common sense, and 8 GB will be a huge upgrade. There’s no reason not to! We’ve run the cost, and we can make it happen for $85,000!”

“Yeah,” I would say, “but probably 97% of the motherboards in use by the state won’t support DDR5. You won’t be able to just pop it in there. If you do somehow make it fit, you’ll fry the RAM, and probably the motherboard. To make this work, you’d have to upgrade all the motherboards, too, which means upgrading CPUs, as well. Since Windows still uses the Hardware Abstraction Layer, you won’t be able to just throw a hard drive into a new motherboard, new CPU, and new RAM–even if the old hard drives are SATA, which I doubt they would be, since they’re probably old and use IDE, which the newer motherboards won’t support–it won’t boot, and you’ll have to do a full backup of all files, reformat onto a new compatible drive, then move the files back over. It’s nowhere near as simple as just slapping two sticks of RAM into a desktop and watching it take off in speed.”

This is because I know technology. I make a living working on technology and making it do the things that I want it to do. In the end, from this ballot initiative–which would almost certainly pass–we’d end up with a ton of RAM sitting wasted in a storage room somewhere while we waited for Motherboard+CPU Initiative to pass. Suddenly an $85,000 price tag became a $1,850,000 price tag.

Dunning-Kruger Effect

We all begin ignorant about a subject–completely ignorant. Through the course of life in western society, we pick up bits of knowledge from all over the place, and we establish a kind of limited knowledge in all sorts of subjects, but that knowledge isn’t always reliable. Like my sister above, who would characterize evolution as “a monkey giving birth to a human.” Anyone who gets their knowledge from her gets bad information, and they may view her as a trusted figure, in which case they wouldn’t question her. Then, years later, when someone came along and contradicted that information, they would already be invested in her and what she told them, and so they’d be much more likely to stick to her explanation of things.

My church told me routinely that this is what evolution was. One year, around the third grade, they actually did one of those stupid skits, where there is a gorilla at the family dinner. “Grandpa,” they called him. It was a full attack on evolution, telling all of our young minds that evolution said that somewhere along the way some gorilla gave birth to a human. These trusted authorities–these people who we had been told to trust and who we did trust–lied right to our faces, perhaps knowingly; at the very least, they perpetuated bullshit that they had been told by an authority figure and never looked into themselves.

As another example, my nephew firmly believes that Jesus lives in the clouds, because that is what they told him at church. We know this one was a lie, because no adult in their right mind believes that Jesus lives in the clouds. For fuck’s sake, we’ve been beyond the clouds. People go beyond the clouds on a daily basis. We know beyond the shadow of any doubt that there is no one living in the clouds or on the clouds. Yet my nephew has been consistently told this by authority figures at his church. When I told him it wasn’t true, showed him pictures of the clouds and the Earth from space, and showed him that no one was living up there, it changed nothing. They’d already won. They planted the idea, and his trust in them kept his mind shackled to that lie. They knowingly lied to my nephew. It was this that caused me to challenge them–a challenge they ignored, by the way.

I told them that I would debate them. The topic? The existence of a god. I told them they could pick any twelve members of their congregation to act as the judges, and that they could enlist up to five people–church members or not–to argue on their side, and that I would debate alone. If I won, then they would refrain from teaching anything spiritual until the children reached 8 years old. If they won, I would attend their church every Sunday for a year. You lie to my nephew and we’re going to have problems. I don’t care if they want him to believe in a god. But I will not let them lie to him to accomplish that.

They ignored my challenge, and I understand why. The similarities to Elijah and the priests of Baal were too much for them to ignore, except… in this scenario, I was Elijah. I didn’t choose 12 as the number by accident, after all. It’s a debate that I couldn’t have won. Convince 12 devout church-goers that their pastor hadn’t made his case that there is a god? I could never have won. However, if they accepted such weighted terms, then they lost from the start, even if I didn’t convince the judges. To show their faith, they would have no choice but to turn the tables and let me pick the 12 judges.

Sorry to digress onto that.

Economics

Another area that I know pretty damned well is economics. I might not be able to calculate the market interest rate based on data you feed to me, but since I have no interest or desire to do such a thing it’s never a skill I’ve bothered to learn. I think the bank providing the loan should do that calculation, not the government.

Recently, Washington voted to increase its minimum wage from $9.47 to $13.50 an hour, the bloody fools.

These people, almost none of whom know anything about economics, voted on a measure to substantially interfere in their state’s economy. This is the reason that democracy is stupid. It gives control of the ship to people who have never navigated a ship, people who don’t know how to read a map, people who don’t know how to hoist a sail, people who have never used a sextant, and people who have no freaking idea what a rudder is or why the sail is triangular. If you came to me on a 17th century ship and asked me if we should turn the sail east or west, I wouldn’t have any freaking idea what to tell you other than “Dude, ask someone who actually knows about it.”

Somewhere along the way, we forgot how freaking ignorant we are. This is where the Dunning-Kruger Effect kicks in, because a person can’t be ignorant while understanding that they’re ignorant. With weak general knowledge on a subject, a person usually thinks they have a pretty good handle on it–enough to vote “Yes” on a measure to raise the minimum wage, a decision that will have enormous ramifications for the state’s economy. Hubris is what it is.

See, in order to know how little you know about a subject, you must know a little bit about that subject. That’s the conundrum. To understand how little you know about physics, you have to understand how deep and complex the subject is.

As exposure to a subject increases, confidence decreases, until one is exposed enough to begin grasping the subject.

As exposure to a subject increases, confidence decreases, until one is exposed enough to begin grasping the subject.

This is why you should always be weary of people who are confident about what they’re saying, especially if they can’t back it up. I’ve backed up my economics statements. Check them out here and here. There’s a huge disparity, though, between the confidence of an expert and the confidence of a layperson. I will never say that I’m absolutely right–about anything. I constantly allow for the possibility that I’m wrong. In the past year, I’ve been wrong several times. My confidence got put to the test recently on Quora, and I was put in a very difficult position of arguing myself against two actual economists, and I’m proud to say that I held my ground–primarily because they weren’t reading the question correctly.

However, anyone who is absolutely convinced that we should raise the Minimum Wage… Ask them why. Their answer will always be the same. “Because… blah blah… cost of living… yada yada… living wage… blah blah…” Basically, it is an emotional appeal. The danger of emotional appeals, though, is that the emotion is used to propose and support one single solution and precludes the possibility that the emotion can be expressed with any other solution. Take for example government welfare.

I think it should all be ended. All of it. “Social safety net?” It’s called family. And, yes, this is from someone who has no family to fall back on. What do I have? Friends. Where my family has horrifically failed me, friends have always come through, particularly my colleague. When my sister kicked me out for being transgender, I had very few places to turn with such short notice. It was my colleague–who I would certainly call “pretty much family”–who found me a place to stay. That opened up an entirely different set of problems, of course, but things happen.

The common reply, of course, is, “So you want people to go homeless and starve to death.”

Um… No? I don’t think I said that. I think that people who care about you should bear the burden of helping you, not random strangers who don’t get a say-so about it. Your mom can kick your ass and make sure you’re getting a job, not sitting around on the couch and watching Ricki Lake. I can’t. The government can’t. Your mom isn’t going to let you sit there for 18 months while you do nothing and bring in no income. The government will let you, because the government can’t really stop you. Is that so bad? That instead of putting a gun to my head and forcing me to “help” you–while you do God only knows what with the “help”–you would have to turn to family and friends? I don’t want you to die, but… I don’t know you. I’ve got my own problems to deal with without adding yours to them.

But their emotion–that sympathy that people shouldn’t go homeless and starve–is tied to their favorite solution: government welfare. Because the emotion is tied to the solution, their minds become warped until they can no longer fathom any other solution appeasing that emotion.

And just like that, their emotion becomes public policy, especially when ballot initiatives are put forward. “People should have a living wage” becomes tied to “the minimum wage should be increased.” To them, that’s the only possible solution without denying people a living wage. So if you’re against an increase in the minimum wage, they have no choice but to conclude that you don’t think people should have a living wage. To them, it’s one and the same: increasing the minimum wage scratches their emotional itch, and they know of no other way to scratch it; they don’t think anything else can scratch it.

To make matters worse, we are dealing with matters where emotion has no role to play. I’m sorry; it simply doesn’t. Just like emotion has no role to play in calculating how much hydrogen we need to launch a rocket into space, so does emotion have nothing to do with economics. You can’t feel your way to the truth; emotions blind and lead astray. This is very much a Nietzschean thing to say, but I have no issue with emotions, and I think they have tremendous value. However, it is imperative that we define a scope for our emotions. We cannot allow our emotions to run unchecked, determining social policy, determining economic policy, and determining governmental policy. They will lead us into disaster, every single time.

Emotion is not a valid pathway to scientific truth.

And it is a scientific truth that you cannot just raise the Minimum Wage and have everything hunky-dory. It will be a disaster. First, only locally owned businesses will put in the effort to increase prices. The locally owned daycares, gas stations, etc. They will raise prices to mitigate the losses.

Disconnect: Greedy Fatcats Making Millions!

The people who advocate raising the Minimum Wage think that there are business owners all throughout the country who are just raking in obscene amounts of money while paying their employees peanuts. While it’s not really your or my business what private contract the employee and employer into it, there’s something to be said about refusing to shop at a place that doesn’t pay its employees fairly. However, it’s simply not the case that business owners are making tons of money and hoarding it while their employees feed on scraps. In most cases with local businesses, owners are still full-time employees working 70+ hours a week and doing everything from management to recruiting to human resources to supervising. Anything that needs to be done that an employee is not explicitly hired to do, the owner has to do. The buck stops with them, after all. It’s a tremendous responsibility and burden, and they deserve ever penny they get for it. If you don’t like it, then open up your own. It’s honestly not that hard or expensive.

So what I would say “most” of these people pictured is that the business owners would simply make less money. Instead of making a salary of $600/week for the 70+ hours of difficult, stressful, exhausting work they do, these people figured they would instead make $400/week and would pay the increased wage out of their own money. But “their own money” doesn’t usually exist, and if you increase their payroll by 33% across the board, you’re going to have a disaster on your hands. I know budgeting–personally and commercially–and an increase of 33% to an expense as major as employee wages will bankrupt you faster than anything else.

So those increased wages aren’t coming out of the profits that are already there, because, in most cases, the profits aren’t big enough to cover a hit like that. Ten employees working 40 hours a week at $9.46 is $3,784.00 in wages. Every week. At $13.50 an hour, it is $5,400 in wages every single week. If the owner is on a $600/week salary, then even if the owner worked for free they wouldn’t be able to make up that difference; they’d still be nearly a thousand dollars short.

So they have a number of choices.

A. Cut Hours

Suddenly they have 280 hours to apportion to their employees each week, instead of the 400 they had. If they can afford $3,784 each week in wages, then this covers 280 hours. The owner has decided here not to fire anyone, so instead everyone has their hours cut from 40 hours a week to 28. This makes them part-time employees and causes them to lose a fair number of benefits in a lot of cases. It certainly lowers the standards at the business, which is very bad if it’s a daycare. There are, on average, 2 employees fewer at work at any given time, so there are fewer employees overseeing the same number of kids.

Probably should have thought this MW increase through before voting on it, huh?

B. Layoffs

This is the other route, and the one people are most likely to take, especially since customers aren’t going to happily eat a 33% increase in their own prices to cover the increased Minimum Wage. We’ll come back to that, though. So with 280 hours allotted, it’s an easy call: three employees have to go. Bye, Felicia. Three people fired from their jobs because of the increase to the Minimum Wage. This will happen quite a lot, since it’s the easiest and quickest solution without pissing off clients and without dealing with complaints of other employees about hours being cut.

Probably should have given it just a little bit of thought before voting to increase the MW, eh?

C. Increase Prices

This is the final route, and the one that is second-most-likely to happen. Indeed, it’s already happening. Just think about it. If the daycare charged $100 per kid before, they have to charge $133 per kid now to cover the additional wages. In fact, they have to charge even more than that, because all of the suppliers that the daycare gets its necessary materials from will likely raise their prices. The bottom line on the business just got a lot higher, and there’s nowhere else for the business owner to get the money.

The Government Should Help With Childcare Costs!

Said one parent:

“I feel the state needs to be helping a little more,” said Larson. “It would be nice if parents didn’t have to spend a majority of their paychecks for childcare.”

You fucking moron.

I can’t be nice about this.

The government should rob everyone else to give me money to pay for the daycare costs that I increased by making the stupid decision to vote yes on increasing the Minimum Wage which caused daycare costs to increase to the point that I couldn’t afford them.

You made this bed. Now lie in it.

Hey, lady! If you don’t want to spend a majority of your paychecks on childcare, how about don’t vote for an increase to the Minimum Wage that will increase your childcare costs? Hm? How about that? Government is not the answer. How many messes do we have to make before we figure that out?

“Oh, we made a mess by using the government to interfere with the economy. Maybe the government can fix the mess by stealing from everyone and giving me their money. And then maybe the government can do something to fix the mess that is caused by stealing from everyone and giving me their money. And then maybe the government can fix the mess that it caused when it tried to fix the mess caused by stealing everyone and giving their money, which was supposed to fix the mess the government caused by interfering with the economy. And then maybe the government can fix the mess that it caused when it tried to fix the mess that it caused when it tried to fix the mess that it caused by stealing from everyone and giving their money, which was supposed to fix the mess the government caused by interfering with the economy. And then maybe…”

I mean, really? How about you just stop?

How about you just stop trying to fix messes with the government and instead take the time to research the messes and think about a solution rationally? You want to know the way out of this mess you’ve made in Washington? It’s not stealing from people without kids to pay for parents who didn’t think shit through. You have no right to steal from other people, and the fact that you’d even suggest that as a possibility is appalling. How dare you claim to be on the side of empathy and morality when you want to rob people as a way of cleaning up a mess that is entirely of your own design?

Abolish the minimum wage.

There’s no other way.

The more you increase it, the more “solutions” from the government you will need to fix the last mess you made, and the more government “solutions” you’ll need to fix the mess the government made when it tried to fix the last mess you made. It’s a neverending cycle of government intervention and screw-ups, with the government getting more power and more control every step of the way without ever making anything better. It only makes things worse. It has never made one solitary thing better.

Except our ability to kill people. I’ve got to give them credit on that. The government has absolutely improved our ability to kill people.

You’re like a madman who had the government burn your house down for you because, for some reason, you thought that having them fill it with gasoline and throw a match in it wouldn’t burn the house down–who the hell knows why, Dunning-Kruger presumably–and now you’re asking the government to come in and use its napalm to put out the fire. That’s the government in a nutshell: using napalm to put out fires.

Summary

Yes, I do think the average person is too stupid to determine what wage all employers should pay their employees. In fact, I’d go further and say that everyone is too stupid to determine what wage all employers should pay their employees. That is a matter that only the employer and the employee can answer, when the employer makes an offer and the employee makes a counter-offer. They’re the only people who know their situations well enough to be able to answer those questions. I certainly think the average person is far too stupid to know whether a minimum wage should be $3 an hour or $13 an hour.

This is why I’m an anarchist: I have a very low opinion of the average person. Not to brag or anything, but I am a card-carrying MENSA member. I’m a pretty smart chick, with an IQ estimated to be between 150 and 172. I think the average person is too dumb to make their own decisions, let alone make the decisions for everyone, and that’s what this entire system of the state allows. It allows some moron in California who doesn’t even know why he dislikes Donald Trump to attempt to impose a Hillary Clinton presidency onto me, out of sheer ignorance and stupidity. You’re goddamned right I have a problem with that.

The solution, though, is what Plato got wrong. Plato envisioned a world governed by the wise, by philosophers. Liberals, it seem, envision the same sort of world, given how they want to curtail democratic processes and impose their ways on everyone, believing themselves to be intellectually superior to everyone who disagrees. They’re all wrong, though. Yes, Plato, too. The solution isn’t a refined government led by people who are wise, because the unwise person has no idea that he is unwise, and will not have a terribly difficult time convincing the unwise that he is wise–see President Elect Donald Trump.

I’m sure we could come up with some sort of new system of government and new electoral process that, for a while, ensures that only the wise are elected. It would ultimately fail, though, and I don’t like the inherent arrogance of it. Moreover, for anyone who is truly wise, the idea of taking power and ruling over others is anathema.

The solution is to keep these people from making decisions that affect freaking everyone. Duh. If you want to open a company and promise your employees a minimum wage of $15/hour, guaranteed 40 hours a week, with a 401K company match and health insurance, then you go right ahead. You and the people who work for you will go out of business very, very quickly, and it will only affect you and the idiots who sign up with you without giving it enough thought. You have every right to do it, though. But if you want to take that horrendously stupid idea and force everyone to do it… Yeah, then there’s a problem.

Don’t force your economically ignorant decisions onto everyone. The ramifications will be enormous.

Abolish the Minimum Wage. Let employers and employees determine how much their labor is worth. It has nothing to do with you. And if you don’t think an employer is reimbursing an employee fairly, then you can do a few things. You can boycott that company, or you can chip in and donate to the employee. Those are your options. Anything beyond that is using the state to order people around like they’re your slave or something and have to do what you say.

So you have a stupid idea one day. It happens. Give the stupid idea a shot. Maybe it will work out. But don’t you dare force everyone to adopt your stupid, unconsidered, asinine idea that is demonstrably going to create more problems and never solve any.

R&R Ep 30 – The Millennial Zombie Apocalypse

zombiesAs it turns out, there actually was a Zombie Apocalypse. We just didn’t notice, because instead of eating our brains, the zombies just eat their own brains.

Extensive research suggests that the Zombification Virus is spread via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and, especially, BuzzFeed. Symptoms include: all the typical symptoms of a zombie, except their brains are devoured from the inside. Researches at MIT have learned that brains do, in fact, require nutrients to survive, and the best nutrient to aid in a brain’s survival is information. Without information to ingest, human brains have been shown by researchers at University of California: Berkeley to begin devouring themselves, much as the human body will eat away its own fat and muscle tissue if food is not ingested.

The result is the Millennial Zombie Apocalypse.

Be afraid.

Be very afraid.

Here are the comments that I read in the podcast. You can read them here: http://www.thejimquisition.com/augs-lives-matter/

I am not including comments that were not made at the time of recording the podcast, because I don’t need to get pissed off again, and it’s extremely hard to stay on topic and focused when dealing with such rank ignorance and obvious doublethink. There may yet be more comments since I recorded the podcast, but I can’t even read them right now. You can click the user’s name to go to their Disqus profile.

Max Whitely

What makes this game any different from the X-men franchise?

X-men is regarded highly yet this gets slapped down. Just Because the marketing department did their jobs correctly and got people talking about it.

As for BLM, from what I read and hear on the news the American sect have a point, it sounds like too many black men are being unlawful killed.

But after the stunt BLM have been pulling today in the uk, they just need to fuck off. Mark Duggan was shot 5 years ago and guess what…..it was lawful. FEEL BAD FOR THE KNOWN VIOLENT DRUG DEALER WHO WAS WANTED ON FIRE ARMS OFFENCES! Also witnesses say he threw a fire arm away from the car. Now answer me this question, would a fire arms team be called out to a drug dealer who has never been known to carry/use fire arms? The answer is no. And the fact that he was holding and trying to discard the fire arm put the nail in his coffin for me, the police made the right call as a loaded fire arm was in fact present during the attempted arrest.

Protests in that mans name have no meaning.

Aria DiMezzo

Honestly, the more you look into the actual numbers and facts, the more you’ll find this is also the case in the United States. Very few stop to think about how easy it is to manufacture indignation in the age of social media, or how easy it is for the media manipulate the truth. The Zimmerman case is the prime example: almost everything reported in the first week about it was quickly revealed to be utter fabrication, but by then the emotions were already created, the damage already done, and people’s minds made up. It doesn’t matter if we find that this person actually did have a gun, that person actually was a felon, whatever, a week after the media has already drummed up a frenzy. By that point, the narrative is woven, and it’s an act of futility trying to convince people otherwise.

Once the hype dies down surrounding any of the stories, or those that Jim mentioned, looking into a summary of the facts will often leave people stunned at just how wrong the media and Twitter were. Worse in the case of social media, with people basically sharing blatantly incorrect posts without thinking or looking into it. Let’s keep in mind that the reason so many of these stories are well-known is the same reason we see stories about how NASA totally confirmed the Earth stopped spinning for twelve hours thousands of years ago, “just like the Bible says!!!11!one!” And that the moon totally is going to disappear for one month in 2017, or whatever. There are entire websites dedicated to unraveling myths like these, but they won’t touch BLM stories for reasons I’ll outline below (even going in that direction results in someone being called racist–many would call yours or my comments racist). So instead we get stories of how Obama didn’t actually go over Niagara Falls in a canoe.

So the damage is done, and then confirmation bias handles the rest, not to mention that the media’s goal is to garner attention, not be honest (after all, if the media cared and was interested in more than clicks and views, they wouldn’t have basically given the nomination to Trump with constant free advertising), so they’re not talking about the 50% of Americans each year who are killed by police who are white, or the 25% who are Hispanic. Nor is any news agency held responsible for releasing a narrative that proves to be completely false and that contributes to an inaccurate representation of reality that feeds directly into manufactured social unrest. A week after any of these stories hits, it is absolutely impossible to convince people that the first few days reported incorrect information, even if the media itself has corrected the initial claims.

And people just ignore things. Jim not long ago said a gastly (pun intended, not a typo by Jim) number of black people have been killed. No doubt, and I speak out constantly against police brutality. I doubt someone has argued more against it than I have. However, if that’s the case, then an even gastlier number of white people have been killed (an indisputable fact). Yet it’s considered racist for me to even say that. Even pointing out a documented fact can be considered racist now. Yet the truth stands: we have a problem with police brutality, period, and it’s an issue that clearly crosses skin color. It’s quite obviously racist (By definition) to take a problem that applies to everyone, and pretend like it only applies to one race. Yet this doesn’t fit into their narrative, so they simply ignore it. Confirmation bias and willful ignorance in action. If anything, BLM is a striking case study in how easily we are manipulated.

What’s most interesting to me is that, for many people, even learning the actual facts won’t change their worldview. It’s all well and good to show them what actually happened and how police freaking kill everyone indiscriminately, but none of it will change what they already believe. It’s exactly like trying to convince a fundamentalist Christian that evolution does NOT suggest a Boeing could be created by a tornado in a junkyard. Their minds are made up. And, once made, it’s often impossible to change that, even when the “facts” that led to that worldview are revealed to have been wholly wrong. Find any “SJW” and show them the news story of the pervert who claimed to be transgender and then spent weeks taking pictures of underage girls in the women’s bathroom, and it won’t change their understanding. They won’t accommodate the new information into their worldview. They’ll acknowledge it, excuse it, and then ignore it. Goodness knows I’ve been guilty of this, but made the conscious decision to stop, once I became aware of it, and ended up a nihilist anarchist. Cognitive dissonance is dangerous, and on full display when people are confronted with the knowledge that their facts are wrong. When their loyalty to their belief is stronger than their loyalty to truth, it’s well-documented what people will do: they’ll ignore the new information.

diamond (Please note: if you click this guy’s profile, you’ll find he is a FULL-ON Regressive)

Zimmerman is a fucking racist piece of dogshit, that is a fucking fact. This year he retweeted a picture of Trayvon Martin’s body and also illegally uploaded nude pictures of his girlfriend onto the internet without her consent. So yeah he can go and die in a fire for all I care.

You sound unbelievably fucking ignorant, fact is black americans are disproportionately targeted by police all the fucking time.

Black people are only 10% of the U.S. population, that’s what you seem to forget, so more white people then black people being killed everywhere means absolutely fucking nothing.

Sounds like you’re the one that’s easily manipulated into this nonsense “BLM are EEEEEVIL” bullshit.

Aria Dimezzo

All you do is lie (no, black people are not “only 10%” of the population–bring facts or gtfo) and call people racists. Your lack of intellectualism is embarrassing. Please stop and go play at the kiddie table.

Men make up more than 90% of all people killed by police each year, but don’t come anywhere close to making up 90% of the population. Should there be a Male Lives Matter movement?

Max Whitely

Yes I agree with you. I can’t comment on America any further than what I read in the news but in England it’s very different. Police brutality isn’t a thing over here, they don’t carry guns. So if you have a couple of police officers beating you down you probably deserve it. As some one who has been on the reviving end, I can honestly say they wouldn’t randomly start beating you, black or white.

Every single British PC has a go pro on their jacket and they have to film every arrest they make. So every thing is caught on tape so brutalising people isn’t an option.

Reading the comments given from one of today’s protest organisers just makes me think that they just wanted to cause trouble.
She gave the quote
“Black people are three times less likely to be hired for a job.”
I don’t understand where they pulled that “fact” from but I have no way of checking it so I will give them the benifit of the doubt. But you have to keep in mind that in the last 10-15 years there has been a very large influx of polish workers who (illegally) work for well under our minimum wage, so finding a job is a very difficult.

So I’m guessing black life’s matter are lumping Polish people and British people in the same category because we are both white….. Thats kind of racist if you ask me.

Aria DiMezzo

There’s definitely still racism in the United States, but, like gender, it is not really a binary thing. My gargantuan video on the subject (it weighed in at 28 minutes) evaluated things and concluded that BLM is as racist as anything else, and it’s impossible to end the problem of racism with racism. There’s a reason MLK wasn’t arguing that black people should be treated better and instead argued that skin color shouldn’t be a factor; yet now we have Black Lives Matter that basically argues the opposite: regardless of her character, Ms. Gaines’ skin color should protect her from the police.

Yet many of the people fighting this are just as guilty, with their “Proud White Male” shirts and stickers while they criticize BLM for being racist. Just like BLM, people like Atheism is Unstoppable attempt to solve the problem of racism with more racism, even as they acknowledge that two wrongs don’t make a right.

As long as we let skin color, orientation, gender, etc. be factors, then racism, orientationism, and sexism will exist. More than ever, we need to be fighting for people to be treated as individuals, not as one of thousands of adjectives they could describe them.

But that message isn’t “any fun.” It’s fun to take part in these mob-like groups. Humans feel immense satisfaction from uniting together, and these are low hanging fruits.

I live about twenty minutes from Memphis, Tennessee in the United States, where BLM protesters shut down the interstate and primary bridge across the Mississippi river. I followed the event intensely, and it became increasingly clear that everyone was posturing, and no one’s hearts were in it. This immediately made me realise that it was absurd to the highest degree that BLM was protesting in a predominantly black city with a predominantly black police force, a predominantly black city council, and a long history of black mayors. Was the contention that black lives don’t matter to black police and black leaders? If so, that’s hardly a problem of “racism.”

Their protests in cities like Memphis revealed their hands: they will manufacture outrage wherever they can. Meanwhile, police chief Rollings (don’t remember now how his name was spelled), a black man, delivered some of the most beautiful and profound answers I’ve ever heard. But the point remains: Why is BLM taking their grievances to a black police chief who oversees a mostly black police force in a city that is mostly black and that has mostly black leaders? Something about this entire thing is wrong.

[It should go without saying, but before people are up in arms, let me clarify that “they” refers to BLM advocates, not people of any particular race. In fact, you’ll find it impossible to accuse me of being racist, because, unlike the SJWs who insist they don’t see color while they support BLACK Lives Matter, I actually apply that philosophy]

Max Whitely

Yes I agree, I think people who support groups like this just want to feel like they are a part of something.

I’m glad you have given a good example for me to read up on so I’m more clued up on the American side of this.

The whole BLM movement is such a first world thing, it’s cringe inducing watching today’s protests. A bunch of over privileged people getting enraged by things that are, at best, a non issue and at worst, non existent.

I would like to live in a world where racism doesn’t exist, and if I see racist behaviour I will point it out and stand firm. But let’s be honest here we’re never going to stop racism. It’s literally impossible. And telling non racist people that they are racist is only going to make the accused turn racist or completely submissive to the accuser, neither are good outcomes.

To others who might be reading this, look, oppression still exists on this planet. But it’s not where your protesting.
Look what happened to that Chinese lawyer… Jailed for subversion, THATS OPPRESSION!
Look how many rights a females in Saudi Arabia have that’s oppression.

Black lives matter forget that black men and women are needlessly dying every second in places like Ethiopia, but of course “those” black lives don’t matter, there not American are they. I feel like I’ve done more to help black men and women in third world countries than BLM has.

Please note here that Max and I are having a civil discussion about police brutality and racism in the west. Both of us acknowledge the existence of racism and have clear ideas on how the problem of racism might be solved. We have been entirely civil, entirely calm, and entirely careful with our words. Neither of us has said anything remotely racist or offensive, but it doesn’t matter. Not to regressives like “diamond.” Seriously, click his profile. It’s almost nothing but him insulting people and calling them stupid. He’s an absolute waste of a human brain. He is an Ur Zombie.

diamond (to Max Whiteley)

BLM is so not first world you fucking moron, if you lived in the U.S. you would get that.

BLM does not “forget” anything, it’s just focused on black people dying in the U.S.

Saying that because other countries have it worse then us means racism is not an issue in the U.S. is incredibly disingenuous.

I’m going to try to keep the analysis low, because I covered it all in the podcast, but wow! What’s that they say about glass houses, dude? If the first sentence in your reply is “you fucking moron,” then you have no right to call anyone disingenuous, as it hardly gets more disingenuous than ad hominem attacks.

diamond (to me)

BLM are not racist you dumb fuck. They are not “manufacturing outrage”(that’s the stupidest fucking thing i’ve ever heard).

Also anyone who uses stupid fucking terms like SJW unironically is a fucking idiot.

You sound like someone is racist but does not want to admit it.

Again, just… wow. “You’re wrong, you dumb fuck. You’re wrong, that’s the stupidest fucking thing I’ve ever heard. You’re a fucking idiot. You’re racist.”

I mean, it is just exactly this, isn’t it? And it’s a bit of this, too. And definitely some of this:

And a lot of this:

I mean, I have fully described and explained this guy’s behavior long before he ever wrote his comments. Listen to those podcasts. Read those Quora links. It’s indisputable: I’ve completely identified people like him, and I call them faux progressivists. Others call them regressives, but I don’t think that’s true, technically speaking. They’re not regressive, because there hasn’t been any progress that can be regressed, as I pointed out in this video:

It is incontestable that I have analyzed this person’s worldview and ripped it to pieces as being shallow, pedantic, and based entirely on manufactured emotions. I have defeated him. The problem is–there are so many of them, and they still have all the influence. So their defeated worldview continues ruling the western stage. It’s no wonder things are in such disrepair. Anyway, getting back to the comments.

Aria DiMezzo

Answer this, then, since my reply is being moderated and I don’t know if Jim will approve it since it contains an external URL–to a relevant substantiating remark, of course, but still an external site.

Is “White Lives Matter” racist?

The answer, of course, is a resounding “Yes.”

But you would give different rules to Black Lives Matter? That you would give different rules to one race than you would another race, yes, that’s the definition of racism.

So unless you’re going to stand there and say that “White Lives Matter” isn’t racist, we’ve actually revealed that you, sir or madam or other, are the racist.

Bloodycrow

What a stupid question. Acknowledging the phrase and the movement behind Black Lives Matter does not mean any other race or standing of people is diminished.
However, changing BLM to “____ Lives Matter” does diminish the meaning and intent of the movement.

Aria DiMezzo

im, have you noticed that all of the lack of civility in this thread has come NOT from people like me, but from BLM advocates? All of the insults, ad hominem, and obfuscation has straight up come from BLM advocates. I think that should be a pretty strong indicator of what’s happening here.

That you, Bloodycrow and diamond, cannot have a discussion without immediately resorting to personal attacks and obfuscation, which does nothing but reveal the feeble weakness of your position.

I already addressed that racism is not tied to diminishing a race, but is defined as sectioning off one race from other humans and prescribing a different value to that race. Even if you say “Black people have big dicks,” you are STILL being racist.

“Black people have big dicks.” (Positive remark)
“Black people have little dicks.” (Negative remark)

Both are equally racist.

Whether the racist remark is positive or negative has NOTHING to do with whether it is racist, and I already made this point above. Of course, you ignored that (which I pointed out in my very first comment here), but it’s still obviously true.

Bloodycrow

I see you’ve edited the comment I responded to, well done. I’ll keep my comment as I stand by it.

Please don’t lump Jim in with myself or diamond, I think I can speak for all of us when I say we don’t speak for each other. 😉

When I said your question was stupid, as it was presented before your edit, it wasn’t meant as a personal attack. It was a stupid question, not to say that you are stupid. I feel like I shouldn’t have to point that out, and having to do so is stupid.

This is an abject lie. The question is, and has always been: “Is White Lives Matter racist?”

Aria DiMezzo

I have not edited that comment at all, you liar. If I edited it at all (I’m 95% certain that I did not, though I did edit this one, to add this), then it was to add the last paragraph, which changed no part of the question. The question was, and has been since I initially posted: “Is White Lives Matter racist?”

And you have still not answered the simple question.

============

Furthermore, he didn’t “acknowledge” the phrase or the meaning. He explicitly said that it is NOT racist.

Answer the simple question. Stop obfuscating. Answer the question.

It is not at all a stupid question. It shows your willingness to turn a blind eye to racism if a certain race does it.

If there was a White Lives Matter movement arguing against the 50% of police murders each year who are white, it would be called racist. We both know that to be true.

But when Black Lives Matter happens, people come out of the woodwork to doublethink their way into saying it’s not racist. I addressed your chronic need to ignore what people say already. Kindly actually answer the question.

So I was unable to avoid responding to two comments, primarily because Bloodycrow lied and stated that I edited a comment that I absolutely did not edit.

And here is the best proof I can provide: the Disqus page, though Disqus doesn’t show edits, this one links directly to the comment that had been replied to, which was mine. The way Disqus works, if you click a link to a specific comment, it will not load newer comments. It stands to reason that it will also not load edits that were made to comments.

proof

I’m not trying to reach any of these people, to be honest. I know that diamond’s mind is closed. Jim’s, however… is not. I do believe he can be reached with well thought-out positions and eloquent arguments. It is, however, extremely frustrating, dealing with people like this. It’s very hard to stick to the high road and stay on-point when dealing with a constant stream of ad hominem attacks, but that is what must be done. Any rational person reading that comment chain will go, “Okay, here are two people having deep, provocative, and intellectual conversations… and there are two ass-hats who think ‘you’re fucking stupid’ is an argument…”

I’m a Disgrace to the LGBT Community

Apparently.

But you know what? I was a disgrace to the LGBT community long before I went after the Liberal Redneck. I would spend some time talking about how this commenter had literally nothing to say but “You’re wrong,” insults, and blatantly inaccurate off-the-wall bullshit, but, honestly, that’s really not worth addressing. I would go into how it’s not my responsibility to look into the Liberal Redneck to see if there is context that justifies a video that he uploaded wherein he is demonstrably racist and intolerant, with the key distinction being that this is a video that he uploaded, thus one that he supports, and thus not taken out of context. I would point out that it’s not my responsibility to look to an external source to see if there is anything that justifies such bigotry and intolerance, and that we wouldn’t walk up to a group of white people about to lynch a black dude and say, “Well, maybe there’s some context where this is okay…” either.

But, more interestingly, I won’t to focus on the allegation that I am a disgrace to the trans community for going after this guy who is just trying to help bring awareness to transgender issues. First of all, I’ve addressed that conceit before: no one has the right to speak on my behalf. Here is a podcast about it. I would ask who the fuck the Liberal Redneck thinks he is to spew hate speech and bigotry on my behalf, to propagate intolerance and ignorance for my sake, but I think we already have the answer to that, don’t we?

I would discuss the accusation that the Liberal Redneck is “dumbing down” his statements and being crude (which is entirely unrelated to anything I had to say about the matter) because his audience is full of rednecks (aka, white southern people) and how they’re evidently (according to the commenter) rather stupid. I would point out that it doesn’t matter if he’s a comedian who is phrasing his message to be funny or not; the core of his message is still one that is demonstrably bigoted, disrespectful, and racist.

I would rather focus on how I am a disgrace to the “trans” community. And to that unusual insult, where this guy calls me an insult to a community that he’s literally not a part of but chooses to speak for anyway, I have this to say:

GOOD.

If calling out bigotry, intolerance, hatred, and racism, where I see it makes me a disgrace to a community, then I don’t want to be part of that community. But you know what? I’ve long not been a part of that community. Do you have any idea how many times just in this post I’ve talked about “the LGBT community” as something separate from me? It’s the way that I talk about all groups–white people, transgender people, atheists, whatever. I don’t consider myself to be a part of any of these groups, and I don’t speak on behalf of any of these groups. The only group that I speak for has one member:

I speak for the anarchist shemales.

If I was trying to be enshrined and idolized by the LGBT community, would I do or say any of the shit that I do or say? Would I call myself a shemale? Would I still do more than half of my podcasts in my male voice? Would I antagonize Caitlyn Jenner? Would I speak out against the racism of the Liberal Redneck? No, no, no, no, and no. I know exactly what I am, dude, and I champion one cause and one cause alone:

Liberty.

So why would I care if I’m a disgrace to this group that, as I’ve argued in the past, seeks to oppress? I know full well that I’ve been antagonizing the LGBT community for months, and I know damned well that the vast majority of people like the commenter will never hear what I have to say–his comments prove it. Just look at how his brain is literally closed to information.

“The Anarchist Shemale” is staring him straight in the face, but even that didn’t penetrate the walls of selective bias and cognitive dissonance. He comes from a place of agreement with the Liberal Redneck, of agreement with liberals of “fuck Christians” and “It’s okay to be racist against white people.” He will never hear what I have to say. His mind is closed to it.

He did everything in his power to completely ignore what I said. He ignored most of it, by his own admission and by skipping my commentary. So when I call him ignorant, you know that I mean it–I don’t mean “naive” as people so often do. I mean that he had the opportunity to learn something, and he willfully ignored, and that makes him ignorant. Contrary to popular belief, ignorance is not about lack of exposure; it’s about willingness to ignore information.

He also disregarded what he did hear, by throwing insults at me and offering my statements up as shallow and pedantic–a Family Guy quote, by the way. Rather than actually countering anything that I said, he simply, again, ignored it, and called me stupid, moronic, etc. I really don’t care about his insults–I’m more than used to it. And the irony of coming into a discussion where there have been actual arguments put forward, and actual counters and actual explanations, and saying “That’s shallow” is hilarious. However shallow my critique may have been, his statement that my critique is shallow is, by definition, infinitely more shallow than anything I said.

When all that failed, he turned to his last resort: a wild accusation of how I’m one of those crazy politically correct nutjobs. Yes, me, the Anarchist Shemale, as it said on the title of the freaking video, wherein I actually referred to Milo, the transtrender person, as “that THING.” That video wherein I accused a white guy of being racist arbitrarily against white people, which is itself politically incorrect to accuse someone of. Me, the person who made this:

milo

I’m a “politically correct moron.”

That, more than anything, should highlight how closed this guy’s mind is, and how he rejects all information that disputes what he already thinks. He called me one of those wacky politically correct people. It’s a truly shocking degree of close-mindedness. To accuse the anarchist shemale, on the video where she refers to a transgender person as “that thing,” of being a politically correct moron…

Just… wow.

The cognitive dissonance is strong in this one.

I’m probably transphobic, too, I guess. I imagine he would have thrown that one at me, and that’s probably a test I should run some time. In fact, I might rename the video “A White Christian Responds to the Liberal Redneck” just to see how it changes people’s responses.

But as I said in the podcast that I’m not going to post, have you seen the LGBT community? Have you seen the United States? Have you seen our society? I better be a fucking disgrace to that. You tell me I’m a disgrace to that, and you know what that says to me? It tells me that I am right on track.

George Washington was a disgrace to Benedict Arnold.

So let’s get this straight.

Some white dude made a disrespectful, intolerant, and bigoted video attacking a Christian family as fat, stupid racists hung up on white privilege because they spoke out against transgender people using restrooms of their choice, and for daring to speak out against the disrespectful, intolerant, bigoted, and demonstrably racist behavior… I’m a disgrace to the LGBT community.

No.

Disrespecting people, being intolerant, being bigots, and being racists… These are the things that should be disrespectful to the transgender community. Pointing out how FUCKED UP it is to be intolerant, racist, bigots should never, ever be a disgrace to a community, and if it is a disgrace to a community, then that is a community we do not need to be a part of.

I believe we–the LGBT community–can accomplish the goal of equality without disrespecting people, without being intolerant, without being bigots, without being hateful, and without being racists. And obviously, we can accomplish equality without those things. We do not need intolerance, bigotry, and disrespect in order to secure equality.

We only need those things to secure vengeance. We only need to disrespect people if our goal is to disrespect them. If our goal is to make them kneel, to make them subservient to us, to place ourselves above them, then disrespect, intolerance, and hatred are necessary. If the goal is to foster an “Us versus Them” mentality where Us wins, then yes, disrespect, intolerance, and bigotry are the way to go.

But if we want equality, then they have no place in our fight.

If speaking out against intolerance, hatred, and bigotry makes me a disgrace to the LGBT community, simply because the guy expressing intolerance, hatred, and bigotry was “Pro-LGBT,” then sign me the fuck up to be a disgrace, because any group that chastises and admonishes someone who stands against bigotry is a group I do not want idolizing me.

If I’m a disgrace to the LGBT community because I dared speak out against intolerance, bigotry, and racism, then the LGBT community is a disgrace to humanity.

Saying Goodbye

I’ve gone out of my way in the past few weeks to keep in touch with my nephew, to go out when he is home and hang out with him–even if I’m just sitting there watching him play the latest Call of Duty or something–and I did that as recently as Saturday morning. He wanted me to take my PC out there, too, and I did try–it just wasn’t feasible though. The simplest way to explain that would be to say that my PC is pretty much wired into my house. Given that I have speakers implanted in the ceiling that are fed from a receiver that is fed by my PC, that’s not terribly off the mark. So I told him that he could come out some time.

He texted me yesterday (obviously, I removed where he said his name):

13113014_243376576021050_7576293454739092547_o

He knew the reason I asked if everything was okay. His parents fight a lot (almost daily, in fact), and he knows that I hate him being around that, especially when they yell. I don’t know. Maybe it’s just me. My ex-wife and I fought, sure, but the majority of our arguments were civil, and they never came anywhere close to violence. When we did yell at one another, it was an occurrence that didn’t last long and didn’t happen more than once every six months or so. I think in the 6-7 years we were together, we yelled at each other maybe three times.

Anyway. He knows that the very moment he says that everything isn’t okay, I’ll be on my way out there to pick him up. And one of the main points of this is the heart-breaking second text that he sent me–I’m going to come back to that.

He also wrote this note and gave it to me:

"You need three."

“You need three.”

Again, I just removed his name.

That deals with Minecraft and something he saw in a Youtube video. I have no idea what he’s talking about, but apparently you need sand, dirt, and a bucket of lava three blocks of sand, dirt, and buckets of lava. He said this will let you walk on walls and stuff, and I pretended like it was really useful information, despite not really having any idea what he was talking about, because he took the time to write me a note about it. He even had his mom put it in an envelope and seal it for him, and he gave it to me today.

I don’t have any kids, and I don’t envy people who do. I spend enough time worrying about my nephew and just relishing little moments like that, where all I can do is tear up and think “Oh my god, I love this little dude.” Parents undoubtedly become desensitized to that sort of thing. They forget what it’s like to have a kid do something like that, because for the first few years it happens all the time. Mothers take notes like that and put them away the mundanity that accompanies routine, and they think no more about it. But that note to me is an indisputable sign that my nephew loves me.

Well, of course he does! you might be replying. He’s your nephew, so… duh.

I hope you’re not saying that, because I don’t want to live in the world of a jaded, where the love of a six year old is so taken for granted that it should be considered trivial.

Even my cats aren’t afraid of my nephew. He’s one of the few people they aren’t afraid of; they love him to death, too, because he’s also spent time with them. It says a lot to me that my cats like him. They barely tolerate me.

That’s not true. My cats are deeply fond of me.

There are two reasons that I’ve made more of an effort recently to spend more time with my nephew. The first is pragmatic. It’s my hope that my sister (who is increasingly impossible to predict about me being transgender) will accept the reality that it’s not going to affect him one bit when the time comes. As it is, there is the unspoken rule that I can only spend time with my nephew if I’m a male. In fact, I can’t go anywhere near any of my family as a female, but that’s not really the issue I want to get into.

If you remember, her main response about me being transgender is that it will destroy my nephew’s innocence. It took me more than three months to come up with the resolve and fortitude to offer a rebuttal to that, but at the moment it’s somewhere between an elephant in the room and an unspoken agreement. But around the time I’m sporting C cups, that unspoken agreement is going to fall apart.

If she does go through with her plan to keep me away from my nephew, in spite of how much he clearly loves me and vice versa, then I want him to be able to remember, in ten years, all the great times we had. While I don’t think she would attempt to poison his mind against me, it’s quite possible that too many replies of “I’ll explain it when you’re older” will leave his imagination twisting me into some sort of gnarled bogeyman that his mother had to protect him from. If he can remember these great memories, then he can look back one day and say, “No… There’s nothing wrong with my uncle. Or Aunt. Or whoever the hell she is–she’s fine. It was my mom’s prejudice and turning away from her sibling that was the problem.”

Not that he should turn away from his mother by any means… I don’t mean that, and I’d never want that. But I don’t want him turning from me, either.

Let’s return for a moment to the fact that she’s worried that knowing I’m transgender will affect his innocence, his carefree childhood life. And then look back up to his second text:

Ok but we don’t have gas to go there

Why–Dear fucking YAHWEH, will someone tell me WHY–does this six year old child have any knowledge whatsoever about money, gas, and the reality of not having those?

I remember being a kid and having my mom tell me, “No, we don’t have the money for you to get that.” “No, we don’t have the gas for us to go there.” “No, we don’t have the money to do that.” And I remember having my dad tell me the very same things. 99% of the reasons my mother ever gave about why she couldn’t come see my sister and me… were gas. From the age of 7 to about the age of 14, I hated the idea of gas. I didn’t really even understand what it was. I just knew that people needed it for cars to work, and for some reason neither of my parents ever seemed to have any.

If we want to talk about things destroying a carefree childhood, money and gas have to be at the top of the list. And if those don’t make the Number One spot, then parents fighting all the fucking time will.

It breaks my heart to think that one day he’s going to ask, “Can I go to <Uncle MyName’s>?” and that she’s going to answer, “No. You can’t hang out with him anymore.” And why? Well, it’s not because she thinks all LGBT people are rapists and child molesters–she at least knows better than that. In fact, she snapped on someone for making that accusation not too long ago.

Someone she knows fairly well became convinced that someone had “touched” her son. And this person immediately pointed the finger at me with no justification other than “Isn’t your brother kinda… you know?” Happily, my sister lost her cool on this jackass, because there were so many things wrong with the idea that it was hard to even know where to start. How about the fact that I’d never been alone with the kid? How about the fact that transgender doesn’t mean child molester? How about the fact that the majority of child molesters openly identify as straight–even the men who rape little boys call themselves straight. How about the fact that I’m an extremely principled and moral person and have always stood against all forms of child abuse?

So I can at least say that for my sister. But why, then? Because she thinks my nephew will care? Because he won’t, and we all know that’s true. He’s six. He’s at the exact age where he would say, “Okay. Can I play Smash Bros.?” He has seen pictures of me in female clothing and it’s never struck him as odd or even something worth noting. He’s before that age where such things can even affect him. But I’ve pointed out this already. I don’t want to do it again.

It just frustrates me, because I know my sister isn’t going to change her mind. At least I’ll have these memories to get me through the next 50 years while I become that one family member that everyone forgets about and never mentions because they’re too afraid to face their own inner demons and my presence and mere mention would force them to.

Oh, and what about my dad? He texted me yesterday and said:

I kno u miss ur mom but u could tell ur gma happy mothersday

I didn’t reply. How could I reply? What could I possibly say to that? He had basically just said:

I know your mom was murdered, but mine is still alive.

Obviously, he didn’t mean it in such ridiculous terms, but that doesn’t change what he said. It’s still a fucked up thing to say. My mother is dead, dude. Probably. I say “probably” because no one knows where my mother is. No one has ever recovered her body, and no one has ever been charged with a crime. It’s pretty much indisputable that my aunt’s ex-husband (someone who you might call an uncle) murdered her, since he has been to prison for another murder, but without a corpse it’s worse than speculation. It’s baseless speculation.

All I want is my mother’s body. I would love nothing more than to be able to strike the deal with this man “You tell me where my mother’s body is, and I will remove the knife from your throat, and I will let you walk away and will never press charges.” But the justice system won’t let me do that. Rightfully–in regard to the knife but I’m not a violent person anyway and wouldn’t try to handle it like that in the first place. But I couldn’t even peacefully make this agreement with him, because the justice system denies me the right to forego pressing charges in regard to murder. You can’t kill someone and then have someone not press charges; murder doesn’t work that way.

Would he even do it? I think probably, if he knew there wouldn’t be any consequences. And why would there be? My mother has been dead (allegedly) since I was 12 years old. For more than half of my life, she’s been dead. There is no conceivable way for her to be brought justice at this point, and revenge is something I long ago released the desire for. It’s a simple matter of closure for me. I want to know that she’s dead, and not screaming in some basement somewhere…

That’s undoubtedly the worst part. Because I don’t know that she’s dead. There are plenty of places in the Ozarks to hide a body that will never be discovered, but even so–how possible is it to hide a body and it not be found in the modern world? It’s entirely possible that he is telling the truth, that she did vanish with a truck driver named Tim, and that she has spent the last 17 years trapped in a basement with a broken psyche and battered body, tortured and mutilated and barely clinging to life. Who the fuck knows? No one. And humans have done worse than that to one another.

I would be more than willing to face obstruction of justice charges for refusing to say how I got the information. I’d attribute it to fucking psychic visions; I don’t give a fuck. No jury in the world would convict me for doing whatever I had to do in order to recover my mother’s body after nearly two decades, and I doubt a competent DA would even try. Besides, after two decades even with a confession the killer wouldn’t serve any time–even with a prior under his belt.

But it will never happen. Eventually I’ll be able to rest assured that she’s dead. And, realistically, I can do so now. She’d be sixty years old now. Far too old for someone to be interested in raping, and far too old to still have any will to live after nearly two decades of imprisonment and torture; her spirit would have given up by now. That is the only solace I can find on the matter. “Even if she was tortured in a basement, she would have given up on life and died by now.”

That’s my mother, man. That’s the woman who gave birth to me that we’re talking about. The woman who I loved so deeply and in whom I found such beauty that it more or less made me transgender. And the only definitive thing I can say about her is that “Even if she was tortured in a basement, it has been two decades and she’d be sixty by now, so she would certainly be dead by this point. She’s no longer alone and screaming now.”

To end this with something that will make you laugh:

A Long Time Coming

Last night, I reached a point in “Dancing in Hellfire” where it was time to discuss coming out, and, of my experiences, one in particular is notable. The rest don’t matter and are all being lumped together as “Fantastic Friends,” but one is unique: my sister. By an incredible margin, this was the most difficult one to address, and by all rights should have brought me the most relief once it was over, since most people would look back in hindsight and think “Well, of course my sister wasn’t going to have a problem with it! What the fuck was I thinking?”

But I can’t look back and say that, because my initial fears–shared by a friend who knew my sister pretty well–proved correct. In the cognitive dissonance that rose because I’m transgender and she’s a fundamentalist Christian, she actively chose unacceptance and ignorance. Strangely, this is something that she more or less openly admits. And, to make matters worse, I happened to see her a few hours ago when I was at the bank, and she reported that she’d just taken her son back to the doctor. That’s three doctor visits in 5 days, and during none of those did she do what she’d told me she would.

I knew it would have to happen eventually, and, sure enough, the content I wrote last night on the matter was aimed more at dissecting and rebuking my sister’s long and fucked up text message. I had to get it out of my system, though, because I haven’t actually sat down to examine it and point out every little thing that’s wrong with it. So here’s another excerpt from “Dancing in Hellfire.”

=====================================

Accepting that I’m transgender was only the first of many difficult battles—in fact, there are still battles that I fight, and I don’t expect that I’ll have the war behind me for many years. I would even go further than that and say: accepting that I’m transgender was not the first of many battles; it was the declaration of war.

The first step in this, of course, is coming out to people, and that has been extremely easy and extremely difficult. I still haven’t told my grandfather, grandmother, and father, but, in honesty, I don’t intend to tell my grandfather at all. I love him to death, and he’s very old—I don’t want him to spend the last few years of his life supremely disapointed and under the impression that I’m going to hell. There’s no need to burden him with that, since I don’t see him that often in the first place—not as much as I’d like, for sure. My grandmother and dad will have to know, but, as the time of writing this section, I still hadn’t told them because, again, I don’t see them often enough for it to be a problem.

The most difficult person so far to discuss it with has been my sister. I knew that it could go one of two ways: either she wouldn’t care, or she would care immensely. It’s that damned internal conflict, that cognitive dissonance, and her reply, I knew, would depend on which of the two things were more important to her on a fundamental level: her religious beliefs or our relationship.

When I discussed this with a friend of mine, he told me that I was crazy for telling her and that she would never have anything to do with me again. As I thought more and more about it, though, I decided that wasn’t true, and that all of the bullshit we had gone through together ensured a more powerful bond than that. Because we really did go through a lot together, and we always have had each other’s back.

So I just told her one day, after wrestling with it for months, by bringing it up randomly while we were in the kitchen. I showed her a picture of myself as a female, and said, “That’s me,” or something to that effect. She replied that she already knew and that she didn’t care. We discussed it for a few moments, but nothing substantial was said, and I broke it to her in the same way that I’ve broken it to others: “For now, just think of it like cross dressing. It’s not cross dressing, but that’s a good way to think of it for the time being.” And, most critically, I explained that the reason I was finally bringing it up was because I wasn’t content to continue dressing as a male when I was at home. She said that she’d have to discuss that with her husband.

I knew that she knew I occasionally wore women’s clothes, and she knew that I knew that she knew, so her response to the whole thing was pretty much unnecessary. It was an open secret, an elephant in the room that we never talked about. Something like “So you’re finally getting it out in the open? That’s great. I’m happy for you” would have been nice, but, as I would soon guess, that was not her feeling about it at all.

I waited about a week to hear back from her on discussing it with her husband, and then I asked her if she’d talked to him. She said that she had not, because he had been pretty busy at work. This was the first indication that something was amiss. I had stressed to her the entire reason for bringing it out into the open, after all, and made it a point to mention that it was all very important to me, though I didn’t then go into specifics. I did explain then that I’m not into guys, and that my love for women hasn’t changed at all, and I explained that I have no interest in SRS, so it’s not like nothing was said that day.

After several more days, I began to suspect that something was amiss, and nearly a month passed before I asked her about it again, though by this point I was already starting to sense that my initial impression—and my friend’s impression—was correct, and that she was going to hide behind her husband (who she probably hadn’t even talked to) as an excuse to stop it. And, sure enough, when I asked her again, she said that he wasn’t comfortable with the idea.

That… struck me as strange, because he had lived with a drag queen before, when he was younger. They weren’t romantically involved or anything like that, but I still have a hard time believing that he had a problem with it. He had never said or done anything that indicated an unwillingness to accept homosexuals or transgenders, and he had once been roommates with a drag queen; that’s a pretty big change of heart, and in a strange direction for someone who describes himself as an atheist.

Meanwhile, my sister’s biggest “thing” is a deep and pervasive fear of death and oblivion. She willingly admits that the reason she is a Christian is because she is scared of oblivion and wants to believe in an afterlife. During that month that I waited patiently for her to do something she should have had the decency as my sister to do immediately, I thought a lot about her motivations, and I realized that accepting me would come in direct conflict with her religious beliefs, and her religious beliefs gave her the pacifier of immortality; asking her to accept me was to ask her to accept oblivion.

She lies, because she’s a coward and won’t say to my face the things she says in text message. She has done this repeatedly, and it’s infuriating. Still, she was noticeably uncomfortable discussing this sort of thing in person, even though she had just a week or so before given me a ton of clothes, jewelry, and makeup that she didn’t want or need. I languished for about another month, wondering how she would react if I simply dropped it on her as an ultimatum. I realized my mistake—I was asking her permission to by myself, and that was the wrong way to handle it. I didn’t need her permission. Instead, I should have said, “This is what I’m doing. You can accept it or not.”

One thing that motivated me further was my knowledge that they simply don’t have the money to survive without me paying them that $500 monthly that I was giving them. Shortly after they had their second child, they fought constantly about whether [my sister] was going back to work. Surprisingly, [my sister] wanted to go back, because she accepted the reality that they simply didn’t make enough money, the way they burned through it, to make ends meet on only one income. Keeping in mind that they had a six year old child and a two month old baby, as [my sister] drove to work, [her husband] informed her that if she went to work, then he was leaving her.

Let that sink in.

So she quit her job, and they’ve been white-knuckling it since, even with the money that I gave them monthly and the random cigarettes and stuff I purchased here and there because they were out. And there was constant tension for me, because if they were broke it was always my fault. It didn’t matter that I paid them exactly what they asked—if they were broke, it was because I hadn’t paid them yet. There was so much tension that there were several nights when I simply sat in my room, needing to use the bathroom but holding it, simply because I didn’t want to deal with that horrible tension. Meanwhile, I paid them regularly, and they had a steady influx of money—as they were creating this oppressive vibe in the air.

I accommodated her still and wrote her a letter. For one, she had consistently written it off as “wanting to wear girl clothes,” and I had already corrected that. That first time I asked her if she’d talked to [her husband] yet, I clarified that and explained that I’m transgender. So she only believed that I cross-dressed for a few days, a week at the most; after that, she knew the full details that I’m transgender and that it’s a pretty big deal. But she continued to characterize it as “wanting to wear girl clothes,” and writing it down would leave her totally unable to misconstrue it. It couldn’t be interrupted—something else she is bad about doing—and it couldn’t be misunderstood.

My letter basically said that being forced to live the lie constantly, even when I was at home, where I was paying a substantial amount of money to rent a bedroom with drafts all through it in a house that was in poor condition, was destroying me. And it was. The only other time in my life that I had been that suicidal was shortly after my separation, and on that occasion I was admitted to the hospital for slashing my wrists open. I told her that she could accept it, or I could move, but I wasn’t asking her permission to do it, and I wasn’t going to continue hiding it. I explained that her 6 year old is the least likely person in the world to care and that at most he will think it’s funny at first, and then will ask if he can play one of the games on my computer, and then he will never think about it again.

She responded just a few minutes later with a text message that I can’t let myself read right now, because it will infuriate me, and probably make me cry since I’m on hormone. I was going to post the screenshot, but it’s kind of difficult to read, and it wouldn’t be legible in black and white anyway. So here’s the message:

“I love u and for 29 yrs u have been my brother so I just block it out bc I can’t even come to terms with it so my 6 year old isn’t going to have to either. I would rather leave it to deal with when he’s older so no I won’t b telling him now. We, as a family, are not comfortable with you dressing up as a woman in our home. I’m sorry. But it’s my family. These kids mean more than anything to me. I do want u to be happy and not depressed but I guess that does involve u moving. [My son] is still full of innocence and I am not going to destroy that. I know that this world will do that all by itself but [my husband] and I have decided to raise our sons the way we think. This is a topic obviously that I try to avoid bc I’m not comfortable with it. I can’t look at u in any other way. I will tell [my son] anything but the truth right now. He will miss u but he will get over it. I just can’t explain it to him and we don’t want to so I’m sorry.”

I’m going to now do something that I’ve resisted the urge to do since I saw that text message. I’m going to explain everything that’s wrong with it.

First, as I said, her son won’t have a hard time coming to terms with it. The only reason she has a hard time is because of all that religious crap in her head that says it’s a sin and that it’s wrong. The bluntness and self-awareness of her message is staggering: she knows she wants to escape back into ignorance. She wanted to keep Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell in our family, and I was unwilling to do that. There’s a reason we abolished that in the military. It’s extremely destructive.

By the third sentence, she has forgotten that I’m her family, too, but whatever. That’s not even the important bit. The important part is “…you dressing up as a woman in our home.” This infuriates me so much to see, because it’s not only willful ignorance—since I’ve already explained to her that it’s not “dressing up”—it’s downright offensive and insulting. You don’t characterize a transgender person as fucking playing dress up. That’s messed up. Drag Queens dress up, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but that isn’t what a transgender person does. These are critical distinctions, and I’d already made them to her. That she would say this after at least two in-depth explanations is nothing short of insulting and a blatant display of her absolute failure to listen.

Take note of the line “These kids mean more than anything to me,” because we’ll come back to that in a moment. Let’s focus for now on the allegation that my very existence is a threat to her son’s innocence. Is that not just the most fundamentalist Christian thing you’ve ever heard? I don’t have any problem with Christians—a great deal of them are wonderful, kind, and loving people. I have a problem with Christians like my sister, who think that my being openly transgender will destroy her son’s innocence. By that statement, we can extrapolate that she would think her son seeing two men or two women kiss on television would also destroy her son’s innocence. But it doesn’t. It simply expands his mind.

Because she doesn’t have a problem with non-transgender people dressing however they want to dress. Nor does she have a problem with straight couples kissing in front of her son—she even encourages it regularly. “Is that your little girlfriend?” she asks him, never stopping to consider that he might be gay, and never even allowing the possibility. “He’s a little ladies’ man!” she proclaims proudly. If we’re going to talk about the destruction of innocence, let’s talk about the destruction of innocence and how she has overwritten his default worldview of bisexualism with heterosexuality, and now she brands everything that isn’t strict homosexuality as the destruction of innocence. It is not. It is simply a threat on the definitions and constraints she has attempted to impose upon his mind, rather than letting it grow and develop naturally.

And she even knows that: “We have decided to raise our sons how we think.” Well, first of all, her husband calls himself an atheist, so I still doubt that he has a problem with it. I don’t know that, but I do doubt it, because being unaccepting of homosexuals and transgender people is almost always a religious thing. Why hide behind this bullshit about innocence, though, when we all know what it’s really about—controlling how her kids think. My being transgender isn’t an assault on her son’s ignorance. It’s an assault on her attempts to make her kids into the kind of people who would turn their backs on a family member of 29 years. If you ask me, that’s the kind of thing that should be assaulted.

“Oh? My being transgender is an attack on that mentality that would lead someone to turn their backs on their sibling after 29 years beside each other through hardship, struggle, abuse, and violence? I’m a threat to that worldview that openly chooses lies and willful ignorance over the truth and acceptance? Good.”

Then she gets into how she’s not comfortable with it and can’t look at me in any other way. Well, of course you can’t! You won’t open your eyes! This was infuriating, made all the worse that I forced myself to be the bigger person and just not reply to it. I still haven’t replied to it. We’ve had a few small discussions here and there, but nothing really substantial, and, after what happened in the past few days, we won’t really have any discussions again. We’re done.

How ridiculous is it, though, to say that she can’t see me any other way, when she openly refuses to look at me? Remember what all of this was about: my telling her that I was going to begin being me more and more frequently until I no longer presented myself as a male at all. Apart from the picture I showed her, which concealed most of my face, she had only ever seen her brother. One thing I stressed in my letter was that I knew it was jarring for everyone and would require transition—I was not going to just pop out in a little pink dress and high heels. I was willing to move slowly toward that, at a rate that was slow but moving forward. I think I said a good first step would have been to simply wear female jeans at home. But even that was too much for her.

She wasn’t willing to look, and she insisted that she couldn’t look. I am a threat to the Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell shit that we’ve lived for two decades. I’m a threat to the secret, to the elephant in the room. I’m a threat to her desire not to think about it. I’m a threat to her ignorance. She didn’t choose her religion; she chose her ignorance.

And then she drops the hammer. She will tell her son anything but the truth. What a remarkable thing to say. If your worldview requries lies in order to protect it, then you should re-examine that worldview. And drop it, replacing it with one that doesn’t require lies and deceit to be protected. But let’s just bask in the glory of that statement—she would tell her son anything but the truth.

She would lie to her son.

She will kick me from her son’s life.

She will bring her son sorrow.

And I’m a threat to his innocence.

Her son and I spent a lot of time together, because we are both avid video gamers. I write for a gaming site and am a professional game critics—they’re more than a hobby to me, and I’ve got a ton of games on my computer that her son loved playing. Every single evening, he’d come into my room and ask if he could play with my cats, ask if he could play games on my computer, and ask if he could watch me play. I didn’t always say “Yes,” because, frankly, I don’t have kids for a reason, and one of those reasons is that I like to spend time to myself. But he did spend a lot of time with me.

And one day he’s going to wonder why his mom took his friend away and wouldn’t let him see his friend anymore. He is only six, so he may not remember how much time we spent together. He may not remember all the nights he sat in there and played with my cats, and he might not remember how many times I told him to come into the bedroom with me because his parents were fighting again and I knew he didn’t need to hear that shit. I love that kid. And my existence is a threat to his innocence.

As a bonus happy thought, here is my kitty Rainbow:

12719261_199274840431224_8001039995797887114_o

She’s so precious. 🙂

My pillowcases were actually in the dryer because I needed to get cat hair off them, in case anyone is curious. Neither of the cats shed very badly, and it’s winter here anyway, but I still wash them pretty often because they do stuff like this.

Rainbow wants to know if you’ve considered supporting me on Patreon, to help ensure that posts like these keep coming, as well as getting some exclusive stuff that only patrons get. Join that elite club of awesome people. 🙂

Ignorance: The Psychopath’s New Weapon

I actually do want to make the case at some point that humanity is in real trouble, especially in the United States, where we have cultivated ignorance and exonerated it consistently enough that there’s little prospect for continued growth. I frequently have people say “I’m not reading that book you wrote” about one of my comments, proudly broadcasting to the world that they can’t be bothered to read, and this is worsened by it being said as though I’m the one in the wrong, I’m the fool, for writing a reply that was too long for their particular brand of idiocy. But that’s for another day, and the title I’ve chosen isn’t actually related to that.

Someone recently asked me how I can publish a story that Bradley* wrote, and I was told that “Aria didn’t write the story. Bradley wrote the story.”

Needless to say, my mind was positively boggled. And, of course, this was from the psychopath (told you–see this post to learn what I mean), no doubt trying a different tactic to get an emotional reaction out of me–you know, as the psychopath needs. I’m proud to say I didn’t give it, and I won’t give it now, because there was no emotion to my reply. There was only cold brutality.

I replied pointing out that humans evolved from apes, yet there are still monkeys. My point was actually that the psychopath’s question was just as ignorant as the Christians who ask how there can still be monkeys if we evolved from them, and to point out that, yes, I did evolve from Bradley. It was the perfect metaphor for the situation. But the psychopath doubled down on the ignorance and said “Yet we don’t claim credit for the work of the monkeys” or something like that.

I replied three times. First, simply “I did write it.” Then I gave a mini-explanation, a very short one of just a few sentences, and then I said predictable. Well. The psychopath was predictable, to the extent that I couldn’t even pretend to be surprised or pretend to have an emotional reaction. That’s what the psychopath does, remember? I explained that in the last post about it. The psychopath attempts to elicit an emotional response, presumably to feel in control but I don’t care enough to ask “Why,” and then immediately drops back to short replies and no replies. The psychopath simply wants drama, simply feeds on emotion, and is incapable of caring what those emotions are.

So rather than feeding that, I rebuked the psychopath extensively, shredding the thought process and revealing the ignorance underlying it. “You can’t publish that story you wrote yesterday, because you were wearing different socks yesterday, and since you’re not wearing the same socks today you’re a different person and therefore not the person who wrote the story,” I used as a slippery slope. It’s perfectly true, though. The reasoning is as asinine as it was faulty, and rivaled only by the almost pathetic attempt to elicit an emotional response.

There’s just no context where the psychopath’s question and replies make any sense. Even the people at the Westborough Baptist Church aren’t that looney. No one is so confused on the matter that they think a transgender person is literally a different person mid and post transition, especially not to the extent that I wouldn’t be able to rightfully claim to have written something that I wrote.

In another brazen display of the psychopath’s out-of-control ego, I was asked how I expected her to react. I must admit that I took some vindictive pleasure in pointing out that… I didn’t. I never gave a moment of thought to how the psychopath would react. I didn’t consider how George W. Bush, my Aunt Diane, my ex-wife, or Asheik Mohammed Samar, random name in India that I just made up, would react, either. Because these people aren’t part of my life. I don’t make it a habit of wondering what random people who aren’t part of my life will think or feel about what I do. I consider the reactions only of people in my life and people who care about me–not random people thousands of miles away.

Of course, it’s not true that the psychopath is a random person thousands of miles away, but that’s the thing–she might as well be. I didn’t destroy the relationship and friendship, and I clinged to them far longer than I should have.

When I told a friend of this, she asked what could the psychopath say that I would take as sincere. The answer is…

Nothing.

The time for words is long over. There is absolutely nothing that she could say to me that I would accept as sincere. Only actions can speak loudly enough to be heard over the blood pouring from the knives she put in my back.

It still isn’t any easier for me. I doubt it ever will be, and she surely knows that; she certainly knows that I still love her and want to believe she’s sincere. But I can’t.

In the interest of our friendship and years of circles, I did give her time to reply and apologize for the fucked up thing she’d said. She hasn’t done so. Again–predictable.

One thing is all it would take from her. And, believe me, I want to let it all go. You have no idea how badly I want to just release all of it. It would be so easy. One thing to convince me that she’s sincere, that she’s not just a psychopath, that I’m not just her victim, and that she is the person she claims to be. One thing.

And it is the one thing a psychopath would never do.

As I said.

Predictable.

* My “Other name” isn’t Bradley, but that’s close enough.

Women in Video Games

A sister post with https://dimezzogaming.wordpress.com.

I love video games, and I always have. I’ve been playing video games since before I could walk. I hate saying it now because the film Grandma’s Boy so pervaded the public consciousness that people think I’m ripping it off, but I did beat The Legend of Zelda at an early age–not before I could walk, but I had beaten it before kindergarten. I’ve been playing video games my entire life, and the last thing that I want is to promote something that would damage the hobby.

Hell, I even make a partial career out of reviewing video games for the aggregated website Cubed3. Everything I say about video games, I say because I want them to improve.

However, white men in the United States have an unusual amount of fear toward… pretty much everything that isn’t a straight white man. I don’t know whether this is typical in other parts of the world, but I do know that the average American white man is absolutely terrified that “everyone else” is trying to take his toys, freedom, and power away. Speaking historically, I understand where they’re coming from. White men have a long, thousands-of-years-long, history of enjoying power over and oppressing everyone else. Women, blacks, Asians, natives, homosexuals–the list is really all inclusive. I say this as a former white man, and with a family full of people with that exact mentality. I’m not trying to rip on white men for what they’ve done; these are just facts.

So on the one hand, if women, blacks, gays, and Muslims gain more rights, then white men do lose some of their power–of necessity. If we think of a society’s power as a percentage, then it becomes clear that one can only have power at the expense of rights. In fact, this is an idea I advocate and is one of the reasons that I am an anarchist: power comes only at the expense of others, because the universe is built around scarcity and because nothing exists in infinite supply. But I don’t intend to get into all of that right now.

By the same token, though, I believe white men are deeply afraid that these groups they’ve disenfranchised and oppressed, often for literally thousands of years, will abuse their power in the same way that the white men did. In my experience, this was the main issue that people had with President Obama: they were terrified that white people were going to be treated the way that white people had treated black people for decades, if not centuries. These fears came to nothing, but that has done little to mitigate the long-running, overarching fear the straight white Christian man has for everyone who isn’t a straight white Christian man. From one boogeyman to another the white man turns, all the while lamenting how society is falling, moral standards no longer exist, and homogenization for the sake of Social Justice Warriors will destroy everything they hold dear.

This is the typical reply when gamers ask for more inclusiveness in their video games: for some bizarre reason, it is alleged that this will harm creativity. I fail to see how being able to play as a gay Inquisitor in Dragon Age: Inquisition harmed creativity. If anything, it gave us something new and something that has not been explored much in the gaming world; this is anything but stifling creativity. Saints Row allows players to play as male, female, or trans characters, and, again, this has done nothing to hinder the creativity of the people behind the Saints Row games. Yes, this game where you can beat people to death with an oversized dildo is more tolerant, open, and inclusive than Grand Theft Auto V, a game that gave us not one, not two, but three white men to play as.

The ubiquity of straight white men in video games is not to be understated, but you’ll have a hard time getting a straight white male gamer to admit this. When they do admit it, they turn around and, in the same breath, say that it’s not a bad thing, that it’s “just the way it is,” and that it’s perfectly acceptable that if you grab a random game off a game shelf, you can safely bet that the protagonist is a straight white male. In many ways, it reminds me of the people at Fox News who made the argument that there is no racism in America because “At almost any company, there are private emails between employees that are racist in tone…” Jon Stewart called them out on this ridiculous failure to think–that because something is so common it is ubiquitous and therefore stops existing or stops being a problem is the height of stupidity.

Sexism exists in video games. It does. Accept it, come to terms with it, I don’t care, but do not deny it. If you are fine with the sexism that exists, that is one thing. I can even respect that. I don’t like it, and I think you’re wrong, but I can respect that you at least acknowledge its existence. But denying the existence of sexism in video games is aggressively absurd, fully equivalent to how many Americans deny that there is racism in America.

In a 2005 study, it was revealed that more than 80% of women in video games were sexualized. And before anyone dares reply “Games sexualize men, too,” I want to remind you of a few things. First, predominantly men make video games, and if they want to sexualize themselves, then that is their prerogative. There are female developers as well, but as we’ve frequently learned in the past few years, it’s not just video games as a product that are sexist but the gaming industry as a whole, with LoL coaches demanding to see players’ breasts, workplace discrimination being commonplace, and the like.

Nor is sexism unique to video games. There is sexualization of women everywhere, but Hollywood at least must be given the credit it deserves. For one, Hollywood predominantly uses actual actors. If a female character is beautiful and sexy, then it’s because the actress is beautiful and sexy. Video games do not have this luxury. If a woman is beautiful and sexy in a video game, it is because she was specifically designed to be, not because the actress is beautiful and sexy. There is certainly a tendency of Hollywood to prefer the beautiful over the less-beautiful, but Hollywood does have room for the unattractive, and Hollywood sexualizes both men and women. Women do receive it worse, often with vicious rape scenes serving to act as softcore porn and gratuitous nudity that, for whatever reason, isn’t turned onto men–such as Saw 2 and the Hostel films.

It would be much like if Grand Theft Auto had one black guy on their team who “okayed” the constant use of “nigga” in their games. How would we react to that? How would the gaming public react to learning that Rockstar hires only one black guy, and then said that it’s okay for them to say “nigga” constantly because they hire a black guy and because they use “cracker” too? We wouldn’t react very well to that. Indeed, that’s part of the reason that the Assassin’s Creed series has its own disclaimer before the game begins.

Whether we like it or not, it’s simply true that if you want to do something offensive toward someone, you need to do something offensive toward yourself, and you need to let them in on the joke. This is the part where sexism diverges from the use of racial slurs in Grand Theft Auto. Because black Americans generally speaking are in on the joke of Grand Theft Auto. Grand Theft Auto is taking shots at everyone, and the majority of its criminals are white men; it would be a different matter altogether if Grand Theft Auto was focused on the Crips and Bloods, rioting and inflicting self-destructive violence onto their communities, as a game made almost entirely by white people.

On the subject of sexism, women generally aren’t in on the joke, because there’s no joke to be in on. It’s just a case of men liking asses, boobs, and revealing outfits on hot chicks. Rather than being inclusive, that’s outright insulting to women who don’t have nice asses, boobs, and revealing outfits. It’s no surprise that Zero Suit Samus is the 4th most played character in Super Smash Bros. 4, while her unrevealing, clothed form is number 31. This isn’t a great example because there are some major differences between Samus and Zero Suit Samus, but I’m gonna go out on a limb here and suggest that not only are the revealing outfits a large part of it, but the most chosen outfits for ZSS are the blue or orange booty shorts and halter top.

And don’t get me started on Other M, the Metroid game that reduced the heroine to a bumbling, weak, emotional crybaby with daddy issues–a legendary bounty hunter with unrequited love for her father-figure so wrapped around his finger that she’d let herself die rather than disobeying him. Don’t get me started on how the prudish, haughty Yuna was reduced to a JPop fanservice singer by Final Fantasy X-2, either. Even Venetica, which at first bucked so many trends by giving us a charming, likable female protagonist who was out to avenge the death of her boyfriend, ended up ultimately being a game about collecting a certain dress.

I gave Mortal Kombat 9 a glowing recommendation, it’s worth mentioning at this point. And I said “It’s a game about beautiful, scantily-clad women cutting people’s heads off.” And it is. But it also has plenty of fanservice and objectification of men, and that’s always been my argument in favor of the Mortal Kombat series. Is Kitana fighting in what amounts to a bathing suit? Sure, but so is Johnny Cage. I’ve no interest in counting them up to see if the Mortal Kombat series objectifies women more than it does men, or men more than it does women, because the very fact that it does it to both indicates that it’s not really objectifying anyone. And I applaud it for that. The Mortal Kombat series knows exactly what it is.

Jim Sterling made a video a few years ago where he basically asked for a character who met these conditions:

  1. was female. Obviously.
  2. was not conventionally attractive.
  3. was not sexualized.
  4. was not the primary villain.
  5. was strong and determined, but did not have to endure a load of bullshit to become strong and determined.
  6. was not a player-made character.

The only character he found who met all the criteria was a dinosaur from the Primal Rage games. And, as he said, the very fact that it sounds like he’s joking shows us how bad the gaming industry really is in its treatment of women. This has not changed since the video was made. And while the criteria may seem quite arbitrary, just think about it for a moment. How many male protagonists meet the requirements? How many battle-hardened, ugly-as-sin soldiers in 3rd person shooters are there?

And rest assured that number 5 is important. Because it seems the only way developers know how to create a strong female character is to inflict ridiculous degrees of pain and suffering onto her. Just play Tomb Raider 2013 if you want to see what I mean. The idea that a female could be strong without some traumatizing shit making her strong is a totally foreign one to game developers. You want to talk about stifling creativity, how about that? How about the fact that they always jump to the same things to present a strong female character?

It’s better than television, movies, and that horrible mess called Game of Thrones, because these always jump to freaking rape as the hardship the woman must endure in order to become strong, but being better able to say “At least we only beat the shit out of women, instead of raping them” isn’t really a good thing. And not to derail too much, but fuck Game of Thrones and fuck that lazy hack named George R. R. Martin. I’ve seen some pretty tasteless writers in my day, but Martin trumps them all. Evidently the only way Martin knows to give a woman hardship is to have her be raped.

And we wonder why Cosmopolitan even has to write articles about how many women claim to be raped when they never were… That’s the biggest problem with this frequent use of rape in fiction. It creates the impression that a woman is strongest when she recovers from sexual abuse. So, for some women, if they want to make you believe they’re strong, they will say they’ve been raped. My ex-wife did exactly that, claiming that she had been molested when she was a teenager. As she continued telling me the story, it became clearer and clearer that at best the sexual advances were unwanted, but first the only thing that occurred was a bit of fondling and second she never told the guy to stop and third she didn’t try to extricate herself from the situation. And that whole conversation began with her saying that she’d once been raped. I’m not saying every woman who claims to have been raped is lying, but it does happen, and I blame the tendency of fiction to use rape as a vehicle for “giving” women strength.

Of course, Tomb Raider 2013 played with this on purpose, intentionally using a scene that looked an awful lot like it was about to get rapey, when it didn’t. Don’t bullshit us, Crystal Dynamics. You know goddamned well you did that shit on purpose, that you had the actress panting and moaning like that on purpose so that you could then stand back and say, “No, it’s not our fault! We didn’t make rape so common in fiction–you jumped to that conclusion, not us!”

Bullshit, Crystal Dynamics. You staged it to look like that intentionally. And considering you spent the first 25% of the game beating the ever-loving hell out of Lara Croft, you don’t get to claim the high road here anyway, because you still fell into that same exact mindset–you just didn’t sink as low as George Martin. *Golfclap* You didn’t sink as low as the lowest fiction writer alive. Bravo. *Golfclap*

There is the real possibility that the sexualization of women in video games, and the overall sexist bent of that, is simply so common that people can’t see it. I’ve dealt with that before. I’m an atheist–do you have any idea how pervasive theism really is in American society? It’s literally everywhere. Just spend one week listening, really listening, to how many times people mention a god, an afterlife, or souls. It’s everywhere. It’s so common, so ubiquitous, and so pervasive that the average American has no idea it’s even there. The same is true for racism in the United States: it’s so common and so ubiquitous that many Americans have no idea that it’s there, even as they openly admit that it’s there. Sexism in video games is the same way.

I want to stress that I have nothing against straight white Christian men, or any other white man of any description. I generally don’t even think in such terms. And the gaming industry itself needs sexism eliminated from it; once that is done, it will go a long way toward eliminating sexism from the games. Because, yes, if more women designed games then the games would, ipso facto, become more inclusive of women. The sexism we see in games is largely a byproduct of the people making the games, not the byproduct of the players. But it’s something that needs to be taken care of, because it’s pretty pathetic that the best example we can do if a strong female character is a fucking dinosaur. We’re better than that.