Tag Archive | nihilistic

Western Nihilism 3: Biology Versus Social Justice Warriors

Be warned: if you haven’t read Western Nihilism Part 1 and Western Nihilism Part 2, some of this may seem unsupported or even nonsensical. So the links are provided there, since we’re building off that framework with a more specific example.

See, I just read a 1400 word whine from a partner of Vice about how she’s totally judged because of her height, how her height makes her life difficult, and how she often intimidates people. The article ended with a link to a partner article about how standards of age are a form of bias. We’ve really reached this point, then? We’ve genuinely forgotten that we’re animals to the extent that we can’t recognize the real, primal, and largely uncontrollable reasons that we sometimes find tall people intimidating and short people adorable.

Little Things Are Cute

We’re programmed to think that little things are cute. This is part of the human operating system–it’s not a third party program that some people installed. We find kittens adorable, puppies adorable, and babies adorable, for the same reason we find one-inch figurines cute. Those things are immediately read as helpless, and that’s what we’re drawn toward (in the absence of imminent danger).

People finding you adorable because you’re short is a simple byproduct of how genes programmed us to protect our offspring. Because let’s be real a moment: what defense does a pooping, peeing, and crying baby have? None. It survives by two biological processes–the first I’ve already mentioned. Being cute is the baby’s first line of defense against the innate tendency humans have to discard things that cry and poop everywhere. The second is the parental bond, of course, but the parental bond can’t explain it all, because just about any human would do anything in their power to protect a baby.

Helplessness is generally what humans find cute–helplessness makes the thing precious to us, like kittens and babies. We recognize on deep, primal levels that these things cannot fend for themselves, and that this marvelous living creature needs our protection and love. This triggers endorphins to release in the brain and triggers, “Oh, my god, he’s so precious!” to come out of the mouth.

Just think about anything you’d call “precious.” Now think about anything you’d call “adorable.” There is a 1:1 correlation between those things: whatever you find precious, you’ll find adorable, and whatever you find adorable, you’ll find precious. This is just the way humans work.

Demanding that we cast off all of that biological programming and cease letting ourselves think short people are adorable is nihilistic. It’s an attempt to undermine, consciously ignore, destroy, or mitigate the very biological processes that cause people to like babies. So you having people say “You’re super cute!” isn’t really that big a deal, is it? Not when stacked against the evolution of our species and, hopefully, the continued evolution that happens when people find little things cute and when the perception of helplessness (being a kitten, being short, whatever) is what triggers the endorphin release that makes them gush over infants.

So get over yourself.

“I’m tall, so I intimidate people.”

Bull.

“I’m tall, and I intimidate people,” is what one should say. Being tall–within ordinary human limits, not talking about people like Shaq–is not inherently intimidating. If you’re intimidating people, it’s going to be because of:

  • Being very tall and very large (fat or muscular)
  • Body language.

It’s almost certainly going to be the latter. Most people don’t pay any attention to their body language, but doing so would fix these issues people are having. I learned in my last year of college that i intimidated the crap out of people. Muscular, wearing A-shirts (“wifebeaters”), wearing eyeliner, shaved head, intelligent, a bit over six feet tall… But it was my demeanor that intimidated people, not my height, intelligence, or any of the other excuses I could list to wriggle out from under the fact that my demeanor was intimidating people.

Of course I had a litany of viable excuses ready to go. Perhaps it was the chains on my Tripp pants? Maybe the eyeliner. Maybe the shaved head. None of those things were “on me,” and that’s the difference. “I’m just being myself, and I can’t help that, so if people are intimidated then it’s their problem, not mine.”

It wasn’t any one thing; it was the whole package that was “my presentation,” and it intimidated people. The biggest part of that was certainly my body language.

Height isn’t really an issue.

I couldn’t guess how many people I’ve met in my life, and I can only think of one person who truly intimidated me. His name was Joe, and he was the manager at a client’s office. He was enormous, possibly seven feet tall, and stocky. He had a deep voice and a No Nonsense attitude. Square jaw and square chin–looking at him was like looking at a cinder block that decided one day to grow a body. I avoided him whenever possible.

His height had little to do with that. It was the whole package (his demeanor) that was intimidating.

My ex-wife is now married to some old dude who is even taller than I am. We knew him for years (and no, there was nothing going on there–it seems she just latched onto the first guy she found after me), and I have never in the least intimidated by him. The drummer in my band then was almost the same height (I’d guess about 6’5″), and he was never intimidating, either.

Because it’s not about height. It’s about demeanor. It’s about the whole package you’re presenting, not one aspect of it.

Escaping Personal Responsibility

Seeing as they view personal responsibility as some deprecated, gross thing that should be rejected because “It’s everyone else with the problem, not me. I’m perfect!” it’s not surprising that we see here another way to lift blame from the one responsible (The one presenting the demeanor) and shifting it onto people who aren’t responsible (The ones witnessing the presentation).

If you made a PowerPoint presentation using terrible font choices and horrific colors, would you blame the viewers if they said your presentation sucked? “You’re just biased against people like me who love these fonts and colors!”

Sure, that’s true, in a limited, narrow, and asinine sense. There are biological reasons that we prefer complementary colors, largely due to how our eyes evolved first seeing only light and dark, then red and green (if I recall correctly), and then the other colors incrementally until we had the vision we have today. At the heart of it are more biological processes that we don’t have any control over. We like clear, readable fonts in vibrant, contrasting colors. Dark blue script fonts on a black background won’t be appealing to many people. And that’s not our problem.

It’s yours, because it’s your presentation.

We Are Animals

And we have forgotten that. We are compelled by genes and biological processes that we’re only beginning to understand, but the shocking revelation has been that it’s not really the survival of the individual that our subconscious minds care about; it’s the survival of our genes, which led to the term Gene Machines.

If you spit on everything that helped ensure the survival of those genes, then yes, you’re certainly being nihilistic. In and of itself, that isn’t a bad thing, but this nihilistic tendency is really starting to dominate western society. After all, we’ve legitimately reached a point where someone writes an article about being stereotyped because if one aspect of their demeanor, and how everyone else is at fault, and the writer isn’t laughed off the internet for being ridiculous.

Reconciling the NAP & “Reality”

There are three main threads through everything that I write:

  • A rejection of absolutist black & white thinking.
  • Strict adherence to the Non Aggression Principle, to the extent that punishment becomes off-limits in favor of forgiveness and prevention of future crimes.
  • What I now call Nietzscheanism*–that is: morality is a human construct that primarily exists to keep the strong from abusing the weak; it is a luxury of the middle class, one not allowed to the lower class and one that the upper class isn’t held to.

It’s immediately clear, from the second two bullets–the first is only mentioned because it simply is a common thread, but it’s not the point of today’s discussion–that there is a conflict.

Can there be a greater example of middle class morality than the NAP? In fact, I would say that the NAP is the shining bastion of middle class morality–fully swearing off and condemning all force, violence, and coercion and asking that everyone else do it. Obviously, this can only happen in a world where everyone compromises the middle class. This is the crux of anarcho-capitalism, and the reason I insist that Nietzsche would be an AnCap if he lived today, knowing what we know.

nietzscheGoodness, there’s just so much ground to cover to bring my ideology full circle. It’s always difficult to explain to people exactly what I advocate, because it is very much circular, and that makes it hard to pinpoint a beginning. Here, we’ve started from Nietzscheanism and objectivism, and that works, but only if there isn’t a deity. After all, if there is a deity giving some sort of meaning to our existence, then life does matter. So before I could really get anyone on board with Nietzscheanism, I have to get people on board with atheism–Nietzscheanism, after all, is nothing but Applied Atheism. But before I can get anyone on board with atheism, there is a whole lot of groundwork to lay, and it’s groundwork that I’m not going to attempt to lay, because atheism and theism are irrelevant to the larger point. I can be right or wrong about individual pieces regardless of the existence of a deity.

However, I would say that before I could attempt to convince someone that there isn’t a deity, I would have to convince them the value of reason over emotion since, by any measurement, faith is an emotion-based position. We will keep going back and back and back until we arrive right back at subjective value determinations, which lands us right back in the territory of Nietzsche and the Austrian economists. I actually made a few years ago a document–a flow chart, for the most part–where one ideology led to the next, and it was clear by the end of it, after I was able to connect Nietzscheanism back to subjective value determinations–because the essence of Nietzscheanism is that morals are subjective–that I had just created a giant web. I know I still have it somewhere, but I can’t be bothered to find it, and it’s not that important anyway.

Morality, Very Briefly

There is no such thing as “morally good” or “morally bad.” These are values that we prescribe to various acts based on the consequences of those acts, the motive behind those acts, and the circumstances around which that act was committed. This is virtually a tautology at this point, but I will take the time to explain it anyway.

Let’s say that I push you down, causing you to break your arm. I have assaulted you. Everyone would agree that I was morally wrong to do so.

However, let’s say that I push you out of the way of an oncoming train that, for whatever reason, you aren’t aware is coming, and I cause you to break your arm. Suddenly most people would call me a hero and say that I’d saved your life.

In both scenarios, I did exactly the same thing: I pushed you, you fell, and you broke your arm. However, in the first scenario I was just being an aggressive bitch. In the second, I was saving you from being hit by a train. Yet the act itself and the consequence of that act are the same in both scenarios: the act was that I pushed you; the consequence was that you broke your arm.

What changed? In reality, what changed were the imagined consequences of me not pushing you. See, morality, as Henry Hazlitt observed in The Foundations of Morality, arises as a result of imagination, that wonderful characteristic that homo sapien has but so few animals share. It is our ability to imagine that gives rise to morality. Without even realizing it, so gifted are we at doing this, we imagine hypothetical alternative scenarios where I did not push you, and we compare the likeliest result of those scenarios with the reality that transpired. Marvelous creatures, we humans! And, in this way, imagination is literally the cause of morality, as it is precisely what allows us to envision these alternative realities.

In the first example, the most likely hypothetical alternative is that you continue standing unassaulted, and your arm is not broken. You go on about your day without a broken arm. By most criteria, that is certainly a better outcome for you, and since I am the reason you do not get to enjoy that superior outcome, it is determined in a fraction of a second that what I did was morally wrong. We do this innately; I’d almost say that we conceive these hypotheticals instantaneously, and the speed and proficiency are the reasons why we forget that morality is the result of imagination.

In the second example, the most likely hypothetical alternative is that you continue standing unassaulted right up until a train plows into you and utterly destroys you. By most criteria, that is certainly an inferior outcome for you, and since I am the reason that you were spared that inferior outcome, it is determined, perhaps instantaneously, that what I did was morally good.

These value statements themselves, though, are built on a few assumptions:

  • Empathy: This person is generally like me, and I should do unto this person what I would like this person to do for me. In most cases, what I want is much the same as what this person wants.
  • My own preferences: I prefer to not be in pain. I prefer pleasure. I prefer happiness. I prefer to not be sad. I prefer to remain alive.

By combining our own personal preferences with an extension of them onto other people–the very essence of what “empathy” is–we arrive at a criteria by which we assess whether something was good or bad. It’s by no means a perfect system–how could it be, when we are imperfect creatures?

Whenever I think of empathy and the application of my preferences onto others, I recall the time in college that I was behind the desk unplugging my laptop because class was over. While back there, without even asking, I took it upon myself to unplug my neighbor’s laptop, because he was in the process of packing his backpack. It seemed perfectly reasonable to assume that he’d like me to go ahead and unplug his while I was back there. Because I have all the social graces of Dexter, it didn’t occur to me at all to ask if he’d like me to do it; I simply did it. And I immediately learned that his laptop’s battery didn’t work, and that I did a cold shutdown on his laptop. Not a big deal, but something that has always stuck with me about assuming that our preferences automatically apply to others. They don’t. However, generally, they do. I mean, what are the odds that his laptop battery wouldn’t work at all? Under 95% of circumstances, the person would have said, “Oh, cool, thank you!” instead of “Oh, hold… What the hell? Did you unplug me?”

Nietzschean Morality

Nietzsche described good as “the will to power” and happiness as “having power.” From a strictly Darwinian perspective, he’s not wrong. He’s clearly not wrong; he can’t be wrong. However uncomfortable it makes us, he’s right. If our criteria is “survival of the species,” then the only thing that makes sense is to let the powerful do what they can. Do the powerful want to wipe out the weak? Turn them into sex slaves? Install governments throughout the world and use those governments to control the weak? Then they must be allowed to, under this perspective, because we do live in a universe that is trying to kill us, where only the strong survive. It’s a straight line from there to Eugenics, to forced breeding programs to breed the “most capable human.” It’s a sickening path.

Now, to be clear, Nietzsche most certainly did not go that far, and he did not advocate any of that. He was merely arguing that morality is a tool used by the weak to neuter the strong, creating three classes of people in the process: the middle class who were strong and obeyed the morality, the lower class who were weak and therefore didn’t have the luxury, and the upper class who were strong and rejected the morality.

The NAP

With all the above being true, we can see that the moral statement “force, violence, and coercion are unacceptable” is the epitome of Middle Class Morality. For one, this maxim is as close as we can get to a universally applicable morality. Is it true that absolutely no one wants force, violence, and coercion done to them? Certainly not. It’s no longer acceptable to say for some reason, but there are people out there who would genuinely like to be raped, for example. I’ve met a few, and their problem is always the same: they want to be raped without consenting to it, but giving someone permission to rape them is consenting to it, and the odds that a random stranger is going to rape them are not good. Beyond that, if they ran around clearly looking to be raped–wearing excessively revealing clothes and being unnecessarily sensual–it is passively consenting to it. I raise all this to make the point that they don’t want to consent to have it forced on them; they want it genuinely forced on them.

Rumor has it that Angelina Jolie once paid a hitman to kill her. She genuinely wanted someone to do violence to her, assuming it is true–and I don’t care whether or not it is, because there have been enough suicides by cop that it’s provable that some people genuinely want violence done to them. My own mother apparently sought out violent and coercive men. So obviously these things are not going to be universally applicable, because nothing is universally applicable to a species filled with individuals as varied and wild as we are.

Rights

In essence, all rights can be distilled to the following: we have the right to not have force, violence, and coercion used against us unless we consent to it priorily. This statement is all-inclusive. Just as you have that right, as does everyone have that right. This means, then, that you do not have the right to use force, violence, and coercion against someone without their consent. The right to free speech, free religion, free trade, free employment, and free everything else–they all stem from this basic right to not have force, violence, and coercion used against us. They are applications of this maxim to specific issues.

Are these inherent rights? Perhaps and perhaps not. It could be argued you have the right to attempt to stop someone from using force, violence, and coercion against you; in essence, it could be argued that you have the right to try to be strong, and, by being strong, subjugate the weak. It depends upon our subjective values–our criteria for determining morality. If we go with the Darwinian approach, then we arrive at this latter system of rights, where one has the right to do anything they can–this is an underground system of rights, the one that lives in the underbelly’s shadows in society, when certain behaviors are outlawed and black markets thrive.

Because that is, after all, the essence of the black market: a place where the forced middle class morality doesn’t apply because it happens in the shadows. The black market is generally created when the state outlaws something it has no business outlawing**, creating a new dichotomy of the strong and the weak, instead of the trifecta of those who can’t, those who do, and those who don’t. Since middle class morality ceases to apply to anyone, you’re left with only the strong and the weak–the victims and the aggressors.

It follows, then, that if outlawing things leads to the creation of a black market–which we know it does, from indisputable proof and countless examples from the drug war to abortions to ration stamps–that is differentiated from society by the fact that middle class morality doesn’t apply at all and we’re left only with the strong and the weak, then if we outlawed nothing, we would utterly eliminate this black market characterized specifically by the rule of the strong and Darwinian morality.

Application of the NAP Against Nietzscheanism

There are two things that must be done for the NAP to be realized, for middle class morality to be universally applicable–as much as it can be, at least. First, the lower class has to abolished and lifted up into the middle class. So let’s state this loudly and clearly:

No nation other than the United States has come close to eliminating its lower class.

This isn’t a bad thing. We look around the United States and, yes, we have a lower class still, but they aren’t really “lower class,” not in the grand scheme of things. They aren’t poor like the man in Ethiopia who throws out middle class morality to steal food for his family. By an overwhelming degree, the American poor abide middle class morality, though they have no qualms about stealing from the state. Seeing as the state is stealing from everyone, I don’t think it’s fair to condemn them for that one. Besides which, without the state and taxation, they wouldn’t be able to game the system to get “back” finger-quotes-wink-wink ten thousand dollars anyway.

Our “lower class” has electricity, clean water, running water, indoor plumbing, heating, air conditioning, vehicles, iPhones, laptops, steroes, flatscreen TVs, cable/satellite, Internet connections… Our lower class is so high on the totem pole that they’d be considered upper middle class in most parts of the world. This is actually part of the problem, since our lower class, our “poor” have totally lost all perspective on how luxurious their lives are.

To clarify the phrasing, the goal is not to kill off the lower class, not by any means. That’s horrible. No, the goal is to lift up the lower class and bring them into the middle class. Yes, this creates a new middle class, because humans naturally form hierarchies, but none of that matters. The point is that the applicability of middle class morality must be extended to the lower class and, if it is, then it is also true that they are not generally facing the threat of starvation, which is the escape clause that gives them an out from middle class morality in the first place.

Secondly, the upper class must be made to abide middle class morality. Currently, they don’t. I couldn’t even begin to guess how much shit the upper class gets away with in the United States. I’m positive that a solid portion of them engage in child sex tourism and pedophile rings. I’m not referring to the Podesta leaks, but a lifetime of hearing whispers and accusations directed at the upper class. It all may be false, but, in most cases, where there is that much smoke there is usually a fire.

But beyond that, does the upper class get away with theft? Holy crap, absolutely. Not only do they take part in the state and steal from us directly while calling it taxation, but they also use the mechanism of the state to create things like intellectual property and eminent domain, utterly gutting our property rights in the process.

Does the upper class get away with murder? Again, holy crap, yes. The death toll of the 20th century was 160,000,000 from war alone as upper classes in various parts of the world put the lower class to use killing lower class members who were fighting for other upper class groups. They call it “war,” but it is murder.

It’s indisputable that the upper class doesn’t just reject middle class morality; they do so brazenly and openly, in full view of everyone else, and they get away with it by using carefully constructed euphemisms, deceit, and manipulation. There are countless people who will insist that taxes aren’t theft. Except… they are, by any definition of theft. And sending a group of armed people to go kill another group of armed people is unequivocally murder. We cannot allow euphemisms and a refusal to face the truth obscure these basic facts.

Combining

So yes, it is true that we are animals who need to be strong in order to survive, and that our species as a whole must embrace strength and shun weakness. This does not mean a lack of compassion, though, as I’ve explained elsewhere. See, we have mistaken “compassion” as being hardly anything more than getting down in the floor with someone and crying with them. That is fake sympathy; it is empty sympathy.

If you are a herd of gazelle [humans] and are trying to get away from lions [the universe that kills the weak], and you have a loved one who is injured [weak, for whatever reason], then you are doing no one but the lions a favor by laying down with your weak gazelle friend and crying with them. This is empty sympathy. This is virtue signaling. This is nihilistic.

True sympathy leads one to help the other gazelle get up, heal their injuries, become strong themselves, and flee the lion.

We absolutely must have compassion and must be guided to help the weak–it is why we have our middle class morality. It is as close as we can get to “objective morality,” after all. However, if our gazelle friend refuses to get up, if they instead embrace their injury and their victimization, refuse to try to heal, and refuse to try to escape the lion, then we must cut our losses and flee before the lion gets us, too. There is a line between sympathy and nihilism.

Based on observable cause and effect–since it is impossible to speculate too much into our hypothetical alternate realities, and since we lack omniscience and can never know exactly how anything would really have played out if we had acted differently–we know that leaving the gazelle to be eaten by the lion would be bad, and our application of empathy derived from our own personal preferences compels us to help the gazelle. We know with reasonable certainty that the lion would eat the gazelle, and that, if we did not help, we would bear a portion of the blame in that.

We should all be strong; we should all be middle class, with no one enshrined above [through the state] or below [through poverty] anyone else. Now, what is the mechanism that allows that to happen? What mechanism eliminates the state that allows the upper class to escape culpability for their moral violations? Anarchism. What mechanism has provably lifted up virtually the entire population into middle class territory, where the fear of starvation is exceedingly remote? Capitalism.

So how do we create this world of people abiding the NAP, of all people being strong and none being weak?

Anarcho-capitalism.

Boo-ya, bitches.

 

* Thanks to the overwhelming number of angst-ridden ultra-emo millennials who think nihilism means “life sucks and death is cool,” I’ve been left with no choice but to change the label, but that’s fine; Nietzsche wouldn’t have approved of “nihilism” as the label anyway. Of course, these people have never read a word of Nietzsche and don’t fully understand the philosophy, because:

nothing-mattersand they get lost on that second part: nothing matters. They don’t fully apply it, though, or they would realize that it doesn’t matter that nothing matters. That is completely and utterly meaningless.

** Anything they outlaw is something they have no business outlawing.

Western Nihilism 2: Victim or Beneficiary?

I’ve talked previously about the extreme nihilism of western society, and how we have become so confused that we hate strength and love weakness, which in turn causes us to glorify victimization–since a victim is, by any measurement, a weak person who was abused by a strong person. The victim, then, is the embodiment of our values–a rejection of reality and a hostile universe that literally kills off the weak–an embrace of undue and universal empty sympathy while genuine sympathy is derided as selfishness. We hate survival of the fittest, and so we hate capitalism, just as we hate all of the underlying socioeconomic, biological, and behavioral characteristics that brought us to this plateau, where we have done nothing but reject those characteristics as backward and archaic, choosing instead to embrace our new “progressive” values that just so happen to be wholly nihilistic.

Now, if the above paragraph seems to cover a lot of ground, then click the links. It’s necessary groundwork for the stuff I’m about to say. This series of not-really-linked-ostensibly articles is like a building, and those I linked are the scaffolding. We are building more scaffolding today–today, we are constructing the scaffolding that will hold the arch. I want to call your attention to something I read in what is literally a secret Facebook group full of Hillary supporter crybabies who are whining about having lost the election.

pansyI looked into the author’s profile, and there was absolutely nothing there that serves as any indication of any sort of trauma. Far be it from me to speculate about anyone’s past, but I’m willing to bet that anyone who genuinely has PTSD has true horrors in their past. You know that condition that some Vietnam Vets have that cause them to piss themselves and duck and cover when they hear a firecracker explode, because the horrors of the Vietnam War were so terrible that they left people permanently scarred?

Yeah, that’s what she has.

Only instead of firecrackers reminding her of mines going off and blowing her best friend’s legs off, or of bamboo traps springing up from the ground and Iron Maidening someone into a tree, it’s debate that triggers her PTSD. We can speculate, then, that the cause of her PTSD was probably something like her parents arguing when she was a child. Right? What triggers PTSD is obviously going to be a strong indicator of what horrors the person experienced. Vietnam vets duck and cover when they hear firecrackers because this reminds them of mines; she is triggered by confrontation and debates because this reminds her of some louder/greater event in her past that was about confrontation and debate. It’s not bitterness or being a bitch; it’s being logical. And, seeing how this person looks like she is probably still in college–and from a comfortably middle class life, probably upper middle class–we can readily surmise that it was probably something like her parents arguing.

You know what?

There is one area where I might actually have PTSD. This event is certainly the reason that I’m claustrophobic, why I won’t let anyone bind my hands during kinky sex, and why I don’t care what’s wrong–I am not crawling under the crawl space to fix the plumbing. It can cost me ten thousand dollars a month on my electricity bill, but I am not ever crawling under that house to fix it.

It’s not an experience that I talk about much. But when I was 16 or 17, my father had me arrested. I didn’t know it at the time, and thought I was being arrested for grand larceny. On pain pills years later, my father confessed that he had them arrest me to teach me a lesson. It was the same year of the A Perfect Circle The Thirteenth Step tour, which I know because I was still allowed to go to the concern just a few months after I’d been arrested. Okay, so this was 2003. I’d have been 16 or 17, depending on the exact day I was arrested. Even that isn’t a very big deal–16 year olds are arrested fairly often, after all.

Usually when this happens, the parent meets the police at the station, pays some money, or uses a bail bondsperson and the kid is let out. Not so here. My dad took me to the sheriff’s office at 7:30 in the morning. After talking to me for a few minutes, they arrested me and put me in holding, where I remained until about 8:45 the next day.

Now, under most circumstances, we would say that “holding isn’t solitary,” except… here, it was. This jail didn’t have separate solitary confinement cells; it had two holding cells that functioned as its solitary cells. So, yes, it was solitary. For more than 24 hours I sat in an 8 foot by 8 foot concrete box–concrete ceiling, concrete floors, concrete walls. There was a metal toilet in the corner–with nowhere near enough water to drown yourself, or I’d have done it. Along one of the walls was a large, steel door with no windows and with only a narrow latch about thigh-high for them to open and slide me a food tray through–not that I felt like eating. The lights were fluorescent and recessed, of course–impossible to get to, because you could smash one and use the glass to cut your wrists–which I’d have gladly done if they weren’t beyond my reach. Along three of the walls were what we’d call “concrete benches,” except they weren’t benches. They were just raised parts of the concrete and square-shaped. I had a horrible blanket that felt about like fiberglass, made up of billions of tiny threads glued together–that way you couldn’t pull the threads out and use them to make a rope to hang yourself with, of course. And I had what was basically a kindergarten mat, but larger. The blanket was nowhere near long enough to cover me–I’m a little tall–and it didn’t matter, because anyone with a brain used their blanket as a pillow anyway. The only thing to do was lay your horrible kindergarten mat on the concrete bench, lie down on it, and use that horrible fiberglass blanket as a pillow.

Surrounded on all sides by steel-reinforced concrete, there were no sounds bleeding into the room. There was nothing but silence, except, perhaps, the irritating hum of the fluorescent lights that my 16 year old ears could still hear, but my 29 year old ears wouldn’t be able to hear today. It was, for all intents and purposes, an isolation chamber that I was stuck in, held in against my will, knowing that there was no escape–not even death. There was nothing but silence, concrete, and the thoughts resonating in my head, for more than 24 hours. I didn’t know what was going on or how long I was going to be there. That room, to me, was jail, and that’s what jail meant–isolation, cut off not just from the outside world but from everyone, every other human being. There was no one to petition, no one to beg, to be let out. Trapped, a caged animal held against its will in a concrete box–indefinitely.

bdsmFor my 16 year old mind, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that it had given me PTSD. However, it manifests itself only in ways that aren’t very important to me. I’ve never been into BDSM anyway–to me that’s “kinky” sex for people who want to be as mundane as possible. It means that I always take the stairs when given the option, because I’m not going to allow myself to be trapped on an elevator. When I worked as a janitor at one of the casino’s hotels, we had a 9 story hotel in one part of the building; I never used an elevator unless I absolutely had to. It means that I won’t let myself be put into a small space, and it means I really don’t understand cats’ love for small spaces.

Then again, cats like small spaces until they’re not allowed to leave…

But that’s enough about isolation, imprisonment, and solitary confinement. It just has certainly occurred to me that this is one area in which I might actually have PTSD, and for fairly good reason–isolation sends adults into madness with some regularity; the same to a 16 year old would undoubtedly be devastating. I survived by inventing stories and watching movies in my head–movies that I made up as I went, featuring little marshmallow people and stupid crap like that. It’s been pointed out to me that I have exactly the kind of mind that would be most in danger of going insane in isolation, but also best equipped to handle that. I suspect there’s a correlation between those two things.

Anyway, I want to share some stuff about me to all the special snowflakes out there who are dealing with “trauma” from the election, who have “PTSD” that is triggered by debates. I’m not saying this because I want sympathy. I’m saying this because I want them to sack up, grow a pair, and at least pretend to be adults capable of functioning in the world. It could be said that all the horrors in my past are precisely the reason that I am strong today, but I reject that reasoning, because I refuse to believe I’m better than anyone else. Anyone can be strong. It takes only the conscious decision to not be a victim. It doesn’t take being tortured. It doesn’t take parental murders. It just takes one single decision to be strong rather than weak, to fight rather than cower, and that is a decision anyone can make.

So buckle up. I’m going to give you the cliffnotes version. There’s enough material that I’ve got about an hour and a half of Youtube videos discussing it, a 45 minute long podcast, have written an entire book about it, and have, no exaggeration, barely scratched the surface. I have stories that will make you weep and cry that anyone would do that to a child, that anyone would be so negligent, that anyone would be so hateful. But I am not a victim. Because I am alive and I control my destiny. I control who I am.

Mother

My mother vanished off the face of the Earth when I was 12. Of course, this was after 6 years of only seeing her once or twice a year, because she was poor, addicted to heroin and meth, and preferred using her money to buy more drugs than coming to see her kids. Of course, this was also after she had kidnapped me and put me through That Summer in Arkansas–one filled with so much horror that there can’t be a Cliffnotes version. After a string of abusive alcoholic boyfriends who beat the living hell out of her while my sister and I could only look on and cry, terrified of making a sound, she finally hooked up with one who murdered her–my uncle, my aunt’s ex-husband. Of course, it took more than a decade for me to figure that out, because no one on my mom’s side of the family had anything to do with us, and never called to tell us anything. My older brother was no better; once our mother disappeared, he came to see us only once in the next six years, and it wasn’t until my sister and I took it upon ourselves to go see them that we reconnected.

But, no, you go ahead and tell me about your trauma.

Divorce

My parents separated when I was 5 or 6–depending on what time, during my kindergarten year, they actually separated. Of course, I didn’t understand what was going on, though I certainly cried a lot, and was mostly unsure whether to leave my dad the “good Nintendo” or the one that barely worked. “Didn’t work” would probably be a more accurate assessment. Naturally, I took the good one. I was 5. Rather than sitting and talking with my sister and me about what was going on, mom simply yelled at us all day–she didn’t handle stress well–and shouted that we needed to stop crying. We lived on our grandfather’s land in a trailer, and, strangely enough, he didn’t come over there with a gun to beat the hell out of mom; instead, he just found a way to let dad know.

Dad pulled up while we were loading the rest of the crap into mom’s car, almost like something out of a movie. He returned exactly as we were finishing up, and mom–in that tone that she’d been using all day that meant “shut the fuck up and do as I say”–told us to get in the car. So we did, my sister and me. We climbed into the backseat while Eric grabbed the front passenger seat. After they yelled and argued, mom got in the car. Dad, standing near the car, banged his fist against it while mom floored it. He immediately collapsed onto the ground and onto his back, pretending to have been hit by the car.

My sister and I screamed, hysterical, sure that our mother had just run over and killed our father. As we pulled away, he just lay there in the grass, not moving, and mom, once again, yelled for us to shut up.

Tim

Tim was one of mom’s boyfriends, and he really enjoyed lifting me up and holding me over the actual well that was in the backyard of this old ass house we lived in. It was an actual well, you know? Circle of bricks around it and everything. He really got a kick out of holding me over it while I kicked and screamed, while he laughed and threatened to drop me, saying that he might “accidentally” drop me if I didn’t stop squirming and kicking. I say he must have really enjoyed it, but I don’t remember how often it happened–more than enough, I can say that with certainty. More than once, at the very least.

Transgender

Shall we discuss how I’ve been trying to wear women’s clothes since I was three years old, how I would hide all of my underwear so that I could wear my sister’s instead, even back then, before the divorce, before any of that? It’s fair to say I’ve been transgender my entire life. Of course, I wasn’t allowed to be. Shall I go into how when things finally settled down I lived with my fundamentalist Christian grandmother who threatened to send me to a home if they found girl clothes in my room again? Or how my father took me out back with a belt? Is there any reason to get into any of that?

No Water or Electricity

With some regularity, once I moved in with my dad around the 8th or 9th grade, he had me stay home from school in case someone from the electric company came by to disconnect our electricity, but this was already something I was familiar with. We didn’t have electricity through most of That Summer in Arkansas, and one day mom left me alone–keeping in mind this was the summer between the 2nd and 3rd grade, so I was 8 years old–and someone from the city came by and did something to the water line out front. I secretly watched him from the window, not sure who it was.

Well, mom returned and learned that we didn’t have any water. So naturally, I got yelled at and in trouble for not opening the door and telling this stranger that I, an 8 year old kid, was home alone but if he could come back in a few hours my mom could totally arrange something with him–probably fucking him, of course. I’m not kidding, either. She honestly screamed at me for not opening the door to a strange man–I couldn’t recognize a city employee–and informing him that I was home alone.

That wasn’t the first time she said something that indicated that she wanted me to be kidnapped, either. Of course, she knew kidnapping pretty well, as someone had tried kidnapping her when she was a teenager. I don’t recall the exact circumstances, but he pulled a knife on her as they drove down the road, so she jumped out of the car. Because that’s what you do when you have a problem to be dealt with: you deal with it. You don’t sit there and beg the man not to hurt you as you undress so he can rape you. You handle it.

Arkansas summers are every bit as bad as Mississippi summers, though they might be slightly less humid. Not having electricity meant there was nowhere to escape the heat, and not having water meant that every day my sister and I had to carry a five gallon bucket to a nearby gas station and fill it with their faucet outside when no one was looking–because we’d already been chased off.

And when your mom is an idiot who tears down a shed in the backyard–as requested by the landlord–and sets it on fire, it tends to chase all the bugs and creepy-crawlies out of the backyard and into the front yard. Then your mom really shows her idiocy by choosing to deal with the problem–of being unable to step out the front door without immediately being assaulted by hundreds of fleas–by lighting a bonfire in the front yard. This, of course, chased the fleas into the house. And holy crap, they were everywhere. No amount of bug bombs or flea powder did a thing about it. It was full on infestation. No electricity, no water, and a house filled with fleas in the middle of July in Arkansas.

But no, I’m sure you’ve got trauma that gives you PTSD and forces you to flee debates.

Naturally, this entire situation had fried my nerves, to the extent that I couldn’t eat. Not that we had anything to really eat anyway–as I said in one of the videos I linked earlier, on those rare occasions when we did actually have money to buy food, Treet Meat was an actual treat. If you’re unfamiliar with Treet Meat, it’s basically generic spam. Mm-mm, good.

My sister and mother fought all the freaking time. Dad stood at the edge of the driveway and cold-bloodedly threatened to kill my mother, saying, “I will kill you.”

Death and Murder

Of course, that wouldn’t be the first time my father killed someone. When I was real young–somewhere between 3 and 5–my sister and I rode with him to my go visit some relatives. He, of course, was high as hell and shouldn’t have been driving. Some dick in an 18 wheeler decided to pass us. I was too young to really know the problem. My father insisted that the highway wasn’t wide enough. It was a scary highway, out in the middle of nowhere, with a steep ditch on both sides and heavy forests on both sides. Going into that ditch would have been virtually instant death. Whether the highway wasn’t really wide enough or whether dad swerved, I don’t know, but the sideview mirror of the 18 wheeler smashed through the driver-side window, spraying a hurricane of glass through the cab of dad’s truck. We weren’t injured.

Later that day–later that same fucking day, man–dad rear-ended a woman driving an auburn car. Again, I don’t recall all the details. He either gunned it as soon as the light turned green, or he didn’t brake hard enough because he expected the woman to hurry up and go. I don’t know which. I know only that we rear ended her, hard enough for her car to careen more than fifty feet forward. Her neck broke. She died on the spot. My father, driving high, had killed her.

Obviously, the police were called. I can only imagine the horrified panic in my father in those moments, and I can almost sympathize with that–the Mistake To End All Mistakes, you know? You know that sinking feeling when you make a mistake… Now multiply that by a billion because now someone is dead, and it’s your fault, and you know you’re going to jail and nothing will stop it. I sympathize with the dead woman, too, don’t get me wrong.

My dad, my sister, and me were all placed into the backseat of the police car. No, I’m not kidding. I, somewhere between 3 and 5 years old, was being arrested too, as far as I could tell. My father was in handcuffs, and I wasn’t, but that didn’t change the fact that I was in the cop car, too. No one was telling me anything; no one was telling my sister anything. We had no idea what was going on. Then, wouldn’t you fucking know it, again, just like it was out of a movie, that same goddamned truck driver who had smashed out our window earlier that same damned day arrived. Next thing I know, he’s banging on the cop car’s window, shouting obscenities at all of us. My father started frothing at the mouth and demanding to be let out so that he could kick the truck driver’s ass, but the truck driver just kept shouting and yelling at us while my sister and I cried, our entire world slipping between our fingers.

I was traumatized by that, too. I know that for a fact. It was almost impossible, for a long time after that, for my parents to get me into a vehicle. They had to give me “nerve pills”–probably the Xanax that caused that mess in the first place–in order to get me to get in the car. I refused to. I’d get sick and start vomiting, crying, panicking, any time someone said that I had to go for a ride.

But I’m sure it’s totally fair and justified that debates trigger you.

That’s Probably Enough

If it’s not, then check the links I provided earlier, or check out Dancing in Hellfire when I finally get it published. It’s got some brutal shit in there, and I still didn’t cover everything. I’ll never be able to cover everything, because I remember things every other week. You can’t cover all the sordid details of a life like that. There’s just too much ground to go over.

Other people have certainly had worse lives, and I don’t mean to say they haven’t. But not many people had worse childhoods here in the west that they actually survived. I’m not trying to earn the sympathy of these special snowflakes, these suffers of Special Snowflake Stress Disorder. I’m trying to give them a bit of perspective. Because, yeah, if you have no idea how bad things can really get, then you might come to the conclusion that your parents arguing when you were a kid is a good reason to run and hide whenever arguments start.

But sack up, sunshine. It’s fight or flight, not fight, flight, or cower.

I’m not going to compare my suffering to  yours. I have spent too long arguing that suffering is relative. Sure, I bitch about all of the above, but there are 12 year old girls who have now spent years as the forced brides and sex slaves of Boko Haram. We can, and should, say the same about your suffering. I know that people like to compare suffering, though, especially the kind of people who say that debates trigger their PTSD. Well, they like to when they think they can come out “ahead” with their suffering as “worse,” and why? Because they think being a victim is a good thing, so obviously the person who has suffered the most is the winner in their worldview–whoever has suffered the most is the biggest victim, and they want to be the biggest victim because being victim is a good thing now.

Someone always has it worse, but that someone has it worse doesn’t mitigate the suffering we have experienced. Suffering, after all, is relative. This girl crying in the corner because someone tried to debate her truly feels her own past suffering to exactly the same extent that I feel my past suffering, and to exactly the same extent that the kidnap victims of Boko Haram feel their suffering, and to exactly the same extent that poor woman was held in her father’s basement and raped for 17 years feels her own suffering. We can’t put a value on suffering, and it’s a fool’s task to even try.

But…

But whatever value we place on suffering, if you survived your childhood, aren’t a serial killer, and live in the west, then chances are that the horrors I can point to cause yours to pale in comparison. My point isn’t to say “Oh, poor me, I had it so much worse than you.”

My point is exactly the opposite.

The past doesn’t matter. The past doesn’t shape you unless you allow it to. You cannot be a victim unless you consent to be a victim. My past is not marked by horrors and traumas that have victimized me; my past is marked by lessons that have taught me. I am not their victim. I am their beneficiary.

So make your choice, but don’t pretend like it’s not a choice.

Will you be a victim or a beneficiary?

Processed Corn Pudding Goop – Update

So I’ve decided that Processed Corn Pudding Goop isn’t going to have a plot. It’s essentially just the story of a millennial coming to terms with the absolute meaningless of existence, and making the step from that to the realization that the fact that existence is meaningless is, itself, meaningless. A plot wouldn’t fit the narrative. It’s a book for the nihilistic millennials who haven’t made that final step and who are lost in a sea of oblivion–“What is the point? There isn’t one. We die, and then that’s that.” “We live, we die, and there’s usually some bullshit between the two.” This is currently the project I’m working on while I wait to hear back from agents on Dancing in Hellfire, and from Playboy and a few other magazines about “Dead or Alive.”

The formatting got fucked; I apologize. It may fix itself when I publish, though. Even if you read part one, it may be worth reading this again, since I’ve done a bit of editing. This is a first draft that I’m sharing as I’m writing; typos and all that aren’t really important. Like at one point it says “…shaking in angry…” when it meant “shaking in anger.” I make that mistake a lot for some reason. C’est la vie.

Chapter 1

 

Support your local businesses.

 

Everyone said that. And it made total sense, really. In fact, nothing made more sense as I put yet another can of Supergrocery brand Processed Corn Goop on the shelf, marked down to eighty-four cents a can–a savings of 1.2 cents an ounce, according to the obnoxiously red piece of cardboard paper I’d slid over the yellow one. Of course, it was all bullshit. There was no real savings going on here, since whatever poor sap bought this crap was basically paying eighty-four cents to shit out this hyperprocessed, homogenized goop that the FDA allowed to be called “food.” There was about as much food in it as there was human excrement. And even so, the price had been just eighty-two cents a can just two weeks ago, before management upped the price temporarily so that they could reduce it a bit and sell it back to the fat fucking idiots at a “discount.”

 

Most people wouldn’t buy the goop anyway, because they’d insist on buying Namebrand Goop, declaring to anyone who would listen that there really was a difference. And yeah, in some cases that’s true, but when Supergrocery Brand is a subsidiary of Neutral Brand that is a subsidiary of Namebrand and it’s all just Goop made in the same factory–yes, factory. This stuff isn’t produced on a farm or anywhere else you’d expect food to come from. But that’s the rule of American society, that rule that only heretics break: Namebrand is better than Supergrocery brand.

 

I wasn’t surprised when I watched the clan of fat white trailer trash come down the aisle, inexorably toward me like a ball rolling down a hill that no one could stop. Like an old cartoon of a cat chasing a mouse, the woman–if you can call her that, because she was more like a giant toad that some circusmaster had tricked into standing up and putting on a pair of sweat-stained sweatpants–had seen a sale on pudding further down the aisle. She wouldn’t have been trailer trash without towing three kids behind her–and I felt bad for them, but there was nothing to be done.

 

She glared so hatefully at me as she pushed her basket–a basket that might as well have been called a Repository For Corn Syrup–past me and my ladder, as though I was in her way, or as though I was the enemy in my stupid red vest and nametag. Like I had betrayed her by not calling her and telling her the pudding was on sale. And I realized–that’s probably how she felt. That was her pudding.

 

Her kids meekly passed by, and one of them even said “Excuse me.”

 

I pretended to move cans of Processed Corn Goop around while I watched the woman from the corner of my eye, and it was actually kind of cute, once she reached the pudding, how she acted like she hadn’t been running to get there before anyone else could. Well, no, she wasn’t running, not really. She was too fat to run. She’d have keeled over and died right there in the aisle if she’d tried.

 

It’s why all employees are trained to perform CPR.

 

For when fat asses get over-excited about the 3% discount on Processed Corn Pudding Goop.

 

It wasn’t even hard to figure out how this had happened. Of course, no one is talking about in the open, and no one is going to. It’s that elephant in the room, that open secret that everyone knows but is too afraid to say, and that’s why there will never be a direct study on it. In fact, the only graph you can find about it simply shows the increase in how much corn has been grown in the country over the past century. The increase is alarming, but it doesn’t suggest, by itself, that the corn is more present in foods.

 

cornEverything contains high fructose corn syrup. It’s so common that we’ve now started stamping the outliers with things like “Contains Real Sugar!” This, of course, leaves people like me asking “As opposed to what? Fake sugar?”

 

“Correct.”

 

As opposed to fake sugar.

 

Aka, corn syrup.

 

And it’s everywhere. Fast food places load their foods with corn syrup, even things like hamburgers, in order to make them more addictive. That chocolate syrup, that can of Ravioli Pasta in Tomato Sauce Goop–it’s all corn syrup, with corn probably listed somewhere in the first five ingredients.

 

And what do you know. Diabetes has increased proportionally. Imagine that.diabetes

 

Who would ever have guessed.

 

Of course, I don’t really blame the sack of puss and corn syrup at the end of the aisle, hungrily licking her lips as she estimates how many little containers of Processed Corn Pudding Goop she can suck down in twelve seconds, because she wasn’t really the one who put the Mom & Pop stores out of business–that happened when she was a teenager, and it was her parents who did it, because they couldn’t resist the temptation of paying eight-four cents for a can of Processed Corn Goop instead of a dollar and seven cents for an ear of actual fucking corn. And then they’d have to shuck it themselves, boil it, cook it, and ugh.

 

So much trouble.

 

So much easier to just save money and buy Processed Corn Goop.

 

“Eric.”

 

I closed my eyes and silently groaned. That nasally, whiny voice could only have been my supervisor, standing on the ground behind me in his red vest lined with a white stripe, with a stupid fucking black star by his name and the words “Assistant Supervisor” under his name. I didn’t have to look at his balding head and gigantic nose, or that stupid Hitler mustache that he was so fond of–really, if you watch him sometime, you’ll see him reaching up and caressing it every few minutes.

 

Steve is the kind of guy who probably spends a few minutes in front of the mirror every morning reminding himself that he’s the champion of the world. He probably does that despite the fact that his wife left his impotent ass for a guy who was half his age when her uncle died and left her enough money that she could live out the rest of her days without being married to a cretin that weighed seventeen pounds and spent his college years on the Quiz Bowl team instead of getting laid. What happened, Steve? Did getting that last question in the finals wrong fuck your life up that bad? Was your entire future really riding on that one question? Because now you’re a sad, pathetic, forty-nine year old man with a combover and Hitler ‘stache, wearing a gay ass red vest with a black star on your nametag, haunted by the word Assistant Supervisor because you just can’t kiss up to Anthony’s ass hard enough or fast enough to outrank the new blonde with a huge rack.

 

And I’m just curious when things went wrong.

 

“Eric,” Steve said, this time more firmly.

 

“What, Steve?” I asked, but I still didn’t bother to look at him. I was too fascinated by the scene unfolding with the pile of diabetes at the end of the aisle and her daughter saying that she didn’t like butterscotch and that she wanted vanilla. What a dilemma, especially since the Repository For Corn Syrup was being paid for with food stamps that were, according to the law, intended to buy food for the children. But was it really for the children if she got the flavors that she liked, and not the flavors the kids liked?

 

How about an apple?

 

“I asked you yesterday to take the boxes from Storage Room A–the ones stacked near the door–and move them to Storage Room C so that we can bring a new shipment of–”

 

I asked you yesterday.

 

That’s why Steve had to remind himself that he was a champion every morning.

 

Because he wasn’t a champion.

 

Champions don’t ask their employees to do things, Steve. It’s not just the blonde’s huge rack that Anthony likes looking at that caused you to become her assistant, and not the other way around. It’s because people listen to Jillian. I mean, yeah, people listen to Jillian because she’s a hot blonde with huge tits, but that’s not the point. One way or another, people do the things that she asks them to do, so it doesn’t matter that she’s asking rather than telling. But you, Steve, with your combover and Hitler mustache–you have to command. And you don’t. You’re a pitiful sheep in a world ruled by lions, and the only reason you’re an assistant supervisor is that they’ve taken pity on you.

 

Praise your masters, Steve.

 

Then lick their boots.

 

Watching Steve suck up to Jillian is some of the best entertainment we get. We take bets on how long Steve has left before he’s fired, but it’s just a matter of time before he’s walking out the door for the final time, banned from the premises as long as Jillian works here, because Steve isn’t the kind of guy that can look at a girl’s bouncing tits without it being creepy. Some people can do that. Some guys can openly check out the goods–the real goods, not the Processed Corn Goop–and grin at the girl without her being offended–it’s just human nature, and some guys can pull it off.

 

Not Steve.

 

Steve would be wise to grow a goatee to go with his Hitler stache. That way, something will catch his drool, and he won’t have to worry about it sliding down his chin and into the floor as he stares hungrily–almost exactly like Mrs. Diabetes down there looking over the Processed Corn Pudding Goop–at Jillian’s breasts.

 

“Clean up on Aisle 7. Steve was staring at Jillian’s tits again.”

 

“…then I’m afraid I’m going to have to file a formal reprimand,” Steve finished.

 

The formal reprimand.

 

Paperwork acknowledging that Steve came and interrupted me while I was trying to do my goddamned job, put his hands on his hips, narrowed his eyes, and told me he was disappointed in me.

 

No, Steve!

 

Take it back, Steve!

 

“What?” I asked.

 

Steve scoffed, but it wasn’t a true scoff. It was the Wannabe Supervisor’s Scoff. It was that thing people do when they’re frustrated because their entire life is a joke and they themselves are a joke, and everything about their life sucks, and everyone knows it, but no one calls them out on it because we’re a society of civilized people. After all, we don’t even eat that uncouth, uncivilized corn. No, we eat Processed Corn Goop, by God! And so we serve up synthetic respect with about as much authentic admiration in it as there is real food in the Processed Corn Goop. Fake food, fake respect. Hell, fake faces, fake tits, fake tans, fake clothes, fake money.

 

Fake lives.

 

“I said that if those boxes are still there when the shipment arrives, then I’ll have to file a formal reprimand!”

 

So there was no need for me to move the boxes before now, right? So why did I have to do it yesterday? And with all the effort you’ve spent bitching about the boxes, wouldn’t it have been faster for you to move the damned things?

 

“How about you move the boxes, Steve?” I asked.

 

Most people wouldn’t dare mouth off to a supervisor an assistant supervisor like that, but this was Steve. Mr. Combover. Mr. Hitler Mustache. Mr. Some Guy Half My Age is Fucking My Ex-Wife. This was Assistant Supervisor I’m a Champion Steve.

 

Fuck Steve.

 

“I–ech–” Steve stuttered out, his typical response. He rolled his eyes and shook his head, making weird noises as he tried to process the reality that he wasn’t even worthy of Fake Respect from the people who stocked Fake Food in a Fake Society. “I asked you to do it.”

 

“I’m busy, Steve.”

 

Your entire life is a lie, Steve.

 

“What time is the shipment coming?” I asked. I’m not a bad person. I do feel bad for Steve. It’s not really his fault that he’s Mr. Combover.

 

After giving me the info, I assured Steve that I’d move the boxes by then. So Steve turned and started to walk away, but decided to mouth off a bit himself. “You’d better, otherwise I’ll have to do a formal reprimand,” he threatened again, as though that had any sway at all. That’s what’s funny about people like Fake Steve and our Fake Respect. If we don’t show that Fake Respect, and if we don’t show Fake Fear for the Fake Reprimand, then the entire system crumbles–if we don’t Fake Kneel to the Fake Threat and the Fake Consequences, then Fake Steve can’t do anything. His threat was every bit as fake as the Processed Corn Pudding Goop.

 

Chapter 2

 

What do you do when you wake up on a mattress at eleven in the morning, to banging on your apartment front door, to the landlord outside wanting to find out why there were men coming and going from your place at all hours of the night? When you groggily look at her naked body beneath the sheet and wonder briefly why the two of you have never bothered to actually put the sheet on the bed, why you lay down on the bare mattress?

 

Because why bother to?

 

It’s that moment, with the landlord knocking at the door–and you know it’s the landlord, because it wouldn’t be anyone else–scratching the back of your neck and catching a glimpse of your naked body in the nicotine-coated mirror above the desk–when you see out of the window everyone going about their lives, running continually in circles, hamsters on a wheel.

 

Birth. School. Marriage. Kids. Death.

 

Chasing fake things in a fake society, sustaining ourselves on fake food purchased with fake money, giving fake respect to fake supervisors because of fake fear about a fake reprimand. Too many of these fake reprimands and we’ll lose our fake job putting fake food on a shelf, lose our ability to earn fake money to buy that fake food and pay our fake rent and fake taxes to a fake government that oversees a fake society and implements a fake morality to govern our fake lives.

 

Hamsters on a wheel. Birth, school, marriage, kids, death.

 

Some people say that I have an attitude problem. I say that I understand why it looks that way to them, but what I really have is a reality problem. I’ve seen through the bullshit. All these fake human constructs that we bow to, not out of wisdom or insight or progress, but simply out of habit and tradition. We were birthed on the hamster wheel and we’ll run our lives on the hamster wheel because we’ve been on it since birth, and it never even occurred to us that the hamster wheel was bullshit.

 

Real text messages from fake friends, that blurry line between what is actually real and what is total fiction. Fake friends born not out of love and compassion but out of circumstance–they were tolerable people that happened to be around me, and vice versa. “Your place this weekend?” the fake friend asked, wanting to watch “the game” somewhere and being too cheap to go and pay fake money at a bar for the beer that he uses to forget how much it sucks to waste his real life running on a fake hamster wheel, and too cheap to pay a fake bill for cable television–that wretched box of fake fictions that people escape into from their fake lives in a real universe.

 

An average child watches 1,480 minutes of television a week. That’s a figure that would horrify a real person. 24.6 hours of television every week–about 3.5 hours a day. Just sitting on their fat asses eating fake food and watching fake realities unfold. In that same year, the child will watch more than 16,000 thirty second commercials advertising fake shit for their fake parents to buy with fake money.

 

Why are their parents fake? Because the average person spends 5 hours and eleven minutes a day watching television.

 

Nothing has been more destructive to our species than television.

 

So now 67% of American families sit around–a stepdad or stepmom, since the divorce rate is so high, and a real parent, 2.5 kids–not at a dinner table, but on a sofa, staring at the fake realities glowing at them and eating fake food that their fake parents bought with fake money working at a fake job. I’ve never felt so patriotic.

 

Lana is even crazier than I am, though, and it’s thanks to her that I see all this fake bullshit for what it is.

 

She’s stunningly gorgeous, and sexy beyond what you can imagine since you’ve never seen anyone like her. And that was the problem. She’s part of those statistics, too, and Fake Dad had a hard time keeping his hands to himself. When she told Fake Mom, Fake Mom didn’t believe her, and even when she showed Fake Mom the bruises, she simply got grounded and was accused of seducing Fake Dad. So she ran away.

 

I would point out that even as a fifteen year old, Lana was sexy and gorgeous, but that would violate society’s fake morals–the same ideas that led to fake laws that would have prosecuted Fake Dad if Fake Mom had been able to tell the difference between real and fake. But a fifteen year old beautiful and sexy girl running away didn’t have an easy time of it, and she was a hooker on the streets within six months, addicted to heroin and HIV Positive. Turns out there’s no shortage of Fake Dads out there looking to fuck a fifteen year old girl away from the watchful eyes of the fake laws of a fake society.

 

When I met her, she was twenty years old, a year younger than myself, and propositioned me as I walked back from a night of drinking beer with fake friends and watching a fake sporting event. She was too damned sexy and too damned beautiful, so I accepted–then I visited her again the next night, and the next, and the next. Her pimp started getting irritated–apparently that industry doesn’t care much for “repeat customers”–and beat the hell out of her.

 

So I put a real gun to his head, pulled the real trigger, and ended his fake life.

 

The cops made a token effort to look into it, but a pimp and drug dealer shot and killed in a city filled with drugs and prostitutes? Hell, I did them a favor. That’s one less drug dealer and pimp on the streets. They just weren’t allowed to say it. Just like I’m not allowed to tell Steve that his life is a lie and he should kill himself. So they pretended to look into it, but even as Lana–known to be one of his girls–moved into my apartment, they didn’t even bother to come and question me. Fake rules governing a fake society. Don’t show them fake respect, and the whole thing comes apart.

 

The really difficult part came in later, when Lana made it clear that she intended to become a… “freelancer,” and that she had no intention of finding another line of work. She had real feelings for me, and we had a real relationship–her points about it all was that it shouldn’t matter if she had fake sex with other people. I really wasn’t ready then to accept that, but I cared too much about her to let her go, so I fake accepted it.

 

And at some point I just stopped caring about that. What did it matter? What did any of it matter?

 

It didn’t.

 

Fake significance.

 

“Why do you care if other guys pay to fuck me?”

 

That’s the question that will turn your entire world upside down if you try to come up with a real answer to it. It’s impossible to answer in the first place without laying some kind of claim on the girl, without suggesting that her pussy is yours, and that’s never a good thing to say in a relationship. Because no–her pussy is hers. And trying to go beyond that to come up with any answer at all when tear away delusions from your worldview one by one, until you’re a frightened little child crying in the corner, trying to figure out what, exactly, is real.

 

I ignored the banging on the door, because I knew it wouldn’t last long. Captain Stick in the Ass would get bored and waddle his fat ass back down the stairs. There wouldn’t have been a problem anyway, if it hadn’t been for the people who lived below. They were an elderly couple–well, sixty or so.

 

The man was a sack of fat ass–Yes, everyone is fat. I don’t know very many people who aren’t fat, in fact. Anyway, he was actually extremely fat, diabetic (which I knew because it was a topic that came up within the first fifteen seconds of talking to him), and had no idea how to speak at a proper volume. Whether you were a hundred yards away or right in his face, he was the loudest motherfucker I’ve ever met. I’ve actually met his son, and his son was a pretty cool guy who offered up the excuse that his dad had changed drastically “after he ran himself over.”

 

I’m sorry–come again?

 

Ran himself over.

 

He was working on his truck one day and had it jacked up, but was on a hill apparently and had done nothing to keep it from rolling. When paramedics arrived on the scene, he had been dead for 7 minutes. They managed to resuscitate him, and he recovered pretty well, but the working theory is that 7 minutes without any air going to his brain left him obnoxious as fuck. He didn’t become stupid or helpless or anything–just tremendously annoying.

 

His wife wasn’t any better, and she was probably fatter than he was, although shorter and with a better mustache. Neither of them worked, because they were both on disability. He was on disability because he’d been run over and never really recovered physically–which I would believe, but I don’t think he tried to recover. Like, he’s exactly the kind of diabetic people think of when they think of Adult Onset Diabetes. For years, he ate breakfast at a popular fast food place every single day, ballooning the entire time, and was finally diagnosed with diabetes. Did he stop the breakfast?

 

No. He simply started injecting insulin or whatever people like him do, and he continued to plop his fat fucking ass down and eat greasy fast food breakfast every single day. A year later, he had a heart attack, and the doctor finally convinced him to stop eating fast food. It didn’t really change anything, because he just had his wife start cooking the same sausage and bacon instead of ordering it, but… Baby steps, I guess.

 

The man was fully convinced that it was the doctors’ responsibility to simply cure him, and that he shouldn’t have to change his diet or start exercising. “That’s what I’m paying them for,” he would say. “To cure me. Why am I paying them to cure me, if what I have to do is cure myself?” He rejected it completely–the doctors were supposed to cure him and accommodate his lifestyle, diet, and laziness. Of course, he wasn’t paying the doctors anyway. The government was.

 

His wife and her mustache had spent about two years fighting with the government so that she could retire early on disability or something like that, and they were finally successful, which resulted in her receiving a check for something like sixteen thousand dollars for doing nothing except being lazy, fat, and ignorant, and randomly deciding one day that she just didn’t want to work anymore. Presumably, someone somewhere in the government shrugged and wrote her a fat fucking check to go into her fat fucking pocket so that she could support her husband’s addiction to fast food Processed Corn Sausage Goop.

 

They were deeply unhappy and deeply miserable, which meant, of course, that they had to make sure everyone else was miserable. That was something I learned very quickly after Lana shacked up with me. I hadn’t noticed it before, but… Everyone was miserable. The random people I passed on the street every single day—they were screaming on the inside, raging, thrashing, a meek soul raking its nails at the inner recesses of the mind where it was trapped. Where it was doomed to remain trapped, because we’d long since forgotten it was there.

 

We’re so terrified of ourselves, reality, the universe—whatever you want to call it. Existence. We quiver in fear and shake our heads, crying fetal in the floor in a panicked state of bewilderment, refusing to accept everything. So we turn our devotion to illusions, to things that are fake. We invent systems—economic, religious, political—and we devote ourselves to those, giving them significance and dedicating our lives to them in one form or another, and we become so attached to them that we allow ourselves to forget that they are fictions we created because we couldn’t bear to look reality in the face, because we’re cowards sitting in the dark trailer with the curtains drawn, aghast at the idea of looking outside because we fear we might see the face of the devil, and even though we know that we will see no such thing, we just sit there anyway.

Piles of processed corn pudding goop.

 

Some part of us always senses that something is wrong, though. How can we not? It requires us to maintain a state of constant cognitive dissonance, and if it slips for even a moment, there it is—bam!—oblivion, staring back at us. We know what’s on the other side of the illusion. We just don’t talk about it.

 

Instead we yell and scream at the fat, mustached wife who tells us that we can’t eat fast food for breakfast any longer. Instead, she yells at us for stupid shit that even she doesn’t really care about. Together, we yell at the rest of the world. We have to make sure the world is as miserable as we are, because otherwise we’ll find ourselves sitting there in isolation as laughter rings out in the darkness, shining like a light onto our roach-like lives and sending us scurrying for shadows that have been banished by the neighbor’s joviality.

 

Heading in unison toward the cliff with nothing but cold emptiness and eternal sleep awaiting us at the bottom, dead and too dead to even know we’re dead, like zombies as we stare up at the glowing box that beams directly to us temporary escapes from our meaningless lives as the conveyor belt of time carries us inexorably toward non-existence.

 

Splat!

 

Landing at the bottom, another dead pile of processed corn pudding goop.

 

Clean up in aisle 7.

 

I’m every bit as miserable as everyone else—miserable and misanthropic. The only real difference is that I’m keenly aware of the misery that coats my soul, shiny, like Steve’s bald spot—reflecting everything outward and letting nothing true, least of all existence and life. I can’t even say that it’s really advantageous. We’re all miserable. What have I gained by accepting that?

 

Nothing, really. Even if we all could accept the empty desolation that is existence, it wouldn’t mean a thing for anyone. There is no conceivable change that could make things better; we’ll all continue to be miserable, simply conscious of it. And that’s when it hits you. Waking up at eleven in the morning in a ramshackle apartment, lying on a mattress that sits on the floor and that no one bothered to even cover with a sheet as some stupid dick bangs on the door, that’s when the realization hits you.

 

This is hell.

 

We live in hell.

 

And years and decades of life in hell has made everyone insane. They have to escape into the television sitcoms and care about them, because otherwise they have to care about hell. They have to focus on ridiculous human fictions like bank accounts and picket fences, because otherwise they have to care about hell. That’s the choice we’re given. Invisibly and subtly, because no one ever sits down to say it, but maybe they should.

 

“You can choose between hell or illusions.”

 

Maybe I’m the insane one for choosing hell.

 

Chapter 3

 

Steve managed to wait an entire seven minutes before coming to bother me. It was just a perfect example of his insanity. Steve knew that he wanted to stand by the employee entrance, arms crossed, ready to scream and berate me as soon as I appeared. He wouldn’t do that, though—no, he had to deny himself. He had to appear civilized, this psychotic feces-flinging ape. His blood boiled, his stupid Hitler mustache quivered with rage, his face turned beet red, and his combover fell as he sat tapping his fingers on his “desk” waiting on my arrival, each second passing adding to his anger and hostility. But I wasn’t the one that Steve was angry at, not really. I was just the catalyst. Steve was angry at life, furious that he couldn’t plant himself beside the door and greet me with a string of profanities and insults.

 

Steve wanted corn, but there was only processed corn pudding goop.

 

“I need to see you in my office,” Steve said flatly to me as I pretended to be working. I was okay with that. Steve pretended to have authority, and I played along with that—it was my own dish of processed corn pudding goop. It seemed to me that the least Steve could do was play along when I pretended to be working. Speaking without any tone in his voice was what Steve understood to be “commanding,” but I’d bet all the real corn in the world that, if my back hadn’t been turned, I’d have seen that Steve’s eyes were cast down to the floor as he walked past, too weak to actually stop and speak.

 

I was in no hurry. Steve wasn’t going anywhere—in any sense. That’s the most generous thing that could be said of a middle aged fat man with a combover who worked as an assistant supervisor at a grocery store. “The sun is the same in a relative way, but you’re older, shorter of breath, and one day closer to death.” Steve’s conveyor belt just kept turning, and he seemed almost unaware of it. Maybe he was squeezing his eyes shut, convinced that this moment was the only moment, and therefore infinite.

 

So I ensured that this moment—which I’d have described as “me not sitting and being blasted by the hideous soup of gelatin, high fructose corn syrup, and bacteria that roiled in the hurricane of Steve’s mouth as his tongue lashed around frantically to skirt the border between the world of corn and the world of processed corn pudding goop, and while little devils bound his mind with chains and repeated hypnotically that he had to be civilized”—lasted as long as possible, and just stood there for a few minutes, anticipating the circus of illusions and mutual delusion that awaited me.

 

I stopped at a drink machine and inserted three worthless coins—fake money to buy a fake drink that I fake wanted. I wasn’t thirsty, and wouldn’t drink that liquid diabetes even if I had been, but I did enjoy the fact that Steve could see me from his office as I slowly bought it. Three quarters made of mostly copper and nickel—utterly worthless. Well, that wasn’t true. It was worth two pennies. Well, strictly speaking it was actually worth four pennies, because a penny itself wasn’t actually worth one cent, but a half of a cent. That was the game, of course—to give us money that was worth as little as possible measured in its own denominations. A twenty-five cent coin was worth two cents.

 

Makes perfect sense.

 

 

The Nihilism of Western Society

Western society is not decadent; it’s nihilistic.

Now, those familiar with me know that I consider myself a nihilist. I am also well aware that Nietzsche–the father of modern nihilism–would be appalled to learn that we call ourselves nihilists. We don’t mean it in the same sense that Nietzsche meant it, and I’m going to get into that momentarily. We mean it in the sense of ultimate objectivity, refusing to allow emotions a place in shaping our knowledge, and a strict separation of emotion from reason. This leads to a lack of attachment and loyalty to existing institutions. We don’t look at the educational institution and say, “Well, it’s bad and could be replaced, but we’ve had this one for so long…” Instead, we stop at “Does it accomplish what we want it to? If not, replace it.”

Nihilists do not advocate arbitrarily destroying socioeconomic institutions just because. We advocate destroying them if they don’t do what we want them to do. This requires objectively looking at them and their results. Nihilism is a constant battle between what we believe and what is, and not everyone is capable of accepting “what is.” Religion is a great example. I have a friend who agrees with me almost completely about religion, and even agrees that people use deities as projections of their own beliefs and opinions. Yet, he still believes that there is a god–in the deist sense. This is an example where he will not accept What Is because of What Ought.

It’s funny that nihilists recognize that every value that we assign to things is subjective, while also striving to be as objective as possible–objective, in this context, meaning “not allowing emotions to alter the value we ascribe.” Nietzsche would absolutely be an anarcho-capitalist if he lived today: Austrian economics is the application of this subjectivity to market values. Nietzsche spoke primarily of assigning moral values, but the principle is the same for market values, too, and he has long been recognized as an enemy of the state. It was Nietzsche, after all, who said:

Everything the state says is a lie, and everything it has, it has stolen.

If there’s anything that you should take away from this preamble, it’s that I understand Nietzsche and I understand what we call Nihilism. I am a nihilist. For the rest of the article, though, I don’t mean “nihilist” in that sense. I mean it in its Nietzschean sense: advocating ideas and opinions that are ultimately self-destructive. This is what Nietzsche meant when he characterized Christianity as nihilistic. From The Antichrist:

What is more harmful than any vice?–Practical sympathy for the botched and the weak–Christianity…

We Americans, too, are increasingly nihilistic, yet it has nothing to do with religion. It does have to do with the same thing that Nietzsche criticized, but I think Nietzsche was wrong here. I don’t think compassion is a problem; in fact, I encourage compassion. I think that we tend to come up with extremely short-sighted, non-functional solutions, propose them, and then tie our compassion to them, so much so that anyone who then disputes our proposed solution is written off as lacking compassion. That’s a bit long-winded and technical, so let me give an example.

I am against welfare. I am adamantly against stealing from one person to give their money to someone else, and this is what constitutes “welfare” in western society. Whether you think it’s just or not is irrelevant; that’s simply what happens. When I tell people that I am against welfare, I am universally met with the response of, “You just want poor people to starve to death?”

Published alongside me in V2: The Voluntary Voice was Matthew Weber, who told a story about his voluntaryist-oriented band played a show, and at one point said some anarchistic stuff. Someone threw a bottle at the drummer and shouted, “Without the state, where would I find housing?”

Without even being conscious of it, they have formed a false dichotomy where the choices are “the state” or “people starve and go homeless.”

Nietzsche wrote from a perspective that was, really, Beyond Good and Evil. He was not concerned with what he called Middle Class Morality–a profound realization in its own right, that the rich don’t abide morality because they don’t have to, and the poor don’t abide it because they don’t have the luxury. Nietzsche realized that morality is a luxury, and it is from here that we proceed, because compassion is also a luxury. The child starving to death surely has no compassion for the robbery of Kim Kardashian. The woman dying of cancer surely has no compassion for a stranger’s flu.

When people begin starving, morality is the first thing to be thrown away, as morality was the force responsible for creating the vacuum in which they went hungry. The man starving to death has no moral difficulty with stealing a loaf of bread. The family going hungry has no moral difficulty using the state to give to others for their own benefit. So, too, is my critique of this theft as immoral a luxury of the middle class–and my morality does not apply to them, because they have discarded it. When thrown with others into a survival trap like in the movie Saw, we would have no moral difficulty in poisoning the doctor to ensure our own survival.

Certainly, I would argue that it is good that we have our Middle Class Morality, and I argue that both the poor and the rich should have to abide it. Many Americans argue that the rich should have to, but leave the poor out of this requirement. We criticize Wells Fargo for stealing, basically, from its customers, yet we give a thumbs up to the poor who use the state to steal. My entire position as an anarchist is that everyone must follow this Middle Class Morality that forbids the use of force, violence, and coercion, and that this mandate must include the rulers–who so often are given a free pass to violate the tenets of our morality.

However, I am not concerned with what the middle class says is right or wrong. Here, as Nietzsche did, we focus our efforts higher than that, and go beyond that; we look instead at survival and the species. There is no one as nihilistic as millennials, and this is a problem that we must address.

Millennials despise people being rewarded for their effort.

Such a sweeping statement! And, obviously, it will not be true of all millennials–I am a millennial. However, it is true of the majority of them.

They embrace an economic system that deliberately does not reward people for their effort. It doesn’t matter how we dress it up. If a person believes that a doctor, an attorney, an engineer, a physicist, a Wal-Mart cashier, and a burger flipper deserve equal wages, then they ipso facto reject the notion that people should be rewarded for their effort.

As I wrote for Cubed3 regarding Star Fox Zero, this extends to most areas of life: millennials simply want to be given stuff, and they legitimately don’t understand why effort should be rewarded. We’re told that we’re entitled if we want the physicist to be rewarded for their years of training and education with a higher wage. We’re told that we’re entitled if we want the doctor to be rewarded for their years of training and education with a higher wage. And, yes, we’re told we’re entitled if we want the effort we put into beating a video game rewarded.

This mentality–that rewarding effort is bad–is the same one that gave us participation trophies, and it becomes nihilistic when we know that the primary reason that people do stuff… is for a reward. Psychology has made this abundantly clear. You don’t punish bad behavior; you reward good behavior. We all want to be rewarded; this is fundamental to being a human being, or a cat or a dog. We are dealing with primal forces that we cannot control here, and we cannot predict the longterm consequences of making sure that Billy, who sat in the grass eating bugs, gets exactly the same trophy as Michael, who hit fourteen homeruns. How hard will Michael work the next year, if he knows his effort won’t be rewarded or even acknowledged?

Donald Trump has been assaulted recently for making more lewd remarks about women, and for remarking on the fact that, when you’re a rich star, women tend to let you do whatever you want. Yes, they clearly do tend to:

This is the world we live in.Notice the words “tend to” here, and remember that we’re not speaking in absolutes. We’re never speaking in absolutes.

If Trump grabbed women who didn’t want to be grabbed, that’s an issue, and we can discuss that, but we can’t pretend like Trump is a monster because he uses his riches and fame to sleep with beautiful women. We hate Trump because he reminded us of what animals we are. He breaks that self-delusion that we are better than that, that we are greater than that, that we are more than animals.

But no. We’re not.

Donald Trump is a wolf who has filled his cave with dead prey, and is standing in front of the cave whistling at lady wolves, “Hey, baby! Look at all the prey that I got! Yeah, I did that. Don’t you want to let me fuck you?”

The greatest amusement to me are the guys who say, “No! I would never use my power and wealth to attempt to sleep with women.”

Yeah, well. Okay.

And that’s why you don’t have power and wealth.

Do you know why every human being does like 99% of the things they do? I’ll give you a hint.

SEX.

It’s not just men; it’s women, too. It’s humans, period. We are sexual creatures. The desire to reproduce is ubiquitous through us–even though we all deal with it in different ways–and it made us all very, very horny. It’s our Middle Class Morality that keeps us from fucking as the cats and dogs do, but it’s a constant battle against ourselves. Regardless of the question, “To get laid” is almost always the answer. Not always, but most of the time. It is an underlying motive for practically everything that humans do.

So why do some men seek riches and fame? To sleep with beautiful women.

This isn’t wrong. It can’t be wrong, because there are plenty of beautiful women who want to sleep with men who are rich and famous. I would guess that the lottery winner there lost his virginity to that woman and that no one slept with him when he wasn’t rich and famous. Suddenly he was, and suddenly found the love of his life.

Imagine that.

There’s a difference, obviously–there’s a large, unidentifiable difference between a woman who would be willing to sleep with a dude because he is rich, and a woman who would be disgusted by the idea. Donald Trump knows damned well that his female campaign manager would never sleep with him, regardless of how much money he has. I’m not defending Trump. I’m pointing out that there are things we have to accept and things we have to discuss, because trying to undo it is nihilistic.

If you take away the financial rewards of effort, then you take away the motivation of people to become rich so that they can have sex with supermodels. Can you imagine the wondrous innovations and technologies we have today because someone wanted to get laid?

Millennials hate the rich because the rich represent that: reward for effort. The rich are evil because they want their effort rewarded, and it’s selfish and entitled to want effort rewarded–but like totes 4 real not selfish and entitled to want to be rewarded without effort.

Millennials hate themselves, and because of this they are inclined to subconsciously adopt ideologies that are nihilistic and that would destroy us.

Millennials hate individual responsibility for the same reason. It’s all tied together. They hate themselves; they hate their own humanity. So they attempt to destroy it by denying that individual responsibility is a good thing, by denying that autonomy is a good thing, by denying that a person wants their effort rewarded, by denying that a person is motivated to put in effort by the rewards it offers. Yet all of these things are reasons our species survives to this day, and reasons that western society has thrived.

Hating these things is a luxury provided to them by the very things they hate.

Hopelessness

I’m fighting a war that I know I cannot win.

My entire life has done little more than show me, beyond any reasonable doubt, that I cannot win this war. As always happens, people’s minds are closed to the truth that stares them straight in the face. They don’t want to see it, because they think that they are correct and intelligent–these two ideas become tied together for them until they are unable to say “I was wrong,” because they think that doing so is the equivalent of saying “I’m stupid.”

No matter where you look, you’ll see it. Any time someone disagrees with someone else, it’s merely a matter of time before someone calls the other person stupid, even if all existence is to the contrary. And it’s because they have to think that–they have to think the other person is stupid, because, the way they see it, they are right because they are intelligent, and they are intelligent because they are right. It’s a circular argument. The converse also becomes true: the other person is dumb because they are wrong, and they are wrong because they are dumb.

Look at this post I found today:

Full disclosure: I added the lol.

Full disclosure: I added the lol.

Isn’t it amazing? To give you some context, we know this came from a Sanders supporter. Well, we don’t know that, but we can reasonably assume it, can’t we? He’s explaining why black Americans support Hillary (a tendency not limited to the south, by the way–the American South just happens to be where the highest percentages of black Americans are; it’s not like northern blacks were all for Sanders), and does so insultingly: “They’re uneducated and ill-informed.” Well, we know he’s not a Republican because he accuses the Republicans of being former slave owners (I’d remind this idiot that the Republican Party was the party of Lincoln–you know, the guy who abolished slavery) who want to keep their former slaves stupid. It might also do good to point out to this guy that most humans don’t live to be 160, and that there are no “former slaves” in the United States.

Discarding all that, the underlying mentality is that anyone who supports Hillary must be uneducated and poorly informed. After all, no educated and informed person (such as the poster himself, of course!) could possibly disagree with the poster! Anyone who does disagree must be uneducated, poorly informed, or (as is the case with Republicans, apparently) racists who want to keep the black man down.

All of this bullshit is built from the idea that he is right, that he is intelligent, and therefore that he cannot be wrong. So when he encounters people who disagree, who has to find ways to explain the disagreement. If they’re white, then they’re racists. If they’re black, then they’re uneducated. Need I remind you–this is a Democrat doing this. This is one of the guys advocating “equality” outright waving away everyone who disagrees with him as either racists or uneducated people who are victims of racism. To say this fool sees the world in black and white would be eerily correct.

That is the kind of person who I’m trying to convince is wrong–these people who are literally incapable of hearing what I am saying, whose minds are completely shut to dissenting opinions because a dissenting opinion marks me as an idiot because it’s a dissenting opinion. I’ve run into this countless times, of course, but it’s hitting me pretty hard right now how futile this is.