Monday, October 15, 2018

Racism for Power and Hypocrisy

--Leslie <;)))>< 

I try to avoid quoting other writers in my blog (I mean, this is supposed to show off my writing, you know),  but every now and again I come across something I've just got to pass on -- like this piece by Roger Simon.  He's had so many of the same experiences and observations I have that it's like watching a home movie.  As the political mud-slinging in the media grows to a frenzied pitch with the approach of the mid-term election, it helps to see a head-clearing statement like this one.  Though written more than three years ago, it's absolutely applicable today.

"Ninety percent of the racism in America today comes from the Democratic Party and the Left.  They live off it and exploit it.  It is unconscionable to the degree they do this, ruining the lives and futures of the very people they say they are helping in the process.
"I am uniquely positioned to say this because I spent most of my life on the Left and was a civil rights worker in the South in my early twenties. I was also, to my everlasting regret, a donor to the Black Panther Party in the seventies.

"So I have seen this personally from both sides and my conclusion is inescapable.  The Left is far, far worse. They are obsessed with race in a manner that does not allow them to see straight.  Further, they project racism onto others continually, exacerbating situations, which in most instances weren't even there in the first place.  From Al Sharpton to Hillary Clinton, they all do it.

"Barack Obama is one of the worst offenders in this regard.  Recently, in reaction to the horrid actions of the deranged, but solitary racist Dylann Root, the president claimed racism is in our DNA.

"How could he possibly utter such nonsense and who was he talking about?  The majority of Americans are from families that came to this country after slavery existed.  Many of those were escaping oppression of their own.  In my case my family was fleeing  the pogroms of Eastern Europe.  Many of the members of my family who stayed behind ended up gassed in Auschwitz or exterminated in Treblinka.

"Is Obama telling me that racism is in my DNA?  What a wretched and insulting statement.  If he means that, he should tell it to me face-to-face.  If he does, I will tell him what I think.  The racial situation in this country has gotten decidedly worse since he took office.  And he is a great deal to blame.  Ever since the beer summit it was obvious he was disingenuous and harmful on the subject of race, seeking to stir the pot when it was actually empty or nearly.  

"His claim that if he had had a son he would look like Travyon Martin was ridiculous and self-serving in the extreme.  Barack Obama is a product of the fanciest private school in Hawaii and his children go to Sidwell Friends, the fanciest school in D. C.  He takes vacations on Oahu and his wife parties in Switzerland. He had as much in common with Trayvon as I do with the queen of Spain. 

__Roger Simon"

Saturday, October 6, 2018

The Kavanaugh Mud-Wrestling Contest

So Kavanaugh was finally confirmed for the Supreme Court by a vote of 50 to 48, thus ending one of the worst mud-slinging campaigns in US political history.  Nobody came clean out of this one.

It was understood from the start that the Democrats would oppose any candidate Trump proposed, for fear of having a "conservative" SCOTUS for the next 20 years or more, and of course in revenge for the GOP holding up Obama's judiciary choices, but in this case the partisan tactics reached the downright disgusting level -- enough to p!ss off a sizable number of the voters.  What was Maxine Waters thinking when she ran around encouraging Antifaa and BLM, whipping up crowds to publicly harass elected officials -- and their staffs, and their families, in the hopes that this would pressure Congress into voting her way?  Did congressional aide Jackson Cosko think that broadcasting the private health information of GOP senators would be glossed over as legitimate "free speech"?  Did Senator Feinstein really believe that sitting on Dr. Ford's accusation for months, only to spring it just days before the scheduled confirmation vote wasn't an obvious political manipulation?  Now of course I could be biased, having hated Feinstein ever since she rode to her big career break over the body of Harvey Milk, but the way she's behaved during this whole campaign is really ugly.

Now, to be sure, the worst witness against Kavanaugh turned out to be himself;  in his testimony he lost his cool bigtime, ranting and whining like the very prep-school drunken frat-boy he's accused of being -- and he provably lied to Congress.  In a less ferociously partisan squabble, those would have been reasons enough to vote him down.  (I'm thinking of Bill Clinton telling Congress "I did not have sex with that woman").  The  problem was that the Democrats had likewise dug their own graves with their own mouths so thoroughly that Congress couldn't trust them -- or their supposed voter support --either.  The Democrats' antics actually made Kavanaugh look better by comparison!

Consider, there were holes and glitches in Dr. Ford's testimony that were never addressed, and should have been.  If the Democrats had succeeded in stretching out the investigation -- hopefully until after the election, as they wanted to -- all of these might have been exposed, to the detriment of the Dems' post-election hopes.  It could also be that the Dems have reason to worry about their expected "blue wave" come election time;  after all, they're already spreading rumors that Russian and North Korean hackers are going to "steal the election for Trump" (on what evidence?), which implies that they're making excuses in advance for a bad loss. 

Now the part of Ford's story that I find most intriguing is that at the age of 15 she managed to fight off a drunken 17-year-old frat-boy.  This implies that, assuming the story is true, Kavanaugh was a very incompetent teenage rapist!  His simply being a teenage frat-boy drunk wouldn't have been much of a scandal if he hadn't denied it before Congress.  Even his tendency to lose his cool under pressure wouldn't have necessarily disqualified him.  All of that put together didn't make him look worse than the Dems made themselves look with their foaming anti-Trump, anti-Kavanaugh hysteria. 

Why did they let themselves go like that?  Was it just because they really believed that Kavanaugh would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade?  Not even the furthest-right of Trump supporters actually thought there was a chance of that, whatever hopes and dreams they may have cherished.  I have to wonder what the Dems were really afraid of.  Am I just being Anarchist-Paranoid in thinking that the Dems have been planning a big gun-control push, and knew that a non-leftist SCOTUS would never support it?

Or could it be that the Dems have begun to realize that the old definitions of Right and Left have come unglued, that the media don't have the power they think they have, and the American electorate is much less predictable than the analysts and experts thought?     

     

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

More Thoughts on 9/11


Perhaps it's because I'm fighting off a nasty cold and a toothache at the same time, or perhaps it's because two of my kittens just died of scorpion-stings, or perhaps  it's because I'm tired to death of hearing CNN/MSNBC railing constantly about Trump -- I swear, if those pundits stepped in dog-sh!t they'd claim that Trump put it there -- but I am royally PO'ed about the leftists' current wail over the Fed-govt. cutting all aid to the UNWRA -- and then closing down the last PLO "embassy" in Washington.  Today, of all days!  Tell me why, as we're officially mourning the deaths of nearly 3000 innocent people killed by Muslin/Arab/Palestinian thugs, we should pity-pity those same global thugs and give them millions of our tax-dollars to keep on waging war with us!  Frankly, I think that cutting off the money to our enemies is the smartest thing that Trump has ever done.  Let the jolly jihadists go whining for money to their rich buddies in Saudi Arabia, Iran and Turkey for their pay-offs every time they kill an American, or an Israeli, or any other non-Muslim in the world.

Having studied these thugs for awhile now, I have lost all sympathy with them.  If I had a choice as to how to spend our tax-dollars, I'd send a few million rounds of ammunition to Israel in gratitude for the valuable service that country is doing for the rest of the world. 

It's becoming increasingly obvious that World War Three will be fought not between the US and Russia, or the US and China, or any combination of the three;  it will be fought between the Jihadists and the rest of the world  -- and anyone who reduces the numbers of the Jihadists is a friend to all of us. 

And all those leftist idiots telling us that concern with the Jihadist threat is "racism" have their heads so far up their @sses that they're coming around for the second time.

First, let it be understood that "Arab" is not a race – no matter what clever propagandists may tell you.  Along with the usual Semitic/Mediterranen types, there are also tribes of Arabs who have creamy-pale skins, red or blond hair, and blue or green or hazel eyes.  There are also tribes of Arabs who are distinctly Black.

"Arab" is not a religion, either.  There are (or were until recently) Christian Arabs in Lebanon, Pagan Arabs in the Kurd provinces, And even Jewish Arabs near what used to be Babylon. 

"Arab" is not even a language, or language family.  Folk in the middle-east speak more than Arabic;  there's Urdu and Pashti, for example, not to mention the north African languages.

What "Arab" really means is a particular culture.  This culture spreads throughout the middle-east, westward across north Africa, and eastward as far as Afghanistan and Pakistan.  Though it shares various features with its neighboring societies, it's readily recognizable and distinct from them. 

Chief among its distinct characteristics are its constant attitude of self-righteous victimhood, its eager religious fanaticism, its related disbelief in objective reality, and its particularly vicious sexism.  Most scholars blame these on Islam, but in fact they existed long before Islam was invented;  the culture shaped the religion more than the religion shaped the culture.  Note particularly how cultural icons like veiling women's heads, female circumcision, and execution of women for mere suspicion of "adultery", are not commanded anywhere in the Koran. 

So where did this peculiar cultural pattern come from? 

The answer stretches back over 4000 years, which explains the common assumption that Arabs have "always been like this".  It goes back before the beginnings of literacy itself, which is why the evidence has been dug up by the archeologists more than historians.  The earliest writings, though, include accounts of earlier myths -- which contain tantalizing hints of an earlier culture which was far different.

What we have managed to learn in the last century is that the first civilizations were matriarchal.  Before about 4000 years ago, humans didn't realize that it was sex that caused pregnancy;  people thought that women made babies by themselves, by magic.  Therefore, the only bloodline was the mother's;  all inheritance of property or rank went through the mother's line.  From a "great mother" ancestor of a tribe, to a divine Great Mother of all humanity, to a Great Mother Goddess of all life were easy steps.  Artistic images of Great Mother Goddesses have been found all the way from Britain to Mongolia, Scandinavia to Africa, dating as far back as 25,000 years. 

Between 4000 and 5000 years ago, it changed.  Humans learned, most likely from observing domesticated animals, that sex is necessary for breeding – therefore, males had a share in the next generation too.    

How people reacted to this knowledge varied widely.  Some cultures moved smoothly toward ambiarchy, steadily giving men – and male gods – more social standing.  Others insisted on turning their societies upside down, elevating males above females and reversing the previous moralities;  where the matriarchies had been largely peaceful, increasing their wealth and influence with trade, the new patriarchies became fiercely warlike and imperialistic.  Over the course of nearly 2000 years, the warlike patriarchies conquered their neighbors and enforced their New World Order on most of Europe, Asia and north Africa.  The history of this conquest was brilliantly revealed and detailed in Merlin Stone's classic book, "When God Was A Woman".

Until about 30 years ago, archeologists assumed that the cultures which chose warlike patriarchy all came from the Aryan tribes along the northern tier of Europe and Asia;  Dr. Marja Gambata even traced the pernicious attitude to the Kurgan culture of eastern Russia.  Further diggings since then, however – including the famous Grave of the Amazon Queen found in western Mongolia – show that this wasn't the case.  The northern Aryan cultures were ambiarchal down into historical times.  The warlike patriarchies which swept down into Greece, Crete and Mycenae were "northern" only in relation to the Mediterranean, having come the long way around the Black Sea.  The warlike Aryans who swept into India around 1700 BCE were likewise "northern" only in relationship to India.  The Hyksos who conquered Egypt came primarily from the east.

It turns out that the real epicenter of warlike patriarchy was a place called Eridu, just east of the juncture of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, in present-day Iran.  However subsequent capitals of empires shifted, the center of the warlike patriarchal culture was in the heart of the middle-east.  There it has remained to this day.

This explains much about Arab culture ever since.  First gods dethroned goddesses, then eliminated them altogether – culminating in the institution of a single all-ruling god who demanded his worshipers conquer/convert the world for him.  Women were progressively stripped of all social rights, ending as chattels – even regarded as soulless animals, who could be slaughtered at will.  War was valued higher than trade, to the point were trade came to be regarded as only a subtle form of warfare.  The need to justify the almost-frantic sexism in the face of facts led to the assumption that the laws of nature are not fixed – the foundation of science – but only the whim of the ruling god, who can change his mind if bribed with enough prayer, piety, and human sacrifices.  Likewise, when the world, and the facts, refuses to go one's way for all one's piety, it must be somebody else's fault – and thus the sense of outraged victimhood, which in turn justifies any action against that perceived somebody else.  Historically, all these elements where already present in Arab culture long before Mohammed was born;  the religion he invented only gave them all a unifying excuse.

For the sake of world peace, we must totally eradicate Arab culture itself.  If that means eradicating every last Jihadist in the world, then let's rev up the factories and start turning out the ammunition.  The bums deserve it.

--Leslie <;)))><

Monday, September 3, 2018

Monkey, Pig, Bitch?


Some years back I spent a week staying at the home of my recording engineer, Gerry Tyra, while we laid down tracks on an album of my songs.  His family didn't care for smoking, so I would go out on the porch of his fenced-in back yard whenever I wanted to light up.  When I did, one of his enormous Great Danes would happily accompany me.  It was usually Jasmine: a coal-black, wonderfully friendly, boisterously playful and dolefully stupid female. 

One day, no longer satisfied with having her velvet ears ruffled, Jasmine made a galumphing circuit of the yard and ended by ramming into a garbage-can by the fence and tipping it over, whereupon she happily plunged into the fallen can, digging for treasure.  Annoyed at the mess, I put out my cigarette and tromped over the the fallen can and yelled at Jasmine:  "Oh, get out of there, you stupid black bitch!"  Jasmine retreated, but only a yard or so, and I started shoveling the garbage back in the can.

What I hadn't known was that, at the same time, a Female Person of Color was walking past in the alley beyond the fence.  She overheard what I'd said, assumed I was talking to her, and promptly started a shouting-fit about racism, sexism, and calling the cops.

I stood the garbage-can back up, climbed on top of it and looked over the fence to see an irritated woman in a flashy dress practically dancing in outrage.  In vain did I explain that I hadn't been talking to her, didn't even know she was there, and had been yelling at a dog.  Oh no, if I even used "those words", I simply had to be a White(!) racist who was insulting her.  I was obliged to haul Jasmine up onto the garbage-can (no easy feat) to where she could be seen, and point out directly that yes, Jasmine was black, and stupid, and a bitch -- a female dog.  To prove that last point, I had to drag Jasmine around, hang her hindquarters over the fence and lift her tail -- and I suspect that the sight thereof was what made the woman give up on her tirade and walk away.  ...Either that or the fact that I had demonstrated enough physical strength to lift and haul a Great Dane...

Anyway, I went back inside and told Gerry my tale.  He chuckled, and mentioned one time when he was at work, had been talking to a co-worker about his dogs, and one of the women in the office stood up and noisily protested his use of the "offensive" word "bitch".  Calm and cool as always, Gerry had asked if she would be equally offended if he'd spoken of a hen, a cow, or a mare;  "those are the proper dictionary terms for females of their species, you know."  The woman retreated, grumbling that it was still "offensive". 

I remembered that whole business earlier this week when I learned that some politician (Republican) was accused of "racism" (by the media) because he'd commented: "Let's not monkey this up".  Gee, would those same talking-heads have objected to the terms "monkeyshines", or "don't monkey with that", or "a monkey-wrench in the works"?

I even heard about some high-ranking police official who objected to the word "pig", in a context which had nothing to do with police.  And of course professional Muslims do the same. 

Nowadays it's fashionable and profitable to be easily offended, especially if you can claim "offense" against somebody from a different political party (or ball team, or rival company).  It's even popular to claim that words do just as much damage as actions -- and that way lies disaster, especially if the definition of any word depends on the "feelings" of the beholder.

Look, I've been a writer and singer all my adult life;  I've made my name and fame and living off of words -- and I know their definitions, and powers, and limitations.  I can tell you from a lifetime of experience that words are not actions, and they have no more power than the listener chooses to give them.  I could stand on a busy downtown street corner and holler "Kill the governor!" and nothing would happen, except that I'd be laughed at... or maybe a cop would eventually come by and tell me to keep my voice down.  I can email "Hillary is a pig!" all day, and she will definitely not grow floppy ears or a curly tail. 

I have to wonder if this worship of the "power" of words isn't an artifact of class.  People who  have grown up in a... hmmm, certain culture wherein they have only to express their wishes and somebody will hurry to comply, tend to assume that this state of affairs will continue when they grow up.  For them, The Word is The Deed -- and oh, the shock and outrage when they learn that it Ain't Necessarily So. 

And there's an even darker underside to it.  What must somebody think of themselves, that every time they hear the words "bitch", "monkey", "pig", "black", or whatever, that they automatically think it's applied to themselves, and can actually harm them?  What kind of psychological weaklings is this culture breeding?

One has to wonder how this certain culture, and its assumptions, has come to be so powerful in the US today.

In any case, it's ridiculous and it's got to stop.

--Leslie <;)))>< 

 

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Where the Mavericks Roam


Senator John McCain is dead, much to everyone's loss.  Though technically a Republican, he held firmly to ideas that would have branded him a Libertarian if the party had existed when he first got into politics. 

So would a previous-generation Arizona maverick politician, Barry Goldwater.  We do seem to come up with remarkably independent-minded politicians.  We come up with other political oddities too, like our first senator after Arizona became a state in 1912: Carl Hayden, who held onto his job until he died of old age, some 50 years later.  Likewise consider Sheriff Joke: Joe Arpaio, who was a game that Arizonians enjoyed playing until his fiascoes began costing the state serious money.  Like Russell Pearce, who was discreetly but blatantly for sale -- in that he'd sponsor a bill for anyone who met his price -- and the price was low, and always the same for everybody, regardless of race, religion, sex, etc.  Like various tribal politicians who exploited a loophole in the law to create the industry of Indian-reservation casinos. 

As I've often said, this isn't a "conservative" state but a weird state -- and we seem to breed weird politicians too. 

They're weird in every direction, but one thing they seem to have in common is that once they've set themselves a moral-compass direction -- good, bad, mixed, whatever -- they tend to stick to it, no matter what. 

One story McCain told about himself that nobody else seems to have remembered.  When he was shot down and captured in Vietnam, the Viet-Cong captors took advantage of his injuries to try to try and pry information out of him.  In particular, they wanted the names of the staff in his flight-group.  Knowing that if they kept torturing him he'd break eventually -- and also knowing that the Cong didn't know half as much about the US military as they claimed -- he gave them the names of the ASU football team the year he graduated.  Satisfied, they went off and left him alone with the medics.  The guy knew his limits, kept his wits about him, and outfoxed his tormentors. 

That's the kind of practical wiliness that I see among the mavericks hereabouts, and I'd love to know what there is about the subculture of the great desert state that breeds this kind of thinking. 

Whatthehell, maybe it's the heat.  There's a saying: you know you're a true Arizonian when you'll walk a quarter-mile across a parking-lot just to park in the spindly shade of a Palo Verde tree.  Or maybe it's the way we're obliged to not just conserve but treasure water.  Or maybe it's the grim necessity of dealing with the goddam gophers.  Who knows?

In any case, McCain was a genuine Arizona maverick, and we'll be a long time finding another like him. 


--Leslie <;)))>< 
   

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

"The Myth of Man the Killer"


--Leslie <;)))><  )O(

As I've said, I rarely post other people's articles, but this one seriously needs repeating.


by Eric S. Raymond:

One of the most dangerous errors of our time is the belief that human beings are uniquely violent animals, barely restrained from committing atrocities on each other by the constraints of ethics, religion, and the state.
It may seem odd to some to dispute this, given the apparently ceaseless flow of atrocity reports from Bosnia, Somalia, Lebanon and Los Angeles that we suffer every day. But, in fact, a very little study of animal ethology (and some application of ethological methods to human behavior) suffices to show the unbiased mind that human beings are not especially violent animals.
Desmond Morris, in his fascinating book Manwatching, for example, shows that the instinctive fighting style of human beings seems to be rather carefully optimized to keep us from injuring one another. Films of street scuffles show that “instinctive” fighting consists largely of shoving and overhand blows to the head/shoulders/ribcage area.
It is remarkably difficult to seriously injure a human being this way; the preferred target areas are mostly bone, and the instinctive striking style delivers rather little force for given effort. It is enlightening to compare this fumbling behavior to the focussed soft-tissue strike of a martial artist, who (having learned to override instinct) can easily kill with one blow.
It is also a fact, well-known to military planners, that somewhere around 70% of troops in their first combat-fire situation find themselves frozen, unable to trigger lethal weapons at a live enemy. It takes training and intense re-socialization to make soldiers out of raw recruits. And it is a notable point, to which we shall return later, that said socialization has to concentrate on getting a trainee to obey orders and identify with the group. (Major David Pierson of the U.S. Army wrote an illuminating essay on this topic in the June 1999 Military Review).
Criminal violence is strongly correlated with overcrowding and stress, conditions that any biologist knows can make even a laboratory mouse crazy. To see the contrast clearly, compare an urban riot with post-hurricane or post-flood responses in rural areas. Faced with common disaster, it is more typical of humans to pull together than pull apart.
Individual human beings, outside of a tiny minority of sociopaths and psychopaths, are simply not natural killers. Why, then, is the belief in innate human viciousness so pervasive in our culture? And what is this belief costing us?

The historical roots of this belief are not hard to trace. The Judeo-Christian creation story claims that human beings exist in a fallen, sinful state; and Genesis narrates two great acts of revolt against God, the second of which is the first murder. Cain kills Abel, and we inherit the “mark of Cain”, and the myth of Cain — the belief that we are all somehow murderers at bottom.
Until the twentieth century, Judeo-Christianity tended to focus on the first one; the Serpent's apple, popularly if not theologically equated with the discovery of sexuality. But as sexual taboos have lost their old forbidding force, the “mark of Cain” has become relatively more important in the Judeo-Christian idea of “original sin”. The same churches and synagogues that blessed “just wars” in former centuries have become strongholds of ideological pacifism.
But there is a second, possibly more important source of the man-as-killer myth in the philosophy of the Enlightenment — Thomas Hobbes's depiction of the state of nature as a "warre of all against all", and the reactionary naturism of Rousseau and the post-Enlightenment Romantics. Today these originally opposing worldviews have become fused into a view of nature and humanity that combines the worst (and least factual) of both.
Hobbes, writing a rationalization of the system of absolute monarchy under the Stuart kings of England, constructed an argument that in a state of nature without government the conflicting desires of human beings would pit every man against his neighbor in a bloodbath without end. Hobbes referred to and assumed "wild violence" as the normal state of humans in what anthropologists now call "pre-state" societies; that very term, in fact, reflects the Hobbesian myth,
The obvious flaw in Hobbes's argument is that he mistook a sufficient condition for suppressing the "warre" (the existence of a strong central state) for a necessary one. He underestimated the innate sociability of human beings. The anthropological and historical record affords numerous examples of "pre-state" societies (even quite large multiethnic/multilingual populations) which, while violent against outsiders, successfully maintained internal peace.
If Hobbes underestimated the sociability of man, Rousseau and his followers overestimated it; or, at least, they overestimated the sociability of primitive man. By contrasting the nobility and tranquility they claimed to see in rural nature and the Noble Savage with the all-too-evident filth, poverty and crowding in the booming cities of the Industrial Revolution, they secularized the Fall of Man. As their spiritual descendants today still do, they overlooked the fact that the urban poor had unanimously voted with their feet to escape an even nastier rural poverty.
The Rousseauian myth of technological Man as an ugly scab on the face of pristine Nature has become so pervasive in Western culture as to largely drive out the older opposing image of “Nature, red in tooth and claw” from the popular mind. Perhaps this was inevitable as humans achieved more and more control over their environment; protection from famine, plague, foul weather, predators, and other inconveniences of nature encouraged the fond delusion that only human nastiness makes the world a hard place.
Until the late nineteenth to early twentieth century, the Rousseauian view of man and nature was a luxury confined to intellectuals and the idle rich. Only as increases in urbanization and average wealth isolated most of society from nature did it become an unarticulated and unexamined basic of popular and academic belief. (In his book War Before Civilization, Lawrence Keeley has given us a trenchant analysis of the way in which the Rousseauian myth reduced large swathes of cultural anthropology to uttering blinkered nonsense.)
In reality, Nature is a violent arena of intra- and inter-species competition in which murder for gain is an everyday event and ecological fluctuations commonly lead to mass death. Human societies, outside of wartime, are almost miraculously stable and nonviolent by contrast. But the unconscious prejudice of even educated Westerners today is likely to be that the opposite is true. The Hobbesian view of the "warre of all against all" has survived only as a description of human behavior, not of the wider state of nature. Pop ecology has replaced pop theology; the new myth is of man the killer ape.
Another, darker kind of romanticism is at work as well. To a person who feels fundamentally powerless, the belief that one is somehow intrinsically deadly can be a cherished illusion. Its marketers know full well that violence fantasy sells not to the accomplished, the wealthy and the wise, but rather to working stiffs trapped in dead-end jobs, to frustrated adolescents, to retirees — the marginalized, the lonely and the lost.
To these people, the killer-ape myth is consolation. If all else fails, it offers the dark promise of a final berserkergang, unleashing the mythic murderer inside to express all those aggravations in a gory and vengeful catharsis. But if seven out of ten humans can't pull the trigger on an enemy they have every reason to believe is trying to kill them, it seems unlikely that ninety-seven out of a hundred could make themselves murder.
And, in fact, less than one half of one percent of the present human population ever kills in peacetime; murders are more than an order of magnitude less common than fatal household accidents. Overall, all but a vanishingly small number of murders are performed by males between the ages of 15 and 25[1], and the overwhelming majority of those by unmarried males. One's odds of being killed by a human outside that demographic bracket are comparable to one's chances of being killed by a lightning strike.

War is the great exception, the great legitimizer of murder, the one arena in which ordinary humans routinely become killers. The special prevalence of the killer-ape myth in our time doubtless owes something to the horror and visibility of 20th-century war.
Campaigns of genocide and repressions such as the Nazi Holocaust, Stalin's engineered famines, the Ankha massacres in Cambodia, and “ethnic cleansing” in Yugoslavia loom even larger in the popular mind than war as support for the myth of man the killer. But they should not; such atrocities are invariably conceived and planned by selected, tiny minorities far fewer than .5% of the population.
We have seen that in normal circumstances, human beings are not killers; and, in fact, most have instincts which make it extremely difficult for them to engage in lethal violence. How do we reconcile this with the continuing pattern of human violence in war? And, to restate to one of our original questions, what is belief in the myth of man the killer doing to us?
We shall soon see that the answers to these two questions are intimately related — because there is a crucial commonality between war and genocide, one not shared with the comparatively negligible lethalities of criminals and the individually insane. Both war and genocide depend, critically, on the habit of killing on orders. Pierson observes, tellingly, that atrocities "are generally initiated by overcontrolled personality types in second-in-command positions, not by undercontrolled personality types." Terrorism, too, depends on the habit of obedience; it is not Osama bin Laden who died in the 9/11 attack but his minions.
This is part of what Hannah Arendt was describing when, after the Nuremberg trials, she penned her unforgettable phrase “the banality of evil”. The instinct that facilitated the atrocities at Belsen-Bergen and Treblinka and Dachau was not a red-handed delight in murder, but rather uncritical submission to the orders of alpha males — even when those orders were for horror and death.
Human beings are social primates with social instincts. One of those instincts is docility, a predisposition to obey the tribe leader and other dominant males. This was originally adaptive; fewer status fights meant more able bodies in the tribe or hunting band. It was especially important that bachelor males, unmarried 15-to-25 year-old men, obey orders even when those orders involved risk and killing. These bachelors were the tribe's hunters, warriors, scouts, and risk-takers; a band would flourish best if they were both aggressive towards outsiders and amenable to social control.
Over most of human evolutionary history, the multiplier effect of docility was limited by the small size (250 or less, usually much less) of human social units. But when a single alpha male or cooperating group of alpha males could command the aggressive bachelor males of a large city or entire nation, the rules changed. Warfare and genocide became possible.
Actually, neither war nor genocide needs more than a comparative handful of murderers — not much larger a cohort than the half-percent to percent that commits lethal violence in peacetime. Both, however, require the obedience of a large supporting population. Factories must work overtime. Ammunition trucks must be driven where the bullets are needed. People must agree not to see, not to hear, not to notice certain things. Orders must be obeyed.
The experiments described in Stanley Milgram's 1974 book "The Perils of Obedience" demonstrated how otherwise ethical people could be induced to actively torture another person by the presence of an authority figure commanding and legitimizing the violence. They remain among the most powerful and disturbing results in experimental psychology.
Human beings are not natural killers; very, very few ever learn to enjoy murder or torture. Human beings, however, are sufficiently docile that many can eventually be taught to kill, to support killing, or to consent to killing on the command of an alpha male, entirely dissociating themselves from responsibility for the act. Our original sin is not murderousness — it is obedience.

And this brings us to the final reason for the prevalence of the myth of man the killer; that it encourages obedience and legitimizes social control of the individual. The man who fears Hobbes's "warre", who sees every one of his neighbors as a potential murderer, will surrender nearly anything to be protected from them. He will call for a strong hand from above; he will become a willing instrument in the oppression of his fellows. He may even allow himself to be turned into a killer in fact. Society will be atomized into millions of fearful fragments, each reacting to the fear of fantasied individual violence by sponsoring the political conditions for real collective violence on a large scale.
Even when the fear of violence is less acute, the myth of man the killer well serves power elites of all kinds. To define the central problem of society as the repression of a universal individual tendency to violence is to imply an authoritarian solution; it is to deny without examination the proposition that individual self-interest and voluntary cooperation are sufficient for civil order. (To cite one current example, the myth of man the killer is a major unexamined premise behind the drive for gun control.)
In sum, the myth of man the killer degrades and ultimately disempowers the individual, and unhelpfully deflects attention from the social mechanisms and social instincts that actually underlie virtually all violence. If we are all innately killers, no one is responsible; the sporadic violence of crime and terrorism and the more systematic violence of governments (whether in "state" or "pre-state" societies, and in wartime or otherwise) is as inevitable as sex.
On the other hand, if we recognize that most violence (and all large-scale violence) arises from obedience, and especially from the commission of aggressive violence by bachelor males at the command of alpha male pack leaders, then we can begin to ask more fruitful questions. Like: what can we do, culturally, to disrupt this causal chain?
First, we must recognize the primary locus and scope of the problem. By any measure, the pre-eminent form of aggressive pack violence is violence by governments, in either its explicit form as warfare and genocide or in more or less disguised peacetime versions. Take as one indicator the most pessimistic estimate of the 20th-century death toll from private aggression and set it against the low-end figures for deaths by government-sponsored violence (that is, count only war casualties, deliberate genocides, and extra-legal violence by organs of government; do not count the deaths incurred in the enforcement of even the most dubious and oppressive laws). Even with these assumptions biasing the ratio to the low side, the ratio is clearly 1000:1 or worse.
Readers skeptical of this ratio should reflect that government-directed genocides alone (excluding warfare entirely) are estimated to have accounted for more than 250,000,000 deaths between the massacre of the Armenians in 1915 and the "ethnic cleansings" of Bosnia and Rwanda-Burundi in the late 1990s. Even the 9/11 atrocity and other acts of terrorism, grim as they have been, are mere droplets besides the oceans of blood spilled by state action.
In fact, the domination of total pack violence by government aggression reaches even further than that 1000:1 ratio would indicate. Pack violence by governments serves as a model and a legitimizing excuse not merely for other government violence, but for private violence as well. The one thing all tyrants have in common is their belief that in their special cause, aggression is justified; private criminals learn and profit by that example. The contagion of mass violence is spread by the very institutions which ground their legitimacy in the mission of suppressing it — even as they perpetrate most of it.
And that is ultimately why the myth of man the killer ape is most dangerous. Because when we tremble in fear before the specter of individual violence, we excuse or encourage social violence; we feed the authoritarian myths and self-justifications that built the Nazi death camps and the Soviet gulags.
There is no near-term hope that we can edit either aggression or docility out of the human genome. And the individual small-scale violence of criminals and the insane is a mere distraction from the horrific and vast reality that is government-sanctioned murder and the government-sanctioned threat of murder.
To address the real problem in an effective way, we must therefore change our cultures so that either alpha males calling themselves government cease giving orders to perform aggression, or our bachelor males cease following those orders. Neither Hobbes's counsel of obedience to the state nor Rousseau's idolization of the primitive can address the central violence of the modern era — state-sponsored mass death.
To end that scourge, we must get beyond the myth of man the killer and learn to trust and empower the individual conscience once again; to recognize and affirm the individual predisposition to make peaceful choices in the non-sociopathic 97% of the population; and to recognize what Stanley Milgram showed us; that our signpost on the path away from mass violence reads "I shall not obey!"


[1] One respondent has disputed my claim that bachelor males commit all but a vanishingly small number of murders, pointing out that Uniform Crime Report statistics for 2001 indicate that only 45% of murders for which age of the perpetrator was recorded were committed by males in the 15-to-25 cohort. Unfortunately for his objection, the UCRs have an inbuilt sample bias; they don't include the results of the sort of endemic civil violence that is rare in rich countries but all too common in the Third World. In general, it seems to be the case that the bachelor-male cohort is both the most prone to violence and the least resistant to social control — so in societies and contexts with less effective norms against violence (and higher over-all levels of it) the share perpetrated by bachelor males goes way, way up. Conversely, the background rate of violence by people who are not bachelor males changes less. Anyone who doubts this is invited to study footage of (say) the L.A. riots and ask themselves what the dominant demographic is.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Arizona Outrage


Cry foul!  Dirty trick!  Crooked politics!  Boy, am I p!ssed off -- and all the other voters in Arizona should be too.

As I've mentioned elsewhere, Arizona is not a "red" state but a weird state.  We don't have a "racial majority";  the last census showed that (during the summer months, when all the snowbirds have flown) our population is just over 30% White, just under 30% Native (mostly Navaho), almost exactly 30% mixed White-and-Narive (which is exactly what a "Latino" is), just over 5% Black and just under 5% Asian.  Our chief industries are mining and ranching, with a little farming (where possible), a small bit of manufacturing (usually for local markets), and legal gambling -- on the Reservations, those famous Indian Casinos.  Our total population is about 6 million, spread out over one large city (Phoenix, the 6th largest in the US, but with a violent-crime rate that isn't even among the top 100), two small cities (Tucson and Flagstaff), and all the rest either suburbs of those three or small ranching/mining/farming towns with populations of 5000 or less.  It's also a state under siege because of its long border with Mexico -- lands which are mostly held by the local Navaho tribes.  The Navahos, and other Pueblo-nation tribes, have been fighting off invasions from Mexico for the last 800 years, and they actively hate the Illegals.  Even the big bad drug cartels don't try crossing the border at the Native lands anymore because those Natives don't just catch the crossers and hold them for the ICE;  they shoot them.  Nobody complains much about this, because the Natives own outright one-sixth of the state (including some of the best silver mines), and are a major voting-bloc.  Arizona is the only state in the union where the ballots are printed in English, Spanish, and Tohono O'odom.

So it's not really surprising that the voters registered as Libertarian, independent, and Green combined outnumber the voters registered as Democrat and Republican combined.  It's also not surprising that the Libertarians got about 10% of the vote at the last election.  The Big Two in Arizona are worried over that.

That's why the state election committee passed a bill raising the number of signatures needed to put a candidate on the ballot.

That cute trick neatly knocked the Libertarian Party candidates (to say nothing of the Greens) off the ballot for the upcoming primary election.  Yes, you can get a Libertarian mail-in/early-voting ballot for the primary, but there are no names on it -- only space for write-in candidates.  Needless to add, the Libs have been sending separate mailings around, explaining the problem and listing the names of their candidates, and asking the voters to write in the names -- also listed on the LP's website (azlp.org).

The problem is that the LP doesn't have the budget to tell the story, expose the scandal, and advertise to the general public. 

So I'm doing it here.  If you're an Arizonian, no matter what party you back, you've got to admit that this is a dirty trick and needs to be stomped on.  Whatever ballot you get, write in the LP candidates, just to kick the crooked election committee in the keister, as it deserves.

For federal offices:

US Senator: Adam Kokesh
US Congress: Zhani Doko

For state offices:

Governor: Barry Hess
Secretary of State:  Jenn Gray
Attorney General:  Michael Kielsky
State Mining Inspector:  Kim Ruff
State Senator:  Jeff Daniels
State Representative:  Robert Allen Pepton

Local Offices:

Phoenix Mayor:  Nick Sarwark
Central Arizona Water Conservation District:  Jim Iannuzo and Ronald Sereny

For reminders, go the the azlp.org website and keep track.

Yes, dammitol, this is an unpaid but shameless political announcement, intended to "influence" the election.  So sue me.

--Leslie <;)))><