Saturday, April 14, 2018

It's A Thor Point With Me


The tidal flow of popular culture has obliged me many times to remark upon what it is doing to the male sex. The concerted effort to weaken and emasculate boys and men is producing an effect which probably will be a surprise to many advocates of this weakening, but which highly-placed culture-shapers may have desired all along.

Exactly as gun-control laws never disarm career criminals, the campaign to eliminate male aggressiveness is completely ineffective upon the worst of all males. Men of good intentions, who are accustomed to exercising a conscience, are willing to listen to moral exhortations; if they can be led to believe that becoming effeminate will make them better citizens, they will try to become effeminate out of a desire to contribute better to society. But men who don't _have_ any conscience will stay just as toxic-masculine as they ever were, while sneering at well-meaning men who timidly surrender the battlefield to the evildoers. The same feminists who have worked for decades to soften up men as a category are in for an unpleasant surprise, when they look around and see that thugs and barbarians have remained as gruntingly male as ever, while the well-meaning men have become too submissive and weak  to be of any help in keeping the feminists safe.

It took me a while to fit a certain piece into this gender-politics puzzle, but by now I’ve seen just where it fits.

Comic books.

Which male superhero in the Marvel Comics universe -- I mean the print comics, not the movies derived from them -- has been subjected to THE VERY MOST MERCILESS attack of thematic castration? Not the city-wrecking Hulk; not the homicidal Wolverine; not the cynical, chaotic Deadpool; not the gruesome Ghost Rider. Any of those could actually use a mellowing influence; but NO-O-O-O.

The hero most extraordinarily singled out for humiliation and sexual-identity blurring is the dignified, chivalrous, noble, idealistic THOR: the very character who so obviously _didn't_ need to be “cured” of his valiant maleness. It was Thor who was offered up as a sacrificial ram to appease the pop culture’s demand for un-manning. It was Thor who had his Thor-ness stolen from him and conferred on a woman. Any rationale about him having become “unworthy” was only a tacked-on excuse for what someone had really wanted to do to Thor no matter what.

Just as somebody over at the B.B.C. had been wanting to change Doctor Who into a woman.

Long before the Thor series was vandalized for the sake of political correctness, there was a She-Hulk created in addition to the original Bruce Banner Hulk. She was a separate character; she didn’t have to rob the first Hulk of his Hulk-ness, even though Bruce Banner would _rather_ have been de-Hulked. Spider-Man, meanwhile, was allowed to have a daughter who inherited his powers; but she, again, was not taking her father’s identity away from him. Nope, it “just had to be” Thor, that supremely decent and idealistic male comicbook hero, who was knocked out of the game.

This exactly fits the real-world pattern: allow bums and crazies to stay masculine, but get rid of precisely the best male role models.

Thus does pop culture help to create the very conditions described in poetry by William Butler Yeats: “The best lack all conviction, while the worst // Are full of passionate intensity.”

If comicbook heroes actually existed, I would never even consider asking Deadpool for help in any emergency, if there were an unaltered, uncastrated, unvandalized Thor to call upon. So what does the pop culture do? It offers me Deadpool -- while decreeing that I can’t ask for Thor unless I’m prepared to agree to the p.c. dogma that males are inferior and making Thor a woman was an improvement.

Now, Black Panther T’Challa is noble and virtuous and admirable; but he has his own support of identity politics to protect him from being ruined by writers. He’ll be retained. But I expect the movie side of Marvel to kill off Captain America -- which, on top of the castration of Thor on the publication side, advances the purge of maleness. We are left with an Ant-Man who in the movies has been made into a clown, a Peter Quill who is required to be inferior to his leading lady Gamora, and an Iron Man who (if he survives “Infinity War”) will almost certainly retire. Even Doctor Strange isn’t allowed to be Doctor Strange unless his mentor The Ancient One is changed into a woman.

If storytellers just made up more entirely-new characters who were impressive women, I wouldn’t be so upset. But there is something mean and spiteful -- in other words, there is something perfectly typical of recent hard-left feminism -- in this policy of preferring to TAKE AWAY whatever men have and are. Worse, to take it away only from good men.

In a world heavily supplied with Islamist predators who laugh at all suggestions that they should be soft and meek, modern women may find that they have cut off their noses to spite good men’s faces.



Wednesday, April 11, 2018

A Sidebar for John the Baptizer, a.k.a. Baptist


   “Unless you’re a Spirit-filled believer who speaks in tongues, nothing else you do counts for anything!”

“Unless you receive all the approved sacraments from the approved sources, and recite lots of rosaries, nothing else you do counts for anything!”

“Unless you’re a FIVE! POINT! CALVINIST! --nothing you do or say counts for anything!”

It is terribly easy, poisonously convenient, for believers in Jesus Christ to indulge in a sweeping dismissal of all moral issues, in favor of the “simplicity” of arguing that _nothing_ matters even a little bit _except_ the fact of belonging to the Body of Christ-- or, more accurately, of belonging to that PART of Christendom which is favored by the person who’s talking at the time. Like many errors, this error is so damaging precisely because it is almost the truth.

It is perfectly true that, since we humans exist in a fallen state, no amount of moral activity by us can literally EARN God’s approval in the sense of God owing something to us. But the obsessive over-simplifiers fail to realize, or are unwilling to realize, that there’s more to the subject. We can’t earn salvation, ten-four, understood, awright-awready, got it; BUT in the actual experience of living, the moral choices we make become occasions for the Holy Spirit to awaken us. Our having done right in a particular situation is not synonymous with the moment of conversion, and our having done wrong in a particular situation is not (necessarily) synonymous with being a reprobate beyond all hope of salvation; but our experience of choosing and acting may produce ROAD SIGNS leading us on the way TO conversion.

A major component of the ministry of John the Baptizer was addressing, not the ultimate make-or-break decision of believing in Jesus for salvation, but a narrowly specific issue of earthly conduct: the adultery of Herod Antipas and his stolen wife Herodias. The real significance of this cannot be fully understood until we possess a certain piece of  information which is not provided in Scripture; this serves to refute those over-simplifiers who claim that there is NEVER EVER any spiritual benefit to be gained by learning facts which are found OUTSIDE the Bible. Stay with me here.

We do know from Scripture that Herodias had been married to one son of the original King Herod, and that she left this husband in favor of her brother-in-law Herod Antipas. (The fact that some sons of King Herod were pleased to have that mass murderer’s name tacked on to their own given names says much about the twisted values of the ungodly, but that’s another story.) So, Herodias and Herod Antipas were guilty of adultery; but wait, there’s more.
Herodias first was married to Herod Philip, then moved to Herod Antipas; but those who think we must never look at any non-Biblical source, never seem to ask how Herodias came ALSO to have a Herod-based name.

The original Herod was a harem owner, who begot many sons-- and didn’t quite murder all of them. One of these sons whom we don’t see mentioned in the Bible was named Aristobulus: a name handed down from the maternal side of King Herod’s family. And what do we discover if we’re willing to look at supplementary history? We discover that Aristobulus bar-Herod, a brother of Herod Antipas and Herod Philip, WAS THE FATHER of Herodias, and that’s how she came to have a Herod-based name.

Which, in turn, informs us that both of Herodias’ marriages were incest. She was married to one of her uncles, then left him for another of her uncles. (Uncle-to-niece marriages were also to occur now and then in the later aristocracies of medieval and Renaissance Europe, but that’s another story.)

Once advised of this detail in the Herodian soap opera, the over-simplifier will face a dilemma. 

On the view of over-simplifiers, as long as you haven’t spoken in tongues, or haven’t received the approved sacraments, or haven’t become a five-point Calvinist, you haven’t been converted, so nothing you do otherwise has any significance at all. Yet here we have the Herodian degenerates, already proven to be sinful by entering incestuous marriages which were forbidden by the Mosaic law; and how did John the Baptizer approach them? As far as the Bible tells us, John didn’t bother to mention the whole incest angle, though he could not possibly have been unaware of it. On a simplistic view, because Herodias’ first marriage was already innately wrong, things could not be made any worse by her moving to another incestuous marriage. “All sin is sin;” so, on the simplistic view, it was pointless for John to talk as if it would have made any difference for Herodias to stay faithful to her first uncle-husband.

But John didn’t think it was pointless. John was guided by the Holy Spirit, Who has more to offer than simplicity, simplicity, and more simplicity. The Holy Spirit provides accurate insight.
As I have said, our individual experiences of moral choice can be used by God to lead us toward Him, EVEN THOUGH those individual experiences are not one and the same thing as the moment of conversion. In “Mere Christianity,” C.S. Lewis remarked that “Virtue, even attempted virtue, brings light.” This is true even in a state of deep ignorance. I believe that, owing to her truthless upbringing, Herodias really didn’t grasp that there was anything wrong with her being married to one of her father’s brothers; she certainly didn’t know the things we know about genetics and the passing of harmful recessive traits through inbreeding. As far as she understood, her marriage to Herod Philip was a valid one which had a claim on her. 

Therefore, even though Herodias and Herod Philip had already been in violation of Old Covenant law from the get-go, a decision by her to stay true to him would still have been a step toward righteousness from her own starting point. And God could have worked on this as part of leading her to salvation.

Thus, John the Baptizer was not wasting his breath speaking against Antipas for stealing Herodias from Philip, even though Antipas refraining from Grand Theft Niece would not have been identical to speaking in tongues or taking sacraments or becoming a FIVE! POINT! CALVINIST! God, Who remembers that we are dust, could have made use of even a highly flawed effort at moral integrity on Antipas’ part.

Dear over-simplifiers, don’t even start harrumphing at me that I’m saying Herod Antipas and those other soap-opera characters could have “earned their salvation.” I am saying nothing of the sort. What I am saying is what happens in reality: God achieves many of His goals through a process of causes and effects, not by the instantaneous throwing of an on-off switch. Even from the starting point of unlawful incestuous mating, it was possible for members of the Herodian clan to have experienced some vague notion of loyalty or affection, which God could have made use of.

Which, I am convinced, is why John DID take the trouble to address the adultery issue, even with persons who weren't in Biblical marriages.


Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Hamming It Up With Hamilton, But I Don't Mean The Musical


One of the world’s chief sources of muddleheaded thinking is the failure to understand just how comprehensive, how all-encompassing, how imperative in our decisions, a given statement (or the absence of a statement) properly is or isn’t.
We Christians can easily fall victim to this kind of defective understanding. For example, an entire denomination calling itself “Church of Christ” has the idea that because the New Testament does not specifically command us TO use musical instruments in church services, this is one and the same thing as the New Testament positively FORBIDDING us to use musical instruments in church services. That’s pure nonsense, but a whole denomination is emotionally invested in it.
That ecclesiastical delusion has been around for generations. But in the political realm, a somewhat similar delusion has only very recently surfaced. This agenda-driven delusion concerns, not the intent of the Holy Spirit in Scripture, but the intent of Alexander Hamilton in his recommendations for the newborn United States of America.  
            In the Twenty-Ninth Federalist Paper, Mister Hamilton described at length his reasons for wanting common men of the United States to participate in regular militia drills, as a means of keeping the nation ready to defend itself against military threats. This made perfect sense. But one present-day advocate of big government -- no one I ever heard of otherwise -- recently chose to convince himself, and wrote an article trying to convince the rest of us, that because Hamilton wanted citizens TO bear arms in a militia, this was one and the same thing as Hamilton wanting to forbid citizens ever to bear arms at THEIR OWN discretion.
             The previously-mentioned Church of Christ delusion would never have gained any traction if there hadn’t been Christians predisposed to think of God legalistically forbidding things. And this recent liberal interpretation of Federalist #29 could never gain traction if there weren’t Americans predisposed to favor the central government denying rights to us. The modern commentator on Alexander Hamilton was assuming, dogmatically, that the burden of proof rests upon each citizen to show that he does have some individual right. But I say that the burden of proof rests upon those who want to REFUSE us any right so self-evident as the right of self-defense.
             The leftist Hamilton interpreter indulged in the usual emotional ranting about “gun nuts,” but no amount of this will carry a scholastic study of Alexander Hamilton’s views on liberty. If you’re going to invoke the Federalist Papers against the obvious meaning of the Second Amendment, you need to explain why Hamilton regarded it as lawful for himself to accept Aaron Burr’s challenge to a decidedly non-military pistol duel.


Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Following S-of-U 2018

Reading from their canned script, a script whose essence _never_ changes even when the _word_ “change” is their slogan, leftists shout at me: “You’re a racist! You’re against all immigration because you hate everyone who’s different!”
Sighing, I resort to actual facts: “I don’t need to be told the value of immigrants. My own patrilineal ancestry only came to America a few generations ago. I have an adopted daughter who was brought in from Korea. I have been a sponsor to other immigrants from Laos. And-- racist? In the Sixties, I got mocked by _actual_ white supremacists for _supporting_ racial immigration. Also, the first woman I ever proposed marriage to was black.”
With impressive sophistication and insight, the leftists reply: “You’re a racist! You’re against all immigration because you hate everyone who’s different!”
Trying to select only words which are simple enough for the leftists to understand, I say: “All of you already know that you are purposely avoiding the real point. Past generations of immigrants came to the United States intending to be _loyal_ to it and _contribute_ something to society. As every one of you already knows, my problem is not with people being born someplace else; my problem is with people coming in and _refusing_ to give any loyalty, _refusing_ to adjust to our existing customs, demanding that we make all the concessions to them…and spreading gang violence.”
Rising to lofty heights of idealistic inspiration, the leftists declare: “You’re a racist! You’re against all immigration because you hate everyone who’s different!”
Shrugging, I tell them: “Well, at least you haven’t played the Native American card yet. Maybe that’s because you’re a _little_ embarrassed about _white_ leftist Elizabeth Warren getting away with pretending to be a Native American?
“But in case you do pull the Native American card: at the time European settlers began coming over, the land area now known as the United States _wasn’t_ all governed by one clearly defined, unified government with legislated laws and complex infrastructure. It _looked_ to the Europeans as if much of the land was _without_ any stable pre-existing society. Thus, the Europeans did not come with expectations of being able to feed at the trough of an established welfare state. Nor could they look forward to anyone paying them to cast fraudulent votes in rigged elections. What’s more, horrible though the deeds of many colonizers were, the wrongdoers in our own time are not doing what they do _because_ of what happened to the Native Americans. If all of the genocide inflicted on the Native Americans had been avoided, and if somehow a modern society had grown here anyway with no major injustices, parasites like the Mara Salvatrucha gang from Latin America would _still_ be just as eager now to prey upon honest people.”
To which the leftists cry: “You’re a racist! You’re against all immigration because you hate everyone who’s different!” And they congratulate themselves on their skillful debating.
In his State of the Union address, President Trump affirmed that he would make substantial concessions to illegal alien "dreamers.” But he was so politically incorrect as to want them in turn to be _loyal_ to the United States. He was so “hateful” as to insist that the United States had merit in itself, stating: “Americans are dreamers, too.” And he was so “racist” as to pay respect to _nonwhite_ couples whose daughters had been murdered by Latino gangsters. His “bigotry” even extended to honoring the _Latino_ crimefighter C.J. Martinez for striving to protect this nation against predatory invaders.
Oh, and he was also so “Islamophobic” as to wish success to the Iranian people in breaking free from the rule of the same tyrannical ayatollahs against whom Obama refused to help them.
The first predigested, script-following Democrat response came from Joe Kennedy III in Massachussetts. He kicked off by speaking ever so grandly and (in his own mind) point-scoringly, about “a city built by immigrants.” In other words, he stuck to the same old cobwebbed lie, which he knows to be a lie, that any objection to _illegal_ immigration is one and the same thing as wanting to prohibit ALL immigration entirely.
Kennedy went on to rant about Mister Trump threatening to undo “laws that protect us all.” Hmm, which laws would those be? Something like the Obamacare individual mandate, that forced many Americans to pay for medical coverage which they did not need and would never use? Or maybe the crushing of America’s coal industry, done in spite of the fact that modern energy technology makes coal use far safer and cleaner than leftists will admit that it does?
Not wanting to omit anything that would resonate with the extreme-left base, Kennedy also put in a plug for same-sex marriage…even though Mister Trump _hadn’t_ even spoken against same-sex marriage in his address.
The same-old same-old script relied on by leftists has been threadbare for a long time; but Tuesday night made it still more self-evident just _how_ threadbare the script is by now.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

A Story Whose End Has Not Yet Happened

Any time we Christians depart our comfort zone and befrend unbelievers, we find again that those unbelievers always have a story of their own, even if THEY THMSELVES don't understand how they got to where they are in the story.

Most obsessive fantasy -- what Mister Lewis would call "unhealthy castle-building" -- arises from a feeling (which may in fact be a JUSTIFIED feeling) that one is powerless to affect the events in one's own life. No one really likes being powerless. Even if we are so blessed as to know that someone more powerful is lovingly protecting us, our happiness in this is not BECAUSE OF our own powerlessness; it's just that the powerful protector makes our weakness NOT MATTER anymore. In the absence of that protection, it is entirely understandable if we wish forlornly that WE had some
power to change things-- up to and including magical power.

I am a witness to this. As a teenager, being absurdly small and runty, I had concrete cause to feel helpless and ineffectual. By God's mercy, I never joined any sorcerous covens; but I sure did often wish that  I had supernatura powers to offset the frustration of ABSOLUTELY EVERY ONE of my peers being bigger and stronger and more athletic than I was.

The Apostle Paul wrote that he rejoiced in his infirmity because it furnished an occasion for God to display His strength. But even here, Paul was not taking pleasure in weakness FOR THE SAKE OF being weak; the weakness was only a circumstance which facilitated his real treasure, the work of God's grace.

Thus, when persons who don't know God experience pain and vulnerability, they're getting the distress WITHOUT the divine compensation. We should not, therefore, indulge in TOO much indignation at them if they look for security in the wrong places.... like the occult.

I know a woman whom I shall call Vesta. She has an appalling history. Molested as a little girl, treated with contempt by a mother who had wanted to abort her, and forced to witness evildoers continuously going unpunished for their crimes, it was as inevitable as mathematics that she came to have a gloomy view of the world. It is to her CREDIT that she still desired to know love and kindness; and it is to the condemnation of our depraved society that neo-paganism
got to her first with its fraudulent offers.

At present, Vesta believes in multiple gods, in reincarnation, in channeling, and in familiar spirits. Over time, I have been drawing her out on what she really believes, while giving her in return such easy doses of the true faith as she is able to assimilate. It is my non-dogmatic opinion that the reason why Vesta prefers plural gods over One Living God is because her chaotic early life gave her no assurance of a reliable moral authority on Earth, so that she would figure it unlikely that the spiritual realm had one righteous primary authority either.       

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Safely Stashing A Satirical Sci-Fi Story

This will be more comprehensible if you have read Frank Herbert's "Dune" books, which pass for science fiction but are at least forty-nine percent fantasy. You'll be still better off if you've gone so far as to read the fill-in books Frank Herbert's son has written since his father's death.
But, unlike a Bene Gesserit warrior-nun in teaching mode, I have tried to make my satire understandable EVEN for the uninitiated.    
 
‘’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’
HOPECRUSHERS OF DUNE

“Come in,” said Reverend Mother Bodelia Sneakaround, “for all of life is entrances which are exits which still are entrances to the exits we enter.”

“Er, um, right, what you said.” The Fremen-born girl Dazzlechick, in her first year as a Bene Gesserit novice, came in, looking relieved that, in spite of the typical gobbledygook speech from her mentor, it still was possible to do a simple, natural action like walking forward through a doorway. “Reverend Mother, my prana-bindu meditation exercises have been disrupted by a question which I cannot expel from my mind.”

“Questions go questing,” Bodelia solemnly intoned, “in quest of the unanswerable answers which question the unquestionable process of answering the answers that we question.”

“Of course, Reverend Mother. Now, may I, um, you know, actually tell you what my question is?”

“The ancestors of our questioners have been telling the untold answers ever since humanity left Old Earth and began forming the Empire of the Known Universe, my child. Here on Planet Arrakis, the descendants of those who decided calling the place Dune was less of a mouthful are daily writing all sort of questions in the sand, where the wind of destiny blows them away unnoticed.”

Dazzlechick nodded nervously. “I’ll take that as a Yes, Reverend Mother. What unsettles me is this question. Since the Bene Gesserit Sisterhood is supposed to be all-wise and totally awesome, guiding all humanity toward the glorious evolutionary something-or-other, why does everybody’s life on every planet always turn out so rotten? Also, why aren’t males making more of a contribution to trying to fix things?”

To the girl’s surprise, instead of scowling and delivering another meaningless lecture, Bodelia smiled.

 “Praise be to nothing in particular!” She arose from her lotus position to hug her apprentice. “I had been hoping that you would get around to raising that very question on your own initiative! Prepare to learn an actual answer!”

The Fremen girl was further surprised, but encouraged, to hear her teacher speak so coherently for once. “Enlighten me, Reverend Mother!”

“Come this way, then,” Bodelia invited. “We must follow the Golden Path to the Oxygenated Path, followed by the Depleted Uranium Path and the Carbon Fiber Path. Along the way, we’ll say goodbye to the Yellow Brick Road, but BEWARE!-- we must avoid wasting time hopping and bopping to the Crocodile Rock. Thereafter, all shall become clear.”

Dazzlechick never was sure how they made their mystical journey. It was weirder than any of the times she had ridden on board Rockymountainhigh-Liners of the Spacing Guild, and accompanied by what looked like psychedelic visual effects in a movie. At one point, she thought she heard the Dawn Sequence from “Thus Spake Zarathustra.” But presently they found themselves in one of the Art Deco-style chambers common to adaptations of the Dune novels; and there waited one of the Spacing Guild’s own Navigators, the ones who folded space in order to keep storylines moving without endless delays for characters to get from one solar system to another.

“Peace and incalculable profundity to you, Zipzoom,” said the Reverend Mother to the Navigator. To this, he replied, “Journeys always contain more arrivals than departures; just a minute, I think it’s the other way around. No, that’s only when we overbook flights. Never mind that. Who’s your novice?”

“This is Dazzlechick of the Fremen. She is a very demure girl; she’s had no more than twelve knife-fights this week. But more to the point, no pun intended, she is the first of all my apprentices ever to think of asking me WHY everything is so miserable for everybody in our universe.”

The Navigator smiled-- which, given his grossly mutated appearance, only made him uglier.

“Welcome, Dazzlechick! You will find this ffff….flabbergasting! Gotcha, you thought I would say ‘fascinating.’ Nope, I’m not a Spock fan.”

Dazzlechick frowned in thought. “Wait! I just realized, we’re all in a normal atmosphere! Don’t you Navigators need to stay in a mélange-gas atmosphere to live?”

“Not at all,” Zipzoom laughed. “We just make the suckers think that so they’ll be more impressed with how alien we seem. But we should proceed, shouldn’t we, Bodelia?”

“Right. Lead on.”

So the Reverend Mother and the Navigator led the Bene Gesserit novice into a colorful control room, where twenty or more non-mutated men were monitoring some sort of computer terminals which seemed to incorporate interstellar communication systems. “This,” Bodelia announced to Dazzlechick, “is Hopecrusher Central.”

“It’s our most covert operation,” Zipzoom added. “From here, Joy-Suppression Teams are dispatched to every world where there’s danger of something going right for someone. Just listen for a while to these mission controllers as they work, and you’ll soon get the idea.”

Dazzlechick, still finding it hard to believe that someone would actually name a place “Hopecrusher Central,” turned toward Bodelia. “Reverend Mother, I said I was distressed about things going wrong for people all the time, but Navigator Zipzoom speaks as if it’s a BAD thing for someone’s life to go RIGHT! What does this mean?”

“The meaning of life, dear novice, is a lively meaningfulness of life that means living.”

Exasperated that Bodelia would choose this moment to revert to gibberish, Dazzlechick saw no better option than to do as the Navigator had urged her. So she listened to the multiple duty-related reports being called out in the control room….

“Attention! Planet Jetlag has people treating sexual attraction as a motivation to exercise kindness and honesty, instead of treachery and exploitation! They must be stopped!”

“Prepare a team for intervention! There’s an industrial facility on Planet Hownowbrowncow that ISN’T ruining their entire environment!”

“Action stations! The government on Planet Attaboy is changing hands without violence!”

“Warning! We have detected a mother and father on Planet Wigwaggon who aren’t abandoning their children to horrible ordeals for obscure causes!”

“Catastrophe! Some siblings on Planet Milktoast are not in vicious rivalries!”

“Alert! There are as many as fifteen happy marriages on Planet Faraway!”

“Danger! A bloody civil war has just been successfully prevented on Planet Skiptoomyloo! If this outbreak of reconciliation is allowed to spread, it might cause a major galactic downturn in bitterness and hatred!”

“Panic! On Planet Inkadink there is an advance in medical care which doesn’t do more harm than good!”

“Maximum crisis warning! Inhabitants of Planet Gruntpoo are beginning to believe in a Supreme Being, WITHOUT this belief causing them to murder everyone in sight!”

Zipzoom suddenly stepped away from the two Bene Gesserits, to stand beside the controller who had spoken last. “This one gets the supreme priority!” he told the controller. “If people start realizing that faith in God can be a GOOD thing, our whole program will fail!”

Dazzlechick took hold of her teacher’s hand. “Reverend Mother, what does this mean? And please, tell me an actual meaning for once!”

“So I shall, dear girl. All of us here are operating in the universe of an existentialist worldview, like that of Sartre  and Camus, in which despair is the bedrock foundation of all philosophy. Those controllers are in charge of stamping out any hope, anywhere, that EITHER scientific achievement OR supernatural faith can ever lead to anything good in the long run. Notice that the controllers here are all male? You asked why men weren’t doing more; well, these men ARE doing their part: working toward an endgame in which people find peace in relinquishing all hope. While we are the Bene Gesserit, they are the Bene Herbert.

“Those who do not themselves believe in any afterlife, or in any spiritual consolation, often conclude that misery does love company. As you may be suspecting, that’s us. Therefore, all material progress of civilization in stories must be made to produce more and worse injustices, and every movement of religious faith must turn into destructive madness and oppression. Heroes and heroines must be seen to fail, and supporting characters must always end up disillusioned with them-- until the reading public, and ultimately the whole universe, agrees on a nice, tranquil resignation, and scoffs at idealists. Meanwhile, we of the Bene Gesserit supply the profound-sounding nonsense to keep humanity confused. And based on this program, Bene Herbert men write stories which promote existential despair.”

“Do people actually enjoy reading such unhappy stories?”

“I know it sounds odd, child. But the Bene Herbert novelists have refined their narrative skills to such a degree that the sheer detail and inventiveness hold the attention of readers, even though evil keeps on prevailing in the stories. Then, by a subtle emotional influence, we Bene Gesserit convince those readers that the sophistication of the plotlines DEPENDS ON this pessimistic worldview. We trick them into assuming that speculative fiction can’t be inventive and clever unless it promotes the loss of all hope. And our reward for these efforts is-- the satisfaction of knowing that other people are as depressed and miserable as we are. Of course, we normally don’t admit to ourselves that we’re unhappy; most of the time, we tell ourselves that we’re just being realistic.”

Dazzlechick drew a long breath. “Maybe you're pleased to do that, Reverend Mother; but not I!”

Without waiting for Zipzoom to rejoin them, and without waiting for Bodelia to utter more empty speeches, the Fremen girl dashed out of Hopecrusher Central. Finding the inter-dimensional path by which the Reverend Mother had led here here, Dazzlechick fled back along it. Not back to Dune, for she realized that her home planet was doomed forever to be part of the Bene Herbert’s grand scheme of telling everyone that the universe had no Creator and no divine plan to make truth and love triumph.

Instead, she would seek a universe where hope wasn’t held in contempt.

To her great relief, Dazzlechick found herself arriving in the universe of the writings of Joseph Richard Ravitts, who did believe both in God and in the possibility of love and virtue succeeding. There she would become a sympathetic, likeable character in the Grey Eagle saga.
And she would REMAIN a likeable character, instead of going down the toilet the way Frank Herbert had caused both Paul and Alia Atreides to go down the toilet after the first volume.



Thursday, December 7, 2017

Phony Good Guys Shoot a Genuine Good Guy in the Foot

The definition of “alt-right” has been ambiguous to me --apart, of course, from “villains perfectly suited for hardcore leftists to be horrified about.” But now, some persons who almost certainly QUALIFY AS alt-right have helped me out, by providing me with a glaringly obvious distinction between themselves and a Christian conservative I know.

Bear with me here. In defiance to the dumbing-down of society, I shall explain something which takes more than two short sentences to explain. To those who want to keep everything in the arena of blind emotions, I make NO apology for preferring truth.

The Christian man, my real-world in-person friend for longer than five years, is Jack Phillips, the bakery owner who leftists want to believe is “full of hate against everyone who’s different.” This accusation against Jack is not just a mistake, it is a calculated lie. The slanderous accusation depends on the fictitious claim that he wanted to exclude GAYS AS A CATEGORY from being his customers at all. The intentionally misleading slogan used by his detractors, “Just Bake The Cake,” is designed to support the false charge. It’s nothing unusual for lies to take cover behind a disguise of “profound simplicity.”

It was never about what people were allowed to come inside Masterpiece Cakeshop; it was always about two other questions: (1) Do business owners have the right to decide WHAT PRODUCTS they will or won’t sell? (2) Do United States citizens have the right to decide what statements and opinions they will publicly ENDORSE AND APPLAUD?

Jack’s enemies are themselves entirely aware that the answer to both questions is Yes. In proof of their knowing this, THEY WILL NOT force a vegan storeowner to sell meat, nor force a pacifist storeowner to sell war toys. Neither will they force a Muslim bookstore to sell books which say that Islam is wrong. But with the typical moral selectivity of leftists, they do desire to force Jack Phillips to sell, NOT “merely a cake,” but specifically a cake bearing COMMUNICATIVE symbols which would have the same effect as words. The leftists themselves are entirely aware that what they are demanding is the same thing as if they handed Jack a microphone in a public place and ORDERED him to say to a crowd, “Everything I believe about the true nature of marriage is wrong.”

I've heard audio from the mother of one partner in the entrapment team that went after Jack. I didn't catch whether she was the mother of Mullins or of Craig; but she dutifully recited the agreed-upon lie, claiming that her son had been "turned away" solely because of who he was.

These Christian-bashers know exactly what they’re doing, though they’ll furiously deny it. And, unfortunately, many supposed supporters of Masterpiece Cakeshop are stupidly HELPING THE LEFT to succeed in falsely painting Jack as a “hateful homophobe.”

This is where the revealed nature of the alt-right comes in.

Never, not for one instant on any day, did Jack wish to bar homosexuals from buying those products he chose to sell. But to this moment, there are alt-right imbeciles who undermine him by arguing that the issue IS about being allowed to exclude a category of people arbitrarily from shopping at the bakery. These imbeciles cheerfully revive the segregation-era phrase, “the right to refuse service;” thus do they support Jack’s alleged right to do something JACK NEVER WAS DOING AND NEVER WANTED TO DO.

Jack is the legitimate conservative here; his actions are not based on “hate,” but based on his knowledge of certain truths, like children benefiting by having both sexes represented as parents. But you’d never know this, when there are people on left AND right wrongly claiming that he is like a racist lunch-counter owner in Mississippi before Martin Luther King rose up for justice-- the only difference being that the neo-fascists WANT Jack to be like that lunch-counter owner. 

With friends like his alt-right “supporters,” Jack truly doesn’t need enemies.