There are no free societies
April 29, 2014 § 97 Comments
Politics is the art of resolving conflicts which arise in communities when different people have different views on what ought to be done. Politics is therefore essentially about discriminating between different notions of what ought to be done, exercising authority in favor of some choices while restricting others, and enforcing that authority with whatever formal or informal political apparatus is in place.
So in any given political state of affairs, many choices will be available and many will not. Those who would prefer to make choices which are permitted, and have those choices supported politically (through courts, police, social convention and approval, etc), will see the situation as free. Those who would prefer to make choices which are forbidden, however, will inherently see the situation as unfree.
Ultimately, then, there is no such thing as a “free society” in some general sense. There are only societies where what is permitted and forbidden is aligned with the good, and societies where what is permitted and forbidden is not aligned with the good.
There are good and bad societies, but there is no such thing as free or unfree societies.
Occam’s Razor Magazine: nancy-boy spammety spam spammers
April 28, 2014 § 12 Comments
This is a public service announcement.
Pingbacks are a feature of the WordPress software. When some other blog links to something on this blog I get notified with a pingback. If I approve the pingback, a link back to the other blog is entered in the comment stream.
Pingback SPAM is when another site generates a pingback without actually linking here. The hope seems to be that bloggers like me will approve the pingback and create a link to the other site, which will drive traffic to the other site and increase its search rank.
I’ve been getting occasional pingback SPAM from a blog that calls itself “Occam’s Razor Magazine” for some time now. (That a tiny and insignificant blog like mine gets this pingback SPAM seems to indicate either that the SPAM campaign is hitting a large number of blogs or that the folks creating the SPAM are exceptionally dumb). I won’t link to it, but the most recent pingback came from a post entitled “Is Mainstream Christianity Dead Set on the Destruction of Western Peoples?” It has gotten annoying enough that I posted the following in the comment thread:
The nancy-boys who run the blog just silently deleted the comment rather than actually addressing it.
I don’t know if the content of that blog is interesting, and I’m not going to find out because I am not going to read it. But whatever the quality of content may be, readers deserve to know that it is run by nancy-boy spammers; and if you don’t want to play the chump you might not want to approve their spammy pingbacks.
Fresh out of my trash can, taken from next to the coffee grounds and banana peels, this screenshot shows a few of the other blogs getting spammed by these losers:
The site editor and I have now corresponded (links and email addresses redacted):
Occam’s Razor <>
9:04 AM (2 hours ago)
Have at it, but even more interesting might be my recent post on New Creationism:
On Thu, Jul 3, 2014 at 9:45 AM, Zippy <> wrote:
Thanks and I accept the apology. You may be interested to know that I griped in the combox (as the easiest/quickest way to contact you) about the pingbacks and one of your moderators deleted my comment without sending me email or providing any other feedback. Deleting a comment is of course always legitimately a matter of the editor’s discretion, but some communication (since it was a matter of site administration that was affecting my blog and my personal workflow) could have avoided confusion.
I appreciate the generous invitation to guest blog, but I am going to pass. My personal idiosyncrasies make me rather unsuitable for collaborative blogging.
With your permission I will post this correspondence for the record, and to close the matter.
Date: Wed, 2 Jul 2014 15:53:18 -0500
Someone brought to my attention today that you complained that our blog had linked to you via some automated template we had used in the past.
For our posts on religion, he had initially used a template that contained links to some of our favorite religious bloggers — including yours truly. But after complaints about pingbacks, we stopped using it. In fact, I believe we only used the template a few times before ceasing to use it.
Anyway, sorry for any inconvenience it might have caused.
BTW, we’re hoping to expand Occam’s Razor soon with more guest blogging and would perhaps like you invite you to submit a guest post.
Alfred W. Clark
Occam’s Razor Mag
Yes, modern men really do love bad boys
April 26, 2014 § 118 Comments
Though he initially seems more aloof and emotionally troubled than his twin brother Aron, Cal is soon seen to be more worldly, business savvy, and even sagacious than their pious and constantly disapproving father … Cal is bothered by the mystery of their supposedly dead mother, and discovers she is still alive and a brothel-keeping ‘madam’ — from the Wikipedia entry on James Dean, captured 4-26-2014.
I know this may be a difficult “red pill” for some to swallow, but modern men really do love their bad boys. Our society has loved and promoted the status of bad boys for generations: East of Eden came out in 1955. Rebel Without Cause came out the same year.
The other side of the coin is just what Dalrock says it is: our society also tears down and disdains good men. They are really the same phenomenon, not different phenomena: contrast the description of James Dean’s character Cal to the description of how his father is portrayed in the very same sentence.
The roots go deeper, of course. The heroes of the American Revolution are the scrappy bad boy rebels who stood up to authority. The symbology used fits well on the tattoo of a modern biker gang member.
Personally I don’t think it is freakishly nutty to suspect that many women are attracted to the high status of bad boys precisely because liberal society makes bad boys high status.
The objection that things are the other way around — that men love bad boys because women love bad boys (and women love bad boys because women are just intrinsically sociopathic, perhaps as some vestigial psychological organ left over from evolution) — was previously discussed in this post. The balance of argument suggests that men love bad boys rebels because of liberalism, and women love bad boy rebels because men love them. This also has the merit (or detriment, depending on your point of view) of not positing that either sex is intrinsically sociopathic.
This program note brought to you by the deliciously ironic spectacle of self-proclaimed “beta men” who, themselves, admire cads for their foundational wisdom, claiming that “beta men” don’t admire bad boys. HT Malcolm.
Pandora’s Locke Box
April 24, 2014 § 58 Comments
Recent discussions here and at the Orthosphere (see here and here) have reinforced my impression that almost everyone wants to have a nice tame liberalism to keep as a pet. A common idea-structure I encounter is that traditionalism and particularity are great and should be protected as a locally scoped phenomenon, but that individuals or individual units should be free to separate – to emigrate or secede, as it were – as they see fit, based on nothing more than their preferences qua individual or unit. Thus we will have a free market of traditionalisms, and no particular traditionalism will be oppressed by other traditionalisms.
The hope seems to be that if we can just get a limited injection of “live and let live” liberalism somewhere within the right political scope (which varies based on the theorist), we can let a thousand flowers bloom. You might think of it as a form of abstract traditionalism, which is something of a contradiction in terms.
But this is just liberalism itself, of course: and under liberalism everything is permissible only as long as it is compatible with liberalism.
I don’t understand why people who promote liberalism as a political doctrine on a global scope don’t expect it to come a-knocking on local doors. The notion of a “tame” liberalism, one that will destroy only the authorities you don’t like while leaving intact the authorities you do like, is a baseless fantasy.
Because I said so, that’s why
April 24, 2014 § 101 Comments
Power is a material capacity to make this thing happen rather than that.
Authority is a moral capacity to oblige a subject to choose this thing rather than that.
Enforcement is a power associated with an authority, specifically to punish those who disobey authority and extract restitution from them.
Tyranny is a false pretense of authority, frequently accompanied by enforcement of the false claim.
A basic problem with modern people is that they don’t believe in authority: they don’t believe that other men can oblige them to do or not do particular things independent of consent to the obligation.
April 15, 2014 § 25 Comments
Inspired by this thread I did a little experiment and got the following result:
The fitness test as an example of Game’s specific difference
April 14, 2014 § 41 Comments
Sometimes discussion of essences, nominalism, specific differences, and other metaphysics gets a bit abstract. So I thought I’d bring my most recent discussion of Game further into the realm of the concrete with an example.
Game frequently seems to address generic issues of leadership and masculinity. This makes it appealing, especially for folks with antiessentialist/nominalist tendencies (which includes most modern people), to expand the understanding of Game to include generic issues of leadership and masculinity independent of unchaste male behavior. Folks whose first encounters with certain aspects of social competence were through the distorted lens of Game are especially prone to this tendency. In my view this reflects a basic mistake.
What the perceptive will notice is that in Game, generic issues of leadership and masculinity become sexualized to the point where both the nature of the thing and its applicability outside of the context of sex (generally speaking) become obscured. Once you’ve noticed that this is happening you see it everywhere: truth delivered in a package of inchastity distorts the truth.
Take the idea of a “fitness test”, where a putative follower challenges a putative leader on something specific (lets call it “the issue at hand” or just “the issue”).
What I realized after thinking about it for a while is that, sure, women do this frequently; but men do it even more. That buzzing in my head was the cognitive dissonance between the narrative and reality, running loud enough to be heard over the Voices.
Followers challenge leaders all the time, and if a leader is always giving in to his followers he will lose their respect both because (1) he is wrong frequently enough about substantive matters that this becomes a notable feature of his leadership and (2) he doesn’t stand up to challenges. A leader who has inspired doubt in his followers will receive more of these ‘internal’ challenges, and the “issue at hand” will become ever more trivial. But that doesn’t mean that followers don’t actually want their way when it comes to the issue at hand, as the concept underlying Game proposes. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a follower challenge a leader (including a wife challenging a husband) where the follower didn’t actually want her way.
In reality followers need strong leaders and smart leaders; challenges to those qualities will naturally arise when preferences conflict; and followers will naturally lose respect for leaders who fail to exhibit both qualities in the face of challenges. Incidentally to all this women find failure to lead effectively unattractive.
So the concept of the fitness test which underlies some of Game is confused. It has led people to believe that in a fitness test a woman doesn’t really want to get her way on the issue at hand. But like all followers she pretty much always actually does want her way on the issue at hand, however trivial it may be. Fulfilling this short term desire frequently conflicts with the long term need for strong and smart leadership; but short term desires and long term needs are in conflict all the time, and a good leader knows how to navigate that rather than handwaving a leadership challenge away with the notion that grown women instinctively want to be in the wrong and are just throwing rocks like little children.
This gets to a larger point that goes beyond Game as prescribed behavior. In general the ontology underlying “Game” is disastrously wrong because it amounts to “liberalism for men but not for women”. That is, it basically attempts to be against feminism without being against liberalism more generally, and is thus really just a new form of self-castrating neoconservatism. The reason “neoreaction” attracts so many libertarians is precisely because of this: they see something that proposes to let them keep what they want from liberalism, rather than accepting their place in a naturally hierarchical society of men.
As I have pointed out many times now hierarchy among men is perfectly natural: men are natural followers as well as natural leaders, etc.
Coming back around to the fitness test specifically, take note of the incorrect premises: first, that fitness tests are primarily something that women do; second, that fitness tests involve drama invented out of whole cloth the very point of which is to challenge leadership rather than actual substantive challenges to leadership on substantive matters; third, that what matters in responding to fitness tests is implacability rather than leadership (thus this obsession with “frame“). The locus of these incorrect premises is quite precisely an obsession with the accidental feature that yes, women who don’t respect a man will find him unattractive.
So notice the specific difference of Game in action: instead of being focused on the common good of the community under a leader (most notably a father and a family), Game prescriptions when it comes to fitness tests are focused on projecting strength and smarts, leading to a perception of strong leadership by some woman specifically, leading to respect and deference by that woman independent of the common good of the led community, leading to the sexual attentions of that woman. What was about leadership and the common good has been made to be about this man getting sexual attention from this woman; and this manifests itself in the prescribed behaviors and attitudes of Game.
The specific difference between social competence generally and Game specifically, then, is male inchastity.
Note: this post re-purposed from a comment here.
 Folks keep kicking the beehive after I think we are all done, and as long as it leads to interesting discussion with wider ramifications I am probably, uh, game.
 It is true that women are more emotional than men. That doesn’t mean that she doesn’t really want to wash the knives in the dishwasher.
Edginess about essences
April 14, 2014 § 6 Comments
In a nominalist’s world everything blends into everything else. Names are just arbitrary labels that we assign to groupings of similar things for our own purposes: like Humpty Dumpty when we use a word it means just what we say it means, nothing more, nothing less. Getting from one sort of thing to another sort of thing is like navigating a connected conceptual terrain: we cross boundaries from one kind of thing to reach another kind of thing, and in between kinds of things there are either cliff edges or transition zones in shades of gray.
In a world where things have essences, though — that is, in reality — it doesn’t work that way. It doesn’t make sense to propose that if we just go far enough in the right direction on the terrain-of-everything-that-is, this apple can become an orange. It doesn’t make sense to try to make an orange get as close as possible to appleness without actually crossing the line and becoming an apple. It doesn’t make sense to propose that in order to avoid apples we have to understand the boundary where oranges become apples. It doesn’t make sense to suggest that because knowing what apples are and what oranges are is in some sense an empirical question, ‘what is an apple’ can be resolved by taking a poll of how various people use the term “apple”. And it doesn’t make sense to attempt to shut down criticism of apples by suggesting that labels are arbitrary, so when we use the term apple it means just what we say it means, nothing more, nothing less.
April 11, 2014 § 92 Comments
We are constantly being assured that Game teaches men things that nobody else teaches, so that men who want to learn these things specifically have nowhere else to go other than pickup artists. That means that what Game teaches must have a specific difference from what it has been possible to learn elsewhere in the decades before the “Game renaissance” on the web. And Game must be something empowering: even if, according to its best practitioners, it only works as well as a placebo, men would still see results from adopting it.
So what actually is the specific difference between social competence in general and Game more specifically? What empowering techniques can you not learn from any sources other than pickup artists and sluts?
The specific things you won’t learn from sources other than pickup artists and sluts are the things specific to pickup artists and sluts: unchaste behaviors toward the opposite sex.
Nominalism and the avoidance of specific difference
April 11, 2014 § 8 Comments
Nominalism is all about avoiding the implications of the essences of things, and one of the easiest ways to avoid the implications of essences is to obfuscate specific differences.
Take adultery, for example. Adultery has an essence, and the specific difference between sex acts generally and adultery in particular is that adultery takes place between partners at least one of whom is married to someone else.
Or take a contracepted sex act. The specific difference between sex acts generally and contracepted sex acts in particular is that the latter have been modified in some way which blocks natural fertility.
I myself have concluded, after a couple of years of experience with the subject, that the specific difference between Game/sluttiness and social competence more generally is inchastity.
What nominalists do in order to avoid judgment of the things they support is obfuscate specific differences. That is why we are constantly being cajoled into assent to trite slogans (“social competence is good!”; “psychological knowledge can be used for good or evil!” etc.) and told that that is Game.