Monday, November 21, 2016

A Call for a Cosmopolitan Union

I think the only thing that will stop our mass extinction is for the vast majority of people to realize that capitalism will not save us.
People keep getting sold the same lie over and over, that it's better this way, that it will help us. Never has, never will.  You get a few generations that get in on an early cycle who get nice trinkets, but the lives of later generations always suffer.
There are those who will tell you "but capitalism is defended by reason!"  There cannot be a more wrong-headed statement.  Capitalism is not defended by "reason" because "reason" implies stability and certainty, of which capitalism has none.  Its cycles ebb and flow in a state akin to natural law.  It is merely the Law of the Jungle, enshrined in the quasi-rational trappings of civilization.
But what of our alternatives?  What can we do besides capitalism, if it is so much akin to natural law?  
Our present crisis stems from the fact that Marx's alternative to capitalism proved even less appealing in practice.  It made the error that human nature was inherently rational inasmuch as the need for altruism is greater than the selfish impulse.  Rand attempted to rectify this by saying that the human being was inherently selfish, and instead created a society where antisocial thugs are looked upon as the cream of society because they had the base animal cunning to get rich on the labors of others.  We must therefore embrace the proposition that human nature is not rational per se; the selfish impulse and the altruistic impulse exist, simultaneously, and they cannot be separated from one another, or one nourished at the expense of the other, without producing a mutilated human being.
And so Marxism proves no alternative; neither does Fascism, which is merely capitalism at the end of its life cycle before it either renews itself under the guise of liberal capitalism once more (as we saw at the end of WW2) or collapses into some form of petty autocracy with one lone parasitic despot as head of a ruined, impotent state (as in the case of Zimbabwe).
Herein is the crisis of our generation: we cannot continue the scourge of capitalism, but at this time no alternative exists.
This is where religious fundamentalism becomes a terrifying thing, because it is the only cohesive force in our world that is unaffected by markets.  It is affected only by the willingness of the masses to either believe a message or to obey the orders of those who do.  If capitalism comes to complete ruin in a world where there is no other alternative, theocracies will soon spring up, and these theocracies will begin to fight each other for dominance.  And at this time we are seeing, in the appropriation of crusader identities by fundamentalist Christians and of Caliphate identities by Islamic fundamentalists, the beginnings of a world that may, in a hundred years time, go careening straight into a bloody religious war in which all forces of cosmopolitan values, all people of irreligious alliance, all people of faith who do not revel in fundamentalism, and all institutions which stand in their way will be destroyed.
We cannot let that happen.  The idea of the whole of human history coming down to a war between fundamentalists is a terrifying prospect if you are not a fundamentalist and I, for one, am calling for another way before it's too late.
What I propose is not an economic philosophy but a social philosophy aimed at uniting as many sane, reasonable, empathetic, intelligent, and enlightened people as possible.  It must be able to reach across lines of race, religion, and nationality and abide by values that are both cosmopolitan and well-defined.  It must give value and dignity to people who are very different from each other, and unite them in reclaiming the world.  It must find some balance between the need for individual rights and self-actualization, and the eternal reality of the survival of the culture through altruism and sacrifice.
More than that, It must be steadfast, resistant to entryism by reactionaries, and have a strong definition of what it considers good leadership rather than an aversion to leaders.  But above all the integrity of its guiding principles should be held far above the dignity of any leader, lest it degenerate into a cult of personality.
I call this movement the Cosmopolitan Union and it may be the only hope for any of the good aspects of liberal values to survive the likely self-destruction of capitalism, should it ever materialize.

Time will tell.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

The Machine Spoke of God

This was a short story I wrote in mid-2013.  Not much to say about it except it's not one of my favorites, but it has its merits.

A neurally-networked AI goes gnostic.  Inspired by this video:



Monday, November 14, 2016

From The Files of Queen Okk-Okk (Short Story)

Since I wrote this story in 2006 or 2007, it has appeared under several titles, including "Concerning the Grasshopper Flintwing," "Concerning Flintwing," and "From The Secret Files of Queen Okk-Okk."

Whatever the title, the premise is the same.  It's Aesop's old fable about the ants and the grasshopper with a dystopian slant; the ants here are cold, calculating imperialists whose only goals are the extraction of resources and the expansion of territory; the grasshoppers are free creatures whose home is being taken from them.

This is probably one of the few early stories I'm really proud of.


Sunday, November 13, 2016

Designed For Greatness- Short Story

This is the companion to "Forty-Thousand Dollars," the post immediately preceding this one.

More info on these two stories here.

Forty Thousand Dollars (Short Story)

This story was originally written with an anthropomorphic fox protagonist in 2010 and was featured in the Anthropomorphic Dreams podcast.  I re-worked it as a story with human characters for an anthology but I never released the anthology.

Actually, I thought I had posted this before, along with its companion piece, "Designed for Greatness."  The two stories are actually the same story, told through the POV of two brothers: one of them was genetically enhanced to have the intelligence and low inhibitions of a politician or businessman but ends up a ruin in adulthood; the other, born naturally and with nonverbal learning difficulties (i.e. extremely bad at math), grows up to become a successful writer.

I will post both stories today, since they go together.

Incidentally, these two stories are very personal, and I put a lot of my own pathos into these stories.  In particular, I struggled with math in school and always felt like I was considered the runt of the littler, despite being the oldest (and biggest) of two.


Tuesday, November 8, 2016

One Final Thought Before The Elections

This blog is not dedicated to election coverage.  I am not about to go into a long-winded screed about why I believe the things I do or what the tragic state of the election so far has been.

Suffice to say though, I am extremely worried, in part because we have at least one candidate who believes that the basic rules and graces of democracy don't apply to him.  This candidate has appealed to the fearful, the resistant to change, and the hateful and has brought them so far into the mainstream that many people- myself included- fear that a dam has been breeched.

It is the broadly-shared opinion of many analysts that regardless of who wins, violence and bloodshed are likely.  Both candidates are likely to face a coup attempt as the two sides fighting for supremacy in this country are at loggerheads; the division is nearing the critical tipping point and the divide between these competing visions of what our country should become has become so dire and so bitter that conflict may be inevitable.

But for those who can only think of themselves and what they'll do to save their own skins if and when the violence breaks out, I ask that you think about the generations that are only just coming of age, the teenagers who are either voting in their first elections now, or are still too young to vote.

These teenagers... they're beautiful people.  Read some articles about them and you'll see what I mean.  They're concerned about the environment and the rights of others.  They have an emotional maturity that the schoolyard bully mentality of today's electorate lacks.  They are open about gender and sexuality.  They're beautifully diverse.  They reject religious dogma, most of them either choosing the path of honest atheists or embracing an open, free-form spirituality.  They are the closest this country has created to an enlightened people.  They can come closer to perfecting our republic than anyone ever dreamed possible.

This is why, no matter what comes our way, those of us who share their dream of a world where people can simply be themselves in mutual respect and in equal dignity need to stop worrying about our own tomorrows, because we have a more important purpose.  We need to stand against whatever the forces of hate throw our way because the generation to come is worth it.  And if we have to, they'll be worth dying for.

Soon, very soon, the occasion to show what we're made of may be visited upon us.  And let us not fool ourselves: that occasion may call for us to take up arms and actually fight and die so that others may live.

But it that occasion calls, remember one thing:

Everyone who ever called you an SJW for not giving in to their regressive agendas, for not having the emotional maturity of a five-year-old child, for not fobbing someone off because they were black or Latino, for not buying into their small-minded essentialism, for standing up for a friend who was being harassed, has actually paid you an unintended compliment.

You know what that "W" stands for?  It stands for WARRIOR.  And a warrior must always draw the line.  So when the forces of hate and fear stand to in open warfare, we must be prepared to meet them with like force even if it means our blood may be shed.  If we retreat in the face of the enemy, they will cut us down anyway so if we die, let us die standing like warriors do!  Let's show them just how right they were when they called us warriors and give as good as we get!

We will not throw the first punch, but, God willing, we will throw the last one.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Britannica

I wrote an article for Encyclopedia Britannica!

This is the result of several years of research on William Longespee (Longsword), Third Earl of Salisbury, a very interesting figure if there ever was one.

https://www.britannica.com/biography/William-Longsword-3rd-earl-of-Salisbury