It Ain’t Necessarily So

I try really hard to be fair-minded toward Moslems, because I believe that each of them has the capacity to choose their beliefs and actions. For those of us in the US, however, what Moslems believe is still less important than what non-Moslems think about them. Here is one example:

While the snickering fat cats get ready to split, the unticketed masses are deep in prayer. The director’s heart is probably not with them, though — not after he’s blown away a Buddhist monastery, the Sistine Chapel and the giant Jesus statue overlooking Rio de Janeiro. (Not that Emmerich holds nothing sacred. In an online interview, he’s quoted as saying that he’d wanted to wipe out a sacred Islamic shrine, too, but then thought … maybe not: “You can [let] Christian symbols fall apart, but if you would do this with an Arab symbol, you would have … a fatwa. So I kind of left it out.”)

So, here we have a secular, politically liberal, probably agnostic filmmaker (Roland Emmerich) who wants to cynically use religious themes to provoke strong audience reactions. But there are some provocations that are apparently not ethical. You don’t yell “fire!” in a crowded theater, you don’t question global warming prophets, you don’t call homosexual behavior voluntary, and you don’t mess around with ‘Slam™.

This shows the true meaning of piety, which can be described as respect for the ground of your being. If you are a political being obsessed with justifying yourself as righteous based on your adherence to an ideology, then you are pious about political icons. If your ideology is self-preservation and Christians seem like a bunch of superficial, hypocritical, blubbering idiots, whereas Moslems seem like a bunch of passionate, narrow-minded, homicidal maniacs, then you will respect the Moslem icons more.

And so the confused and directionless liberal seems to favor the most vicious and illiberal criminal. The sad fact is that most people won’t make a choice until it is forced on them. Until something seems like a live option, such that a binary decision is absolutely necessary, they will just ignore the so-called problem. This is the psychology behind the arguments for and against evolution, atheism, abortion, gay marriage, and every other modern political dichotomy in the US. So the herd leaders expend large amounts of effort to prove that their particular option is not only necessarily distinct and well-formed, but also necessarily right and good, seeing as how it is based on necessary truths.

This brute force method of argument is effective against the apathetic and stupid, especially if they are “creative” types, “science” worshippers, TV addicts, or drunk. It is the primary cause of terrorism paranoia, although it can be linked to all kinds of popular superstitions and political platforms. I reject the premise underlying this entire category of reasoning, since it pretends that people are the same as animals and that reality is the same as logical idealism.

However, it is undeniably successful as a technique for leading cattle peaceably into a slaughterhouse; it provides the narrative structure for almost any coherent movie; and it supports some of the most durable theological systems, such as Wahhabi Islam, Roman Catholicism, Calvinism, and the Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection. And it provides the ideological framework for modern US progressivism, in which every transient urge and irrational anxiety is obvious, necessary, and inevitable.

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12 thoughts on “It Ain’t Necessarily So

  1. This is an Anonymous Superspy test to see if http://anonymouse.org allows commenting on blogs.

    It seems to me that anonymouse.org works better than the free proxies that I’ve tried to use in the past. It appears to be faster and not take up an obnoxious amount of space at the top of the web browser by framing web pages; at least if it does frame web pages, it does it transparently.

    Also, in sitemeter, it doesn’t show the pages visited, only the page count, or any other information. I can’t test out if it will show the referral link, because WordPress.com doesn’t allow the java script to be able to get reference link information.

    Nothing’s free in life; it puts up a small pop-up banner. Some of it looks like a portal into trash, although the advertisements are pretty mild.

    Actually, it was sitemeter which tipped me off on anonymouse.org. I took off the sitemeter for months, but I recently put it back. It can give some interesting information, like if you get a visit from the Justice Department, a visit I fortunately don’t get very often.

    The word Slam has been copyrighted by Anonymous Superspy, so expect a cease and desist order very soon for infringing on Anonymous Superspy’s copyright. You may use Islam, MeSlam, YouSlam, EverybodySlam to the funky funky DefJam, but using ‘Slam does not rise to the requirements of fair use law.

    This is not a friendly visit by Anonymous Superspy. Recently you gave banner advertisement to that overall no good guy, but I needed to do this test, so I used this as an excuse to come back.

  2. [The Anonymous Superspy comment that WordPress didn’t allow when Anonymous Superspy was using anonymous.org.]

    This is an Anonymous Superspy test to see if http://anonymouse.org allows commenting on blogs.

    It seems to me that anonymouse.org works better than the free proxies that I’ve tried to use in the past. It appears to be faster and not take up an obnoxious amount of space at the top of the web browser by framing web pages; at least if it does frame web pages, it does it transparently.

    Also, in sitemeter, it doesn’t show the pages visited, only the page count, or any other information. I can’t test out if it will show the referral link, because WordPress.com doesn’t allow the java script to be able to get reference link information.

    Nothing’s free in life; it puts up a small pop-up banner. Some of it looks like a portal into trash, although the advertisements are pretty mild.

    Actually, it was sitemeter which tipped me off on anonymouse.org. I took off the sitemeter for months, but I recently put it back. It can give some interesting information, like if you get a visit from the Justice Department, a visit I fortunately don’t get very often.

    The word Slam has been copyrighted by Anonymous Superspy, so expect a cease and desist order very soon for infringing on Anonymous Superspy’s copyright. You may use Islam, MeSlam, YouSlam, EverybodySlam to the funky funky DefJam, but using ‘Slam does not rise to the requirements of fair use law.

    This is not a friendly visit by Anonymous Superspy, as if you care. Recently you gave banner advertisement to that overall no good guy, but I wanted to do this test, so I used this as an excuse to come back.

  3. Was there another comment that didn’t make it? That sounds like a fascinating test.

    I kind of doubt you meant “copyright”, since you can’t copyright a word. I also doubt that you have registered it with the USPTO, so I’ll assume that you’ve acquired this trademark through usage. Therefore, I’ve placed the “TM” next to it now. Since I am using it in the same way you use it, I don’t think I am diluting its value.

    Sorry, but he had a good quote there. Well, I’m not going to promote his new book for him, since he failed to contract for free distribution and then failed to make it available for the Kindle even in a not-free version.

  4. Obviously, the first comment did make it through, but it didn’t make it through immediately. It didn’t show up before I posted the duplicate comment, and WordPress didn’t tell me it went into moderation, like normally happens. I think I’ll do another test in a moment.

    There’s nothing wrong with selling a book, except when the person has put themselves on a pedestal, having trumpeted their devotion to freedom of information, and freedom to take information they want. You don’t have to invite me over to dinner, but if you do, I’ll not like it if you’re not home when I arrive.

    The copyright stuff was only a imperfect attempt at cleverness to make claim that I want creative credit, not that I really do, though I might; how could I not want credit for everything that I deserve? More stuff that a whole lot of thought shouldn’t be put into.

  5. Now, I’m surfing the web anonymously using http://anonymouse.org.

    I’m free to insult bloggers at will. I can act insanely crazy without them being able to figure out who I am through my Internet service provider.

    I am Anonymous Superspy. I can make visits to lowly bloggers of low status without their ego being stroked because they see that my IP address has the domain of a prestigious University.

    I don’t really have a problem with Microsoft Windows, as long as I don’t think Microsoft is the big bad guy, and Google has replaced Microsoft as the villain for me.

    In the old days, professional quality, multi-tasking, multi-user operating systems, such as AT&T’s Unix, cost a $1000 a copy.

    As far as privacy, we are putting a lot of trust in Microsoft, but we’re trusting banks also. I assume Microsoft does frequent checks on whether any of their products isn’t pirated. But probably any expensive, commercial application is also “checking back home” if the application is pirated.

    I’m assuming that Microsoft isn’t scanning my hard disk for personal information. Those kind of things tend to become known. They are able to associate a certain user with the hardware ID of a computer, wherever that ID is, I don’t know, probably in the CPU, but my IP provider knows more of what I do than Microsoft.

    I’d be all for breaking free of Microsoft, other than that I tried it a long time ago, and gave up on doing that. I want to be productive with my software, not forever being playing around trying new things.

  6. Feel free to delete duplicate stuff, and edit things to make sense of what’s left, or delete off topic stuff.

  7. WordPress isn’t very good at giving feedback. The last short comment I made using anonymouse.org didn’t show up, and WordPress didn’t tell me anything about it.

    I guess it went to your moderation, but you may want to delete and edit some of these, or whatever you prefer.

  8. The trademark stuff was only an imperfect attempt at humoring your non-cleverness by pretending to take it seriously.

    I don’t favor not using Microsoft products. That would be vain and irrelevant, like using a Mac. I favor not glorifying Microsoft and being willing to hack Microsoft products even while using them to best advantage as designed.

    It’s the same with any technology. I might risk social isolation, financial loss, or breaking my toys, but I simply don’t accept any moral imperative with regard to my treatment of something in my possession.

    On the other hand, if I then turn around and try to sell a botched version of someone else’s product without their permission, that should lead to financial or legal consequences. Life is risky.

    Gee, I wish I had free Internet access from a prestigious university.

  9. The Anonymouse toolbar seems to work pretty well. When I tried to download something the download manager got confused, but that funky poetryslampolemic downloaded just fine.

  10. I guess I don’t care about Microsoft anymore. Bill Gates went philanthropic. The Europeans brought him down to where he probably doesn’t go around threatening people anymore.

    I’ve started interpreting fair use law very liberally, since it opens things up to interpretation, everything I do is non-profit and educational, and nothing is really settled except through lawsuit. I use cracked versions of lots of stuff, so I don’t have to worry about activating and deactivating, and for other reasons. I guess I’d use a cracked version of Microsoft XP, and very soon, Windows 7, although I don’t know if it’s any more complicated than using the same serial number multiple times. But wait, I’m using a cracked version of Office, because I got tired of messing with OpenOffice.

    But the OS is sort of a non-issue for me since the OS comes with a new computer, and I only use two computers. Plus, it doesn’t seem like a good idea to circumvent something that every other application is depending on.

    From the times I used Linux, the windows interface was never bug free. I would like to be working on a Linux OS for all the development tools, and because the science community releases lots of applications that are native to Linux, but I decided I should only use one OS, and the applications I use tie me into Windows. And, the fact that I’ve experimented with Linux to know that it’s not perfect makes it hard for me to get all riled up about Microsoft for the $100 that they charge for a very good operating system. They’ve just become another software company to me.

    There is http://virtualbox.org, which would allow me to install a Linux distribution. But then using two different OS’s still would keep me from operating as seamlessly. That’s why I’m going to get a Mathematica torrent when my new month starts for Internet service. The idea is to use one frontend that has a comprehensive set of math functions, then use that to call some additional libraries like Pari/GP, http://pari.math.u-bordeaux.fr/. I always seek simplicity as much as possible.

    There’s up sides and downsides. Linux didn’t show up until 10, 15, or whatever years after Microsoft. Until then, like I said, Unix was high priced commercial software.

  11. Personally, I always seek complexity. Maybe that’s why I can’t get anything done. I need multiple overlapping functions, applications, operating systems, browsers, windows, tabs, search engines, databases, disk drives, flash drives, computers, files, whatever. If one fails, I need another way out. Even if none of them fail, I need to approach everything from three directions at once. That’s why I like the fact that most applications have three different ways to perform any function, even if I always use the same one.

    Interestingly, Wavatar remembers you each time but WordPress moderation doesn’t. So, even though it lets you comment, it still filters you, in a way.

  12. If you like complexity and overlap, then you like or would like Perl and Larry Wall. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Larry_Wall

    To tie up a few loose points that don’t really require a reply, for one, I wasn’t aware that Windows could be or needed to be hacked. I guess it’s not a priority for me.

    Secondly, I think the reason WordPress didn’t give me any feedback when a comment went to moderation is because of this: anonymouse.org would submit the comment, and then the page would be refreshed. With the new request, WordPress didn’t know it was the same person who had submitted the comment, so it didn’t give me information about the comment.

    Anyway, I don’t have a need to surf anonymously much, but it could come in handy for anti-ego purposes, not that I have a prestigious URL.

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