I’ll just start typing, you can start reading, and we’ll see where this all leads.
For the past four months, I’ve been deep in piles of work. Occasionally, I’ll poke up my head out of the figurative hole in which I do this work, look around, and see if I can find anything useful about which to comment – briefly. More often than not, it is not possible to comment briefly. I’ll give you a for-instance.
I called a client this morning. He’s going toe-to-toe with his local city council over a building of his that partially collapsed. He’d like to get started with a cleaning and partial demolition of the building so that he can start building renovations, but he’s stymied by a city that won’t approve him to begin work. The man’s even bought a crane to reach up to the top of the three-story building. Meanwhile, they blame him for not beginning work, threatening lawsuits, and otherwise impeding progress, none of which is true. Feeling his frustration, I expressed my opinion that, were it my property, I’d probably go out there and start work and dare then to arrest me for trying to correct the situation. He liked that idea. Let’s hope he the other solutions I recommended work better.
I also read a response to a comment I made on Twitter that was a bit intriguing. Seems that confirming liberal stereotypes of Southerners isn’t to be done, especially the stereotypes that we’re a bunch of violent dim wits. Personally, I think that’s nothing but a bunch of bullshit. We ought to confirm the Yankee stereotype of Southerners at every opportunity, and then switch out of the stereotype when it’s profitable. Like when we’re expected to cower in fear of being outed as racists, and instead double-down. Or when we’re supposed to react violently to a provocation, but instead bring the full force of police and trial attorneys to bear against enemies. Or when we’re not expected to comprehend languages other than English, but we’re surprising capable in Spanish. Or Arabic. For example, this is for a man in Olympia, WA.
ابنتك الملاعين مثل كلب
Se entiende la idea.
Speaking of morons, the Southern crypto-aristocrat discussion got started with a Rod Dreher article. He wrote something about how Southerners are terrible awful people who kept slaves in the USA (then Confederacy) and then terrorized blacks in the (again) USA south, so we ought to remember that when we’re talking about ISIS, we can be evil, too. Since this seems to be a profitable and rewarding line of rhetoric, he continued with an essay titled,
“Lesson of the New Atheist Muslim-Killer,” where his thesis, best I can discern, is that (so-called New) atheists are no more above reproach than the rest of us, and closed with this marvelous tidbit from Christianity.
“If you can’t see yourself in any of these crowds, you are not looking hard enough. Religious or atheist, left-wing or right-wing, gay, straight, American or non-American – you can’t escape it except through grace, and the constant work of standing up to the hater within. Civilization is a thin veneer over barbarism. Beneath our skin lay our skulls. We forget that at our peril. You too, New Atheists. You are no different from those you hate. We are one in the bond of humanity. That is our glory, and that is our shame.”
Now, for an article that glories in the shame of white male guilt-assertion, that’s pretty lacking in self-awareness. But to combine that with the theological concepts upon which Christianity depends, vidalicet, salvation depends upon the grace of a deity upon an unworthy human being, coupled with vigilance against one’s own predilection toward rebellion against that deity. Problem is, he fails to construct some really important concepts within atheist thought, or more precisely, leans upon a woman who also fails to construct these concepts. Here’s a bit he quotes from Elizabeth Stoker.
“Dawkins takes the obviousness of his moral frame for granted; he doesn’t feel the need to offer an earnest denouncement of these murders because he does not honestly believe any person could view them as an outgrowth of a system decent people like him are a part of. But this is a persistent problem with the New Atheist movement: Because it is more critical of religion than introspective about its own moral commitments, it assumes there is broad agreement about what constitutes decency, common sense, and reason. Yet in doing so, New Atheism tends to simply baptize the opinions of young, educated white men as the obviously rational approach to complicated sociopolitical problems. Thus prejudice in its own ranks goes unnoticed.”
Most atheists, though not all, and certainly not I, have constructed a progressive moral identity. It is, pronounced so briefly that perhaps it is caricature, 1) that people are intrinsically good and seek good in others, 2) that although some individuals may, through no personal fault, become anti-social and even violent, this is not a normal human condition, 3) moral systems that assign to acts or persons the quality of moral evil create more problems than they solve. Such a system of beliefs, while so full of errors that the resulting catastrophes summon to mind gory battlefields of dismembered corpses, nonetheless is a belief system of enlightened naiveté that commits crimes of omission, not acts of violence. To blame such people for the deadly outcome of a parking-space dispute is akin to blaming a nun for not breaking her vow of silence so she may scream while being raped.
Still, people attempt these specious arguments often. “You, group of fuckers, don’t agree with my conclusions regarding something-or-other, therefore you are evil bastards who are too ignorant to get a say.” These days, a man from the pinnacle civilization of the world, Western Europe, cannot be relied upon to possess opinions reflecting “the obviously rational approach to complicated socio-political problems” by virtue of inherited wisdom steadily accumulated over 3000 years. Alright, Ms. Stoker, I’ll bite: if not us, then who do you propose?
I am reminded of a story told by my second engineering employer. At the time, he was working at the state highway department here in Arkansas. For those that don’t know, Arkansas is actually very advanced when it comes to several fields of structural engineering. We don’t build much that’s very big, but most of our engineering techniques can’t be found in textbooks. This particular instance, the Federal Highway and Transportation Administration engineer was berating a senior engineer (my boss’s boss at the time) for the placement spacing of steel shear stud on top of the steel I-beam. [The studs act to connect the steel beam to the concrete bridge surface, creating a composite system that incorporates the concrete deck into the steel beam as a flange. Done right, the effective strength of such a system triples or better for gravity load considerations, and reduces bridge vibration, but the placement of the steel studs must be calculated careful for bridge steel so that the so-called shear flow (imagine gluing the pages of a phone book together do the pages don’t fan, and you’ll understand the concept) between the steel and concrete is transferred proportionate to the magnitude of the flow at that point in the span.] After several minutes of vitriol, the senior engineer calmly asked, “Are you asking me to add more studs, or specify fewer?” The Fed was unable to answer the question. For my part, I’ve designed thousands of these beams BY HAND over the course of twenty years. Now I use MathCAD for the work, but that doesn’t spare me the calculations, only the math errors.
This is the world in which we now appear to exist (it sure ain’t living): shrill shrikes protesting the competence of men because the shrike, having the brain of a bird, cannot comprehend the magnitude of wisdom, knowledge, and skill accumulated to accomplish fundamental tasks of civilization, like constructing a combustion engine or an electricity generating water turbine, or an exhaustive contract clause, or an instruction plan for a grade-school class of 20 children. What’s worse, its most horrifying capacity is its ability to degrade the minds of men, like me, who should know better.
Can you imagine any responsible father living in 1880, say, a farmer, sitting idle in front of a television screen – assuming that was his sole modern technology? Or, perhaps more believable, a farmer tapped into a telegraph line, listening intently to every utterance across the wires? [Yes, I’m talking about Twitter.] Yet this is the depths of intellectual depravity to which we have allowed ourselves to descend. What the fuck is wrong with us that the gibberish out of some mangy twat like Anita Sarkeesian warrants more comment than, “I don’t pay attention to the opinions of women.”
Pardon me. I regret not expressing that less coarsely. I do not regret the sentiment. Let’s say I’ve spent too many hours at “this here” desk crunching numbers and drawing other men’s idle fantasies to think clearly.
I see the clock is ticking rapidly toward a time I must tend my fields, literally. Spring is upon s here in Arkansas, so the early vegetables must soon be sown, and that means a trip to the supply store for the special seeds I haven’t saved and my wife wants. Plus a stop at the bank for a little cash, and perhaps some other errands I now forget and hope to recall. So, I’ll end with this.
We live in an age when we should be free to be idle, but others claim our labor. We ought not permit that continue. it is time, i think, that we shift our focus toward those goals Phalanx propounds: improvement of self being foremost.
Only don’t adopt passivism. That’s stupid. That’s what brought us here.