*For They Know Not What They Do*

…the Party needs “dissidents”, for this that it needs “Goldstein”: it cannot express its truth in the first person — even in the “innermost circle” it can never come to a point at which “the Party knows how matters actually stand”, at which it would recognize the tautological truth that the aim of its power it just power itself — so it can achieve it only as a construction imputed to someone else.  The circle of totalitarian ideology is thus never closed — it necessarily contains what Edgar Allan Poe would call its “imp of perversity” compelling it to confess the truth about itself.

That is from Slavoj Žižek”s book, the subtitle being Enjoyment as a Political Factor, one of his best, intermittently lucid and sometimes brilliant, most of all on Hegel.   Žižek also reminded me of an old Christopher Hitchens quotation: “mass delusion is the only thing that keeps a people sane.”


Nothing like the 2:30 AM sub-tweet (sub-post?).

TC is seven hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time. He keeps good hours, unlike me.

It should be "Edgar Allan Poe." Is the misspelling in the original?

Speaking of delusion, did everyone read the "Maoist Insurgency" memo that seems to have gotten Rich Higgins fired from NSC? It's truly insane and apparently had defenders in the White House.


Man, who knew that Mormons were like this - '... Trump is the target of a lethal, well-funded, and extremely disciplined attack from cultural Marxists who are employing “political warfare as understood by the Maoist Insurgency model.”'

Like this guy, who undoubtedly defines a cultural Marxist Maoist insurgent - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeff_Flake

What's insane about: "this is a form of population control by certain business cartels in league with cultural Marxists/corporatists/lslamists who will leverage Islamic terrorism threats to justify the creation of a police state." Your disbelief doesn't render the statement insane.

And what is insane about this?

'Do you realize that in addition to fluoridating water, why, there are studies underway to fluoridate salt, flour, fruit juices, soup, sugar, milk, ice cream? Ice cream, Mandrake? Children's ice cream!...You know when fluoridation began?...1946. 1946, Mandrake. How does that coincide with your post-war Commie conspiracy, huh? It's incredibly obvious, isn't it? A foreign substance is introduced into our precious bodily fluids without the knowledge of the individual, and certainly without any choice. That's the way your hard-core Commie works. I first became aware of it, Mandrake, during the physical act of love...Yes, a profound sense of fatigue, a feeling of emptiness followed. Luckily I-I was able to interpret these feelings correctly. Loss of essence. I can assure you it has not recurred, Mandrake. Women, er, women sense my power, and they seek the life essence. I do not avoid women, Mandrake...but I do deny them my essence.' General Jack D. Ripper

But in honor of the insurgent Maoist urbanization plot, maybe I'll enjoy some Frankfurter Kranz later today - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frankfurter_Kranz

Colonel Jack D. Ripper was played by a friend of mine's stepfather. He says his stepdad was a great guy.

Dr. Strangelove is a fictional satire, like Gulliver's Travels. In a country where the Department of Education and the Veteran's Administration have well-armed agents there's nothing insane about speculating on the growth of a police state.

'there’s nothing insane about speculating on the growth of a police state'

Which, if that White House memo is to be trusted, that is the typical result of your post-war Commie conspiracy, as that’s the way your hard-core Commie works.

And to be honest? America is the world's first for profit police state, and that happened a couple of decades ago.

Here is an example of that attitude, from 1999 - 'The chief executive officer of Sun Microsystems said Monday that consumer privacy issues are a "red herring."

"You have zero privacy anyway," Scott McNealy told a group of reporters and analysts Monday night at an event to launch his company's new Jini technology.

"Get over it." https://www.wired.com/1999/01/sun-on-privacy-get-over-it/

As for Facebook, well, even the wildest dreams of Stasi never anticipated the IMs to be working so diligently. The DDR was only able to get maybe a 1/3 of the population to report on itself, whereas a typical Facebook user with a smart phone is providing the sort of information that would have been almost unobtainable in the past.

(And really, this is a good time to post this link again, about Trump's tweeting, and what an intelligence bonanza it is - https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/president-trumps-twitter-feed-is-a-gold-mine-for-foreign-spies/2017/06/23/e3e3b0b0-5764-11e7-a204-ad706461fa4f_story.html )


Even Phone Cops

pt3: Whomever Hollywood screenplay/script writer that wrote that hyperbole and caricature was likely a useful idiot/red chirping under an alias.

How could Hillary lose? That is how. Idiot progressives (redundant) still don't get it.

Is Trump mishandling North Korea nukes? I dunno. Eight years of Neville Clinton; eight years of Neville Bush; and eight years of Barack Chamberlain allowed North Korea to get nukes. In mid-August, Kim promises to nuke Guam (Why not Hollywood?) America, Guam, Japan may reap the whirlwind from decades of liberal bullshit. Go ahead. Blame Trump.

'likely a useful idiot/red chirping under an alias'

Well, Stanley Kubrick has never been that famous for hiding himself or being a red, though you are welcome to judge if such a film maker was an idiot.

Another credited scriptwriter has this personal history - 'George was born during 1924 in Treorchy, Rhondda, Wales, and died in Hastings, East Sussex, England. He was a flight lieutenant and navigator for the Royal Air Force during World War II serving with No. 255 Squadron RAF, flying night fighter missions over Malta and Italy. He rejoined the RAF serving at RAF Neatishead and as a fighter controller where he often wrote on duty and used a pseudonym. He retired from the service during 1961.' https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_George_%28author%29

Maybe Terry Southern is the hard core commie conspirator you are looking for - 'Southern's dark and often absurdist style of satire helped to define the sensibilities of several generations of writers, readers, directors and film goers. He is credited by journalist Tom Wolfe as having invented New Journalism with the publication of "Twirling at Ole Miss" in Esquire in February 1963. Southern's reputation was established with the publication of his comic novels Candy and The Magic Christian and through his gift for writing memorable film dialogue as evident in Dr. Strangelove, The Loved One, The Cincinnati Kid, and The Magic Christian. His work on Easy Rider helped create the independent film movement of the 1970s.' https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terry_Southern


Have you considered cutting back on the flouride? Because really, who could possibly still care about that loser? It's time to realize that Trump is president - the rest of us are fully aware of that fact, after all. Catch up, OK?

'reap the whirlwind from decades of liberal bullshit'

Yep, George W. Bush, world renowned purveyor of liberal bullshit, who did not promise fire and fury after North Korea's first (more or less) atomic detonation.

Man, the alt-right sphere really has no critical thinking filter. Any theory is spread and accepted, as long as it fits the other ideas.

"Man, the alt-right sphere really has no critical thinking filter. Any theory is spread and accepted, as long as it fits the other ideas."

That's a pretty true statement. Of course the Fringe Left also has no critical thinking filter regarding any theory as long as it fits their other ideas.

Oh my, SEO spam

Great quotes.

I am not convinced that the Party needs, even a wry way understand, let alone express the truth that "its power it just power itself". Maybe it is such a picture literal communist dictatorships when a unified inner circle needs to rise to some challenge such as the 1989 Tiananmen protests.

But from what little I know of Žižek, he is probably more intersted in ragging on global multinational corporations embedded in 21st century bourgeoisie morality. In that set-up, power is more dispersed and must get by on self-deception alone.


Is there an Inner Party that actually understands itself? Is there a Mustapha Mond like at the end of "Brave New World" or an O'Brien like at the end of "1984" who could lucidly explain the way the world really works? Could the CEO of Google provide you with an interesting justification of his actions, or is it TED Talk cliches all the way down?

THIS. I assumed that when you get certain people comfortable, off the record, they'll spill the beans tell you what they really believe, a la Mustapha Mond: "Oh there probably is a God...but it's just easier this way." When I worked around NIH I met a few of the high administrators who would be impeccably correct in public but realpolitik behind the scenes. I do wonder just what percentage of those in power actually believe what they say in public...people like Pelosi seem true believers, while Schumers and Obamas seem cynical.

That was the only unrealistic thing about 1984, that the party apparatchik would admit that it is just about power.

No SJW will ever say that it is just about power, even when clearly it is.

yeah, 17 yr old black girls on tumblr are the definition of weltpolitik.

According to Woytinsky, Lenin was a true believer, Trotsky was cynical.

Added to the list: The high political Ape, from the first Planet of the Apes. He knew what was going on.

Somebody been analyzing Hillary"s emails.

Right. All the Wikileaks over the years haven't revealed much in the way of O'Brien-like insight.

The most revealing insight would begin by asking the question why do we have thousands of mundane Hillary emails to 'analyze' yet no Republican emails barring a handful here and there? Granted Trump himself probably only uses Twitter and phone calls to communicate and can't concentrate reading beyond a paragraph of text unless it's filled with "you're a special person" stickers along the sides to keep him motivated, but there are no doubt plenty of Republicans who do communicate by email rather than direct Twitter messages.

Here is a good essay on how delusion came to be the American state of mind (I say good because the author spreads the fault around). https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/09/how-america-lost-its-mind/534231/ In the context of Google's decision to fire the employee who wrote the memo most women would consider highly offensive, the delusion is expressed by those who have taken sides by either framing the issue as two opposing and mutually exclusive arguments and then choosing the side that comes closest to one's ideology (e.g., David Brooks: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/11/opinion/sundar-pichai-google-memo-diversity.html) or by framing the issue in such a way that it supports one's particular policy hobby horse (e.g., Ross Douthat: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/09/opinion/google-women-memo.html). The problem reflected with the Google memo isn't whether it's right or wrong, but that it's written in an environment in which the participants have an exaggerated sense of self-importance, believe they are above the lesser lights who constitute the rest of humanity, and can write and abide by their own rules and norms of behavior. In other words, they suffer from an even more severe case of delusion than the rest of us lesser lights.

Boys and girls are different. In particular, boys are physical while girls are verbal. Anyone who has observed boys and girls, in the classroom, on the playground, anywhere, will recognize this difference. Yet, why is it that many (most?) of the greatest writers are boys (males)? Are they girls trapped in boys' bodies? I don't think so. I don't doubt that boys are drawn to math because it's not verbal, while girls are drawn to history, literature, etc. because it's verbal. Maybe the author of the Google memo, a boy with a preference for math, should have stuck with numbers rather than venture into words and let the girls do what they do best and write the words..

You're fired. Empty your desk, pack your things, and leave. Now!

Did you see rayward lying about having a PhD from Harvard?

One of my most surprising discoveries, as an older, drank the feminist coolade, newbie parent, was that elementary school kids segregated themselves by gender during free, unstuctured, playtime. They did this on their own despite being surrounded by feminist enforcers (teachers).

How can this be explained?

"Here is a good essay on how delusion came to be the American state of mind...."

Just reading The Atlantic any more makes that clear. There's no sense of perspective in The Atlantic any longer. They've picked a side in the cultural wars and become a cheer leader for that side.

As did all America Press, right or left. America is a disgraceful country, the place where decency goes to die.

You do realize everyone else here considers you a pretty sorry Troll. I use to feel some sympathy for you. I thought you were probably just angry about the internal disarray in Brazil and were lashing out at America. But you never got over your bitterness. Now I no longer care.

You are like the lazy younger brother living off his parent's charity in their basement who's always making sullen, critical comments about his successful & talented older brother.

Mostly at this point I just feel sorry for any readers from Brazil. I'm sure they are terribly embarrassed by your comments.

It's possible he's a Brazil-hating American (or even Argentinian?) trying to discredit Brazil by posting this way.

There is no internal disarray in Brazil whatsoever. Reforms proceed apace, President Temer has been acquited by the Congress, employment and GDP are up, life is becoming more joyous.

No one never called me an Argentinian... I am from Portuguese stock that goes back to the 12th Century. My forefathers arrived in Brazil still in colonial times. I am more Brazilian than 99 percent of Brazil's population.

I disagree.

Thiago is (paving the way for the beginning of the start of) making Brazil great again. It's morning in Brazil, peeps!

Um, Thiago Ribeiro is a comedy act, and a pretty funny one at times.
Stop taking him seriously.

@Thor, you did it better. I hate having to explain a joke.

I wouldn't assume Thiago has any particular relationship to Brazil, rather he just found the brazilian chauvinist act to be a splendidly arbitrary troll-face. He might have thought of it because he is proud brazillian, or be hates Brazil for some reason, but that is sort of besides the point.

He does though seem to let the troll-face slip with regards to America, which I think he is genuinely bitter about.

I honestly didn't think the memo was *that* offensive.
He's not actually making an argument that women aren't capable of doing programming because they are stupider or something. He's saying women might be less inclined to go into programming.

Now, I kinda think he's wrong about *programming*, but I would definitely agree there are some fields that women just aren't going to be interested in. Like construction and police/firemen work. I think men are very tool-oriented - they like physical labor with their hands, and they are more into dangerous physically demanding jobs.

The thing with STEM fields (with the exception of healthcare - lots of women pediatricians and obstetricians) is IMO, mostly culturally ingrained, but even stating that, the fact that women are being culturally ingrained to prefer jobs in social sciences means it's just a reality that there are fewer women available, looking for jobs in programming, so there's not likely to reach parity until the engineering colleges and computer science departments are graduating men and women at the same rates. The reasons women are self-selecting out of programming is not likely to be affected significantly by Google's hiring policies - unless women programmers start getting paid significantly more than men. It's also worth noting that high school grads get very little in the way of price signals when they apply to college - they're told to follow their inclinations and do something they will enjoy, not pursue a career based on how much it will pay.

Rayward (and some other well meaning folk) feel there ought to be some moral equivalence here between two equally politicized tribes. He needs to interpret things through whatever lens can justify that.

I was onboard until "they’re told to follow their inclinations and do something they will enjoy, not pursue a career based on how much it will pay". I had a proud moment when my 13-year-old said she was considering becoming an orthodontist, because of the mid-six-figure pay + ample free time.

I think Ms. Mcardle summed up the truth in her own article. The people who are intensely passionate about software, software engineering, OR style optimization, whatever etc tend to be men. They're so nerdy about it they'll do it in their free time. At the expense of whatever the opportunity cost is for a scrawny male without social skills or facial symmetry.

Women are not going to out nerd nerds due to opportunity costs. It violates Ricardian comparative advantage 90% of the time.

However, Google is a monopoly, and to paraphrase Smith "there is a lot of ruin in a monopoly in an industry that is built on network effects." Let them do what they will. I find it morally wrong, but, not being arch liberal or arch conservative, I can understand the difference between disagreeing with something morally and thinking it should be illegal.

If the US population could understand the difference between "thats something I disagree with morally but should not be illegal" and "eww ick burn the witch" we would be a lot better off. Apparently we're doomed to have two factions fighting over the state apparatus to impose their own moronic version of utopia.

And all I ask is for more federalism. Let States make their own societies and allow full freedom of movement and trade. The only federal imposition should be the bill of rights.

I'm not so sure about this. I remember back when I was a little kid watching reruns of All in the Family the idea of a 'woman doctor' was still something of a shock to many people....even pediatricians and obstetricians were presumed to be men. Nurses were the only acceptable female medical occupation. Legally the barriers had already been broken down, there was no written rules preventing women who completed the requirements from being licensed as physicians, yet the culture had not yet shifted.

So here's a problem, let's say you had a 'Google of Medicine'....say a top line research hospital and you are hiring the 1% of 1% of top doctors for it. There's a good chance you're going to have had a hard time hiring women because the top of the top would have been dominated by men who came of age during the period of male dominance. An exceptional woman who entered the medical field 'before her time' would have consumed at least some measure of her energy pushing down the barriers. Granted this would pave the way for future women but for her as an individual that would mean her career would be stunted...some of her energy would be used for the benefit of the whole field rather than herself as an individual. An exceptional man, however, would be going into the field with the wind at his back. Rather than barriers trying to slow him down, he would be boosted by institutional structures that would spot his potential and try to cultivate it. So here you are in 1980 trying to establish your top quality institution and when you shift through your resumes you find not only is it dominated by more qualified male applicants than female, but the female ratio is even lower than in the overall medical profession.

This does create a question for Google, adding more female engineers and programmers is not clearly to me a question about quality. Google is the type of company that wants to be in the game for the real long term. It's not just an elite institution in the tech world, it also shapes the entire tech world. In the short term the 'best programmers' may be overwhelmingly male today. So if it is short term, small focused, it might simply hire almost all men. However unlike a small tech company on the fringes, the world of tomorrow might be dominated by the influences Google decides to push today. So Google has to consider if it makes an extra effort to push women today, what will that do for the top 1% of 1% of programmers 20 years from now?

Remove all political correctness and reluctance to consider non-PC hypothesis from the equation and it still isn't a slam dunk that Google should not be aggressively doing diversity in its hiring.

Also brings to mind TS Eliot in Four Quartets: "human kind
Cannot bear very much reality."

Now whether this and Hitchens are actually true or the unaware complaints of smart people who themselves don't understand humankind or the world is another question.

I am inclined to the latter. Hitchens is certainly the sort of intellectual who likes to bask in thinking he is smarter than the rest of humanity. Perhaps Elliot was too. That said: the rigid policing of piety is the norm in human societies. The Enlightenment partially turned that back by inventing a code of piety that revered things like free-thought, consent-of-the-governed, and other things that tend to blunt piety.

But it is natural that there will always be others trying to turn the tool back to its tradtional abuses. That backlash started way back with the French Revolution and was formalised by Marx. Eventually it failed.

I don't even think there is a dissident, it is fake all the way down.

I don't meet people who talk that way. This is high school status bs where all the groups dress a certain way, talk a certain way. Take them out of the environment and they become normal people.

In Quebec where I grew up the Catholic Church was dominant and influential. People spouted pieties where necessary, and in certain environments your prospects depended on it. In private or outside the current using the implements and language of the church and screwed their nieces and daughters. Ten years later it had changed and society still reflects a rebellion against anything church related.

I don't hear the pieties outside of some official or monitored environment, or used as a bludgeon to get rid of someone annoying. If you shut off Twitter and don't read left leaning click bait sites, none of this exists.

Google is going to find that out very hard.

Establishment Republicans and Hillary didn't lose because they didn't have the data. They had exquisite data. They lost because they couldn't believe what the data was telling them and didn't have nimble enough minds to see that it was telling them what they didn't want to hear.

I worked for a government department years ago. A memo came out, the result of an executive retreat. Our 'customers' were other government departments. The memo was a list.

Our customers don't want to deal with us.

Our procedures prevent us from serving their needs.

Our costs are too high, our service levels appalling.

They have no choice, they have to deal with us.

"They lost because they couldn’t believe what the data was telling them and didn’t have nimble enough minds to see that it was telling them what they didn’t want to hear."

That's true enough. Of course, everyone is guilty of the same kind of wishful thinking. It's probably more important to not only realize that some other groups are doing, but to realize that we ourselves are prone to engaging in the same behavior.

I'm personally guilty of the behavior and I have to constantly remind myself of it.

a) Facts that don't fit my world view aren't automatically wrong

b) Occam's Razor applies and if "my" explanation is more complex than the one I'm trying to refute, then I'm probably wrong

c) If I can't remember the last time my perspective shifted, I'm probably becoming hind bound

d) The other guy is probably not as stupid as his comments suggest and he's certainly not Evil

e) In the cases where there are substantial groups on either side, both sides probably have some good arguments to support their position

That could be the intelligent moderate's manifesto, well done.

I read a great female epistemologist a while back, Manifesto of a Passionate Moderate. Great stuff.

Not bad.
A few of my rules are:

1) Respond to your opponents best argument, not his worst.

2) Resist the temptation to defend positions just because they are the positions taken by others in your tribe.

3) Advocate for policies, not politicians, regardless of which party happens to be supporting them at the moment.

Good adds. We need an intelligent, nonpartisan voice out there to counteract all the current ridiculousness. Might not be possible in the twitterverse.

Good addendums Hazel.

"1) Respond to your opponents best argument, not his worst."

I really need to work on this one.

"Imp of perversity" echoed in my pretty little head as "Maxwell's demon," and I couldn't remember why the little guy opens and shuts that door, so I Googled the wikipedia page and read it over, and then I wondered why all the dozen or so physicists who've grappled with Maxwell's thought experiment, or proposed why the demon needn't violate the Second Law, were all men, so I went back and read the Google HR Lady's letter, and the circle was closed.

There's no violation, and TC needn't worry, or ever again skirt so close to committing a thoughtcrime, or even a thought experiment, on his own blog.

Here is Zizek's latest panegyric devoted to Lenin.


I have recently added Lauryn Hill's "Miseducation" album to my playlist. Her song "Forgive Them Father" comes to mind.

"Beware the false motives of others
Be careful of those who pretend to be brothers
And you never suppose it's those who are closest to you".....
"They say all the right things, to gain their position
Then use your kindness as their ammunition
To shoot you down in the name of ambition"

I struggle with the gullibility of so many Americans. I was always told "knowledge itself is power" (Bacon). Zizek suggest ignorance masks enjoyment. I would add that bitter and resentful people who are unwilling to open themselves to knowledge relinquish their power to others who may or may not have their best interests at heart.

Constructive dissent is beautiful. Destructive dissent while productive, often yields undesirable results. America needs to work on perfecting the former.

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