May 172022

In some regions of some states, gender reassignment is over-prescribed, both by self-assessment and by affirming clinics. In those places, at this time, it is a solution that is jumped to over-eagerly, because we know how to treat gender dysphoria. That makes the mental health problems of the dysphoric tractable. Gender dysphoria has overlapping symptoms with depression, and other mental maladies. We’re very fortunate that gender can be changed! Living in an unjust world with non pater non mater nihil supernum, where millions suffer for no reason, our bodies suck, love is terrifying, and we’re all gonna die… that’s a lot harder to treat. Anti-depresants only do so much.

I’m moving to SubStack! Eventually this blog will no longer be updated, so switch on over.

May 092022

There are people who think abortion (outside of specific exceptions for rape/incest/medical necessity) is morally impermissible. One of their defenses is that one can just not get pregnant.

This is a bad argument.

First, using protection is incredibly important, and everyone should do it, and anyone who doesn’t is being an idiot.

Most people’s sex drive is comparable to their food drive. It’s not something you can just ignore. If it’s not met, it starts to overwhelm your entire life. You won’t die from not having sex, but constant, consuming hunger is a horrible way to live. Even if you aren’t hungry often, there are times when hunger can be inflamed and magnified.

I have a lot of sympathy for people who got pregnant accidentally. Being very horny, and being seduced by someone, is as mind-altering as being drunk. Even when totally sober, while under the influence of those hormones it’s like being intoxicated. Normal decision-making processes are short-circuited. I’m pretty sure this is by design (damn you Azathoth!).

It doesn’t even have to be an intentional seduction. Two people attracted to each other can spiral into a deep mind-deranging lust if they follow natural incentives without extraordinary strictness of control.

So telling someone “Your brain and decision making was compromised, to the point that being on drugs can be less deranging, and this is because your body is designed to betray you at exactly this time in this way, but we’re gonna pretend you intentionally sat down and signed a contract while in a reasonable state of mind, so get fucked” is absolute bullshit. Every discussion about abortion rights should be done under direct acknowledgement that the participants were literally not in their right minds. Trying to treat them as if they were is straight-up fraud.

There are other possible arguments for/against abortion rights. But “people who don’t want to carry a child can just not get pregnant” is a terrible one.

I’m moving to SubStack! Eventually this blog will no longer be updated, so switch on over.

May 062022

I. The Trope-Namer

The original blood libel was the claim that Jews killed Christian babies to use their blood in rituals. It was spread to incite pogroms and ethnic cleansings.

Nowadays you see the same sort of claims taking place both in social media and on news networks, where people will stoke hatred and outrage at a target demographic. Sometimes they do this for political reasons, sometimes it’s just for popularity/ratings. But the primary effect, the intended effect, is always to inflame hatred of a group by spreading the belief that all members of the group are vile monsters without conscience, who are a danger to everyone else.

The current defense for such actions is that “Every single thing I’m saying is true, every single example I give is real.”



To repeat an example I’ve used before, this is why TERF communities are awful places that should be avoided.

If you ever visit a racist internet forum or user group or whatever, you’ll notice that they do the same thing. They talk about every single gruesome crime committed by a black person or an immigrant or a Muslim, anywhere in the world. They seek these out, and they find them, because there are millions of people in these groups and in any group of millions of people you can find something gruesome and horrible. They make a sensationalist post about it, and they pass it around. If you spend any time on the forum, you will be bombarded with hundreds, maybe thousands, of posts about horrible crimes committed by black people and Muslims and immigrants.

This is, of course, really clever. Even if you know that a group of millions of people will have some bad ones, hearing in detail about the bad ones all the time will slowly rewire your intuitions. You’ll start to expect, when you see a member of the group, bad things, because your brain has thousands of examples of bad things. You can try to consciously correct for this, but in my experience it’s actually nearly impossible to consciously correct enough; when you’re getting tons of “data” your intuitions will be shaped by it, even when it’s a lie and you know it.

I categorically reject any group of people which does this. If a group does this, I block them all and leave and never come back. It is a fundamentally wrong thing to do. It can be done against any target; it does not teach truth; all it does is rewire your brain towards suspicion and hatred, and it works just as well whether the targeted group has a higher rate of violence of various types or not. I strongly encourage anyone who recognizes this pattern in groups they’re part of to leave those groups, because this is a horrid tactic.

TERF communities do this constantly. When I’ve tried reading TERF blogs, a large share of the content is – yep – circulating gruesome, horrifying, and detailed accounts of random crimes or acts of bullying committed by specific trans people. You recommended a specific radical feminist blogger in your followup ask. I read through the most recent two pages of posts on her blog, and six of them were either screenshots of a random trans person saying something objectionable or, the classic, breathlessly reported and incredibly detailed account of a single violent crime committed by a trans person.

This is straight-up blood libel, using only true examples that actually happened.


III. Libs of TikTok & Weak-Man Jews

This can happen in a less blatant but still mentally-deranging way, especially when used as humor. Libs of TikTok is  prime example.

It primarily just retweets videos that actual people have posted in seriousness. Some of them are perfectly fine videos that LoTT doesn’t realize are unobjectionable, but many of them really are crazy people acting in bizarre ways. They use this to say that all liberals are deranged and must be stopped.

One can claim that LoTT isn’t doing anything wrong, since they’re just retweeting things that real liberals have posted. But LoTT is a hate account. The whole point of the account is amplifying objectionable stuff. It’s like an account that just retweets every violent crime committed by a trans person. Or every violent crime committed by a Jew…

imagining yourself in the shoes of a Jew in czarist Russia. The big news story is about a Jewish man who killed a Christian child. As far as you can tell the story is true. It’s just disappointing that everyone who tells it is describing it as “A Jew killed a Christian kid today”. You don’t want to make a big deal over this, because no one is saying anything objectionable like “And so all Jews are evil”. Besides you’d hate to inject identity politics into this obvious tragedy. It just sort of makes you uncomfortable.

The next day you hear that the local priest is giving a sermon on how the Jews killed Christ. This statement seems historically plausible, and it’s part of the Christian religion, and no one is implying it says anything about the Jews today. You’d hate to be the guy who barges in and tries to tell the Christians what Biblical facts they can and can’t include in their sermons just because they offend you. It would make you an annoying busybody. So again you just get uncomfortable.

The next day you hear people complain about the greedy Jewish bankers who are ruining the world economy. And really a disproportionate number of bankers are Jewish, and bankers really do seem to be the source of a lot of economic problems. It seems kind of pedantic to interrupt every conversation with “But also some bankers are Christian, or Muslim, and even though a disproportionate number of bankers are Jewish that doesn’t mean the Jewish bankers are disproportionately active in ruining the world economy compared to their numbers.” So again you stay uncomfortable.

Then the next day you hear people complain about Israeli atrocities in Palestine (what, you thought this was past czarist Russia? This is future czarist Russia, after Putin finally gets the guts to crown himself). You understand that the Israelis really do commit some terrible acts. On the other hand, when people start talking about “Jewish atrocities” and “the need to protect Gentiles from Jewish rapacity” and “laws to stop all this horrible stuff the Jews are doing”, you just feel worried, even though you personally are not doing any horrible stuff and maybe they even have good reasons for phrasing it that way.

Then the next day you get in a business dispute with your neighbor. Maybe you loaned him some money and he doesn’t feel like paying you back. He tells you you’d better just give up, admit he is in the right, and apologize to him – because if the conflict escalated everyone would take his side because he is a Christian and you are a Jew. And everyone knows that Jews victimize Christians and are basically child-murdering Christ-killing economy-ruining atrocity-committing scum.

You have been boxed in by a serious of individually harmless but collectively dangerous statements. None of them individually referred to you – you weren’t murdering children or killing Christ or owning a bank. But they ended up getting you in the end anyway.


IV. Vaush

I haven’t bothered with Vaush for ages, because he is a piece of shit that loves doing this sort of thing. But someone who knows how strongly I feel about abortion linked me a Vaush video recently, so I had his crap in my eyeballs again for a few seconds, and now I’m here writing this.

The title says they want you to suffer. The title card has “They hate you” across the top. This is blatant blood libel. It’s as bad a Libs of TikTok, it’s as bad as the TERF anti-trans blood libel.

Don’t watch Vaush’s stuff. Don’t watch anything that says a large group of people want you to suffer, or want to murder babies, or want to rape children. It’s designed to derange you. It’s eliminationist rhetoric. If you see your parents watching this sort of thing, speak up. If you see your friends sharing this sort of thing, speak up.

We’re stuck in a Culture War right now. But even culture wars have culture War Crimes, and I prefer to stay aware of them and avoid them. Accounts that do nothing but stoke hate by amplifying worst-actors are in that category. One can do war-reporting without going to that extreme.

May 042022

Without DALL-E, this is the best I can do for a “waterfall of constitutions” image.

Roe v Wade was always a stop-gap. I’m glad we had it for as long as we did, it provided proof that abortion rights do no harm to a country, and actually make it stronger. But it is there to cover for the lack of abortion protections in the constitution. That grace period will soon be over.

Abortion rights should be protected by the law. These protections should be in the Constitution, to make them as durable as possible. They should, in fact, be in every country’s constitution, just like Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Religion should be.

Putting these protections into law for every person on Earth is both important, and currently impossible. It is an effort of generations. Putting these protections into law for American citizens is easier, maybe only a matter of years. But it is also difficult. Just like there are tens of millions of people in Iran who would literally take up arms to kill someone who tried to grant them freedom of religion, there are millions of people in Texas that will pay tremendous costs to stop someone trying to grant them abortion rights.

Fortunately, every state has its own constitution. California doesn’t need to invade Texas to protect its own citizens. Texas doesn’t need to invade California to ban abortions over there. Once Californians amend their constitution they will be safe within their own state, and will be free to begin (or continue) the work of slowly lifting anti-abortion communities out of their dark ages. We start with the fortresses we have, and we work outward from them.

It is possible there will always be a state or two with abortion bans, which the truely obstinate will retreat to. Much like it’s possible there will always be a few nations of theological absolutism, that the zealots can flock to and live in joyful misery. That’s a problem for a future day.

Today’s challenge is to secure abortion rights in your state. Get them in the constitution. Worry about other states after that.

Once that is done, help make others safe. Pre Civil War, some of the most meaningful good that a private citizen could do is helping slaves escape to free states. There is a similar importance in helping people escape to pro-abortion states. Per @yashkaf – “the best thing blue state democrats can do for abortion access is get rid of NIMBY zoning and occupational licensing so that poorer women can actually find jobs and move to blue states.”

If you live in a blue state, start removing obstacles to dense housing and employment.

Apr 242022


“How can you be good if you don’t have God?”

As a survivor of the Atheism Wars, I saw many minds ensnared by this. It was perhaps the most frequent common-sense objection to atheism. Religion had spent centuries entangling the concepts of “moral goodness” with “religion,” and it protected them like a nest of razorwire. To get anywhere, New Atheists first had to disentangle these two ideas, so that people could see they were separate things. This took emotionally-potent examples of Good Atheists, and of Evil Religionists, and logical demonstration of why this entanglement was invalid.


The Regressive Right is snapping right back into Crush Free Speech mode as soon as it benefits them.

To quote Grossman: “A state changing business regulations for the explicit purpose of harming a specific company that made political expressions the Governor doesn’t like, with the Lt. Gov. promising to restore the regs if the company adjusts its speech, should have every 1A defender’s hair on fire.”

And yes, this is straight-up government censorship. From the link “In 1996 the Supreme Court decided a case called O’Hare Truck Service v. City of Northlake that is deeply instructive in the present moment […] If the government could deny a benefit to a person because of his constitutionally protected speech or associations, his exercise of those freedoms would in effect be penalized and inhibited.”


For the past decade, the right wing in America has been painting itself as pro-free-speech. It is very easy for a group to pretend to be pro-free speech while it protects them. It’s entirely possible that the concepts of Freedom of Speech and Right Wing became entangled for some people. This sort of thing happened to me as well, although in my case it was the Left.

It can be a painful realization. A group fighting for something Good becomes equated with goodness in one’s worldview. When you find yourself opposed by that group, there is a deep confusion about what’s happened, and a fear that you are on the side of Evil. It can be a long and laborious process to figure out where the true value lies. Is virtue loved by God because it is good, or is virtue good because it is loved by God? Is Free Speech good because the Good Guys support it, or are these Guys good because they support Free Speech?

It is only after one has disentangled the principle one cares about (Free Speech) and identified is as the good thing, that one can judge whether a group is doing a good thing or not (by defending it, or suppressing it). At that point, you no longer need to know if a group is Good or Bad! You simply fight along side them when they are supporting a good thing, and fight against them when they are attacking the good thing.

Don’t be fooled into thinking a particular group are your allies just because you are both fighting on the same side of a particular battle. Your only true allies are those who care as much about what you are defending as you do.


I hate Disney as much as any other creative worker does. In large part due to how they’ve helped corrupt US copyright law. Nonetheless, the censorious attack by the Florida Republican party is a bad thing that should be opposed, even though it is targeting Disney. This doesn’t put me “on the side of Disney” any more than it puts me “on the side of Democrats.” I am on the side of Liberalism, as I always have been.

Apr 182022

I — Background.

Last month (I think?) Walter and James suspended their podcast. Their podcast, Rationality: From AI to Zombies Podcast was a project to make the entirety of the book by the same name available as an audio podcast for free. (The book R:FAtZ is a curated collection of Eliezer Yudkowsky’s blog posts from 2006-2009.) These posts, commonly called “The Sequences” by fans, formed the payload that initially launched the Rationalist movement/memeplex/community.

Walter and James’s podcast was valued by many people who were either already part of the rationalist movement, or interested in it, but who hadn’t been exposed to The Sequences as the time they were originally written.

When they quit producing the podcast, they posted this statement:

Dear Rationalists!
As some of you will already have guessed, we have decided to end this podcast project.

There has been a trend in the community we have been observing with increasing worry, and it has reached a tipping point.
We realised from the beginming that the politics of the rationality-sphere leaned heavily American libertarian. But back when we started, we felt that the community was genuinely interested in better outcomes for everyone and that if we would just sit down together, we could surely come to a sensible agreement.

But recently, the disdain and the antagonism against movements such as feminism and BLM and communities such as transgender and nonbinary people has taken over. Even with people we once looked up to and collaborated with. This has reached a degree that makes us feel not just deeply uncomfortable but also unwelcome.

We have friends and family in these and adjacent movements and communities that we love dearly.
We ourselves are part of these movements and communities. There is no us without them.

So we strongly oppose the recasting of them as authoritarian religions and some sort of reverse oppressors, a perspective so antithetical to what we thought the idea of ‘rationality’ represented that we can no longer watch in silence. We expected more from a community that we joined under the impression that it centered honest thought and compassion for all.

Our own interactions with listeners have been nothing but kind and mutually respectful. For that, we thank you.
But we cannot, in good conscience, remain a part of a pipeline towards the rationality-sphere if that is the place it has become.

Do better!

Walter & James

The word “recasting” is linked to my blog post from Feb 23, 2022: I Am A New Atheist, And I Repent. They have stated on more than one occasion that this post was not a primary driver of their decision, nor was it strongly influential. It was merely “the straw that broke the camel’s back.” The last item that finally pushed the scales over in a long, long list of worries and concerns.

However, it was the one linked in their final signing-off post, which sorta highlights it, and gives it some symbolic significance. So, after some musing, I have considerations of my own on the topic.

II — My Thoughts

What I’m most struck by is the idea that rationalism is a political movement with an ideology that must be opposed. What my focus keeps returning to is the idea that Walter and James feel they cannot “remain a part of a pipeline towards the rationality-sphere.” My interpretation is that this is due to their opposition to that ideology. That this ideology includes “disdain and antagonism against movements such as feminism and BLM and communities such as transgender and nonbinary people.”

I have a very different experience. The rationalists I know personally vary from mildly conservative to mildly leftist. The ones I know well online (in the TBC Discord server) range from pretty conservative (believing nationalism is a strength, minors shouldn’t be given hormones, society is too decadent) to strongly leftist (capitalism must be overthrown, billionaires should be punished and have their wealth seized, any parents that aren’t left-leaning enough are guilty of literal child abuse). Of the rationalists that I am aware of online, they range from reactionaries that want to reinstate absolute monarchy, to classically liberal sex-workers, to very woke social justice crusaders.

I don’t have any experience of rationalism as a movement that has any sort of consensus position on the feminism, BLM, transgender, or nonbinary movements. The majority of rationalists I know are neutral or in support of all of these.

This is why I have the view that rationalism is about attempting to improve reasoning, and not about political ideology. The people I meet in rationalist spheres can (usually) speak with each other in productive ways even when they have extremely different viewpoints about the world. I find that very helpful in truth-seeking. I’m glad I can speak with people who view things very differently from me without fearing that I will be berated. I’m glad that I can be confident the conversations will generally be productive and interesting, even when the person I’m speaking to has ridiculous(?) fringe beliefs. They can rationally discuss their reasoning, rather than posturing and signaling.

Personally, I do think that wokism is net-bad for civilization. As per my linked post, I think one of its strengths is that it taps into unfulfilled religious needs that many people have, and that a movement I was a part of helped to deprive people of having those needs fulfilled. I regret that I didn’t see that this might happen when I was younger.

If I’m wrong about that, I don’t understand how abandoning the tools of rational thought will help anything. The problem, in my opinion, would be with my wrong beliefs, rather than with Rationality. I may have failed at using the tools of rationality, due to a perverse environment (which perhaps I nurtured!) or due to my own failure to use those tools correctly. But I haven’t been able to find fault in the tools of rationality themselves.

If I am using those tools incorrectly, I would like to know.

If the tools themselves are faulty, I would like to know.

If neither of these are the case, I don’t see how abandoning the tools is helpful. I would also be interested in learning how/why that is the case?

III — Behind The Scenes

I am (kinda) engaged in a private conversation with Walter and/or James, from which these thoughts have been curated and posted. I don’t intend to make that conversation public, it is our own affair. But many of the thoughts and realizations I’ve come to during that discussion are represented here. I was sorta singled out in a public disavowal, and these are my considered thoughts on the consequences of my words.

Apr 102022

Compulsory schooling is net-harmful. Here’s my reasons why, starting with my three major objections, which apply to mid-teen and late-teen public schooling (called “high school” in the USA). These are followed with several more commonly heard points, which apply more to early schooling for pre-teen children.

I – High School Steals Life-Years During Crucial Psychological Transition States, Causing Immense Mental Anguish

By their mid-teens most humans are at a developmental stages where they have a drive to begin their lives. There is a strong desire to contribute something of value to their community or family, or to begin accumulating worth for themselves. This doesn’t necessarily mean material wealth — reputation, respect, and advancement are extremely valuable. In the pre-modern era, by this age most people would have duties and responsibilities that matter. Their peers or family would be counting on them in some way.

Teens in school, on the other hand, are acutely aware that nothing they do matters. They are given endless hours of busy work, which is thrown away after it’s done. They are prohibited from doing anything of value, locked in a holding pattern of meaningless stasis for years. Not only are these years subjectively far longer than the years that older adults experience, they are also some of the most energetic and healthy years of most people’s lives. They are burned for nothing.

II – High School Is Literally Low-Intensity Physical Torture Via Sleep Deprivation

Most teenagers naturally have later sleep cycles than older adults. They also need more sleep than older adults. Older adults run schools, and they don’t care about the natural cycles of legal minors. In addition, since teens are compelled to waste so much of their waking hours on schooling yet still desire other activities, they will often cram in more activity at the cost of even more sleep. As a result, 3/4ths of teens are chronically sleep deprived. Severe sleep deprivation is a tool of torture. Less severe but chronic sleep deprivation is low-key torturous, and also causes long-term psychological damage.

III – High School Has The Social Dynamics of a Prison

Rates of depression and mental health disturbances by teenagers outstrips that of all other demographics. This was not the case in the pre-modern era. Much like criminal prisons, many in school turn to alcohol, prescription drugs, or illicit drugs to claw their way through this time. With no way to measure status via metrics that matter, students form into cliques and form hierarchies based on surface appearances and local popularity. Anyone not in a clique suffers social isolation and sometimes harassment, and it can be difficult to join one. Even within cliques, many people spend much of their time tearing down rival members in zero-sum status games, or abuse of low-ranking or new members.


Nearly 100% of our population endures these years of torture, and it’s been deranging us for generations.

The thing is, I had a pretty darn good schooling experience. I was a precocious child. I loved learning. I honesty and thoroughly enjoyed a well-delivered lecture, and scribbling notes as fast as I could. I loved taking tests and scoring well on them. Test taking is a skill all of its own, and it’s fun to be good at something hard. My teachers loved my enthusiasm for learning, and by extension loved me. I sometimes got special privileges. My school was in a progressive middle-class suburb, with minimal social nastiness. And yet…

And yet everyone I know (including myself) feels like we “survived” high school. Yes, almost everyone survives high school, it’s designed to take people to the brink without pushing them over. The fact that the experience is one of having survived an ordeal by so many is a very strong sign that something is wrong. More importantly, the survivors come out scarred and deranged in significant ways, and they make up nearly the entire populations of our country. Despite my relatively “good” experience, I was deeply depressed in high school, especially the later years. I cut myself for some time, and came to the brink of suicide at one point.

I’m in my early 40s now. When I see a school, I still get a powerful frisson of awe and horror. Especially large, institutional buildings, with multiple wings sprawling over a wide campus, with several areas 2-3 stories tall. I am drawn to them, wanting to be inside that alternate reality once more, despite feeling all the old scars throbbing at the sight. It hurts, and it’s sweet, and I think this is what Stockholm Syndrome must feel like.

Is there some social benefit that justifies this mass emotional scarification?


Other Harms of Schooling, Which Are Also Not To Be Overlooked:

(many of these are also variations of “destroying years of life for no gain is very bad”)

1. Compelling Those Who Don’t Want Schooling To Be Confined With Those Who Do Is Damaging To Both

Children and teenagers who don’t want schooling are forced to attend anyway. These include both students who won’t learn, and those who already know that which they’ll be instructed on. They are confined in boring rooms with nothing to stimulate them. This style of low-grade sensory deprivation is already damaging. These students will often resort to rebellion and disruption, which makes it impossible for even those who would benefit from the instruction to gain anything from it. The result is fruitless confinement for everyone, wherein no one learns anything, and vast time and resources are wasted.

If the students who didn’t want to be there were not compelled to attend, they would have much better lives, and the students who do want to attend would have a chance to learn something.

2. The Majority of pre-5th Grade Instruction is Wasteful

When humans need to learn something, especially humans under the age of 30, but SUPER ESPECIALLY humans under the age of 20, they will learn it quickly of their own accord. Anyone who’s watched a child master a game they are interested in already knows this. Anyone who’s watched a child teach themselves to read so they can consume another story knows this. Anyone who’s seen a child experiment with tools or physics or bugs already knows this. Anyone who has created a website, or podcast, or renovated their home, or stayed a few months in a foreign country, already knows this.

When you need to know something, you learn it. You learn it quickly, and you know the value this knowledge has to you. There are a lot of things that people need to know to function in our society, such as basic literacy and numeracy. When they aren’t shackled by plodding instruction, imprisoned in an institution that doesn’t let them see how this knowledge is useful to them, and plied with extraneous trivia, children can learn all the basics in just a few hours per week, rather than burning every non-weekend day (before accounting for homework).

3. The Vast Majority of Learning is Wasted

All students are instructed in roughly the same things. This is a gross misuse of time, because students have very different aptitudes. Some excel in math, and should be spending a lot of time honing and exploiting those skills. Some pick up reading very quickly, others languages, or physical systems. When everyone is instructed at the same pace, many are instructed in things they have no aptitude for. They shouldn’t be wasting any time in those areas after they master the basics needed to function as an adult (usually what we call the “fifth grade level,” those most people could achieve that level of mastery long before the traditional fifth-grade age). Continuing to compel students to take instruction on topics they don’t have aptitude for and will not use is a destruction of their life-years.

4. The Vast Majority of post-5th Grade Instruction is Useless

In harmony with point #1, when you don’t need to know something, you forget it quickly. Everything learned after elementary school is knowledge that is only needed in limited domains. Every single student will lose 90% of what they learn by the time they are in their 30s. No matter how smart they are and no matter how demanding of a career they pursue, at most 10% of what they learned will actually be used by that career. Therefore, it will be forgotten. The greatest physicist of our generation won’t remember anything worth remembering from Honors Biology or World History. The few things s/he will remember are things they would have picked up as an adult anyway. Every hour spent on that unused 90% of compelled schooling was pure waste.

In summary, no one should be compelled to go to any school. Compelled schooling is in some ways worse than incarceration, as confined students are guilty of no crime.

If the populace is taxed to provide for general education (which I agree is a public good), the parents of minors (or teenagers who’ve reached majority) should be allowed to direct that money to any school they desire. If they attend no school, but pass tests proving competency, that money should be refunded directly to the parents/student for having done the labor of educating the child/themselves.

The amount of suffering and the vast amount of life-years lost by compelled schooling in the US is unconscionable.

Apr 082022

Grooming isn’t real. Grooming has never BEEN real. Accusations of grooming were always just an excuse to persecute gay men.

In the early 21th century, this was expanded as a method to attack men who had sexual relationships with women more than a few years younger than them. Eventually it was used to persecute anyone that has any contact, even nonsexual, with someone younger than them.

And of course, it’s come full circle, and now is being used to persecute gays and lesbians again.

This is, and always was, complete bullshit. Child abusers don’t bother “grooming” their victims. They just sexually abuse children. They abuse the ones that already trust them, or that they know can be easily control. The vast majority of child abuse is done by someone close to the child, very often a blood relative. “Grooming” is a blood libel invented for the purposes of dehumanizing and destroying a socially-weak target.

For that matter, almost every law of the past 80+ years passed for the purposes of “protecting the children” is actually a tool used by amoral monsters to attack a minority for political or social gain. The Comics Code of the 50s. The War On Drugs of the 70s. Parents Music Resource Center of the 80s. The violent video games panic of the 90s. The FOSTA/SESTA bill of a few years ago. And of course, the fear of the gays throughout all of it. All of it bullshit. All of it there to fan the flames of moral panic, fueling the careers of monsters by destroying the innocent.

Never forget – anyone who introduces a law to protect the children is a cackling puritan sadist. Anyone who accuses someone of grooming is sick liar. Anyone who smelled it, hath surely dealt it.

Mar 292022

Humor is the greatest gift of mankind. It, more than anything else, allows us to see each other as humans.

When we joke with each other, we take the sting out of disagreements. We are saying “I think you are stupid and wrong, but I respect you enough to try to make you feel better about it, and acknowledge we’re both fumbling monkeys.”

When we joke with each other, we defuse awkwardness and uncomfortable realities that otherwise are left unspoken. We can all admit we all have flawed, farting bodies, and it’s not a big deal.

When it comes to discussing controversial or emotionally-laden issues, there are few things as valuable as a strong and well-tuned sense of humor. It is a near-panacea for interpersonal conflicts. It makes romantic relationships easier, it makes work relationships more productive, it makes family almost bearable! Individual humans are weak. Humans united in a group are strong. And an absolutely crucial lubricant that allows groups to continue to function without wearing themselves to dust is humor.

Guys, not to go all evo-psych on you or anything (I’m sorry Wes, don’t hate me!), but there’s a reason that women find humor attractive, and this is it!

I am friends with people of wildly varying stances on many Issues. Some of them hold positions I strongly disagree with. On the other hand, there are people I’m acquainted with that agree with me on most issues of substance, who I cannot stand. The thing that separates the first group from the second group is humor.

A lack of humor is a glaring red flag that Something Is Wrong with your movement or group. One of the most striking things about the pre-2000s culture wars was the staggering imbalance in humor. The Christian Fundamentalists and Right Wing Scolds were completely bereft of humor. They couldn’t take a joke, couldn’t make a joke, and generally didn’t understand what this human emotion called “humor” was. Frank Zappa and The Simpsons and South Park were degenerates that were destroying Christianity and ruining women’s virtue!

(This isn’t the case anymore, the right has had some good humor for a while, and the left doesn’t have as much. It’s strange how times change, and gives an insight into which direction the moral authoritarians are drawn)

Famously, those in power try to keep a tight rein on what humor is acceptable, because they know that unsayable truths become sayable by the jester. Humor is anathema to Fear.

For all these reasons, I think Humor is one of humanities greatest assets. When we laugh together — even at things that really suck, even with people we don’t particularly like — we destroy the myth that others are alien monsters. We are actively tearing down the walls of dehumanization that were wrought in hate.

I’m not here to debate the particulars of the Oscars and of if any given joke was good or bad. I am here to say that Humor is Important. It should be nurtured and encouraged.

It should not be suppressed, and especially not with violence.

Yes, obviously all rules have exceptions in the extremes. But the DEFAULT should be to accept humor and play along, hit back with jokes of your own if needed. Physically attacking someone making a joke requires overwhelming provocation, because it chills all subsequent humor, and that is very bad for continued social functioning.

Which is why I’m saying Will Smith is a gigantic buttmonkey, and we should all fling poo at him for a while. He screwed up, and burned a lot of good will at the Oscars. That sucks for him, but he’ll get over it. Maybe his friend Chris Rock can give him some tips on how to do so with grace.

Feb 232022

I am a New Atheist. In the late 90s and early 00s I fought in the BBS, in the online forums, and in the mailing lists. I IRC’d and engaged on the burgeoning web, and IRL. I listened to The Infidel Guy and The Non-Prophets, and I went to see Dawkins in person.

One of my core beliefs was that humanity is better off without religion. Religion introduces error and dogma unnecessarily. It appropriates human’s need for community and diverts it for its own ends. It hijacks emotional drives to steer people into atrocities. In summary, it always siphons off value to preserve itself, provides nothing of value in the best case scenario, and in most cases actively degrades humanity.

One of the reasons I thought this is because I truely and deeply believed my generation’s Big Lie. That lie being that All People Are (Roughly) The Same. “All Men Are Created Equal” taken to the extreme. There were many simple, obvious facts of reality that I discovered in my 30s that genuinely shocked me, because I had so fully believed this Lie. It would be like a Christian expecting Jesus to take the wheel of their car when they let go, and being honestly, deeply shocked when the car crashes. I still think this Lie is Noble, and there is some value to it… but ultimately, like all lies, it is destructive. I plan to write more about this Lie and my relationship to it in a future post.

This is important, because *I* didn’t need religion. To me, it provided nothing of value. I understood morality and why other people matter. I found it important to understand the most accurate model of reality possible, unfettered by convenient falsehoods (haha, see previous paragraph). I was self-motivated, socially isolated, and highly Open/Novelty-seeking. Religion was simply a thing that was wrong, and that often served as a handicap.

Since Everyone Is (Roughly) The Same, this must be the case universally. Anyone who thought that religion was net-positive in any case was a victim of religious brainwashing. They’d been deluded, lied to, or violently suppressed, into clinging to humanity’s most destructive parasite. It was my duty to help them break free.

I was so, so very wrong.

It turns out people are different. Shockingly different, in some cases. There are large segments of the population that need what religion provides. Their psychology is vastly different from my own, and they cannot live without the sort of totalitarian guidance that religions provide.

I would not have believed this if someone told it to me, no matter how much supporting evidence they threw at me. Even six or seven years ago I wouldn’t have believed them. I would have to see people freed from religion, drown for years, and then finally create a new religion from whole cloth to supplant the old one, to believe this. I would have to see it with my own eyes, happening in real time.

That is exactly what happened.

Over the past few years I watched a new religion born. A secular religion, which doesn’t have the dead-easy failure mode of requiring belief in a sky-fairy. But, since it was created in America, with strong Christian roots, it has all the trappings of Christianity.

Original sin
Repentance and confession
Manichean good/evil dichotomy
Focus on martyrdom and victimhood
Salvation dispensed by the church and needing constant reaffirmation

Even worse, since it is a new religion that is being seized as a lifeline by people who’ve been spiritually drowning for over a decade, it is full of fiery zealots. All conflicts are recast as spiritual struggles focused around the original sin. Like the puritans, they can harbor no dissent in their midst. Everyone must be equally zealous and on their side, or they are on the side of evil. Any price is worth paying to save a soul from evil.

When the scales fell from my eyes and I finally realized what had happened, I felt true crushing failure. Not because I had failed in my objective. Tradition religion is less relevant than ever. The New Atheists won. But in winning, having not realized how different others are, we left a massive religion-vacuum in society. We laid the groundwork for a new religion. One that had been purged of the greatest weaknesses of traditional religions, and with a dense underbrush of religion-starved kindling to tear into.

So, yes. New Atheism helped to create Wokeism. I repent of my ways, I was wrong. Religion is needed, and we should have focused on strengthening the least harmful religion(s) while tearing down the most harmful ones, rather than trying to eliminate them all. Forgive us, for we knew not what we did. :(