20APR2018 – Quote of the Day

Some more Zorba.

 

Chapter XVIII

‘Have you ever been to war, Zorba?’

‘How do I know?’ he asked with a frown. I can’t remember. What war?’

‘I mean, have you ever fought for your country?’

‘Couldn’t you talk about something else? All that nonsense is over and done with and
best forgotten.’

‘Do you call that nonsense, Zorba? Aren’t you ashamed? Is that how you speak of
your country?’

Zorba raised his head and looked at me. I was lying on my bed, too, and the oil-lamp
was burning above my head. He looked at me severely for a time, then, taking a firm
hold of his moustache, said:

“That’s a half-baked thing to say; it’s what I expect from a schoolmaster. I might as
well be singing, boss, for all the good it is my talking to you, if you’ll pardon my saying
so.’

‘What?’ I protested. ‘I understand things, Zorba, don’t forget.’

‘Yes, you understand with your brain. You say: “This is right, and that’s wrong; this is

true, and that isn’t; he’s right, the other one’s wrong …” But where does that lead us?

While you are talking I watch your arms and chest. Well, what are they doing? They’re

silent. They don’t say a word. As though they hadn’t a drop of blood between them.

Well, what do you think you understand with? With your head? Bah!’

Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis

19APR2018 – Captain Capitalism Has an Interesting Article –  You Can Return to 1950s America Anytime

As many of you are aware, I’ve got an ad on Captain Capitalism’s web site.  But an added benefit is I’m visiting his site and finding some very entertaining stuff.  This article on living the 1950s lifestyle is very timely for young people trying to escape from Obamerica.  And it gave me some things to think about too.  I have a plan to escape from New England (where even now at the cusp of May it’s still snowing)  and relocate to the southwest someday.   Trying to find a non-leftist political environment is right at the top of my needs list for any relocation search algorithm.

 

https://captaincapitalism.blogspot.com/2018/04/you-can-return-to-1950s-america-anytime.html

A Few Thoughts About Space Opera

After finishing up my review of Galaxy’s Edge – Galactic Outlaws, it occurred to me that there was more to say about the category of Space Opera.  Some might say that I was a little unfair to social justice fiction fans.  After all there must be a significant audience of fans with blue hair and cats who really enjoy girl power super heroes and their adventures in space.  So, to say that these are automatically bad just because I heartily dislike them might seem arbitrary and unfair.  It might seem that way but it isn’t.  And that’s because I am the final arbiter of good and bad in science fiction.  I earned this coveted status by living long enough to see everything in the world.  So, once again, all Star Wars movies after Return of the Jedi (and even some parts of them before that point) are irredeemably bad and should be cast into the outer darkness where there is much wailing and gnashing of teeth.  And that lines us up for me to proclaim what does make a good space opera.  What follows is:

“photog’s RULE FOR WHAT MAKES GOOD SPACE OPERA” (patent pending).

It needs to appeal to the sense of wonder of the twelve-year-old boy in you.  Now mind you, it doesn’t have to only do that.  It can also be a brilliant philosophical treatise on the dualistic nature of the universe or a psychological study of the impact of technology on the human race, or even a deathless love story written across the stars of the galaxy.  But if it fails to inspire the twelve-year-old boy in you it’s not space opera.  It may be science fiction or anything else but it isn’t space opera.  And this isn’t even an exclusive precinct of science fiction.  Any adventure story has to satisfy that same basic requirement.  Take the literature of the late nineteenth century or early twentieth century.  A quintessential example that comes to mind is Treasure Island.  Here is a story that was tailor made for the sense of wonder of a twelve-year-old boy.  It has all the earmarks of the tale of wonder.  The boy who loses his father, the quest for riches, exotic locales, colorful and dangerous opponents, the revelation of secret knowledge, the coming of age experience of the world and the people in it.  An adventure story is a story for a boy that kindles his interest in the world around him.  It leads him to think there is more to life than school and chores.  It inspires him to strike out on his own and find his place in the world.

Now I can just hear the modern women and girly men screeching, “Girls want adventure too!”  To which I reply “Stop screeching, you’re hurting my ears.”  But also, I would say that what girls want is neither here nor there.  Boys need the adventure story because it fits their brains.  Girls have been told that they want adventure stories so they want them in order not to get left out in the modern #metoo world that they live in.  And in fact, I don’t really care if there are adventure stories for girls.  More power to them, I guess.  What I do mind is that for the sake of inclusiveness they are ruining all the adventure stories that are coming out of Hollywood.  And that is why I look for good old (and new) space opera and other adventure stories for my grandsons (and for me).

Galaxy’s Edge – Galactic Outlaws – A Science Fiction Book Review

Back in January I reviewed Legionnaire, the first volume in the Galaxy’s Edge series by Jason Anspach & Nick Cole.  That story was a straight up mil-sf story set in a future where the human race has spread into the galaxy and formed a “Republic” of worlds.  At the point in this Universe’s history that Legionnaire takes place, the Republic is beginning to devolve into an empire, ruled over by an elite that controls the rich central systems, with an underclass occupying the rest of the galaxy and the edge of the galaxy as an outlaw haven where even the powerful Legion can do little but skirmish with the rebels and pirates that abound out there.  By the end of that story it’s apparent that all the skill and valor of the remnant of faithful soldiers is being frittered away for political points by the bureaucrats that call the shots and wield the Legion as a bludgeon against the innocent inhabitants of the poorer sectors of the Republic.  As I said back in January, it is an engaging military tale.

So, what have Anspach and Cole done for an encore?  It appears that Legionnaire merely set the stage for the main event.  This is going to be a space opera of epic proportions.  And it’s easy to see what they intend to do is follow the space opera play book but dial it up to eleven.  And in doing so they are following in a long tradition.  Most recently, George Lucas mined that vein for all it would pay with his Star Wars franchise.  His rebels revolting against a republic that has turned into an evil empire is the latest iteration of a story that goes back to the actual Roman Empire and the tales of Brutus and Spartacus and Masada.

And when I say they’ve dialed it up to eleven I’m not kidding.  The text is full of little blatant references to dialog and images reflecting some scene from Star Wars or Firefly.  It was kind of fun finding them.  And whole characters are parodied.  There is a princess with the rebels named Leenah.  There is a plucky scoundrel in a freighter who rescues the princess.  There is a bot that guards a young damsel in distress.  The bot speaks with some combination of the diction of C3P0 and the Operative from Serenity.  You can literally hear the toff British accent.  And then to make sure you don’t miss any ingredients they are sometimes doubled.  So, there are two scoundrels with freighters helping damsels in distress.  There are two damsels in distress.  There are two bounty hunters.

And there’s even a cantina.  There are mob warlords with bounties on the plucky scoundrels.  There is something like a dark lord whose name is Goth Sullus.  So far there are no Jedi Knights but some of the characters seem to live forever so something’s going on there.

Suffice it to say that a lot of stuff is going on.  And by the end of the book you can see that this is just the beginning of the story.

And now, what do I think of all this?  Well, I have a theory about space opera.  I believe that space opera has the potential to be very good or very bad.  It entirely depends on the imaginative powers and writing skills of the author.  Take an E. E. Doc Smith or an Edgar Rice Burroughs and you get the Lensman stories or Barsoom, fun and excitement.  Take the likes of George Lucas and you end up with Jar Jar Binks or the latest Disney feminist trope with a light saber.

The good news is this is fun space opera.  None of the damsels in distress rescue the hero.  No one mentions race or gender studies terminology and the good guys aren’t ashamed of being good.  I’m pretty sure the authors have included the homages to Star Wars imagery to sort of point out that the story doesn’t have to be bad just because of the space opera tropes.  It just requires the story and characters to be interesting, likable and fun.  And in this case they are.  So if you like your space opera right up front without too much artistic restraint then I’d recommend Galactic Outlaws.

A Different Kind of Red Shift – Redux

A Different Kind of Red Shift

So that was a divorced couple living in the same house.

Well , here’s the other shoe dropping.  Divide the property.

http://thefederalist.com/2018/04/10/time-united-states-divorce-things-get-dangerous/

I saw Vox Day linking to this article at the Federalist.  Now the federalist is hardly the Alt-Right.  Things seem to be percolating up into the regular world.

16APR2018 – American Greatness Post of the Day – Michael Anton Addresses His Critics

Long time readers of this web site know I am a big fan of Michael Anton or as he was known when he authored the Flight 93 Election, “Publius Decius Mus.”  He, Angelo Codevilla and other members of the Claremont Institute have thrown their support behind the Trump presidency and its attempt to save the country from the globalist cabal of democrats and establishment republicans who want to turn it into their private fiefdom.  Anton went to work for the Trump administration and now is re-entering private life.  And he is leaving on very good terms with the President and his administration despite what the press contends.    I found this article interesting.

Michael Anton Addresses His Critics, Affirms Support for Trump

 

16APR2018 – Quote of the Day

To the Arab scholars of the Caliphate Aristotle was “The Master of Those Who Know.”  Well, they were right.  I’ve always thought Plato should be relegated to the fiction section of the library so as not to tarnish the reputation of his much wiser student.  I highly recommend you read the whole of his Politics or at least read the entirety of Book 4 – Part XI to get the whole argument of the fragment below.

Aristotle – Politics – Book 4 – Part XI

Thus it is manifest that the best political community is formed by citizens of the middle class, and that those states are likely to be well-administered in which the middle class is large, and stronger if possible than both the other classes, or at any rate than either singly; for the addition of the middle class turns the scale, and prevents either of the extremes from being dominant. Great then is the good fortune of a state in which the citizens have a moderate and sufficient property; for where some possess much, and the others nothing, there may arise an extreme democracy, or a pure oligarchy; or a tyranny may grow out of either extreme- either out of the most rampant democracy, or out of an oligarchy; but it is not so likely to arise out of the middle constitutions and those akin to them. I will explain the reason of this hereafter, when I speak of the revolutions of states. The mean condition of states is clearly best, for no other is free from faction; and where the middle class is large, there are least likely to be factions and dissensions. For a similar reason large states are less liable to faction than small ones, because in them the middle class is large; whereas in small states it is easy to divide all the citizens into two classes who are either rich or poor, and to leave nothing in the middle. And democracies are safer and more permanent than oligarchies, because they have a middle class which is more numerous and has a greater share in the government; for when there is no middle class, and the poor greatly exceed in number, troubles arise, and the state soon comes to an end. A proof of the superiority of the middle dass is that the best legislators have been of a middle condition; for example, Solon, as his own verses testify; and Lycurgus, for he was not a king; and Charondas, and almost all legislators.

 

Basically this is why the leftists want to destroy the middle class.  They know destroying  it will quickly destabilize the country and allow it to be destroyed and absorbed by a world state.

A Different Kind of Red Shift

A couple of day ago I linked to a post on American Greatness by Angelo Codevilla https://amgreatness.com/2018/04/13/living-with-politics-as-war/ .  I’d like to elaborate a little what I think is interesting about this article.  Vox Day has often said (and I paraphrase)  that the Alt-Right (or Dissident Right or whatever else you call it) will have arrived when the normies have shifted so far to the right that their views can only be distinguished from the Alt-Right by tactics and not by what they believe are the facts on the ground.

Well, I think I’m seeing that happen in real time.  Codevilla is a mainstream academic figure and not an Alt-Right provocateur.  Reading his description of where the country now is and what to do about it is to realize that the idea of going back to a consensus society is effectively dead.  The only question between the normal traditionalists and the Alt-Right is whether we just set up separate shops under the nominally United States or fight a civil war to establish borders between enemy states.  That is remarkable.  It should be disquieting for me but it isn’t.  I still think it will be a bloodless divorce but either way I think we should get on with it.

Codevilla goes through the various arenas where Leftist coercion is the most egregious (schools and colleges, corporate blackmail and de-platforming) and suggests that federal coercion will be less effective than it was formerly and that state legislatures may ignore federal precepts and just go their own way as they have lately on drug enforcement.  Whether he is correct about the federal government giving up on some of its control of local behavior isn’t clear to me but I do think that push back from the right is likely to increase in strength in the future.

So Vox is fond of saying, and I quote, “The Alt-Right is inevitable.”  Depending on how you want to define the Alt-Right we may be seeing proof of his statement.  And if that means the vast majority of non-leftists waking up to the necessity of casting off the oppression of the Left then I am 100% on-board.  Long live the Revolution.  Off with their heads (or at least throw the bums out).

 

Interacting in the Brave New World – Part 4

For the fourth part of this essay I wanted to talk about talking to young people.  My kids are grown and I realize after the fact that I didn’t know that I needed to protect them from school.  But I do now.  Grammar school, high school and college have become gulags where our children are propagandized and bullied by terrible people.  But how do you help them?  I guess you have to tell them the truth.  That school is a soviet style re-education camp.  And unless you can home school your kids, you are essentially sending them into the belly of the beast.  So, I guess you have to tell them to hide their true beliefs and pretend.  But you have to make sure they don’t become beaten down by the system.

Interestingly, I just started advertising on Captain Capitalism and I was looking at one of his videos advice-cappy-wouldve-given-himself-in high school and discovered that it’s pretty much what you should tell a high school freshman.  Now, some of the emphasis is debatable.  Skipping high school, getting a GED and going direct to college or a trade school is unorthodox but listening to how he describes the waste of time high school is, makes it pretty compelling.  Plus, he provides advice if you do go to high school but want to get a better experience out of it.  And afterward he stresses, very amusingly, the stupidity of getting a liberal arts degree.  I found myself agreeing with almost every idea he presents.  His discussion about how boys can best spend their time to prepare them for finding a girlfriend is sensible.  And his advice for women is equally sane.  I highly recommend viewing this video.  Even if you want to modify the delivery for your own family ethos there are a number of very useful ideas and concepts that will help you talk to young people about thriving in a confusing and hostile world.

So, I’m cheating here.  I just recommend you watch the video and then think of how you relate it to your family and friends.  Thank you, Captain Capitalism.