Jared continues his screeds in my comment sections. Feel free to read the whole thing. I will only be responding to pieces of it.
“If he still wants to fight the hugo fight, by all means, the rabid puppies are that away. Have fun.
No, seriously, I mean it. Go forth and conquer, bask in the lamentations of their femme presenting folk, whatever you want.
Jared proceeds from a false assumption – a false assumption that several others who have jumped into the fray have made. I have also been accused of “concern trolling.” What Jared and these others completely miss is that I don’t give a shit about the Hugos, or about Sad Puppies. My original post wasn’t intended to be a “here’s how to improve the puppies” guide. I don’t care. Sad Puppies is a dead brand.
The post serves, instead, two specific purposes. First, it’s a post mortem discussion of why Sad Puppies died (TL;DR – Regina George killed it). For those like Jared who refuse to learn the lessons from it, that’s his problem, not mine. Second, I’m using Sad Puppies as a club to beat Regina George with because she picked a fight with one of mine. Granted, she made it a particularly easy club to beat her with (thanks for that, BTW).
Which brings me to the next point of Jared’s that’s worth discussion today.
You say this is all about an attack on your author. I find that odd for a publisher to intervene in this manner at all, but especially that you demand she drop it while simultaneously being incensed that she didn’t name him in the post.
I am not a traditional publisher, and I don’t behave like one. Get over it.
But the last part of that quote is, indeed the heart of the issue. This suggests to me that unlike others, Jared is naive and not malicious. I’m willing to cut him the benefit of the doubt. I will assume that he honestly doesn’t understand the human behavior he’s witnessed. That’s OK. The gambit Ms. George pulled is a particularly passive aggressive gambit that specifically relies on good, decent people not understanding the intense cruelty that she’s exhibiting.
Once upon a time, I, too, was oblivious to this kind of social manipulation. And once upon a time, I, too, played victim to it. In middle school and high school I lacked the social understanding to comprehend what had happened. Since then, I’ve learned better.
Not naming him in the post *was* her trying to drop it. The event was materially linked to the post at hand, namely explaining what has happened with Sad Puppies and what will happen in the future, and as such needed to be mentioned for the sake of clarity, but dragging the individuals name into it wasn’t necessary, as that would bring up the fight anew, so she didn’t name him specifically. Those who already knew would know, but it wouldn’t change their impressions of it anyway, and those that didn’t, well, for them it wouldn’t matter. Sure, the other comments can be discussed, but that isn’t my place to argue. Of course you naming him for her makes the effort moot now.
Here, Jared couldn’t be more wrong. This is what Scott Adams would call, in persuasion land, the “fake because.” It’s a pretense that’s just plausible enough for good natured people to believe it. This is the smokescreen that hides the actual goal.
The real goal is to ostracize an individual and cast him out of the group. The entire purpose of bringing him up in this discussion is to signal to the “in group” that he’s no longer one of them. His name is left out deliberately in order to achieve this goal.
The reason this works is because everybody in the “in” group already knows who she’s talking about. Now, we can divide up the folks in the “in” group in several ways. First, we have those who consciously understand the social cue, those who understand it subconsciously and still react accordingly, and those who just miss it. Among those who understand it, we can further subdivide into four groups. There are those who understand it and will gleefully savage the cast out individual because they are cruel. There are those who understand it and will pile on because they fear being the next victim. Some will understand what is happening but stay silent, also because they fear being next. And finally there are those who will understand it and actually speak up. The last group is always small, for reasons we’ll get into later.
The net result is that those in the group pick up the signal, pile on the chosen victim, and cast him out of the group.
What about those not part of the “in” group? They fall into several groups as well. Some of them want to be part of the in group. They also pile on the ostracized individual, hoping to score points. Some will recognize what’s happening, if they happen to have enough domain knowledge. Most won’t know what’s going on and will just ignore it – it’s noise to them.
In this case, a very large number of the “out” group know exactly what’s going on because everything has happened publicly. Specifically, the Vile 770 crew already knows exactly who Ms. George is talking about. So in addition to cutting him out of the group, she’s signaling to a specific set of the “out” group that he’s been cast out and is ripe for being attacked.
I’ve been accused multiple times now of believing Declan Finn’s lies. He has been accused of “leaking” information to me. I have no idea what you people are smoking. I’ve based everything I’ve written off of what both Declan and Ms. Regina George have written publicly on their blogs. Jared and his friends can believe that or not believe it. Obviously, there’s no possible way I could ever prove that, as I can’t produce records of communications that never happened. On the other hand, I also don’t care what paranoid delusions these people harbor. Not my monkey.
There’s a reason I chose “Regina George” and the Mean Girls photos for all of these posts. This tactic is a classic right out of exactly the same kind of clique behavior that the movie depicts. I’ve seen it worked hundreds of times, maybe even thousands. You can watch it happen daily at any high school in America.
Don’t take my word for it, though. There’s an entire book that describes this exact behavior. Queen Bees and Wannabees is aimed at your daughters – and for good reason. This particular behavior is overwhelmingly female. That’s probably why it went straight over Jared’s head. Most women understand what’s happening here immediately and instinctively. They’ve dealt with it since they were little girls. A great many men miss it entirely.
Indeed, this entire recipe relies on men like Jared missing it entirely. It’s a classic passive-aggressive behavior. Ms. George provides enough detail to ensure that the people in the group get the right social message. But she leaves out enough – deliberately – to ensure that she can pretend she’s not doing anything of the sort. Then she relies on decent people, people who don’t want a fight, or maybe people who even feel the need to protect her, to refrain from calling her out on it. And when some of us do call her out on it, she falls back to the “fake because.”
I detest passive aggression with the fiery passion of a thousand dying sons. Thankfully, I also learned a very long time ago the morally correct and highly effective way to deal with passive aggression: aggressive aggression.
Ms. George has decided to play Mean Girls with a man who literally doesn’t grasp the social situation well enough to properly defend himself. I’ve dealt with Declan Finn for nearly eight months now, editing his upcoming book (which is great, by the way, especially with the editing we’ve put it through). The one and true crime that we can absolutely lay at his feet is having zero social skills – maybe even negative social skills. Frankly, I’d lay money that he has more than a touch of Asperger’s. And when people say to me, “Oh, don’t believe his lies!” (as they have in this matter), I only have two responses:
Of course, that second reason is also why Ms. George is picking on him in the first place. Because you see, this kind of attack is always targeted at the weak.
What I’ve also learned over the years is never, ever to give anyone the benefit of the doubt when they behave this way. As I noted earlier, I’ve seen this play out hundreds, if not thousands, of times throughout my life. I’ve never once seen it done unintentionally. The perpetrator always knows what she’s doing.
Had she left this matter completely private, where it belongs, I never would’ve gotten involved. But she didn’t. She took it public on purpose and deliberately. She should’ve written her sad, sorry excuse-filled poor me post without mentioning him at all. But she can’t do that, because she needs a scapegoat for her own pathetic incompetence.
So I stand by my comments. Ms. Regina George is a cowardly bully who has picked a fight on a man unable to defend himself. And there is only one appropriate response to bullies.
You stand up and punch them in the nose.
Thankfully, Ms. George has given me plenty of ammunition. And I’ll continue to use it until she and her cronies back off.
At how many tweets per hour of [redacted] who threatened to blackball me from the industry for trump vote about how Hillary Clinton “actually won” and how she’s “so scared” should I dump an industrial sized bag of salt on her wounds by replying?
My first answer: please don’t send me this kind of question. No offense, but as a general rule I don’t care about your personal fights – even if they involve politics, and even if I’m nominally “on your side.” [Aside: I’m not altogether on anybody’s side, because nobody is altogether on my side. Except my wife.] Yes, I just waded into a personal conflict – because it directly touched on my business interests. But as a general rule, I stay out of them.
However, I did find the question interesting. Also, I found this question deeper than it first appears.
Put aside, for the moment, your own political leanings. Imagine the scenario reversed, if you need to.
The obvious answer that most of my real life friends would give is, “no, of course you shouldn’t troll.” On the other hand, the immediate response from most of us would be an intense emotional desire to do exactly that. What should he actually do?
The answer is that it depends, and that’s where nearly everyone fails. Most of us fall into one of two distinct categories. Many would just give into the emotional desire to “get back at” the other person. Others would live by an intense code that doing so is simply wrong. Neither person has stopped to actually think the problem through.
Engage your brain for a moment. The first question is the most important. What is your actual goal? Or, more often, what are your actual goals? Only once you truly understand that can you decide which action leads you closer to that goal.
In this case, I only have partial information. I don’t know the history between the two parties, or their current circumstances. And I don’t know what my acquaintances actual goals are. But I do know a bit.
The person he wishes to troll seems to no longer have the ability to retaliate in a meaningful way. The redacted information makes it clear that she once had financial influence over him, and power over his career. It also makes it clear that this power is now gone. That’s important. If she still had direct power over him, the answer is definitively no. Don’t bite the hand that feeds.
Given that, as a general rule I tend not to troll people unless there’s a purpose. Here we’re talking about Twitter. Will it raise his profile on Twitter, and help him gain publicity? Perhaps a little, with a certain sub group. But probably not much in this case. On the other hand, it probably won’t do him much harm, either.
But from the tone of the message, he probably just wants to rile her up. Sometimes you actually want to do that. An angry opponent makes stupid decisions. But if you’re not actually engaged with someone in a strategic way, what’s the point? If it’s just to get his rocks off, then my advice would be simple: don’t do it. It will just make you look petty.
I haven’t been perfect at it. So one of my New Year’s goals this year is to double down on that decision and eliminate even the last of the whining. Because the simple truth is that whining is for losers.
It’s not that whining is something that losers do. It’s that whining turns you into a loser. Whining doesn’t help you. Ever. Rather, it just gets in your way. It only gets in your way, and prevents you from doing those things that can actually improve your life.
Worse, it makes life more annoying for the people around you. Usually those people are your friends and family – the people who might actually help you with your problems, if you let them. Think about it. There’s no way whining ever could actually improve things.
That is my challenge to myself this year – and it’s my challenge to you, as well. Stop whining and fix it. You’ll be ten times happier for it.
First of all, we have to acknowledge the obvious. If you lack the barest necessities in life, money can buy a large increase in happiness. In other words, if you don’t have a roof over your head, clothing to protect you from the elements, clean water to drink, or enough food to eat, then money will definitely make you happier. Of course, in modern terms you don’t need all that much money to buy these things. Those of us fortunate enough to live in the modern western world essentially never have this issue. Even the very poorest of our poor manage to meet these basic needs.
But what happens after that point? Happiness research shows us that increases in absolute wealth (a raise, a bonus, a nice sized gift) make us happier… for a brief time. After that, we return very quickly to our baseline levels of happiness. Even very large increases in absolute wealth – such as winning the lottery – only increase happiness temporarily.
But research and psychology also reveal a darker truth about humanity. Changes in relative wealth bring about lasting effects on happiness – even if absolute wealth remains unchanged. The ugly reality is that money isn’t the driver – status is. When we are richer than our peers, we are held in higher status by the group. And human beings like status. Higher status, as a rule, makes us happier. Lower status makes us less happy. This rule is especially true for women. Call me sexist all you want, the science backs that. But it’s true for men, too.
People feel good when they feel like they’re doing better than their peers. Status succeeds where money fails – it can buy happiness.
So what can you do about it? Making more money gives you higher status, right? Not necessarily. If you get a raise but so do all of your peers, your happiness level is unlikely to change. If you win the lottery, your social status isn’t actually likely to go up very much. It might even go down. People tend to look down on those who didn’t earn their wealth.
The socialist paradise of equal income for all is impossible. But even if it were possible, it would be a social disaster. We’d have more depression and unhappiness than any other system we can imagine would provide. People are not rational, and they are not perfectly altruistic. If all are equal, all will be unhappy. This ironclad law is hardwired into our base psychology.
But part of its impossibility returns to that same psychology. The more equal people are in income, the more they will elevate the stupidest shit to the level of status symbol. I’ve watched retail workers decide they’re “too good” to hang out with other retail workers now… just because their shop moved to a “higher class” shopping center. Same employees at both shops, nobody’s salary changed. They’re both still working menial jobs that aren’t really enough to live on. But now one person considers herself better than the other. If we take away money as the driver, people will find other ways to compete for status.
Human beings aren’t pretty. Don’t expect it of them. This isn’t a pleasant truth. But it is truth.
It may seem like I’ve done a lot of reading recently. In reality, I’ve just finished a lot of reading recently. I’ve had a lot of books (especially non-fiction) spinning all at once, and they’ve all kind of wrapped up.
Last week I finally finished reading Gorilla Mindset by Mike Cernovich. This is one that I’ve been reading since the beginning of the year. That’s pretty odd, because one of the great things about this book is how quick and easy of a read it is.
“Wait a sec,” you say. “How does that work?”
This book took me a long time to finish because I was too busy implementing it. Even before I was halfway done, I knew there were things in the book that I wanted – that I needed to do. For myself, I decided to focus on a few things at a time rather than trying to make every change all at once. I’ve had good results with that.
Let me get this out of the way: I detest self-help books. Most of them are completely full of shit and aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on. Most of them give you advice that isn’t all that helpful. Which is fine, because most of them are written for people who don’t actually want to change. This book isn’t like that. Mr. Cernovich actually wants to help you. For the typical self-help reader, that will make this a book they don’t actually want. But for those looking to actually improve their lives, this is the rare self-help book that’s actually worth a damn.
In simple terms, this book is largely about how to actually accomplish more and get things done. Not only that, it gives good advice on getting better quality out of what you’re doing. That particular combination is powerful for becoming more successful at basically everything you do.
The frustrating thing about reading this book is how many of Mr. Cernovich’s suggestions are ways that I used to live my life. I’ve let many of them slip. I had good reason to. I had some specific life circumstances that I had to react to. But those circumstances are long over, and it’s well past time that I returned to my old mindsets. This book gave me the boot to the ass that I needed to do that. It also brought some excellent new ideas that have proven to be very helpful.
One other thing that’s truly great about this book is that it’s not wasting space on filler. A great many non-fiction books have a single great idea, cover that idea thoroughly in the first few chapters, and then spend the rest of the book repeating that same idea over and over and over. It’s the reason why I have shelves full of non-fiction books that I’ve never finished. Once I got the concept, the rest of the book just wasn’t worth reading. This book isn’t like that at all. Each chapter is actually covering something different. Each chapter covers the basic concept, gives some examples, and then gives a checklist and some “homework” at the end. A few of them also have some interviews with experts. That’s it – there’s no wasted filler.
As Mr. Cernovich himself points out, not every piece of advice in here is for everybody. There are a few things in the book that I don’t think will actually work very well with my own base personality. Take what works for you and apply it. As for the rest… see if you can apply the concept in another way. But if you can get through this entire book without finding two or three changes that will help your life in a major way, then congratulations on the amazing life you already lead. Keep living that life. For the rest of us, this book is a gold mine.
Gorilla Mindset gets five out of five stars. This book is an absolute must read.
I’ve planned to read SJWs Always Lie: Taking Down the Thought Police for quite some time. With one thing or another, I’ve always found a reason to push it off. As a regular and longtime reader of the author’s blog, I had also witnessed firsthand as many of the principles in this book were developed. I already had a basic grasp on the concepts, so the book itself could wait.
A couple of weeks ago, however, something happened that finally forced it to the top of my list. In short, I knew that I needed to read it. The good news is that the book is quite short. I made it through the entire thing in only a few hours. The better news is that I really did have a good handle on the concepts. I handled the situation correctly, and following the principles in this book did indeed shut it down. The bad news is that this book proved decisively that I was indeed dealing with an SJW, a fact that I had previously been uncertain of.
Due to a gentleman’s agreement that I made with the “professional in the room” who helped me successfully deal with this issue, I can’t go into any detail about the exact situation. All I will say is this: the issue began with a baseless legal threat. When I quickly shut that down, it just as rapidly escalated into the beginnings of an internet lynch mob. Using the advice in this book, I shut that down very quickly as well.
The SJW phenomenon is absolutely real, and it’s one of the worst developments in American culture in my lifetime. These people do not believe in politics by discourse – they believe in absolutely destroying the individuals they oppose.
SJWs Always Lie is an uncomfortable book. Many on the left side of the political spectrum will find this book uncomfortable. It is not fun to believe that those whom you might agree with are acting in this way. Moderates – those who actively seek compromise – will find it difficult to acknowledge that some people simply aren’t interested in it. Conservatives will find it difficult to accept the tactics that are necessary to fight back. Those with a libertarian inclination, like myself, will resist the necessity of leaving behind our “live and let live” principles.
Yet necessary it is. This book illustrates the tactics that actually work against these people – the tactics that will prevent them from destroying your life. And I can now say from personal experience that they do work.
This is not a happy book. It’s not a fun book. It’s not a book that you’ll enjoy reading. Yet if you ever find yourself on the receiving end of an SJWs two-minutes-hate, you’ll be glad you’ve read it. In short, this is a necessary book. Sadly, the future looks to make this book more necessary, not less.
And for what it is, it’s done perfectly. It is short. It is concise. It is clear and easy to understand. It lays out the principles you’ll need: how to recognize an SJW, and how to fight back. It doesn’t belabor the point, but it also doesn’t leave anything out. For that, I give SJWs Always Lie five stars out of five. Highly recommended – not because you’ll enjoy it, but because someday you’ll probably need it.
Editor’s note: this post was originally published more than five years ago on a now defunct blog. It was originally published pseudonymously. I have done some editing to clean up the bits that I wanted to keep anonymous. I’ve also updated it a bit to reflect how my thinking has evolved over five years. But the vast majority of this text is untouched.
In Part 1 I detailed my falling out with Christianity as a young man. So how and why did I decide, from a position of agnosticism, that religion is important?
First and foremost, despite my disillusionment with religion, I’ve always maintained a belief in morality. Specifically, I’ve maintained two distinct beliefs about morality. First, society as a whole is far better off with some kind of code of morality than without one. We can argue about the specifics of which code of morality, but I think it’s pretty hard to argue that society is better off without morality. Indeed, I think it’s quite likely that civilization as we know it simply can’t exist without a shared moral code [Editor’s note: I believe this even more strongly now than I did then]. Second, I believe the overwhelming majority of individuals are better off following a code of morality, especially if others in society are doing the same. But they’re also better off even if nobody else is following such a code. There are some clear exceptions to this rule. Kings, rock stars, and a few others might be materially better off ignoring the rules – but even here, that’s not entirely clear. A king who pushes the boundaries too far often won’t remain king for very long.
It’s a hard point to argue that individuals are better off following a code of morality even if others around them don’t, and it’s something I’d have had a hard time explaining even just a few years ago. The benefits aren’t always immediate and obvious. But the short answer is that a clear code of morality makes it easier for others to interact with you and trust you, even if they don’t follow your code of morality. All they have to do is understand your code. If they understand it, and know you’re serious about it, it gives them a clear understanding of exactly how far and in what ways they can trust you. Being too trusting is a good way to get taken advantage of, sure. But being very trustworthy is a good way to build up social capital. Trust is a huge bit of grease that makes the mechanics of socialization go more smoothly, and we need other people (if only to serve as minions in our evil overlord schemes). Even pagan societies pushed men to be trustworthy, and they benefited from it. Our modern hedonistic culture often loses sight of this.
I’ve always had a strong sense of this, and as an adult I haven’t really felt like I needed a church to tell me about it. I also very firmly believe that you don’t need religion to have morality. But my marriage brought with it a new challenge. When the kids eventually come, how do you teach them to be moral? Sure, I can lead by example. But frankly, religion is very valuable as a teaching tool for this. I know from my own experience growing up that church, for all its flaws, helped teach me what it meant to be a good and moral person.
Religion also plays another role in society that we should all recognize by now: it tempers the worst sexual impulses of both men and women. The emphasis on faithful marriages that all religions traditionally have keeps both female hypergamy and male promiscuity in check, and that’s good for everybody – especially children. Oh, and there’s convincing research that married couples that regularly attend church together are quite a bit more likely to stay married.
Also, over the years I’ve come to believe something about human beings: we’re not the rational creatures that we pretend we are. Of particular relevance to the topic at hand, people need religion. I think it’s biological. A more devout Christian would argue that God gave us that need. An anthropologist might argue that we’ve somehow evolved it. I don’t think it much matters which is the case. We need religion. In the absence of anything else, we’ll start to Worship the Thunder God [Editor’s note: this was a reference to a comment left on the original posting of part 1]. We can’t help it. It’s part of who we are. The most striking modern version of this is the modern west’s cult of liberalism. Make no mistake, it’s every bit as much a religion as fundamentalist evangelicalism. Indeed, the two faiths are more alike than they are different.
George Lucas of all people once made a comment in an interview in Time magazine that has always stuck with me. I tried to track it down, but Time appears to have taken it offline. Paraphrased, he explained that we could think of the old cave man days as being a 1 on the religious scale. Things like pagan mythology could be considered a 3 or a 4. Modern religions could be viewed as somewhere around a 7 or an 8, and we’re pretty proud of ourselves for that. The thing most of us don’t realize is, the scale goes to a million.
For all of the man’s pompous asshattery (and there’s kind of a lot of it), I think he had a pretty valid point here. Not only is there a lot we don’t understand, but we don’t even have a good idea what it is we don’t understand. But there’s another good point buried in here as well, and it’s one that he probably didn’t even intend to make. Indeed, it’s a point that most of the modern educated elite seems to completely miss as well. It’s a simple and clear point, but it’s completely and utterly politically incorrect. If you even try to utter it the multiculturalists will jump down your throat for it. But if you study them abstractly for any length of time you’ll come to the inescapable conclusion that the dominant religions of the modern world are more advanced than other, older religions. And I don’t mean that in a tribalistic, “we’re better than you, neener neener” kind of way. I mean in some clear and distinct ways.
But that will be part 3.
The Whole Series
Vox Day has come around to my theory that Ted Cruz is an Aspie:
I didn’t take seriously the claims that Ted Cruz might be autistic until now. Seriously, on what planet is anyone going to support HP-killer Fiorina, particularly in California?
When I first started telling my wife that he was an aspie last fall, she thought I was crazy. Then she started coming around. When I first started posting it publicly a few weeks ago, nobody took it seriously. But the last few weeks have made it almost blindingly obvious. Only an Aspie would make the mistakes that Cruz is making lately. His campaign is falling faster than a lead balloon. I call zero chance of a contested convention at this point.
I’m starting to suspect that Cruz is a high functioning sociopath. https://t.co/EKs1yaHC3s
— Locutor (@Elocutioner) April 12, 2016
Locutor is hardly the first person I’ve heard posit this theory. My coworker in the cube next to me at work insists the same thing. I have an alternate theory: I think Ted Cruz has Asperger’s Syndrome – or, as they call it these days, High Functioning Autism.
Can I make the claim definitively? No. It would require an interview with a trained psychologist for a definitive diagnosis. But I’ve been fairly convinced for a while.
Every time I see a Donald Trump rally, speech, or debate I’m reminded of the following scene from the film Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure:
If you’ve never seen the film, or if you can’t watch the video for some reason, the context is that each student at San Dimas High School has to give a major presentation as their final exam in history class. The student in the clip above is one of the school jocks. His presentation is poor, his grasp of the history appears to actually be even poorer, and any sane teacher would give him an equally poor grade. A generous teacher might be able to squeeze him into a D.
This, in a nutshell, is why Donald Trump is winning the race for the GOP nomination. It’s why a Donald Trump type will always win in our current system, and it’s why he’ll win the general election in the fall. The vast majority of voters don’t care about the history lesson. It doesn’t matter who is giving the history lesson – they will always find it boring and tune it out, just as the audience did above.
Trump understands this. His entire campaign has been to cut out the history lesson and focus on the only part voters care about. To the typical voter, Rubio and Cruz and Hillary and even Bernie sound like the history lesson. Trump just wants everyone to know that San Dimas High School Football Rules!
There are only two ways to defeat Trump. The first is to out-Trump him, which might well be impossible. The second is to turn the history lesson into an epic multimedia entertainment spectacle. Unfortunately for those who want to stop Trump, Bill S. Preston, Esquire and Ted Theodore Logan are not among the 2016 crop of candidates.