The Flaw is in Hating

I wrote a post on Facebook a long time ago (years!) about the flaw not being in WHO you hate, but THAT you hate. This is me capturing a thought line on the subject for posterity (and for the Fediverse, because I haven’t inflicted myself enough on the Fediverse for my satisfaction yet, apparently.)

“The flaw is not in what groups you hate. The flaw is in hating.”

I’d forgotten having written that, but I’m not sure it’s wrong. It also got me thinking.

It’s representative, to be sure. It’s not any better to hate one group than another, even if different groups deserve different visceral reactions.

Once you open the door to hate, it becomes a weed, a stain on your soul, spreading and growing.

So I started evaluating myself, thinking of possibilities. How do I feel about each group, and why? How compliant am I with my own assertion?

I don’t expect to be fully compliant, after all; I’m not perfect in this any more than any other way. Weeds are “a thing.” So is hate.

  1. Nazis. Communists. By extension, Leftists, and Rightists. (Think of it as a scale: Nazis, Republicans, Democrats, Socialists, Communists. How do I feel about the people who occupy edges?) It turns out I largely don’t care about the *people* who feel subscribe to these political movements; my only concern is how these political agendas are expressed in public life. Be a Communist if you like. Advocate Communist ideals. Be a Nazi if that’s how you are. I won’t agree with you, but I’ll certainly try to respect you, because if I don’t, how will we EVER manage to build a bridge such that we might convince each other of anything? I believe Nazism is wrong; if my goal is to convince you of that, how will my hatred further my goal at all?
  2. People of a different skin color, haha! Yeah, right. I had to throw this in, but it made me smile to write it; I have relatives of “different colors,” and the idea of hating someone because they look different would be… ironic at best. After all, *I* “look different.” And my melanin levels ain’t exactly pure, whatever that means, either. Hatred of people with different eyes, or hair, or skin, or physical attributes… hah, no.
  3. People of a different religion, or people of MY OWN religion that believe theologically incompatible things. Nope. There’s an incredible array of experiences out there, and just because someone’s different experiences lead them to different conclusions – or they’ve accepted conclusions that fit cultural influences – doesn’t give me a good reason to hate them. I can disagree with them – often energetically, I guess, because I have strong emotions myself – but hatred? Nah. After all, I’m sure I’m an apostate to someone out there.
  4. People who hate me. … Uh, no. Why would I let someone else’s emotions dictate my own? If they hate me, why would I ever let THEIR HATE guide me? if I want to be in opposition to them, why wouldn’t I simply choose to ignore their feelings of resentment? (Besides, this approach usually annoys them to no end. Not only is it less strain on my own cognitive abilities, but if they get annoyed that I don’t hate them back… I win!)
  5. People who serve me poorly, or people who treat me poorly. Nope. Can’t do it. These are usually two different groups; people who “serve me poorly” would be, like, waiters or people who fulfill my requests incorrectly. Look, misteaks happen; maybe I expressed myself unclearly, maybe they’re just having a bad day, maybe they just missed something. It’s not a big deal. I can’t understand people who go off on the service industry, no matter WHAT service industry it might be.

    And those who treat me poorly? Well, I already mentioned people who hate me – previous point, right? – but people who treat me poorly would do so without malice, I guess, just being myopic or self-serving. But if I can’t bring myself to hate those who treat me poorly deliberately, maliciously… how could I ever justify hating someone who treats me poorly by accident, as it were, because they don’t really recognize how I feel about how they act toward me?
  6. People who suffer in comparison to me, people who “have it worse.” Likewise, people who are blessed in comparison to me, those who “have it better.” Heh, no. I would love to “have it better,” and thank God I don’t “have it worse,” and I try to treat others as I’d like to be treated in their circumstance; if it’s someone who “has it worse” than me, I want to see their situation improve, and someone who “has it better,” well, if I were in their position I wouldn’t want someone tearing me down. Can’t hate either group.
  7. People who do what I wish I were able to, or people who resent what I am able to do. See prior point. I’d rather teach those who wish to do as I can, and someone who resents what I am able to do while they cannot? Well… I mean… why would I let that affect how I feel?

I identified one group that did actually cause a visceral negative reaction, and toward those I think I would have to say I have hatred:

Anyone who’d rather die than let someone else live. This covers a remarkably wide set of people, unfortunately: people who’d deliberately murder, or rape. People who would hurt a child. People who’d steal for their own amusement or benefit without need. People who consume others.

That doesn’t mean I don’t believe in redemption; a murderer can grow and recognize their error. A rapist is harder to forgive, but if I say redemption is possible, I either believe it or don’t. (A core political flaw I see every day on Facebook is related to this: people imply “yes, people can change, but not THAT person, ever. I will never, can never, forgive. Here’s a scarlet letter to put on your forehead forever.”)

I don’t believe in my right or ability to eternally condemn someone else. I’m not God, or whatever would be in that role – and I don’t believe society is in that role, either.

But I think that my “group of people I hate” – being those who cannot countenance others – attempts to expand itself daily. People jump into the group willingly, in the name of virtue signalling and appeal to others, others whose names they do not know, and whose approval is fickle and entirely dependent on the demonstrated willingness to disapprove.

It takes constant effort for me not to relearn resentment.


On a reread, it stands out to me in today’s political climate that I left gender and sexuality out of my list of groups that might be hated. In retrospect, that would have been somewhere in the first three or four of the “list,” I guess, being similar to the other entries in that region.

But my opinion about those of different gender and/or sexuality … well, my feelings about such people should be obvious. Why would I hate anyone because of their gender? Why would I dislike anyone because of who they like? How would that make any sense at all? Their choices and physical attributes do not affect me, why would I feel so strongly as to hate them?

Of course, there are people who act poorly – regardless of their internal or external attributes. But I covered that at the end of the original post, and there’s nothing unique about gender or sexuality that would require any additional explanation.

Twitter Refugees: What Do You Want?

Seriously: what did you expect? What did you want to happen? What outcome were you looking for?

One of the things that always amused me about peoples’ reactions to Donald Trump were that they were so… catastrophic in nature. (My brother used a word the other day, “catastrophated,” and while that’s not a word, I like it. But I can’t write it without snickering to myself about it.)

The thing about Trump is that he is a narcissistic simpleton. If you wanted him to do something, he has very simple levers, because… again, simpleton. Want him to raise taxes? Well, compliment him in the process of suggesting that smart people raise taxes because… and use big words for “why,” because all he’ll hear is the implicit compliment that he’d have earned once he raised taxes.

Of course, you’d have to have countered the people who also knew how to pull his levers in the other direction, because they’re saying “smart people lower taxes because [big words that he doesn’t understand and won’t think about go here],” because just like you are not an idiot, they are not idiots either, even if Donald Trump himself is an idiot despite being such a stable genius.

But instead of thinking “how do we use this situation our media has gotten us into,” people preferred to scream and shout their frustration, chose to tweet #RESIST instead of, you know, thinking about why and how Trump got elected, chose to weaken their opponents so other populists like Trump could get elected. (And then, when Biden replaced Trump, chose to screech that resistance to the government was ethically wrong, conveniently forgetting that they were themselves “resisting” when Trump was in power.)

But… has the same problem. People are fleeing Twitter, while wishing they had what Twitter had given them in terms of audience and appeal, all because Musk took over and is doing things.

Okay, fine. What is it you actually wanted? Consider that Twitter was losing money hand over fist; consider that Twitter’s usefulness was scoped to a limited base (because it was the shill of a given political base, echoing and emphasizing things acceptable to a limited audience); it was losing trust because the people who use it most wanted it to lie to them, creating an echo chamber, and even though it sold its soul to those people it was losing money.

So change had to come. There was no alternative, if Twitter was going to survive, and given the grief people are experiencing, it’s clear that they wanted Twitter to survive.

So: let’s go back to Trump for a second. (I know, I bounce around. I see things in terms of patterns and parallels, and Trump’s a good one for Twitter, as he is for a lot of things.)

When I was watching close friends undergo Trump Derangement Syndrome, I asked some of them what Honest Donal- – ha, no, I can’t write that without laughing.

I asked what Trump could do such that he wouldn’t receive the vitriol they were hurling at him. I said to go blue sky, people! There’s no limit! Tell me what Trump could do to earn their at least silent approval, with rationality no barrier.

I got solidarity in response: “There is literally nothing he could do to earn our approval in any way.” He couldn’t dance naked in the streets, shouting that Hitler was the devil; he couldn’t raise taxes on the rich; he couldn’t release his own taxes; he couldn’t enforce the progressive agenda. If he’d have done everything on their list of what they wanted government to do – and I asked about this, specifically – he’d still have earned their hatred and resentment.

Okay, then. That’s true Trump Derangement. I get it, but it’s stupid and irrational.

Now let’s flip back to Twitter. Play the same game: what could Musk do to earn the Twitter exiteers’ approval? Anything?

The way I see it, Musk has two overriding mandates: one is to make Twitter profitable (and thus ensure its survival) and the other is to make it what it should have been all along: a melting pot of discussion.

The latter point – the melting pot – is easier, because you can get there by simply letting people discuss, instead of filtering based on bias and whether stuff is “acceptable” to the FBI or whoever is pulling strings. That’s not an easy thing to do, because when you first remove the yoke, people are going to careen past polite discussion – they’ll post actively hateful things to try to see where the lines are, you know, or they’ll do so because they’re simply hateful people – and you’ll also have people doing actively dangerous things.

Figuring out those limits isn’t easy, and Twitter’s struggling with it. But it’s doable, I think, given patience and time, as long as people recognize that it takes patience and time and tuning.

Profitability is a lot harder, especially when people have learned to expect that social media is free, free, free. It’s doable, but not painless.

But when people decide that the alternative is to flee to other social networks en masse… what do they want?

Those other social networks cannot be Twitter-ish without gaining the same negative aspects of Twitter. They’re going from the frying pan (Twitter) to … another frying pan. That’s it. The brand of the frying pan is different. And the new frying pan is going to be less experienced at being Twitter-ish than Twitter is.

Want examples? Parler is one, and if Parler’s not dead already, I’d be surprised. The Fediverse is a lot stronger than Parler, but the Fediverse is also not the same as Twitter… and it’s already showing evidence of commercial centralization, and where individual instances aren’t being commercialized, well, you’re relying on the largesse of individuals who’re hosting instances, just like you used to rely on the largesse of Twitter.

So, I ask again: consider that Twitter has no choice but to change, and tell me where the lines are that you’d find Twitter acceptable. I’m vastly interested, not because I have Twitter stock or anything (I don’t) and not because I love Twitter (I don’t care about Twitter, barely using it outside of posting links to my blog content for the most part, or trying to support some friends on the site).

I’m interested because I like understanding psychology, and the derangement syndrome that we saw with Trump and we’re seeing again with Twitter is beyond my ability to process. People aren’t as stupid as they seem, right? There has to be reason somewhere.

I want to understand, and I don’t.

Dividers in Chief

I saw a reference to Donald Trump as the “Divider in Chief” recently, and the comment made me laugh.

The context was that of the pandemic and response to it, and how to frame the response: the model most people take is that of motorcycle helmets, and the model the poster preferred was that of sewage systems; when you refuse to wear a helmet, you are the one who pays, but if you dumped your sewage in the street, everyone suffers the consequences for it. (There’s irony here, but it’s secondary.)

The comment that made me laugh was the “Divider in Chief,” though, because otherwise the post was pretty good. And its point was probably apt; Trump could have phrased the response to COVID-19 such that people responded more appropriately, and if people had responded more appropriately early on, not only could more lives potentially have been saved, but more lives might be affected less even now.

I say this, typing from my home office, wondering how a good friend is doing in surgery, surgery that might have been delayed due to strained medical resources, while also hoping a close relative isn’t being ignored by his own doctors who don’t feel like they can take the time to actually properly diagnose him. I am in this world. I have skin in the game.

But “Divider in Chief…”

We are flotsam, droplets in a sea of ignorance. We are not pearls among coal; we are not diamonds in a plain of glass.  We are the coal, we are the glass. From dust we are formed, to dust we shall return. Every one of us.

It’s one thing to believe in a messiah that will rescue us from our state, staunch the bleeding and cure the disease… but it’s foolishness to rely on the messiah to change the world first.

Yochanan ben Zakkai, a rabbi from the time of the destruction of Judah, said “If you have a sapling in your hand and people tell you that the Messiah has come, plant the sapling and then go and greet him.” This does not diminish the role of the Messiah; it simply recognizes that a Messiah whose duty and power it is to actually change everything can do so after you plant the sapling… and if you know anything about the history of messiahs, well, it’s a safe bet that the sapling will outlive the so-called messiah anyway.

(This was after the revolution of Bar Kochba, a man that another great rabbi, Akiva, proclaimed as the messiah… and this was but one of many proclaimed as messiah who’ve somehow left the world in its current state.)

Our leaders… they are not gods. They are not special. They are not messiahs in any mystical sense. They are coal, glass, dust just like we are. If they have power, it is because we assigned it, not because they are special or wise or … anything. Any access they have to greater things, we gave them

And if we gave them, we can take them away. The implication that we cannot suggests that we are lesser beings, that there are lesser beings of less worth than others.

I reject that suggestion.

Otherwise, I would expect election by the general populace to conform some kind of power to heal upon the elected; a President becomes a sort of god, who can wave a wand and heal the world, and who bears the guilt of not doing so.

To be fair, an elected official does bear some additional responsibility; we do not choose candidates who do not seek power, and to seek power is to seek responsibility, too.

After all, “Divider in Chief” is funny in part because in some ways it’s apt. Trump certainly bears some responsibility in this, although his detractors also bear responsibility; in my opinion, his opponents should have been willing to accept the possibility that he was greater than they claimed, and he should have been a strong enough person to reach out despite their opprobrium. Neither situation occurred.

(Follow the logic: there was nothing Trump could have done to make some of his detractors willing to acknowledge anything good he did – and yes, I asked; at best, it was “even a blind hog finds an acorn once in a while,” and even that kind of grudging response was rare, and became more rare over time. So what would Trump, who is a simple transactional thinker, get by reaching out to such people? Nothing – and so, in the nature of such transactional psychology, he stopped trying, which only amplified the criticism, which only meant he had even less investment in trying to satisfy the unsatisfiable. Both groups bear guilt here, and I’m quite sure that both groups would point to the other and say “they started it!,” thereby completely missing the point. Guilt isn’t only about having started it – guilt can be found just as much in voluntarily continuing it when you have a choice.)

I would love to see Americans stop worshiping their leaders. We made them; we can remove them; we shouldn’t see them as guides, but as simply people who’ve been called upon to be reliable. They will not succeed, every act they make is a chance for failure and glory; when you take 100 shots, you have a lot of chances to miss.

Their only chance for true success is to do less, but the current climate is to demand they do more.

So we as a people need to recognize our own complicity in creating failure, and stop saying stupid things like “Divider in Chief” – Trump’s a divider, yes, and he’s certainly not done anything to tell Americans that he’s not who he always said he was. 

But “in chief?” No.

That’s us.

Books that Shaped You

What books helped shape your political and moral opinions?

A lot has gone into my reading list. Here’s a list of the things I think were most important, with a focus on fiction:

  • Starship Troopers. Often derided as fascist, this book… isn’t fascist. It’s not a complicated book, but it does contain a lot of essays about political theory and the application of force: a lot of its message is “You don’t own it if you’re not willing to defend it.”
  • The Fountainhead. Ayn Rand was not a … good writer, but the Fountainhead’s focus on personal creativity and adherence to individual vision was, and is, inspiring. There’s a lot to find distasteful here – her view of personal relationships was… um… not profitable to anyone who didn’t enjoy the concept of Fifty Shades of Grey, but she avoids bonking her readers over the head quite so much with morality plays in The Fountainhead, unlike some of her other books.
  • Dune. Dune is a fantastic book for communicating ideas about perspective and control. When the Imperium itself is 10000 years old, the value of an individual life… it ends up looking like what it is: a drop of water in a vast river. It’s still valuable, but it can’t scream that it’s the point of the river, nor is it in control.
  • Foundation. In addition to being a rollicking set of adventures, the perspective shifts about what’s important and what things drive economies and political engines are wonderful. And then Asimov breaks the model with an outsized predator just to show the system in action.
  • To Kill a Mockingbird. Anyone who can read this without being affected is a robot. Accepted groupthink along tribal lines died for me for once and for all when reading this book… even accepted groupthink that agrees with the premise, that racism is wrong and evil. It is wrong and evil… but it’s not a set of definitions that can be applied without reason. I may agree with groupthink, but it’s because I agree, not because it’s groupthink.
  • Lucifer’s Hammer. An apocalyptic book about a comet’s calves hitting the earth, it’s a lot like Starship Troopers in that it focuses heavily on the issues one would care about given a lack of comfortable privation.
  • A Wizard of EarthSea. Illustrated the idea that a hero didn’t have to act like, or look like, a traditional hero. Wizards who didn’t focus on blasting spells at enemies? Wizards who were not white? Even gender issues were addressed. Fantastic book, fantastic series, fantastic author.
  • The Wheel of Time. As a prospective author of fiction, this series gives me hope: if people are willing to pay for crap like this, then maybe I can some day retire by pumping out similar dreck. An author whose best material falls under the quality level of Robert Jordan’s offerings really should never be willing to write such that others can buy it. Books not linked because I’m a kind person and I don’t want someone to accidentally read this and blame me.

This is hardly a list of “good material” – I mean, I’m leaving off the Jubal van Zandt series, Lord of the Rings, Dragonlance, The Mote in God’s Eye, Night, Neuromancer… really more books than I can even think of at the moment. But these are the books that I can think of right now that shaped my political and personal philosophies the most.

What about you?


In a lot of ways, the way people talk about Socialism today sounds like an attempt to say “I want to take what you have” without the guilt associated with theft – because it’s corporate and pits membership in social classes against each other.

“I do not have it, and I need it” elicits natural empathy.

“You have it” sounds like envy.

“I do not have it, and I need it, and you have it” sounds like a declaration of intent.

“I do not have it, and I need it, and you have it, give it to me” is a threat.

“We do not have it, give it to us” is a threat. It’s manipulation. It’s a declaration that you do not deserve it, have not earned it, will not earn it, have no interest in earning it… but because it’s corporate, it’s supposed to sound virtuous and less evil than a request for charity.

And let’s be clear, it’s not a request for charity. It’s a demand for compliance, especially when backed by power… which is ironic, because the whole reason the demand has to be taken seriously is because of the ascendance to power of those who demand.

But that’s contradictory: if you have power, then you don’t have the need for “it” that you used to have, because you have power. Now you’re just taking from others to satisfy the need. “Serve the many,” is the cry, pointing back to the request for empathy…

If the request isn’t a demand (“Please, could we have something you have?”)… that’s fine. That’s a request for charity. That’s not even brazen. We all love our children, we all live in a world that has no real regard for us, to some degree we have to live together in a community.

By the way, a request for charity is not “socialism.” This is rational self-interest in all regards: the request is rational self-interest, and the fulfillment is rational self-interest. Even a denial is rational self-interest, even if we might not agree that it’s the best path forward. People who claim that any corporate actions are “socialism” are mistaken at best, and outright liars at worst.

But if you demand something (“It should belong to us, not you”) is fulfilled without being followed by commensurate compensation, you’re simply stealing from someone else. Calling it “socialism” may even be true, but that doesn’t change its nature.

To me, socialism is fine… if it’s actually spontaneous and agreed to by all. A group of people deciding to do something for themselves, corporately, has no negative connotations for me.

But to have socialism applied from outside… that’s when I say that those Socialists are simply thieves using branding to make themselves seem more appealing for others. And if you want Socialists in power without getting out and doing the work yourself… you’re complicit in their evil. You’re just hoping that a lack of pity for the victims you want to create makes it “okay.”

Don’t be evil.

You want to be a socialist? Be my guest. Shoot, go for communism if you want; I won’t mind… as long as you keep your filthy hands off of what belongs to others. Saying “but it should belong to us” isn’t enough. If you want it to belong to the corporate “you,” feel free to make it. Then it will belong to you and you can share it however you like… just make sure you really mean it, and share it with everyone, including the people who you dislike and who disagree with you. Otherwise you’re just as “evil” as the people you’d rather steal from.

The Trees is an ideal (and pragmatic) leftist’s song

I love the song “The Trees,” by Rush, on their “Hemispheres” album. It’s the first song of Rush’s catalog that I heard, even though I didn’t know the band was Rush at the time.

It’s an incredibly leftist song.  I wholly approve. I am a leftist at heart.

I’ve been asking people I know what “left” and “right” entail these days, out of simple interest. If you’re reading this, it might be worthwhile to consider what these terms mean, without doing any research whatsoever. I promise I’ll explain in a few paragraphs.

I’ve gotten a lot of fascinating answers, largely centered on “Democrat” and “Republican.” These are somewhat valid, in that Democrats tend to be more leftist and Republicans tend to be more rightists.

But consider: Communists are far left. Fascists are far right. Yet these two groups tend to advocate for the same economic policies. They’re both boogeymen, politically.

How does this work? How can fascists and Communists be on the same page but be described so differently on a political spectrum?


Left and Right aren’t about economic policy: they’re social. In the time of the French Revolution, the revolutionaries sat on the left of the gallery, while the monarchists sat on the right side of the gallery. The “leftists” were all about equality, a lack of social classes, whereas the monarchists were reinforcing the concept of social classes, as you can imagine with the concept of royalty being involved.

Leftists are confronted by social classes, while Rightists are comforted by the same.

The Democrats, by advocating for populism so strongly, see social striata (often defined by money) as being at least somewhat a negative thing. The Republicans accept the existence of social classes. Both parties have extremists that advocate either a destruction of everything associated with the old classist system (in the case of the Democrats) or the absolute enforcement and recognition of acceptable class striation (in the case of the Republicans).

I am a leftist. I’m not an extremist by any measure; I just take the Declaration of Independence seriously when it says “All are created equal,” with rights endowed innately for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Yet I’m also pragmatic: there are social classes. There’s no way to argue with the idea that some are born with silver spoons, and I’d be the last person on the face of the earth to suggest that someone born poor is unable to climb the social ladder. (Likewise, someone born rich can fall down the social ladder… like me, for example, in that I was born upper middle class and now I’m probably back at the middle class after having been lower-middle and perhaps lower class, period.)

So this started out with “The Trees,” and by golly, let’s cycle back around to it at last.

“The Trees” is the story of a forest, where maples are in conflict with oaks: 

The trouble with the maples,
And they’re quite convinced they’re right,
They say the oaks are just too greedy,
And they grab up all the light.
The oaks can’t help their feelings
If they like the way they’re made
And they wonder why the maples
Can’t be happy in their shade.

Rush, Hemispheres, Anthem Records, 1978

In the end, after some absolutely rocking music, the trees’ conflict is resolved:

So the maples formed a union
And demanded equal rights
‘The oaks are just too greedy
We will make them give us light’
Now there’s no more oak oppression
For they passed a noble law
And the trees are all kept equal
By hatchet,
And saw

Rush, Hemispheres, Anthem Records, 1978

I find this to be beautiful in expression. Equality at last! … wait. The end result of the extremist expression of leftist thought (as the maples demand) is that all are equal… in being reaped. Yet the song still manages to advocate for a sort of pragmatic leftism: the maples aren’t wrong for wanting more! They just went about it in such a way that the “equality” wasn’t all that desirable after all.

I find that pragmatism – and the desire for equality – to be something close to a Platonic ideal.

Deliver what you promise when you write

I’ve gone on a number of (hopefully mild) rants about clickbait in writing: “Seven Reasons Your Wife Will Leave You!”, “Trump’s Bat-Baby!”, and so forth.

Today I read with great interest an article on CNN entitled “Why Trump wants you to be afraid of high speed trains.” It’s… an interesting article, but I came away wondering why Trump wanted me to be afraid of high speed trains.

It wasn’t actually poorly written as an article – surprising given CNN’s Trump derangement – but I kept waiting for the delivery. The main takeaway I got was that California’s failure to deliver high speed rail from Los Angeles to San Francisco was a political football for Trump.

The whole point of the article seemed to culminate in this line for me:

But that wasn’t the only time the President dunked on rail this week.

… oh no! The President “dunked on” rail multiple times this week! Given rail’s centrality in the “Green New Deal,” is this surprising?

I wanted to read why Trump actually wanted me to be afraid of rail. I think rail’s a great idea for the urban areas – I can think of five or six regions offhand that would benefit greatly from more civic railways (centered in a metropolis, like a subway system) and they’d benefit from being tied together by rail, too.

That’d play fantastically in the densely populated areas that voted heavily Democratic in the last Presidential election… and be pointless for the wide swaths of United States geography that voted for Trump.

Here’s a map, based on geography, from the University of Michigan:

The primary beneficiaries of a heightened (and important) rail system are some of those regions of blue: high concentrated population centers, interconnected.

All that red? Left in the cold. They still get to drive their own cars, consume their own gasoline, and provide food for all the blue areas.

So why, then, is Trump wanting us afraid of rail?

I can still think of a few reasons, some actually reasonable from his point of view.

One reason he might be want us afraid of rail is because it cements beneficiaries of rail against “his party.” (This makes little sense, realistically; the GOP is not “Trump’s party,” for one thing, and for another, those areas voted against him anyway. They weren’t his votes to preserve.)

Another reason is that he didn’t come up with the idea – except he apparently did have an infrastructure plan (as published on CNN, and cited in the article about why he’s afraid of rail!) – so the high speed rail he wants us to be afraid of was actually something he’s wanted to create. As with the prior point, this makes little sense, if any, to me.

In both of these cases Trump needs to act like he’s completely unaware of self – which isn’t a stretch, given his history – and the worst thing about all of this is that CNN expects us to be unaware, too.

As usual: stop it, CNN. You have editors; use them, please.

The Grammy Awards ignored Rock and Metal!, Gordon Ramsey, Larry Hogan on CNN

Things I’m thinking about:

The Grammies

An article in “Ultimate Classic Rock” was entitled “How the 2019 Grammy Awards Basically Ignored Rock and Metal“.

I’m… a little bit surprised, considering how rap and hip-hop (are those different?) have been ignored by the Grammy Awards ever since they became significant art forms, and rock – historically – has not especially been ignored. Sure, it’s been ridiculous sometimes – I’m not really a super-duper Metallica fan but Jethro Tull’s Crest of a Knave should never have gotten the nod over ..and Justice for All.

But the Grammies at least have had rock and metal winners, regardless of how insincere those wins might have been. So… okay, 2018’s awards were not rock- or metal- focused, let’s wait 30 years and then complain, okay?

I’m not even really a rap fan, but the lack of rap artists winning Grammy awards is ridiculous to me.

Gordon Ramsey

I’m a big fan of Gordon Ramsey (and cooking shows in general, really) despite not being able to cook worth a flip.

I like Ramsey even though I find his confrontational style unnecessary in a lot of cases – because by golly I think he knows what he’s doing and I think he means well

“A Dose of Reality” by Gov. Larry Hogan, Maryland

Governor Larry Hogan, of Maryland, posted a really nice article on CNN, well worth reading: “A dose of reality for Trump, Pelosi and Schumer.”

Worth reading not only by the principals named, but by everyone. if I had any advice for the American populace, it might very well include “… everyone just calm down. Truth will be known, and God doesn’t care if your side wins.”

Outrage on Social Media articles; State of the Union

Things I’m thinking about, after switching back to a list-based list of thoughts because Gutenberg headers annoy me:

  • Gutenberg headers annoy me. I’m thinking of switching back to my comfortable editing process where I’m not constantly griping about my editor. It’s a flow thing.
  • Good article from Medium, paywalled (so if you don’t have a Medium account that you pay for – it’s $5/month – you may have to open this in a private window): The Power of Not Retweeting. Both the article and the subject are recommended. It’s very easy to be outraged by something that lacks context, and the context might make all the difference in how you actually react – but by the time you get context, it’s too late, you’ve committed your reaction to history and told all your friends.
  • Another excellent Medium article, this time from the New York Times’ Medium account: This Is Your Brain Off Facebook. It’s a little ironic that the NYT published this, given how manipulative they are for their readers… but the king of manipulation is still CNN in my opinion. Those guys should be ashamed. Their editors should be doubly ashamed.
  • I did not watch the State of the Union, but having people tell me that I shouldn’t watch it as a form of protest annoyed me and tempted me to endure the farce anyway. I want our politicians to love country over party, and that’s… not what we have right now.
  • Why didn’t I want to watch the State of the Union? Lots of reasons:
    • It’s Trump. His mode of speaking annoys me greatly. His inability to stay on topic annoys me. His stupid self-propping annoys me. I used to think George W. Bush wasn’t a particularly effective speaker because he always seemed to be searching for words – and now I find that I’d far prefer a President who actually searched for the right words to one who blathers out whatever foolish crap crosses his brain at any given time.
    • Do I need another reason? Oh, yeah.
    • The endless politicization of everything, and the seeming need to turn everything into a protest. I’m all for protesting police brutality, but sometimes a football game (or a State of the Union address) is … just a football game, and the protests don’t really make a difference besides signalling.
    • Circling back: I don’t trust Trump… or his opponents. They both lie. They both choose truths based on what plays to their bases. What’s funny is that Trump told us what he’d do in his campaign… and he’s actually held to that pretty strongly, for better or for worse. That’s somewhat commendable. His political opponents are changing their long-held opinions on lots of things just so they can oppose Trump – I’ve said before that he should just start echoing their campaign positions just to force them to change stances.
    • This is a lot less relevant of a list than I thought it might be.
    • Every State of the Union I’ve ever watched has bored me! There, there’s my best reason right there.

Intersections with Politics

Things I’m thinking about:

I’m changing the format up today, because one of the entries is longer than usual.

Trump and the Patriots

It’s really annoying that people are mad at the New England Patriots because Trump likes them. I dislike the Patriots myself – I nearly cost myself a job after they lost to the Giants – but for people to root against them just because of Trump speaks to a lack of basic reasoning on their parts. I don’t like thinking that my fellow humans are idiots. They’re acting like idiots.

Redemption is Being Considered Impossible

Speaking of politics, this thing with the governor of Virginia is making me angry.

Look, I’m not here to excuse the governor’s… anything. I don’t know exactly what happened; I think he’s been accused of being in either blackface or a KKK hood in an unidentified picture from a yearbook in 1984, and as I understand it, first he confirmed it, then denied it, then apologized, or… something.

Being in blackface is dumb. Being in a KKK hood is even dumber. Let’s get that out of the way immediately; I can’t condone either one, and won’t, even as a joke. Jokes are supposed to be funny, not threatening or harmful. Whoever was in the picture really should be ashamed of it, period, whether it was meant seriously or in jest.

But here’s the thing: it was in 1984. Thirty-four years ago! When he was a student! He may have been an idiot then – but who is he now?

With all the outrage, is the assertion that he’s a racist today? That’s what it looks like and should be. “Resign because you did something dumb 34 years ago” is… an idiotic thing to say, no matter what party he’s a member of (Democrat, if you’re curious) or what party the ones crying for him to resign are members of (both Democrat and Republican).

The implication is something we’ve seen shadows of before: There is no such thing as redemption. We’ve seen it mostly from the Left, although the Right is starting to pick it up as a useful political tool.

But the Left had better watch itself, very carefully… because if there’s no such thing as redemption, the Democratic Party itself is damned.

This is the party that fought for slavery… and after slavery was made illegal, overthrew the Republican government in North Carolina to restore the old order.

If there’s no redemption possible, then what in the world would make the Democrats think they can ever remove that stain from their history? They’re saying people can’t change – in 34 years, Governor Northam can’t have changed how he views people with different skin colors, Brett Kavanaugh can’t have become a decent man since he was in high school, and so forth. (Apparently Bill Clinton’s the only human being for whom redemption is a thing?)

If people can’t change, then people who claim the label associated with slavery are endorsing slavery. That’s the Democratic party, folks. There’s no sea change possible, is what they’re saying… and they chose a label that is by their own declaration and action irrevocably associated with endorsing slavery.

We’ve hit the slippery slope. Pandora’s Box has been opened, as I feared… I just hope that the cancer it represents eats its way to the extremes and leaves the middle confused but otherwise unaffected… until the extremes are eliminated and the middle ground can take care of its own with love and reason again.