Friday, November 27, 2015

Black Friday

NO TERRORISTS IN MY BACKYARD! I REFUSE TO TAKE IN REFUGEES FROM WAL-MART!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Why can't we all just get along?

Christian: Original Sin.

Freudian: The Death Instinct.

Hegelian: Beats me, History was supposed to have ended in 1806.

Marxist: Because Hegel was wrong, the Historical Dialectic has not ended and will not end until the last Capitalist is strangled with the rope he sold to the revolutionaries.

Libertarian: Because no one listens to me.

Nietzschean: Because some of us don't want to be that namby-pamby emasculated Last Man who sings Kumbaya as he euthanizes himself.

Gender Theorist: The use of gendered pronouns.

Trumpkin:  Because Obama won't say "Radical Islam".

(Feel free to add to this list.)

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Nietzsche's History of Philosophy

[Yes, I know that this has been translated several times before.  I'm translating it myself now because otherwise my sorry, idle ass would find it too hard to avoid near occasions of sin, which would send me diwectly to hell.  Of course, reading Nietzsche will send me to hell, too, but at least it won't make me stupid.]

How the "real world" finally became merely a fairy tale.
(The history of an error)

1.  The real world attainable for the wise, the pious, the virtuous:  He lives in it, he is it.
      (Oldest form of the idea, relatively clever, simple, convincing.  Generalization of
        the sentence, "I, Plato, am the truth.")

2.  The real world, unattainable for now, but promised for the wise, the pious, and the virtuous ("for
      the sinner who repents").
         (The Idea progresses:  It becomes more nuanced, trickier, more incomprehensible, --it becomes
          Christian.  It becomes a woman...)

3.  The real world, unattainable, unprovable, cannot even be promised, but can be imagined as comfort, an obligation, an Imperative.
      (The old sun in principle but visible, if at all, through fog and skepticism.  The Idea becomes
        sublime, pale, northern, Könisbergian.)

4.  The real world, unattainable?  Unattained at any rate.  And because it's unattained, it's also unknown.  Consequently, it is also not comforting, redemptive, obligating;  To what can something unknown obligate us?
       (The morning begins its gray dawn.  First yawn of reason.  The Cockle-doodle-doo of
         Positivism.)

5.  The "real world"-- an Idea that's of use for nothing anymore, it does not even obligate anymore, a useless, superfluous notion, hence a refuted notion.  Let's do away with it!
       (Broad daylight.  Breakfast.  Return of bon sens and cheerfulness.  Plato is blushing.
         The free spirits run riot.)

6.  We've scrapped the real world, which world do we have left?  The world of appearances, perhaps?  No!  With the real world we've also done away with the world of appearances!
        (Noon.  Moment of the shortest shadow.  The End of the longest error.  Humanity's Highest
         Point.  INCIPIT ZARATHUSTRA.)


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Dale Carnegie's Unique Catholicity

"As the impact settled in, the author [Dale Carnegie] grew amazed by the breadth as well as the volume of the book's [How to Win Friends and Influence People] appeal.  'One day my publishers received two orders in the same mail," he told a journalist with a laugh.  'One was from a theological seminary, which wanted 50 copies for its ministerial students.  The other came from a madame of a high-class bordello in Paris.  She needed nine copies for her girls.  I am the only author you ever saw who wrote a book used as a text in two such highly divergent fields.'"
                                               --Steven Watts, Self-help Messiah, p. 263

What the bitchy neo-cons must be saying now

“Oh, France wants an international coalition now to fight the Jihadists over there so that we don’t have to fight them here? What do you French say, déjà vu?"

Monday, November 16, 2015

Oh, PJ

PJ told me per e-mail, "A birth certificate confirms that a child was born..."

I seem to have lost my birth certificate.  According to you that must mean that I no longer can confirm that I was ever born.

You're an idiot, Mr. PJ.

Questions for the Police Department in Glen Carbon, Illinois

A police officer of yours once told me that the equation 2 + 2 = 4 is an opinion in some places.  Okay, fine.  My question to you is, then:  In what places is this equation an opinion and in what places is it not?  Is 2 + 2 = 4 an opinion in Glen Carbon but not in Ladue, where the Grade School teachers, unlike in Glen Carbon, may actually have to know stuff before they are hired?  Is the certainty of basic arithmetic contingent upon astronomical conditions as well as geography?  Does 2 + 2  = 4 become an opinion in Glen Carbon only when the moon is full, thereby changing all people with a gun and a badge into howling lunatics?

Inquiring minds really want to know.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Same-sex "birth certificates": Yet another exchange with PJ

ME:

Oh, I still think it's absurd to put two people of the same sex on a BIRTH certificate because it is obviously IMPOSSIBLE for two people of the same sex to make a baby. Yes, I know that as much as I’d like to think that I am following just really obvious rudimentary human biology, I am really being a homophobic bigot simply because everything has to be about you gays and Lesbians, so much so, that one cannot even state the really obvious and incontrovertible scientific fact that two people of the same sex cannot make a baby without being accused of being hostile to the gay and Lesbian community. Two people of the same sex CANNOT make a baby. That is just obvious biology. That’s just really obvious science. It has NOTHING to do with being a hater, homophobe, or bigot. And if you think it does, then you should be considered a raving lunatic, but nowadays, because we live in a loony bin, such thinking qualifies you to be on the bench of the Supreme Court.

PJ:

Who said birth certificates had anything to do with biology? A birth certificate confirms that a child was born and indicates who that child's legal guardians are.

My parents are on my birth certificate and neither one of them had anything biological to do with my birth.


ME:

When we’re talking about birth certificates, we’re talking about the presumption of parentage (what used to be known as presumption of paternity), and this presumption has always been based upon biology or at worst the appearance thereof. For instance, if the father has been absent for longer than ten months, the presumption cannot apply. If the baby is white, and both parents are black, the presumption does not apply, etc. Adoptees usually have two birth certificates, a true one that’s sealed, and a fictional one that’s not. But there are different kinds of fiction. The novels of Jane Austen are fiction. The Time Machine by H.G. Wells is science fiction. An adoptee’s unsealed birth certificate is a fiction, true, but it is a plausible fiction. A same-sex “birth” certificate has no plausibility whatsoever and is in the realm of science fiction.

Also, if the presumption of parentage is not, as you suggest, based upon biology, then why does the law allow it to be rebutted on precisely that basis? This is why lawyers even now suggest that same-sex “parents” adopt even though though they are “presumed” parents because they know full well that this presumption is a joke and, hence, is rebuttable by the mere mention thereof.

Of course, this may present a problem for, as you know, there was a court ruling in New York not too long ago (January of last year) that ruled against a same-sex couple wanting to adopt their “presumed” children. Because presumptive parents are supposed to be the opposite of adoptive parents. Parents adopt because they are not presumptive parents, and vice versa. Oh, all the absurdities of “marriage equality”!

Oh, and we need a birth certificate to confirm that we were born? Yeah, well, good thing I have a birth certificate, then. Otherwise, I would not know if I had been born, just popped into existence out of thin air, have existed since, I don’t know, forever, or whether I exist at all. So, yeah, I need a legal certificate to tell me I was born. You people (yes, I want to sound as “bigoted” as possible) are such legal positivists. You need the law to save you from the condemnation of loneliness, and now you’re telling me that you do need the law NOT so much to confirm the identity of your biological parents, to confirm your birth date, to confirm where you were born, but primarily to confirm that you were born at all? Because, I guess, if you did not have such legal recognition, you would not know if you exist at all. Geez. You’re not an Atheist, Mr. PJ. If you truly believe that you cannot be sure of your own existence without an official document, then it is quite clear that you think the positive law is god. How the deuce did anyone know they were born before the invention of paper? I want to know this.

NO RESPONSE YET FROM MR. PJ

Saturday, November 14, 2015

The Paradox of Liberalism

Liberalism is the ideology of liberty or freedom, but what is freedom?  To define freedom is to limit it, but the very notion of freedom is the exact opposite of limits.  Therefore, freedom for it to be true freedom cannot have any definition.  But, then, that means that freedom is nothing, and, therefore, Liberalism is an ideology of nothing.

In other words, if freedom means anything, then it can only mean nothing.

Liberalism, therefore, is as nonsensical as the Liar's Paradox.

Of course, one has the very same problem with God...

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Yik Yak and false advertising

If your anonymous comment can be traced back to you, then it can hardly be anonymous, can it?  You'd think a computer science major would know this, especially after the Snowden Revelations.

Oh, Mizzou

If, by chance, you have a German Student enrolled at your University, and this German Student is a devout Catholic (a real rarity these days, granted, but humour me, please), then she just might have on her bookshelf in her dorm a copy of Der Katechismus der Katholischen Kirche or KKK for short.  So, then, the KKK would indeed have a presence at Mizzou.

Be afraid, Mizzou, be very afraid!

[Note to Herr Major Brian Weimer:  This is a joke, this is only a joke.]

Libertarian Hegelianism is Lame

[Looking through my past reviews on Goodreads.com, I happed upon this one of Jean Bricmont's Humanitarian Imperialism: Using Human Rights to Sell War. I kinda like it. That means that I am a little surprised I wrote it. I usually hate the stuff I write.]

Well, this book did not deliver on its promise, namely to articulate a third way between the Scylla of Cultural Relativism and the Charybdis of a forced universalist morality. Mr. Bricmont makes it perfectly clear that he is a universalist, just not an imperialist one, and he wants a universalist morality that does not lead to wars in its name. Okay, good, I would like that, too, but once you have an absolute goal, then you have a justification of any sacrifice for the sake of that goal. This is, of course, a huge philosophical problem, and not just philosophical. All Bricmont does is show that what the U.S. has done is pretty much the opposite of the lofty ideals the U.S. professes and thereby reveals the U.S. to be a most bloody hypocrite. This is exactly the sort of thing Noam Chomsky has been doing for decades, and it should surprise no one that the German Edition (at least) of this book has a foreword by none other than Chomsky himself. But showing the United States to be a hypocrite does not invalidate the idea of huminatarian interventionism. Abuse of an idea does not invalidate the idea itself. And so the Enlightenment lives another day to fight more bloody wars all for the sake of human rights.

To say that the book is more or less a re-hash of what you can find in almost anything that the political Chomsky has written in the last fifty years is not to dismiss the book, of course. I really, really like Chomsky, but Bricmont, I have to say, is the much better writer and is able to make the same points that Chomsky makes with greater economy and, therefore, greater force.

But one point that Bricmont does not make with force, great or otherwise, is his suggestion for a third way between relativism and imperial absolutism. Yes, he does come up with a third way but seems to realize that it is so laughable that, like a guilty Straussian, he wants to bury it between the lines. His Third Way is what I'd like to call a libertarian Hegelianism. The developed countries developed to the End of History on their own, so let the other countries do so as well, and, presto, we have on the one hand upheld a definite telos and so avoid the trap of cultural relativism and on the other hand established a principle that lets us remove the adjective "imperialist" from absolutism.

It's neat but Hegelianism does not work that way at all. Hegelianism allows development to go only if the End of History has not been reached. See, one cannot philosophize until one knows the point of history, and one cannot know this until history has reached its end. Until then every thing must be allowed to happen, like wars, mass murder, torture, crimes against humanity, etc., because everything is part of the necessary dialectic of the Unfolding of the World's Spirit.

But once the End of History has arrived, then one immediately understands what once looked liked a tale told by an idiot. One understands the dialectic of history in a truly scientific manner and, therefore, can tell others who have not reached the End of History what to do to get there. Well, if the developed countries of this world are truly at History's End, then they are the rightful guardians of the world and as such have the right to tell the undeveloped and underdeveloped countries what to do, and instead of Humanitarian Intervention, we have Hegelian Intervention (which students of Hegel know is simply Napoleonic Conquest that is conscious of itself as Unfolding Spirit), and Mr. Bricmont would still bitch. And if no country is at History's End, then no one can philosophize, no one can make prescriptions because History remains an inexplicable tale told by a babbling idiot. In that case, Mr. Bricmont should just shut up.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Emergency, Emergency, MUPD, EMERGENCY!!

I asked a young woman out on a date today. She replied, “Sebonde, you’re a nice man, but, look, be real. I am eighteen, you are forty-seven, soon to be forty-eight, two years away from AARP membership. I don’t want to date someone that old. Sorry.”

So, I called the MUPD and reported this woman for committing an act of hurtful speech.

I need to go to my safe space now.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Existentialist Engagement in nuce

"Ich bin entschlossen, wozu weiß ich noch nicht, aber ich bin sicher meiner Entschlossenheit!"

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Modern Love (yet another draft)

Man: Hey, I would like to buy you a drink.

Woman: (flashes her wedding ring at him)

Man: So?

Woman: I’m married, dumbass.

Man: So?

Woman: Are you really THAT stupid? I’m married. That means that I am off the menu. Get it?

Man: Oh, I get it. You think that marriage means the forsaking of all other lovers, right?

Woman: Hey, Einstein, that’s not what I think marriage means. That is what marriage means, you creep.

Man: No, it doesn’t. That may be what your particular religious tradition says it means, but that’s NOT what marriage means according to Rawlsian Public Reason.

Woman: What the hell?

Man: Before you throw your mojito in my face—and you don’t want to do that, anyway, because the mojitos here are just scrumptious—

Woman: Well, yes, okay, you have to go down to Miami to find any better.

Man: True that. They use their own mint, did you know that?

Woman: Yeah, fine, don’t change the subject. Why shouldn’t I throw something else in your face, you creeper?

Man: For the simple reason that you cannot expect me to share your particularly religious understanding of marriage. We live in a secular liberal democracy, not a theocracy.

Woman: What does that have anything to with your trying to hit on a happily married woman?

Man: Look, you support same-sex marriage, right?

Woman: Ah, geez, now you’re suggesting that I’m a Nazi. God, you really know how to flatter a girl. No wonder you’re still a loser, prowling around in bars.

Man: Of course, you’re not a Nazi. Of course, you support marriage equality. I would not dream of suggesting otherwise.

Woman: Yeah, so what’s your point? I support marriage equality, so I must be okay with adultery?

Man: You promise not to throw anything in my face if I answer?

Woman: Oh, no, now I want to hear this. You’ve already stuck your foot in your mouth. I want to hear you gag on it. It’s the femme fatale in me.

Man: Okay, fine. Now, remember how the bigots argued against marriage equality. They said that the marriage was for procreation, and same-sex couples can’t procreate, and, therefore, they can’t get married.

Woman: Yeah, and that was really stupid. Because the law always allowed sterile couples to marry.

Man: And you could get a marriage license without having to take a fertility test.

Woman: Of course. Man, were those bigots just stupid.

Man: So, marriage can’t be about procreation or even fertility because the law does not require couples to procreate or be fertile to marry, right?

Woman: Yes, yes, yes. This is getting tedious.

Man: Okay, so, marriage cannot be about what the law does not require?

Woman: Yes, Socrates, yes. Get to the point already.

Man: Well, does the law require a couple to take a sexual fidelity test for a marriage license?

Woman: Er, well, that’s just assumed.

Man: Are open marriages invalid in the eyes of the law?

Woman: Er, ah, I— I don’t know.

Man: Obviously, they aren’t. Couples who want to sleep around are as entitled to a marriage license as couples who do not. And you just agreed that marriage cannot be about what the law does not require. The law does not require sexual fidelity. Therefore, the Public Understanding of Marriage cannot include a concept of sexual fidelity. When you countered my sexual overtures with mention of your marital status, you were expecting me to understand marriage according to a particular religious tradition. I would not have expected that such a modern and enlightened woman as you at least seemed to be would be in the thrall of such backward theocratic thinking.

Woman: Fuck you! (throws her mojito in his face and stomps out)

The Gorgias by Plato

Has any Professor had to give a "trigger warning" yet for The Gorgias because of the possibility that Socrates' use of "catamite" as a pejorative could be received as traumatically homophobic?  Or do professors hope, given the usual ignorance of undergraduates, that they can get away with defining "catamite" as an "itch-scratcher"?

Yes, I know, I really have too much time on my hands.