21st century economics

Was just watching a few minutes of some heart-wrenching movie starring Denzel Washington where he played a father who’s down on his luck due to downsizing at his company, only to be confronted by an unforeseeable heart condition afflicting his young son which requires a heart transplant in order to survive, and only to find out his insurance coverage through his job had been reduced along with his hours. Drew a few tears out of me, not that that’s difficult to do. But it also bleeds into a topic that stays in the back of my mind and always has: modern-day economic disparity.

Don’t get me wrong. It doesn’t take an emotional argument like that depicted in tonight’s movie to get a rise out of me. Just happened to be what tripped my trigger this particular evening. Some would argue that a scenario like that described above is fairly rare, which is probably true, and they might go on to caution me to look out how centralized, state-funded healthcare programs haven’t produced the desired results. Won’t get an argument out of me about that. My stance continues to be that we as a society would be better off if health insurance companies were cut out of much of our healthcare system, possibly being reserved for unforeseen emergencies and catastrophic events only. As it stands now, insurance companies dictate the cost of healthcare at pretty much every level and are responsible for so much of it being cost-prohibitive out of pocket for the average citizen. The only way costs will be corrected (and largely lowered) is if our medical establishment becomes a truly free market without middlemen insurance companies aiding in inflating the costs. The fact that nearly all medical expenses (including routine care and prescriptions) are too much for the average consumer to afford is the sign of an unsustainable setup.

Many, many people are beholden to insurance companies in order to receive quality healthcare. I’m not, but I’m an outlier who thankfully has managed to remain pretty healthy thus far. But I listen to all of you out there and hear the frustration. Plenty of people are disgruntled about the cost of insurance that is automatically deducted from their pay, and plenty aren’t intimately familiar with what all their plans will or won’t cover. Because reading those forms is a legalese jargon nightmare, as is so often the case when it comes to important matters.

But my thoughts tonight aren’t restricted to the U.S. healthcare system or Obamacare. That’s just one mighty arm of this larger economic concern.

Modern life can seem most maddening when it comes to observing economic disparity. Now, I already know what my libertarian brethren will say about how we don’t want a socialist system and how that will only make matters worse. Not disagreeing with you there. However, something does indeed have to give. Not sure what exactly or how, but when this many people (and now we’re on a global stage where everybody’s watching) are experiencing feelings of resentment because their reality is absolutely nothing like the rich people’s reality broadcast all day/everyday on television, there’s going to be a problem eventually. The rights people are fighting to uphold are falling apart partly because they’re viewed as benefiting some more than others. Right or wrong, that’s the increasingly common perception. And it’s perceptions that are stoking the embers of aggravation and disrespect — it’s perceptions you are all up against. If perceptions don’t change, which they likely won’t if disparities continue to grow, then more and more people will seek to tear down the very system that’s currently in place. And they might win out.

I read where some alt-righters like to denigrate all socialists or leftists as a bunch of overly emotional idealists with no concept of how the real world works. Well, in some cases that may be true, but the potential threat they pose remains the same regardless. People don’t have to operate with sound logic and rationality in order to wage a culture war, and there are no guarantees that those deemed most logical and rational will win in the end. It comes down to a battle of ideas, and what’s working against some of you is that you’re viewed as insincere and uncaring about the masses. So good luck in attempting to change hearts and minds, especially if you or other dumbass minions claiming to belong to the groups you’re identified with use abrasive tactics in trying to put points across.

Classist concerns have always impacted my outlook and worldview. That’s no secret. And I can tell you that as a long-time libertarian-leaning individual it can feel uncomfortable at times arguing alongside the smug types who care mostly about protecting and maintaining and increasing their own, forever talking as if all they have came purely as a product of their hard work, failing to mention the people they’ve met along the way who’ve given them breaks or the lucky opportunities that have arisen. I’ve been fortunate to have met a wide variety of people over time in person, including a few who received their money through inheritance (“trust fund babies” is what we refer to them as). Had a client once upon a time who shared he was left a sizeable amount of money, enough to where his wife didn’t need to work and he was able to take over a year off between jobs without worrying. That’s not a reality I personally can relate with one bit. And yet he and I both consider ourselves libertarians of sorts and had many conversations about economics (me mostly listening since he worked in that sector and so had plenty to tell).

A man like him can become very defensive when confronted about his fortunate circumstances of birth. Not that I confronted him on it since that wouldn’t have been good for business back then. But I have confronted others I’ve met at times, pointing out the differences between us. Why? Because I can’t help but notice. Another man I used to know, a friend, has a timeshare in Jamaica and regularly vacations there and down to Florida with his entire family. He liked to tell me about it, and honestly sometimes I didn’t want to hear about it, especially when I was hitting the skids and having financial problems. Nice as he was as a person, he couldn’t understand me and I couldn’t understand him entirely on that level. He took time off work to heal up after very expensive elective surgeries, surgeries me and mine wouldn’t have an option to receive because we can’t afford it (even those with insurance can’t afford the amount expected to be paid out of pocket) nor can we afford the time off work. Different options lead to different outlooks.

I used to work for a man who raced Porsche cars that he owned. If you can imagine that. Even picked me up in one one time to show it off (very uncomfortable because when they race them there’s these bars inside to reinforce the cabin in case they roll — and those bars don’t come out) when I traveled down South to visit with him. That man would tell me stories of what it was like going from making over $500,000/yr. to a little over $100,000/yr. — a MAJOR transition for him and most especially for his wife. Was a truly nice guy overall and I still remember him fondly, but do you think I could relate with anything he was presenting me with? I’ve never made anywhere close to $100,000/yr. in my life thus far. Certainly have no idea what a $1,000 champagne brunch involves. Don’t know what it’s like to pay someone to prepare my meals in-home or come clean my house, though my Grandmother does continue to clean other people’s houses in order to supplement her social security money, as is very necessary.

I regularly met with a pediatrician, met with an accountant, met with a tax attorney, met with middle-management personnel, met with successful entrepreneurs, met with a few other lawyers, met with a former lobbyist — lots of people from a different socioeconomic strata than me. And I’m very glad for those experiences since they helped to humanize such folks, making it harder for me to concoct caricatures in my mind since I had met them and gotten to know them. Though I’d be lying if I pretended I don’t still harbor flickers of resentment toward upper middle-/middle-class folks in general. Probably was ingrained in me from the start, and it never fully dies. I remain aware of that tendency within me to judge, partly because I know that myself and mine were frequently enough judged by that class as well. The distrust and cautiousness runs both ways. Always are exceptions, but that’s been the general situation.

At least I’m aware of it inside myself. Plenty aren’t. Or they haven’t explored what it is exactly that they resent. Some are just envious and want what others have. I may be that way too to some extent, but I’m pretty content with having not so much and actually tend to prefer it this way. But that attitude can be a defensive strategy, as in reckoning that the less you have then the less there is to lose and miss. Others would say that’s the claims of someone lacking ambition. Perhaps so. But I would rebut by saying that some who have quite a lot didn’t gain it through pure ambition.

Either way, tit for tat squabbles aside, I understand that people’s perception can and does keep them down to where they don’t try to compete because they assume it’s futile. And that’s no way to approach a market economy if one hopes to succeed. Altering such perceptions is important, but how do you do that when fewer jobs with the chance of upward mobility are available now, yet the population continues to increase? Not everybody can be cutting edge and innovative in the ways that are being rewarded at present. When our manufacturing base was gutted and shipped to Mexico and China, that was viewed as a betrayal of a huge number of citizens in this country. It’s a position I hold as well. And once the southern border basically became a joke and undocumented workers came up to take jobs at lower wages than Americans, we as a society were presented with a new host of problems. Now we hear of tech jobs being outsourced to India and read of employees in that sector fretting over their futures. Where does this all end?

We all look out onto our society and observe so many major corporations becoming multinationals, going global and caring only about American consumers so long as another market doesn’t rise to trump our demand. Some say once the middle class grows and becomes better established in China, watch out! I don’t doubt it. Yet our country owes China a lot of money. No clue how that might all shake out in the end.

So many of these major corporations have come to dramatically alter reality for the average citizen, determining where we shop, what we eat, what technologies we rely on and who manufacturers them, how we communicate, what news we’re presented with, what information we can readily access, what hoops we must jump through in order to gain and maintain employment, etc. And yet those same major corporations feel so inhuman. Distant and operating with a whole new set of ethics and values that we then are expected to adapt ourselves to. Do you honestly think people will all be able to adapt? And what happens when they can’t or won’t? Build more privatized prisons to warehouse them within?

Do you see what I see here? This is where the Leftist argument actually contains pieces of truth, uncomfortable as they may be for some out there. People may not articulate themselves terribly well and may rely too much on the wrong leaders to do so on their behalves, but I think this is ultimately what some of them are trying to point at and call attention to. Of course these requests have fallen on deaf ears for quite a while, so I suppose it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that a bunch of ideologically-possessed college students instructed by radical agitators/professors have now taken it upon them to claim to speak for the little people (though many of them arguably are much more concerned with peddling their preferred ideology than actually helping the people whose stories they exhibit — that being how politics tends to roll). These current ideologues are working to appeal to these folks who feel relatively disenfranchised and who worry about what the future may hold.

My question for us is what ideas or counteraction do we have to offer on the libertarian, pro-market end of the spectrum? Because demonstrating that some people can become fabulously wealthy no longer sways the growing majority who can’t relate to or comprehend that level of success. It’s fast coming to be viewed as a pipe dream that’s mostly applicable to those who attend fancy universities and who come into regular contact and hob-nob with other successful people. And that’s pretty accurate since who one knows does definitely play a part in all of this. Networking is key — haven’t we all grown up hearing this repeated? For a great many people out here, it’d likely be through pure happenstance, chance, that they’d rub shoulders with a very wealthy and influential person, let alone develop an ongoing relationship with one. And now that the student loan bubble has hit a record high, fewer youths will be willing (or able) to take the risk of taking on inordinately high loan debt in order to attend a quality university. The vast majority of us needn’t worry about Harvard or Princeton since we’d likely never be admitted anyhow.

Yet every day people do turn on their televisions (much as I wish they wouldn’t, praying that they would please cancel their cable subscriptions and recognize that them paying for the service only further enriches those they view as rich and influential enough already, perpetuating the problem) and gaze upon the Kardashians and other wealthy celebrities and politicians, adding more fuel to the fire and enhancing the sense that we increasingly live in a time of haves and have-nots. But television has proven addictive, so telling people simply not to watch it is pretty pointless. Besides, people feel entertained by doing so. But what do they learn? What messages are they being sent over and over again? If you think the mainstream media is neutral, think again. And if you think marketing and advertising has a minimal impact on our mindsets and behaviors, you’re incredibly naive.

Some of what’s being marketed to us, day in and day out, is divisiveness via neo-tribalism and false narratives. Because there’s a political competition, as always, geared toward telling people what they want to hear (or scaring the hell out of them through intentional fear-mongering), and as with advertising, people can be swayed. They may not trust the Democrats, but they certainly don’t trust the other side. So then what? Libertarians who get televised tend to talk about abstract matters or legalizing/decriminalizing marijuana and that’s about it. Even when folks online do create a platform to discuss our Constitution and the necessary protection of our rights, that may appeal to someone like me, but what about someone who views the police and government as dangerous and rich people as in their own separate orbit?

We have a conundrum on our hands at present, and it certainly won’t be alleviated by throwing around useless labels and calling one another names online. How do we get across to people who haven’t learned all that much about the origins of our government or why our rights matter (thanks largely to the downfall of public schools)? How do you reassure people that caring about any of that is in their best interests when they think the whole system is rigged against them, don’t trust the corporations either, and basically have resolved themselves to be against the current setup? Call it nihilism, sure, but that doesn’t make it go away. Some folks out here seem to be craving greater chaos, almost with a devil-may-care casual attitude toward the fallout likely to occur as a result. Most others just aim to stay out of the fray and go about their daily lives, believing these feuds have always been ongoing and likely always will be, hoping they can make it through their own lives before the wheels fall off of this national project. But then that leaves their kids and grandkids to reckon with the mess when the shit eventually hits the fan.

I won’t claim to have any answers here. But I will say that considerations like this continuously reconfirm my decision to not have kids. Wouldn’t know how to prepare them for the future. And maybe that’s viewed as nihilistic on my own part, and so be it. Something’s obviously happening here, and I doubt the U.S. will be able to keep it together throughout my lifetime. More and more it looks like major social instability is just on the horizon — provoked by political opportunists, yes, but coming nevertheless. People do see an unfair situation, and I can’t blame them for viewing it that way. It’s a tough reality to come to terms with, especially when there appears to be SO MUCH wealth generated and so many possibilities on how it could be better spent rather than rich people congregating at high-priced galas or buying private jets and vacationing on luxurious islands, then showcasing it to the rest of us.

Maybe Hollywood will wind up checked this time around. Maybe. Perhaps people are finally growing tired of the lavish and inconspicuous displays of spoiled celebrities. Personally, I think it would be good for us to come to grips with how watching them really isn’t all that entertaining and instead tends to make us feel worse about our own selves and our own realities. Such comparisons only push the envelope farther. Helps no one, not even the rich celebrities who complain that they’re unfairly targeted with negative attention and are granted no privacy. Might as well give them what they want then. Would be better for us to turn our attention elsewhere and find ways to build our skills rather than continue bankrolling the already wealthy (especially where such fortunate circumstances appear undeserved). Maybe we would be better off with a more leveled society, relatively speaking, to where at least the disparity wasn’t this immense. Libertarian types might not like to hear it, but I’m frequently reminded of primatologists describing how perceived inequities lead to intense displays of outrage and aggression among chimps. We’re talking murderous rampages in some cases, even over fairly minor favoring one over the other(s). Well, we humans obviously are civilized and have a great deal more tolerance than chimps (thank goodness), but we do have our limits too, and it’s very possible that we’re approaching them (at least in terms of how the situation is being perceived — again, perception winds up being everything here). Rather than call on the government to redistribute money, which most don’t want (or don’t trust the government in doing so), we’d be better off figuring out better ways to vote with our own dollars so as to shift the balance. Talk of shopping locally turns out to not only be a hippie slogan — in our own communities is where we can have the most positive impact. Also actually voting in local elections instead of only in presidential elections (at least for those who claim to care about politics). Choosing our entertainment options more wisely so as not to reward spoiled celebrities. Figuring out more sustainable forms of energy so we can finally cease being beholden to the Saudi Royal Fucking Family. Seriously, fuck those guys! We do need more jobs, but the government’s no good at providing them (aside from the military and contractors). What else?

Some of the ideas commonly associated with the Political Left aren’t bad ideas. Not all are purely idealistic. One would think that real conservatives and real liberals alike would choose to care about sustainability. That’s an area where we could make inroads with one another, bringing ourselves into direct physical contact in the process.

That’s enough on this topic tonight.

Recent virtue-signaling over Hollywood fiasco (damsels vs. powerful pricks)

Okay. Let’s try a little test, shall we? Watch this video and determine how you feel about it:

That was Ben Affleck in 2004 with an actress named Hilarie Burton. Full disclosure: I’m not familiar with who she is other than reading today that she was a Total Request Live host back in the day, and I am not much of a fan of Ben Affleck or any movie he’s ever starred in.

Now, if your response to that video footage is to angrily declare Ben’s displayed behavior there to be “rapey,” I’m gonna assume you’re an SJW or someone who hasn’t spent much time in taverns and bars or someone who can’t discern between a serious threat and an annoyance. Why? First off, Hilarie was FLIRTING BACK WITH him. Observe the hair tossing, the girlish giggling, putting her arm around him as well, coquettishly nuzzling in toward his neck and chest. THAT’S NOT SEXUAL HARASSMENT, YOU NUMBSKULLS. That’s two idiots flirting! That’s what it looks like. Plain and simple.

“But he’s a douche-nozzle!” you say. Okay. Yeah, I agree. His tactics wouldn’t appeal to a woman like me, but to each her own. Obviously appealed to THAT woman, and that’s all that matters in this particular scenario. Ever been around jocks and cheerleaders? No? Well, they behave in a similar dumb fashion. The guy says crude and stupid shit and the girl giggles and plays with her hair and sits in his lap and laughs at his retarded jokes. Then he knocks her up and they live happily ever after, until they divorce. Welcome to it. Happens ALL the time, folks.

Oh, but I can hear it now. “Retarded??!!” Yeah, I said it, because it’s a useful word. Ben said something similar there also. You don’t have to like it. If it offends you, then okay. Great. Don’t hang around guys like Ben Affleck then (or me either, for that matter). Chalk it up to incompatibility and move on if it bothers you oh-so-badly.

Ya know, since Trump said what he said and the mainstream media collectively lost their minds, and now Harvey Weinstein has shown himself to be a piece of shit, people out here in the public (especially on social media) are losing their shit in trying to drum up a witch hunt (once again!) over anything and everything they possibly can construe as sexual harassment or inappropriate. And it’s a real shame since it detracts from ACTUAL cases of severe wrongdoing. Harvey Weinstein sounds like an ass, and what made him particularly problematic was how much power he personally wielded in Hollywood. Had he been some random schmuck in a neighborhood tavern behaving as he did, he probably would’ve been slapped plenty and few would’ve pussy-footed around calling the guy out on being a perverted asshole. But with money and fame and power comes privilege. Some folks do aspire to work in Hollywood and therefore will tolerate jerks like him in order to do so. That’s not cool. Wish it wasn’t the case. But you wanna know how you do NOT address matters of that magnitude? By pretending that anything and everything under the sun qualifies as matters of that magnitude. Like some of you are trying to do with this clip of Ben Affleck merely acting like a fraternity house dumbass.

Geez. I’m beginning to wonder if the majority of people on social media truly are just that naive. Is it because so many of them are young? Too little life experience? Too pampered and protected of an upbringing? Where have all the older web surfers gone?

Look, there are dangerous sexual deviants out here in society. And then there are opportunistic jerks, a number of whom inhabit positions of power. Yes, they can impact people in all sorts of ways, from causing them to not get hired or to lose their job, to ruining their reputation, to actually harassing them, and even occasionally going so far as doing real physical harm to them. Hence why it’s very important that people learn to discern. Not all jerks are created equal. Not all are serial rapists without a conscience (in fact, most aren’t). Not all even expect to get their way despite their advances. Some even respect you all the more when you do stand up to them and call them on their bullshit. Some will say offensive stuff but that doesn’t mean they will physically attack you. Then there are others who will play up to you and pretend to be a close confidante only to later learn they were working against your best interests from the start. Lots of different types of jerks out here in society.

When it comes to us as women and how we conduct ourselves, I’m admittedly growing very frustrated with so many women acting as if we possess no agency. As if just because a man tells you to do something means you must do it. As if we somehow lost the ability to say “NO!” and mean it and to back it up with actions. Unless you’re physically overpowered and made to do something against your will, your will remains intact and it’s a choice as to how you decide to act. If an old pervert groping you is unappealing, then don’t let him do so. I’ve had old men grope me when I was younger a few more times than I care to recount, and yes, I understand that some are obstinate asses who don’t like to take “no” for an answer. But to hell with them. If they want a fight, give it to them. But don’t just collapse into their arms and then later pretend like you had no choice. That’s bullshit for any adult to claim, and it’s a BIG part of the reason women aren’t taken seriously enough. And not just by men but also by other women. We don’t respect one another due to this double-speaking/double-acting, underhanded BS.

Understand this: The rest of the world CANNOT READ YOUR MIND. Super important to comprehend that. If you don’t say it OUT LOUD and make it clear through your body language, then others can’t be expected to know what you’re thinking and feeling inside. We can’t. Sorry folks, but there’s a barrier around all of our brains making our own minds our own exclusive property. Nobody else can get in there. So we have to outwardly project what it is we’re wanting to get across. If you don’t want to sleep with someone, tell him/her so and act in accordance. If a big-shot guy jerking off in a potted plant is offensive to you (as it understandably would be for most of us), then let it be known. Best to directly tell the person you’re dealing with, but if you truly are afraid to do so then tell somebody else who can possibly assist you in handling the matter (if you find it to be that important to do so).

Now, I’d argue that not all matters always need major handling. Sometimes we choose to keep matters to ourselves. Other times we warn our friends and acquaintances to keep away from a jerk and that’s about the best we can do. Certainly not everything is a criminal matter, nor is everything needing to be aired publicly. Totally depends on the situation. Scary guy truly acting rapey and menacing and threatening calls for a different approach than an idiot like Ben Affleck snuggling against you while drunk or high (or whatever he was on). As should seem obvious. Different problems = different tools needed in handling them.

I do get disappointed when reading about celebrity women who have power in their own right acting as if they’re too afraid to speak up on their own behalves or for other women who may be enduring worse treatment. The reason being that many of these same celebrity women are quick to lecture the rest of us out in society about our moral duties and push their political views. Meryl Streep immediately springs to mind, as does Ashley Judd. Celebrities are merely humans too, it’s true, but they’re humans with major platforms and a whole lot of influence and big followings and a lot of money and connections. Doesn’t make them more moral than any of us though. Some might argue the opposite tends to be true more often than not, and I lean that way myself in assessing the situation. Hence why I opt to vote with my dollars by NOT subscribing to cable television, rarely going to movie theaters, and rarely giving a damn what any celebrity has to say on political matters. They are ACTORS by trade, which calls for a personality type capable of suspending judgement, disbelief, and reason. They’re also surrounded by a bunch of other actors much of the time. Plus, they’re vying to arrive at and belong within the big league, with hopes of making millions of dollars based on their charismatic skills and physical appearances. So it doesn’t surprise me terribly that their discernment capacities tend to be wonky. Given enough years to observe ample examples of actors’ and actresses’ publicly displayed behaviors and choices and flippant reversals in brazenly expressed opinions and moral outrage, youngens too will likely cease being so easily surprised by much out of them anymore as well.

Some say this Harvey Weinstein fiasco will lead to the “draining of the swamp” in Hollywood, but I highly doubt it. Isn’t the first time a scumbag was exposed and won’t be the last. Look how many times it’s happened among politicians and yet that swamp remains firmly intact. Glad to see Harvey Weinstein step down from a position of power (though long overdue) since he demonstrated irresponsible immaturity in handling that role. But aside from that, I’m seeing mostly virtue signaling out of most in the mainstream media and on social media. People trying to distance themselves from him because now it’s the popular thing to do. Republicans and Democrats at it like usual, slinging mud at one another and crying foul, forever attempting to discredit one another’s parties (as if either is worth defending these days). Why isn’t Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama getting outraged at this news about their “friend”? Likely because they knew all along and aren’t all that different from him themselves. Birds of a feather…

Is it such a major surprise that Hollywood is filled with opportunistic perverts? Really? Or Washington D.C.? Come on, folks. None of this is new. And it won’t be stopped simply because we engage in dialogues about it either. Shaming people impacts specific individuals, not the system in place itself. Why? Because a lot of this comes back to human nature, not only in the types who prove most ambitious and vie for power but also in all of us in how we tend to swoon in the face of charismatic people and give them what they want. I believe that cycle is destined to repeat again and again and again, regardless of what changes we might try to make to the political structure or how many “diversity” courses we come to require in this field or that corporation. The best we can probably hope for is to learn to govern our own selves better as individuals, to choose whom we associate with more wisely, to figure out how to pick the battles most worth fighting, and to not compromise our principles (even—or most especially—when confronted with opportunities for financial enrichment and an enticing increase in popularity, power, and influence). But those are very tough lessons for humans to reckon with. Been trying to for thousands of years and don’t appear to have made much real progress thus far. It’s a perennial battle within and across members of our species, and it too promises to go on and on and on into the unforeseeable future.

Doesn’t sound like the happy ending you were searching for? Well, welcome to it. This is life. Nobody promised us a rose garden or claimed this shit would be easy and straight-forward or that all would shake out fairly or even that it would make a whole lot of sense. It simply is what it is. Figure out for yourself how to navigate in life most effectively, acknowledging that we won’t all prove to be on the same team or living in accordance with the same morals and beliefs, as should be obvious by now. Sell your soul for money and fame if you want to, but understand that there will be some sort of consequences. If you treat others poorly, then don’t be surprised when they eventually turn on you and aim to ruin everything you’ve ever built. Of course you can wind up targeted without having actually done anything wrong (or at least not terribly wrong according to some standards — Edward Snowden and James Damore spring to mind) — happens often enough. We’d like to think the greedy and cruel always get their comeuppances, but that’s unfortunately not always the case. Just as good folks aren’t always rewarded. Such is life…

BUT, in order to bring about more fairness and justice, our only real option is to begin with our own selves and how we behave toward others. We’re all sinners and wimps, but that’s not all we are, or at least it needn’t be. Lots of grey area in this life, which provides us lots of opportunities to learn and grow and explore. Much of the time when we strike out in indignation against some stranger whom we don’t even know outside of news stories, we’re doing so because it’s tripped some recognition within our own selves that we’d rather not confront. I believe this to be true much of the time. So when I read of all these supposedly outraged strangers on the internet getting up in arms over a Hollywood big-wig and other actors or over some words spoken by Trump years back, I have to wonder what we’re really reacting to here. What people we don’t personally know have done or said, or how that resonates within parts of ourselves that makes us uncomfortable? Willing to bet about 50% of the time people are freaking out because they don’t want their own little dark secrets to ever see light, so they pretend that they have none through loudly declaring the “bad guy” to be oh-so-bad over and over again. Deflects attention away from oneself. Drowns out our own nervousness. Very common tactic. Those pangs of weirdness and shame offer an opportunity for introspection for those willing to explore their own abyss. Much more fruitful, IMO, than simply focusing all energy outward in perpetual judgement of others.

Anyway, before I completely slide off topic here, I’ll end with this. Want to drain the swamp of Hollywood? It’s easier to do than draining the swamp of D.C. All you have to do is starve it off financially. Quit giving it money. Quit paying to watch movies by producers you don’t respect, showcasing actors you claim to have moral qualms with. Just quit it. Quit clicking on their twitter feeds or gossiping about what they’re up to. Do your due diligence on where you’re spending your money to better ensure that your expenditures align with your professed values. Don’t want to support and promote womanizing jerks who abuse potted plants? Okay, then quit buying products and services that line such people’s pockets.

“CULTURAL MARXISM: The Corruption of America” (plus my thoughts)

This film might strike some as a piece of shameless propaganda:

In it’s own special way, it indeed is. Plenty of truths contained therein, so I would recommend it to others, but only if you promise to sit through the whole 90 minutes. Made me twitch with rebuttals and quibbles, but still I’m glad I watched that tonight because it got me thinking.

Said before and will keep saying that the term “cultural Marxis” has become a misnomer. And this matters because accuracy in language is especially needed on concepts of this magnitude. Previously wrote on here how I view Karl Marx being blamed for all modern problems due to this ideology that continues to bare the name “cultural Marxism” despite it having little to nothing to do with what Marx was actually about. Ok, there are a few points to be made here.

First off, economic class concerns in the 1880s during the rise of Industrialization coinciding with the rise of what we know of as capitalism, which in short order began paving the way toward corporatism. Karl Marx was a product of the 19th century when agrarianism was still common and factories were pretty new. Conditions within those factories hadn’t been regulated yet, so employees could be treated as relatively disposable, creating a situation arguably not a huge step up from slavery. He foresaw what that might develop into, so far as one reasonably could way back then, pre-20th century modernization. And he rightfully protested it, like any luddite worth his salt would. Hell, had I been in his shoes I’d likely have tried sounding the alarm too, and so did plenty of others. Not like Marx was the only one to ever express an opinion on this matter, nor that his teachings were the primary ones to prove super influential on the predecessors to those now known as SJWs. Lots of thinkers contributed to the ideology being referred to as “cultural marxism.”

It’s obvious what it is now is an ideology fashioned over the last century to suit the interests of globalists and power-seekers. Certainly not benefiting the people Marx ever had in mind. Complete reversal instead. That’s what’s so insidious and destructive and outright dishonest about continuing to refer to that ideology as “cultural marxism.” How can opposites both be forms of Marxism? Because it’s evolved, you say? Then why keep calling it by defunct language? Only confuses people, like the maker of that otherwise pretty interesting documentary. Or maybe for some people the term “cultural marxism” really just serves as politically-less-incorrect code for Jews. That’s what I’m starting to think this business of holding onto that term and warning people off of having anything to do with the Frankfurt School authors as though their books were possessed by the devil.

I’ve read number books by Erich Fromm, and guess what, folks! He’s on our side. Read him and see. He wrote against us becoming automatons and corporate and/or government slaves. Not on the side of the globalists. Which people might realize if they actually took time to read the authors they’re criticizing (or in Fromm’s case there, a title page merely flashed across the screen — deemed automatically guilty by association for being a member of the Frankfurt School — no one who studied Marx’s writings could possibly be nuanced and critical in his treatment of it, right? NOT IF THEY WERE IN THE FRANKFURT SCHOOL. Oy.  rolleyes_smilie  Yet another example of how we remain willfully blind.) Excerpts from a few of Fromm’s books I’ve transcribed onto this blog for anyone curious enough to take a glimpse into the sort of things he actually said.

So anyway, Marx wasn’t aiming to be some sort of malicious devil or usher for the rise of totalitarian states. Goes to show how much control we have over what’s done with our ideas once we’ve shared them. Can take on a life of their own. Or be co-opted. Maybe also inverted so that the public gets the message that being class conscious is no different than being race or sex/gender conscious. All are the same and all belong on the political Left. And that’s where there’s a serious problem, considering how much class consciousness really ought to matter to so many of us relative to the few who’ve become an enormously influential economic elite. That’s on a special level way above snowflake identity politics or even race relations seeing as how we’re all in the same societal basket headed in the same direction. That is key, and I don’t think it’s a mistake that the situation has been framed the way it was in that film in relation to so-called “cultural marxism.” Plenty of other sources do the same thing, I’ve seen.

All those dots connected around the 1-hour mark onward — valuable. Too bad they’re packaged in with”cultural marxism”-declaring propaganda. Reduces the whole film’s credibility, that along with the hokey voice-overs and lack of informative explanation on what was proposed by Marx and Frankfurt School authors. Basically just pointed to them and sneered, booing us away from paying too much mind to them other than aiming to avoid them at all cost. Not useful. Propagandist dick move there. Inaccurate for the sake of protecting some semblance of what capitalism was envisioned to be. We’re now post that, whether we like it or not.

This is where I deviate sharply from this film and others like it. Is there a conspiracy of Jews influenced by Marx and whomever else trying to run the world? Who cares? Would it really matter what ethnicity they happen to be? Followers of a globalist agenda obviously aren’t all Jewish (like the Clintons and Bushes and Obamas). Everybody like to form an elaborate theory about who’s angling for power and why and what all they may be tied into. Here’s all we need to know: totalitarianism is the ultimate threat. It’s anti-capitalist, anti-true socialism even, anti-individual, anti-social, anti-human. Whatever form it may take isn’t of particular importance, not in the big picture. At least not outside of comprehending the steps of that rise and consolidation of power.

Are certain relationships about power? Yes, they are. Probably not all, but when it comes to politics there’s most definitely always the threat of a power grab.

Now, in my own personal opinion, I don’t rightly care to nitpick anymore over what elements involved may have come about via intentional collusion and what might simply be the luck of the draw or mounting consequences of short-term opportunism or whatever else. Lots of moving parts at play in the 20th century. The convergence of a plethora of technologies inside growing nation-states and the rise of consumerism and a public education system and wars and exploring the sciences (including psychology) and corporatism and the explosion of our economy….on and on it goes. So much unprecedented shit happening all at once, coming in from every which way. Distractions galore. Looks to me to simply be a conspiracy of Life. So much culminated into the conditions we’re experiencing now, so much that couldn’t have been foreseen or predicted. And some people take advantage of the situation, as to be expected.

Tyranny lurks and seeks out opportunity. Why? Because power does matter to us humans, and to some a whole lot more than others. The will to play god will probably never go out of style. Something psychological within inclines us that way. And some succeed from time to time. Tragic when that happens.

Acknowledging all of that, the part in the film where they talk about our U.S. Constitution and the visions of our forefathers I am deeply in agreement with, BUT we nowadays face the conundrum of living in such complex societies that are indeed already globally connected through markets and military threats. The notion of doing away with our standing army at this point would strike nearly all as ludicrous and surely national suicide. Having a standing army (or in our case, a whole military-industrial complex) is deemed a necessity to at least remain sovereign. But then, of course, that’s never what a military remains limited to, especially not one as powerful as ours. Then there’s also the concern about how the U.S. military is essentially an employment sector by now, and a huge one at that. Employs over a million citizens, I believe. How would anyone wish to go about dismantling that mammoth? Would prove political suicide for a candidate to even suggest such a thing.

See, this is where we’re wrapped up in paradoxes of our own human creation. Not sure how we wriggle out of this mess. It’s become self-perpetuating. And, unfortunately, increasingly less transparent as well as less accessible by the average citizen. I completely agree with the documentary-makers’ sentiments expressed about state and local rights, but how do we check federal powers at this point? Sure, absolutely most of Congress deserves to be impeached. I’ve been saying that for over a decade. But how? We’ve become so divided and are firmly bogged down arguing over so many less important matters. Which propaganda aided in bringing about.

Sure, people should cancel their cable subscriptions and quit believing what’s put on by the mainstream media. Stop paying for pop culture garbage over intellectually-beneficial content. Easy to say, but no way to enforce it. Barely can entice those who aren’t already curious and seeking. Demonstrating how Americans got in this mess in the first place: we suck at remaining vigilant and principled.

Is pessimism also a feature of “cultural marxism”?  lol  He claimed so, but that’s ridiculous. One can recognize the present situation for what it is and still work toward protecting what we’re able. I won’t pretend to be optimist about what may lay in store. But we work with what we can. We start clarifying our values and living in accordance. Whether we ultimately triumph as a people in the end or not, it’s the journey that’s of most concern since that’s day by day. One foot in front of the other. Less overwhelming when we each try to take it on as that.

That’s enough to say on this for one evening.

Journaling on the last evening of July

Feeling pretty melancholy the last couple of days. Been doing okay overall, but slacked off on exercising last week since my gym was closed during its relocation. Also blew off my trainer last Friday. Worked out with him today though. Not been eating the best stuff, admittedly. Smoking too many cigarettes. But at least I’ve been remaining alcohol-free. Tomorrow marks 7 weeks since my commitment to stop drinking. Glad for that progress.

But I have a lot more work to do. Been taking time to try to care better for myself, like oiling my hair and doing my nails and making myself more comfortable at home. Lightly trimmed my hair tonight. Cleaned and organized around the apartment a decent bit in the past week. I do need to get out more. Haven’t been inside a watering hole in over a week. Just haven’t been in the mood lately. Not getting out around people enough though. Not yet feeling like taking the initiative to meet new people.

It’s been a bit rough going away from my former partner. We spoke on the phone a couple of times in the last 2 weeks, but that’s it. No in-person contact, which I don’t really want anyway since it’s such a depressing situation forever and always. Still hurt by some of things he said to me on that last evening at his place. Can’t shake it off. And when we talked about it since he just dismisses it all as stuff he spews when he’s mad. But I really don’t want to hear any of that anymore. It’s not good for either of us to be this stressed out and unhappy. While I recognize I’ve been very rough-talking with him in the past as well, I had hoped we’d move beyond that and start treating one another with more respect. He says that someday we’ll be able to do that. Just too much tension between us still. But I’m just so used to spending time with him and talking on the phone regularly, so now there’s that gap in my life as well, and I’m not sure how to fill it. Really need to figure that out since it’s starting to bring me down.

Went with my best guyfriend yesterday to watch the War For the Planet of the Apes movie. Graphics were cool, but the storyline wasn’t too good. Maybe I expected something more profound in its ultimate message, but it delivered more of a Disney-esque happy ending that seemed wrapped up in a neat hurry. Kinda felt disappointed leaving the theater after that. Hard to find good movies worth watching these days, hence why I so rarely go to cinemas. That movie series had potential. I really liked the character Caesar.

Just not entirely sure of what to do with myself. Most of what I want to do involves the internet and books, but what I probably ought to be doing right now is finding new places to go and becoming more physical and getting out of my head. Kinda worried about isolating myself too much since that eventually causes more problems than it solves. Nice to retreat sometimes though. Been out and about a great deal the last 2 years. Feeling like I should just focus more on exercising and otherwise going ahead and staying home more. But I should reach out to certain people and go visit them sometimes. Probably would be good for us all.

Some of the fogginess from alcohol has lifted, but not as much as hoped. Apparently that will be a more gradual change. Undoubtedly increasing my exercising will help there too.

While taking a shower tonight, my mind began roaming over all sorts of embarrassing shit I got caught up in over the course of my time drinking. Embarrassing shit I did or that others did. Things I said and regret. General ways I acted. Ran into a female bartender from the “raunchy bar” at the gas station earlier. Haven’t seen her since early June when I quit going in that joint. Still wondering what her problem was the last time I saw her. Ah well. She’s not my kind of people either way. Just a lot of stupidity to reflect on. Enough of the memories make me angry at myself or else make me feel ashamed. Pretty sure these thoughts and feelings will be following me for a long while, though I haven’t a clue yet on how to heal them. People like to talk a lot about forgiveness, but it isn’t proving to be my strong suit.

Hate to think I just wasted a bunch of years. But I guess I wasn’t in a rush to do anything else in the meantime. Not like I put off major life plans since I didn’t really have any to pursue. Already graduated from college and am maintaining self-employment, those having been my primary goals and I accomplished them. Guess it’s time to give serious thought to creating new goals.

In other news, got called a “coon lady” today by somebody ticked off in the comment section of my video about Cynthia G‘s batshit racism. heh  Interesting. That becoming a universal pejorative to sling willy-nilly at anybody and everybody nowadays? Folks online act so crazy…

What else? Currently working through Dr. Thomas Sowell’s book Civil Rights: Rhetoric or Reality? (1985). Really appreciating it thus far.

Late-night journaling in early July

Now 3.5 weeks into my commitment to stop drinking and feeling fine. No big problems thus far. The cravings come and go, but they so far haven’t proven too difficult to resist and move past (other than that one snafu night a couple weeks back, but that being the only one — feel like I have to note that for full disclosure purposes — keeping it real, heh). But yeah, so far so good. People drink around me sometimes but it hasn’t really bugged me much. One night my former partner’s beer started beckoning me, so I prepared my stuff to leave and let him know I felt a bit tempted, then I wound up reverting my attention to a National Lampoon movie on the television and forgot about it.

Though the cravings do remain and are very real. Just that they’re not as difficult to combat as I’d imagined they would be or as they were during previous times in trying to quit drinking alcohol. Still do kinda miss a big frosty mug or pint glass in my hands, but not too much. My beer can fetish is easily enough remedied by toting my Schweppes seltzer water cans around instead. Fizzy yet no calories. Goes down easy and keeps me distracted from the barley pop. Obviously lacks any kick, which I do sometimes miss, but I remind myself promptly what all tends to accompany that kick. All it takes is a trip down memory lane (even memories from this year alone) to cure me of wanting a repeat of any of that. So not worth it.

Been spending a lot more time online lately, seeing as how I have a good bit more time on my hands. Watched countless videos by Kevin O’Hara on his AlcoholMastery channel over the last three weeks, all of which have proven helpful. His calm demeanor and Irish accent is very soothing while the information and experiences he shares really resonate with me. Also wandered onto other channels on YT to listen to others’ experiences on quitting drinking, including a few millennials. Good to see so many of them recognizing the problems with that lifestyle so early in life, though I’m saddened to hear the sordid details of some of their tales. Can relate to plenty of that too. They tend to refer to their issue with alcohol as “binge drinking,” but like my former partner pointed out earlier tonight, that’s what older and heavier drinkers refer to as “novice drinkers.” Which is to say that every drinker starts out with bingeing; over the years it develops into a more steady (and generally daily) habit. It’s a progression.

Very glad to have come to my senses finally. Been knowing I had to get to this point sooner rather than later, but I struggled with it over the last couple years and wouldn’t give up the drinking. Not until I got seriously pissed off, at both myself and a good many of my fellow bar patrons. This is one example where getting angry really paid off. If one can harness it, that is. Which I finally did, partly by choice and partly because I was going to blow my lid otherwise. So sick of some of the losers I found myself in the company of at these various watering holes over the years, culminating in me arriving at the worst pub I’ve ever set foot in. But I’m grateful for what major assholes some of those people proved to be — made my decision so much easier finally. Gave me a terrific wake-up call like no other. Showed me what lay in store for folks who give in to that lifestyle and take it too far. Also showed me what a bunch of bitter jerks we can be when our lives wind up reduced to shallow indulgences that do us no good. So, for these reasons, I’m glad I waltzed into that joint earlier this year and took time to get to know those assholes. They definitely made an impression on me, and I’m pleased as punch to keep putting distance between myself and folks like them. Full-on misery loving company there. Good riddance.

Not that assholes are limited to that one watering hole. Assholes abound all throughout the barscene. I don’t doubt I was an asshole too. Kinda goes with the territory.

And I’ll probably remain an asshole-of-sorts. Just glad to no longer be ingesting a chemical that messes up my mind to where I say so many of the wrong things and frequently enough can’t even recall what they even were. Tired of feeling guilty about that. Also tired of dealing with idiots who love to get a reaction out of more emotional folks like myself. Too difficult for me to check my emotions and remain level-headed once I’ve had enough to drink. I tend to get far too reactive and mouthy. Irritated by disrespect and unnecessary bullshit, or I create it. And we’re all so prone to talk over one another’s shoulders and misunderstand each other’s intentions. They react, I react, and all communication bogs down. Hence why they prefer to keep talk so light and stupid, thinking that will stave off reasons for people to argue. But it doesn’t work that way for me. Their attempts at light and stupid tend to grate on my nerves. Just don’t possess enough patience any longer to deal with all of that. Something went snap in me over time and I no longer wish to put up with my fellow barhounds’ bullshit. Went beyond stupid, beyond depressing even. Became downright pathetic. And I do include myself in that assessment as well.

It’s all still on my mind day to day as I adjust to this new way of being. But more and more I find myself thinking about other matters and letting the bad aftertaste of dealing with those jokers slowly fade away. Will take time though. Dealt with those sorts for too long. Became one of them, at least so far as I was able to. And now that’s over and there’s all kinds of new terrain to explore.

Been re-listening to some of my audiobooks lately, including Taleeb Starkes’ Black Lies Matter and Dr. James Hollis’s What Matters Most: Living A More Considered Life. Put the last bit of volume 1 of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag Archipelago on hold a few weeks back, with plans to finish it soon enough. Picked back up my print copy of Otto Rank’s Art and Artist: Creative Urge and Personality Development now that I have nifty reading glasses to aid me. Already mentioned on another recent post reading Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye. A couple weeks back I listened to The Wisdom Jesus by Cynthia Bourgeault, which was just okay. Before that I listened to A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race, and Human History by Nicholas Wade. And also The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds by Michael Lewis, which was an interesting story. And a couple other titles that slip my mind right now.

Yesterday afternoon I rented 3 of the remakes of The Planet of the Apes films, in preparation for watching the newest one coming out later this month. Don’t know much about these movies, having only seen bits and pieces of the originals. The storyline sounds interesting, so hopefully it lives up to the expectations. Thinking of cooking up spaghetti Friday evening and nestling in to begin this series. A friend of mine also wants to see them, and my former partner said he too might try to sit through one of them (not much a movie-watcher usually). Might be fun. (Might also finally break out the new popcorn popper I received as a gift months back.)

What else? Trimmed my hair this evening. It needed it. The bleached tips are drying out and in need of gradual removal. Oiled it up tonight with argon oil (and coconut oil on the tips) after putting my usual drops of jojoba oil in with my conditioners. Managed to create a nice layering effect in the back this time around. Took some time and patience but I like the result. Been trimming my own hair for a couple years or more now and so far so good. Thinking of dyeing it again sometime soon, though I can’t settle on a shade. Went with black with reddish copper tips last time, but the black dye faded all throughout pretty fast. So much for Garnier Nutrisse being a permanent dye. The black dyes I’ve used in the past were steadfast, but not that stuff. So nevermind that brand. Leaning with going for a golden medium brown to slightly lighten my original color a bit. Done it plenty of times before to nice effect. But I’m also toying with going more amber, though it seems everybody is going for red hues these days. But solid black looks flat, and my hair is already dark brown. Burgundy shades are out since they too are all the rage right now. So medium golden brown it probably will be. Avoiding the frosting this time since it’s so damaging to my hair. Been dyeing my own hair since I was a young teen, rarely opting to go the salon route, and I’ve been mostly pleased with the results. Saves money to do it oneself, plus I’ve had my hair botched worse by stylists than by myself.

Little pretties like that make me happy. Still meaning to get around to doing my complete pedicure and possible manicure. Been lazy lately though. Have to stick with neutral shades when I do it myself since I don’t have the skills that the Asian nail tech ladies possess. Best to leave the application of dark and bright shades to them. Someday I’ll be able to afford their services again. Just have to catch up my finances for a spell before indulging in such luxuries.

That’s about it for now. Taking it easy, relaxing when not working, exercising occasionally, still staying up late most nights but aiming to wake earlier, sharing meals pretty regularly with my former partner (he’s been particularly generous lately in inviting me over for dinners — probably part of the reason I’ve yet to lose any weight these past 3 weeks), and keeping the alcohol out of my mouth (in the words of Kevin O’Hara). Oh, and on the 4th of July my former and I went on a walk to observe the local fireworks, which was nice. We rarely walk together much anymore, so that was good. Didn’t bicker too much either.

Sunday afternoon journaling on “The Red Pill” creator

Been laying low lately. Haven’t taken time to blog much on here in recent weeks (or months) not because I lack things to talk about but probably because I haven’t felt up to opening any big cans of worms. Call it burnout or fatigue with social issues. Still watching videos and reading articles nearly as much as always (on all sorts of topics), just not commenting on what I’m reading and watching since I’m tired of getting dragged down into the muck. Did plenty of that already in years prior. But likely will eventually feel up to it again in due time.

Today I was watching The Rubin Report where he had Cassie Jaye on talking about her documentary “The Red Pill.” Haven’t watched the documentary yet and so can’t comment on that. What struck me was how charitable she seemed toward Paul Elam and A Voice For Men’s site though she proclaimed to have started out on that venture as a feminist. I agree with her assessment that feminism is an ideology and a quasi-religion and have expressed similar sentiments in the past, but what gets me here is how she seems to view the Men’s Rights Movement as wholly different than that, whereas I see it shaping up along analogous lines. Plenty of MRAs have thrown a fit when I’ve stated that, but I watched and read a whole lot of their material since late 2012 and was unable to come to any other conclusion. Even while I agree with a number of the points they make and would like to see them succeed in garnering more attention for men’s rights and perspectives. I don’t hate them as a group, just not a fan of ideologues in general, whether male or female. That’s been my take on it and so I have wandered away from gender-bent movements overall. Would rather take issue with feminists and SJWs on my own turf without allying with any other movement.

Cassie Jaye mentioned she had basically gotten out of religion in her early adulthood and stated that feminism wound up reminding her of that period of time once she “awoke” to how feminism operates these days. I can’t help but see all of these movements as ideologically driven at their core, including the so-called “MGTOW” and the MRM. Maybe I’m being too knee-jerk when it comes to ideologies, I don’t know, but I just have no time or energy for any form of group-think. Not when it comes to a religion and not when it comes to any political party or social movement either. Sure, the MRM remains in a fledgling state and on the surface looks nowhere near as concerning as does feminism, but give it time. The divide between the sexes prophesied by George Orwell is what I see coming out of these movements expanding their scope and influence as time unfolds.

That Cassie Jaye doesn’t take the hostility on display within the MRM as anything more than “satire” is a bit disconcerting to me, having read and listened to plenty from Paul Elam over time. I don’t like the guy and will keep saying I don’t see him as a leader worth following. Period. He hurt his own movement through his own actions and choices, as well as through some of those he chose to bring near him to help build the movement (John Hembling immediately springs to mind). People will say that this is all well and good for an outsider like myself to stand on the sidelines and judge what they’re trying to do, but since I’m not in the ring actually doing something then my opinion isn’t worth a damn. Fair enough. Still. It is what it is. I can’t in good conscience direct men that I know to their sites and channels when I really wish I could. Largely because most men I know wouldn’t dig their content much either.

Anyway, time to get ready to head out so I must wrap this up. Haven’t watched her film so I can’t say much more on her shifting perspective. Will finish watching her interview on The Rubin Report later today. I would like to see men’s rights taken more seriously and perhaps it takes an obnoxious movement to help get the word out. I don’t know. Just know that I’m not a fan of most folks in either the Feminist or MRM/”MGTOW” camps. Both brought some good points and arguments to light, and both then wound up going where I could no longer follow. Take what’s useful from both and keep on trucking, I guess.

“Arthur C Clarke – Fractals – The Colors Of Infinity”

Happened across this video last night:

Been amazed by fractals since my early teens. And that above was an old-school documentary on the subject.

My guyfriend requested today that I post up pretty pictures of fractals on here. Probably aiming to distract me from political discourse. Haha! That’s what friends are for. tongue_funny

fractal480

Mandelbrot_Set-12-DOUBLE_SPIRAL-large

Mandelbrot_Set-10-SATELLITE_VALLEY

mandelbrot_upclose

mandelbrot_set That particular design is known as the Mandelbrot set and is repeated throughout fractal formations.

“Thomas Sowell on the many problems with intellectuals and experts”

Other authors I’ve read over time discuss this same issue, particularly when it comes to the so-called liberal intelligentsia entrenched in academe. They do exert a great deal of influence, that much is certain, whether their social theories ultimately prove benign or disastrous.