“Joe Rogan Talks About the Biggest Unsolved Mystery Of All Time”

And then youtube went and removed the video clip in question, so in its place I’ll have to post the entire 3-hour podcast. Dammit.

The portion in question (which I’ll have to find on there later) was an excellent conversation between those three.

“Defending Postmodernism: An Open Letter to Jordan B. Peterson”

Interesting. I’ve long been troubled with all the talk over Marxism and Post-Modernism. Will have to explore these topics in greater depth going forward.

Serves us right

Just got back in from heading to the “beach” with my buddy, soaking in some rays until the wind got so bad that after only 45 minutes we decided to retreat. Had sand blasted everywhere! Especially in my scalp. Took two washings to get it all off me.

Anyway, while we were driving back I got to thinking about modern life, as I’m prone to do, and where it’s headed and how we got to this point. He and I had been chatting about automated/self-driving cars during lunch (which the news now refers to as “autonomous cars” — ugh, so much for driver autonomy — nearly everything these days looks to be blatant propaganda). This is all part of a larger ongoing conversation between us. And it dawned on me today that, despite so many claiming America’s fall began around the time of the World Wars, I actually believe it stems further back in time. Perhaps at the Civil War. Allow me to explain.

The Civil War was a major display of power by the (Northern) United States government in refusing to allow the Confederacy to secede from the Union. Now—without getting into details about the Civil War specifically since that’s not the issue here today—what right did the North have to refuse to allow Southern states to go their own way on their own volition? Well, it wasn’t about Right, it was about MIGHT. The North prevailed and the South was kept against its citizens’ collective will. Why? Likely economic reasons primarily. And for purposes of furthering power.

What’s most interesting are the consequences that resulted from that move. Southern states, generally speaking, remain among the poorest states in the Union with two states (Arkansas and Mississippi) boasting the poorest education systems, to boot. And consider this — had the South been allowed to secede, along with the black slaves who lived there, nowadays it would be Southerners primarily blamed for racism, slavery, and likely all other perceived wrongs in U.S. history. It’s highly possible the South would’ve eventually abolished slavery on its own (but how they might’ve gone about it probably would’ve differed from how it actually wound up being done). Slavery was quickly becoming an outdated mode of economics within what were rising to become First World nations. But either way, because the South wasn’t allowed to go its own way and figure out its race relations situation on its own, now the entire country winds up blamed for that historic era. Even the Germans who settled in the Midwest in the 1870s and later, AFTER slavery was already abolished. They too commonly wind up lumped into the generic category of “White People” and are disdained equally as if they too somehow benefited from the black slave’s historic plight.

The ironic point I’m driving at here is that had the power of the (Northern) government left the South to secede, ya’ll wouldn’t be dealing with some of the societal problems cropping up in terms of race relations since the 1960s. The freed blacks (approximately 10% of all blacks brought to the U.S., according to Thomas Sowell) tended to live in the northeast where they were assimilating and doing quite well educationally and financially. The onslaught of Southern blacks with a whole different background of experiences migrating to the North caused all kinds of chaos people were unprepared to deal with, which in turn did lead to a rise in racial hostility (of course, in all fairness, the North wasn’t too pleased when Southern white folks moved up that way either and clearly stated so at the time). Different cultures, as Dr. Sowell laid out so well in his books Intellectuals and Race and Black Rednecks and White Liberals. Didn’t turn out to mesh well. Most black folks had more in common with white southerners than they did with northerners of either race. Different European ethnic groups populated separate regions, as we know. Not a lot of Italians roaming around Alabama talking about how their great-great-grandpas were born on that land.  Heh

Anyway, the major problem of resolving racial tensions could’ve been left for the South to iron out on its own since it had the largest population of black people (and still does). But no. The North meddled and now the whole country is in a tizzy since it’s assumed that all white folks automatically possess an advantage over all black folks (cue the racism diatribe). The North could’ve handled their own affairs and enjoyed the black folks who were successfully assimilating into their New England culture and left the South to handle their population in accordance with their own culture and values (and as these have been evolving in the time since). But no. Oh no. That didn’t happen. And now we see how many Southerners, of both/all races, are dependent on government welfare, both as individuals and as whole states. Mississippi would go bankrupt immediately if it attempted to secede today — too dependent on Federal aid.

When the South lost the war, its culture also took a blow. Southerners were then expected to assimilate and accept Northern values. Never happened. Resistance and rebellion turned more passive aggressive, yet it didn’t go away. Just simmered and stewed ever since. AND the black folks with generational ties to the Southland spread out throughout the nation and contributed what we now know of as the ghetto mentality. Why? Because ghettoism is a spin-off from Southern culture. Sounds strange, I know, but if you look closely enough you can see the similarities (once again, Dr. Thomas Sowell did a superb job of explaining this — way better than I can attempt here). So, in a real sense, had the Civil War not gone as it did and had this nation been broken in two, far-flung places like Minneapolis and Los Angeles might not be home to so many black ghettos today. Why would they be? The Northern blacks were highly educated and rising in power and prestige. They weren’t facing the same obstacles as the Southern blacks were, quite obviously. Jim Crow likely wouldn’t have arisen outside of the South either.

It might’ve been nice to have two social experiments operating simultaneously while influenced by differing cultures and values. I wonder what solutions and/or compromises might otherwise have been reached. But instead people were forced to be hodge-podged together, brewing deepening resentment that became a hallmark of the U.S. South that has since spread to infect the rest of the nation.

And I say all this as someone originally from the South. Through trying to force people’s hand, more trouble was caused for everybody in the long run. Go figure. But that’s the way life tends to go. Problems usually are best solved locally, not from some top-down dictates coming from officials living far away (like in New York or D.C.) who are directly unfamiliar with the culture and peoples in question. But history has already been decided, so there’s not much point in pondering what might’ve been, I guess. Too late now.

Been thinking a lot on racial issues again lately, obviously. Seems to increasingly be a hot button topic, especially within universities (myself also having been a Social Sciences major). I do contest the popular narrative being floated around these days. But I don’t write any of this in malice or intending disrespect. Just pondering is all. Wondering where this story may lead from here on out. Lots of blame being tossed around. Lots of talk of inherent “privilege.” Judging people by skin tone instead of as individuals in their own right. That is unsettling to watch ramp up.

We can’t change the past. None of us can.

Was thinking the other day about how few Southerners owned plantations or slaves. People like to say all of society benefited from slavery, but they forget about the poor laborers who were forced to contend with slave labor in order to survive. Plus the immigrants who moved here after slavery was abolished, as already mentioned above. Yet we’re all just lumped together under the same heading and categorically dismissed (unless one happens to be Hispanic, then a separate category is permitted for their Caucasians). Ralph Nader, to take one example, is actually a Lebanese-American. I am a Southern-born half-Arab. Most people I know up here in this part of the Midwest are of German descent. Or that plus Swedish descent. Yet we’re all chastised equally. Basically, we’re White so we suck. Inherently. Automatically. According to some people, that is.

Just been thinking is all. Now off to do something else.

“Psychology of Redemption in Christianity”

A lot of truth spoken there…

“Marxism 101: How Capitalism is Killing Itself with Dr. Richard Wolff”

A very interesting explanation of Karl Marx’s analysis of Capitalism:

Yes, I very much understand these critiques about modern life. Marx was a Luddite of sorts, which I can relate to (to an extent). Let me pause to state this. THIS is why I get defensive when people categorically dismiss “Marxist teachings” and lay all blame for the Leftist political ideologies we’re experiencing/witnessing now squarely on his shoulders. As if he’d likely be in full support of what’s become of the so-called Left. And as if other thinkers haven’t contributed plenty of their own to the modern “Leftism” mix.

People like to say they’ve read his “teachings.” Yeah? How much really? Most of us haven’t directly read a whole lot from the man, especially considering how incredibly much he wrote. Letter after letter between Engels and him, on top of his books on these topics. Not easy reads, hence why many aren’t directly acquainted with what Karl Marx actually said. Including plenty who claim to be fans of him. The information and ideas bandied about since his death and in his name can drift straight off the plantation of whatever he actually seemed to have in mind.

The man wasn’t terribly pro-technology, but either way he still couldn’t be expected (in the late 1800s) to foresee the industrial explosion of unprecedented proportions that the next century would usher in. People didn’t even have an imagination for what all was in store on this level or in detail. How could they? UNPRECEDENTED times we now live in in terms of technological innovations and the evolution, so far, of global economics.

This is truly an interesting time to be alive.

The man merely added to the mix his own views and analysis. So be it. I have no problem with him doing so. Though I do take issue with what’s being done in his name, as if his teachings alone are ultimately responsible, big of a contributive factor as they apparently are. Leftism =/= “Marxism.” The political Left is puppetry, “neo-liberalism,” just as the political Right is as well with its “neo-conservatism.” Somewhat different teams competing for global jockeying positions. We see this. We know political systems are rigged all around the globe. Money does obviously factor into how it’s carried out as well.

Many of us don’t want to be slaves to a new kind of slave-owner. And this is precisely why I say that slavery never truly ended, it just changed shapes. More inclusive now. Welcome to Corporatism.

The threat of Communism proved similar in certain aspects. Different strategy employed, yes, but in the end you still wind up in both cases with a ruling class with a bunch of “serfs” under their thumbs, only to a more extreme degree in the case of Corporatism since developing nations are in the running jockeying for positions since they’ll take what they can get, out of necessity.Which can and does lead to fucked up results in several notable cases. This is no longer a secret. People have good reason to express consternation over such an economic setup. Irritates me that Capitalism all unto itself winds up blamed, though I also recognize the importance of anti-trust laws, which largely haven’t been enforced in many decades, quite obviously. Which has allowed oligopoly rule across numerous sectors, though technological innovations unto themselves have also altered and created plenty of these sectors especially within the last 60 years alone.

Personally, I find Communism as it’s ever been practiced detestable. BUT, I don’t conflate Communism with socialism. Based off the same original notions, yes, but then taken to crazy extremes, particularly when the concept wound up applied to a huge society (Soviet Union) and was carried out in a top-down manner. Socialism doesn’t quite work that way, in essence. It’s a bottom-up approach, by and large, though wider federations may prove possible. Though it doesn’t translate (apparently) when applied to a massive nation-state setup. Turns into totalitarianism when attempted, as history has demonstrated thus far.

Rulers everywhere we look. And perhaps that would be okay if they were benevolent and were actually committed to protecting our wider interests. But that won’t ever happen if the people can’t hold them accountable, which we obviously can’t (or aren’t) currently. We’re rendered at the mercy of what’s unfolding, and we may see it and feel the earth shifting beneath us. Life has gone into hyper-drive over this last century, and now we’re embarking on a new one. One where likely middle classes will begin blooming in China and India and elsewhere outside of the West where we have been abandoned by a good amount of our manufacturing base, shortly followed by experiencing record national and individual debts, all while printing paper money nonstop backed by virtually nothing. We can see this. What will become of the U.S.? We don’t know, but it doesn’t look very good at present. And the politicians running have succumbed to being caught up in a game that’s beyond most of us in terms of making much of a lasting impact and improving and preserving our society in a sustainable fashion.

While I can understand the shift in people’s hearts, I wish we’d use our minds all the more. Exercise them. Explore ideas, particularly those we may have a knee-jerk reaction away from.

I don’t see socialism and libertarianism as necessarily incompatible. Perhaps they are the new political “right” and “left” down here on the ground. Reckoning with the philosophical conundrums arising between individual vs. collective or so-called “societal” interests. So many buzzwords make it to where discussing these matters feels cheap, like people’s eyes glaze over when they happen to peruse them. I get it. Really do. But we have to somehow come to terms with the fact that we are both social beings and individuals in our own right. There’s a balancing act quite obviously called for here, yet different people will likely opt to attempt it in varying ways. Hence why I like to talk about my dream of 10,000 communities going their own ways. Let the social experiments begin…

Pipe dreams, I know. Because now we appear locked into this trajectory, whether we like it or not. Jumping into a political “camp” or movement won’t likely improve a thing. Especially not when so many have become so divided. Few of us can agree on hardly any one thing anymore it seems. If ever people did. But some of us must find a way to interact with and/or group up with those we’re capable of living and working with to the best of our ability, if only to find solace and cooperation in whatever lies in times to come.

I don’t have any answers. But I do understand the various concerns. Can also understand our Western concerns and how it may look to those most well-adapted and proven successful in our current setup. But times are a-changin’ whether we like it or not. And whether we try to prepare for it or not.

Crime will likely increase. We’re a very materialistic culture. Entertaining ourselves to death also. I’ve heard Yugoslavians basically fell prey to the same lure.

After listening to the audiobook for Steven Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature, and appreciating it to an extent (final chapter aside), I’d argue that he spoke (and wrote) prematurely. Comforting as it would be to agree with his analysis.

Lately this eerie feeling has been coming over me. Listening to all the propaganda and watching how race relations are being ramped up in our society, I get to wondering if it’s possible if an economic breakdown occurs in the U.S. if we may go the way of South Africa. At least in essence, though in our case it’s not simply two or three races/ethnic backgrounds against one another. We’re the biggest melting pot on the planet — the great human experiment in civilized living.

It’s become fashionable to talk shit about “white people” today, yet the reverse is deemed intolerable. Hmm. If we’re honest with ourselves and set aside our excuses and rationales and just pay attention — observe — we see this going on. It started with jokes and has grown noticeably more vicious with time.

Increasingly not a secret.

We should be able to examine these matters without being pigeon-holed as belonging to the political Left or Right as a result. Screw all of that nonsense. And to hell with devoting ourselves to ideologies of any sort. Better to keep an open mind since not a one of us has it all figured out. Explore. These ideological cages are just that — utopian traps sold to us by people who don’t give a damn about us, who simply rely on us and the money we spend, pandering to our psychologies so that we don’t revolt and remove them from power. Even then, another of a similar caliber would surely take their places since we don’t understand the process of power and how it can accumulate. Forming hierarchies is in our nature, but what we’ve constructed are so BIG that they’re guaranteed to fail us. We can’t reach those people anymore. Just have to accept their dictates sent down the ladder in the form of laws. Can fight them through the courts and sometimes win (still, just wait 20 years and see if the court decisions wind up reversed…), but eventually they plow on through while claiming to have enough popular support. Pandering and pretending — that’s American politics at present.

It’s easy to feel powerless in the face of all of this. But we each only have one life to live, so far as we know, so we might as well make it interesting and do something with ourselves that isn’t a complete waste. Was watching another talk with Dr. Jordan Peterson earlier today (see last post) where he goes into all that and I highly recommend others hear the man out. Aligning with ideologies is a way to shirk individual responsibility and hide within a crowd. Best to opt to do something more courageous than that at least. That is too easy.

There are plenty of thought-provoking thinkers on any and all possible “sides” who are worthy of hearing out even if we wind up disagreeing. Suspend judgment for a while and just let it in and ponder. Helps in better fleshing out our own beliefs and ideas, to challenge them and thereby alter, deepen, and expand them. No shame in exploring far and wide.

Admittedly kinda surprised me initially to stumble across Abby Martin conducting that interview. Proved to be worth taking in as more food for thought. The professor explained his position very articulately, though I still don’t see a top-down approach winding up ultimately resolving this dilemma, at least not how the globally-minded may envision it. We shall see.

“LARRY ELDER: Black Men Crushed By Excuses NOT ‘Racism’; Talks On Hating & Reconciling w/ His Father”

A very good talk. Highly recommended.