The Crazy Years and their Empty Moral Vocabulary

Posted August 13, 2014 By John C Wright

Below is a reprint of an article of mine from 2010. It pains me to read the line where I spoke of the sovietization of the health care system as an event that had not yet come to pass.

 

In Robert Heinlein’s famed ‘Future History’ he constructed an elaborate timeline of thing to come, to provide a structure for his short stories.

Looking forward from the year 1940, when the timeline was first formed, it was reasonable, even conservative guesswork to predict the moonlanding by the 1980’s, since the first powered flight by the Wright Brothers had been forty years earlier. Heinlein’s Luna City founded in 1990 a decade or so later, with colonies on Mars and Venus by 2000. Compare: a submersible ironclad was written up as a science romance by Jules Verne in 1869, based on the steam-powered ‘diving boat’ of Robert Fulton, developed in 1801. In 1954 the first atomic-powered diesel submarine—all three boats were named Nautilus—put to sea. The gap between Verne’s dream and Rickover’s reality was eight decades, about the time separating Heinlein’s writing of “Menace from Earth” and its projected date.

Looking back from the year 2010, however the dates seem remarkably optimistic and compressed. We have not even mounted a manned expedition to Mars as yet, and no return manned trips to the Moon are on the drawing boards.

One prediction that was remarkably prescient, however, was the advent of “The Crazy Years” described as “Considerable technical advance during this period, accompanied by a gradual deterioration of mores, orientation, and social institutions, terminating in mass psychoses in the sixth decade, and the interregnum.”

He optimistically predicts a recovery from the Crazy Years, the opening of a new frontier in space, and a return to nineteenth-century economy. Full maturity of the human race is achieved by a science of social relations “based on the negative basic statements of semantics.” Those of you who are A.E. van Vogt fans will recognize our old friends, general semantics and Null-A logic cropping up here. Van Vogt, like Heinlein, told tales of a future time when the Non-Aristotlean logic or “Null-A” training would give rise to a race of supermen, fully integrated and fully mature human beings, free of barbarism and neuroses.

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Almost Unbearably Enlightening

Posted August 13, 2014 By John C Wright

I found this letter in my comments inbox I reprint it here in full because I think my Mom wrote it.

No, I am kidding. My Mom would not waste her time reading my articles. The reader signed himself G Stephen Tucker. I reprint it here because it flatters me until I blush like a schoolgirl, but, like a blushing schoolgirl, I actually do secretly think, deep down, I am as cute as Tartuffe and Grima Wormtongue say I am, and, besides, it took me hours to dye my eyes to match my gown, so there.

First of all, let me applaud you for speaking your mind bluntly. All too often, people (on either side of the political spectrum) speak in euphemisms or coded phrases, and do not simply lay their cards on the table. Especially when speaking of morality issues such as this, rarely do even the most conservative thinkers and writers have the honesty and integrity to come right out and say that such things should be illegal and punishable by incarceration, and that such things should carry a significant stigma. Such is the nature of politics, I suppose. If more people were as blunt and honest as you, the debate would no doubt be more transparent and straightforward.

Let me please add that I came to your blog because the topic of Robert Heinlein came up, and I decided to google search the term “crazy years” and found your piece which used this idea as an introduction. I believe that piece was also in response to another of your writings concerning homosexuality and the responses you received from folks you offended. That piece was, in essence, about semantics (hence your use of “the crazy years” as an intro) – and since I am a semanticist (BS, applied linguistics) I habitually perform semantic analyses on any writing about the meanings and usages of words. I found your language use – the words you chose, the syntax, and the overall structure of the piece – to be beyond incredibly fascinating. It was so full of multi-leveled recursive components that the semantic field it created reminded me of an M. C. Escher painting. The fact that the piece was actually written to explicate the phenomenon of semantic dissociation made it almost unbearably enlightening. It is as though the shouts and noise and nonsense and lies and insinuations and just plain bullshit of a decade or more of political diatribes I have heard and been unable to extract any meaningful content from was suddenly brought into focus, organized, clarified, and made perfectly comprehensible.

I have never chosen a side to be on in this conflict of ideas people call politics or culture wars. I always considered all sides, given their language usage, to be so devoid of any critical thinking ability or attachment to reality that choosing a side seemed in itself to be an act of desperation. Choosing a side seemed to be equivalent to deciding to no longer be sane.

And while I still am not willing to be so insane as to ACCEPT some party platform or believe in some abstract theory of “the way things should be,” or become a PROPONENT of some poorly informed ideal or agenda, you have made it clear to me that there is a political will which I must wholeheartedly REJECT, and a wickedly informed ideal and agenda that I must become an OPPONENT of, however I may do so with my limited power. Which admittedly ain’t much.

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On Reparations for Historic, Collective Wrongs

Posted August 12, 2014 By John C Wright

From the Pen of Michael Z Williamson, genius. Remind me to read his SF books after buying them in hardback.

 

Dear United Nations:

I note with approval that there’s a bill before the US Congress to compensate African Americans for their mistreatment in the past. However, I was talking to a Russian Jewish friend of mine, and it occurred to me that her ancestors were slaves to Nubian Africans. Should she not be compensated also?

The Jews were also repressed by the Romans, forerunners of the modern Italians. But the Romans were subjugated by the Celts in 390BC. The Romans returned the favor, and then oppressed Christians as well, before becoming Christians themselves and forcibly converting the Pagan Celts. Later Christianized Celts were oppressed by other Christianized Romans, and the two combined, which is where we come to the African issue. However, certain Africans enslaved other Africans, so perhaps the Central African Republic should be footing part of the bill.

The Pagan Norse oppressed the Slavs, predecessors of the Russians, which brings us back to my Russian Jewish friend. On the other hand, the Germans have subjugated the Balts and Danes and Norwegians, as did the Russians, who also hurt the Finns and the Andronovan steppe people of Central Asia. Sweden claimed Finland and Norway for some length of time, and there were atrocities in Germany during the Thirty Years War by them, the Germans, the Austrians, the Scots, the English, the French and the Spanish. Then there were Norse-descended Norman French (coming back to England), who oppressed Jutes, Angles and Saxons from the German region who were in England to repress the Romano-Celts, and became English, but whose descendants were oppressed themselves under Henry II, and during the Hundred Years War by France or England, depending on whose land claims one believes. The later English oppressed the Irish, and Scots, who were Irish who earlier moved across the sea and displaced the Picts, who themselves oppressed the Celts and the Irish, as did the Phoenicians, which brings us back to the Greeks.

The French and Germans, besides the Franco-Prussian War, WWI and WWII, went at it over the African-exploiting Belgians a few times, and made their own incursions into Africa and the Far East, as did Portugal. Portugal and Spain maltreated large numbers of American people, except for those oppressed by the English, French, Russians, Old Norse and each other. On the other hand, the early Celtiberians were themselves subjugated by the Romans, so they can’t entirely bear the blame. Spain also subjugated the Netherlands during the Thirty Years War mentioned previously. On yet another hand, Spain was invaded by the black Moors, who also enslaved many white African Berbers. The Barbary pirates made raids on Cornwall. The Sudan has slaves to this day. This would mean that black Africans have their own debts to pay.

The Muslims also oppressed the Jews, as did the Persians, so it seems that the Middle East and Africa are liable once again. But then there’s the way Israel and the Palestinians treat each other. There’s the native Kurds, who play both sides against each other, and subjugate the local people north of them. Those from the former Soviet Southern Border states were oppressed by the Russians and the Turks, who have had go rounds with the Greeks, who also oppressed the Semitic peoples. And yet, those same Southern Asians made inroads into China and Tibet. And China is now IN Tibet, which puts me in an uncomfortable position, China being the last bulwark of the Marxist socialist utopia. And China has oppressed also Southeast Asia, Korea, Mongolia, which also oppressed them, and has been oppressed by Japan, who also mistreated the Pacific Islanders and it’s own Ainu people, as well as the Inuit and Alaskans and Americans in WWII, who were at that time good for fighting Nazism, but bad for nuking Japan. Then the US again oppressed Southeast Asians and Pacific people and Inuit.

The English usurped power in India, who has had incursions into Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan (as did the Russians), and there were various operations against the Bengalis, the Thais and Cambodians, and on into the Indian Ocean nations as far as Madagscar, which is African, at least currently, despite having Indonesian and Indian language groups. African nations under the British also had Indian slave laborers.

I tried thinking about the Balkans, but it made my head hurt, what with them killing Nazis, helping Nazis, killing Italians who oppressed them previously who had themselves been oppressed by Alexander of Macedonia, who also oppressed Africans. Also, the Huns went through there from Central Asia, and the Muslims came north. Then, the Christians went through there during the Crusades. The Vatican should likely be treated as a direct descendant of Rome, and charged separately from Italy itself, which includes the descendants of the Etruscans. The Etruscan descended Italians have a separate claim against Rome, I would guess. Also during WWI, the British Royal Family, the Saxe-Coburgs, were actually German but changed their name to “Windsor” to sound more British. This deception should not go unnoticed.

Back to Germanic peoples, there were the Dutch in South Africa, oppressing the Zulu and Bantu, who themselves oppressed the Bushmen and Hottentots, who harassed the Pygmy cultures. The Australian Aborigines were shoved aside by the Dutch and English, however, those Dutch and “English” (including many Irish), were themselves prisoners of their own regimes and in dire straits.

This brings me to my question: I’m an immigrant to the US from Canada, and before that came from Britain, where my mother is Anglican English of German and Celtic extraction, my father Norse-descended Presbyterian Scottish with some Spanish ancestry from after the wreck of the Armada, and my stepmother an Irish Catholic. My wife is English and Austro-Hungarian in origin, with some Macedonian. Which of us owes money to the other and why?

Michael Z. Williamson

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Fake Roots

Posted August 11, 2014 By John C Wright

Story in the New York Post opens with this lede:

ON Friday, NBC will air a special commemorating the 25th anniversary of the landmark miniseries based on Alex Haley’s book “Roots.” Ironically, the original series aired on ABC – but officials at that network took a pass on broadcasting the tribute.

What’s truly amazing, however, is that “Roots” is receiving a reverential tribute at all. For while the miniseries was a remarkable – and important – piece of television, the book on which it was based has now been widely exposed as a historical hoax.

Unfortunately, the general public is largely unaware of how Haley’s monumental family autobiography, stretching back to 18th-century Africa, has been discredited.

Indeed, a 1997 BBC documentary expose of Haley’s work has been banned by U.S. television networks – especially PBS, which would normally welcome such a program.

Coincidentally, the “Roots” anniversary comes amid the growing scandal over disclosures of historian Stephen Ambrose’s multiple incidents of plagiarism. Because as Haley himself was forced to acknowledge, a large section of his book – including the plot, main character and scores of whole passages – was lifted from “The African,” a 1967 novel by white author Hal Courlander.

(Hattip to Vox Popoli.)

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Poetry Corner!

Posted August 10, 2014 By John C Wright

Ye holy angels bright Op 135
by Charles Villiers Stanford, Lyrics by Richard Baxter

Ye holy Angels bright,
Who wait at God’s right hand,
Or thro’ the realms of light
Fly at your Lord’s command,
Assist our song,
Or else the theme
Too high doth seem
For mortal tongue.

Ye blessed souls at rest,
Who ran this earthly race
And now, from sin released,
Behold your Savior’s face,
His praises sound,
As in his sight
With sweet delight
Ye do abound.

Ye saints, who toil below,
Adore your heav’nly King,
And onward as ye go
Some joyful anthem sing;
Take what he gives
And praise him still,
Through good or ill,
Who ever lives!

My soul, bear thou thy part,
Triumph in God above;
And with a well-tuned heart
Sing thou the songs of love!
Let all thy days
Till life shall end,
Whate’er He send,
Be fill’d with praise!

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Call to Prayer to Avert Black Mass

Posted August 8, 2014 By John C Wright

This is not a hoax. Things are really, really bad out there in Leftwingland.

August 4, 2014
The Memorial of St. John Vianney

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

By now you are probably aware that a Satanic group has scheduled a so-called Black Mass for Sunday, September 21 at the Civic Center Music Hall in Oklahoma City.

Even though tickets are being sold for this event as if it were merely some sort of dark entertainment, this Satanic ritual is deadly serious.  It is a blasphemous and obscene inversion of the Catholic Mass.  Using a consecrated Host obtained illicitly from a Catholic church and desecrating it in the vilest ways imaginable, the practitioners offer it in sacrifice to Satan.  This terrible sacrilege is a deliberate attack on the Catholic Mass as well as the foundational beliefs of all Christians.  It mocks Our Lord Jesus Christ, whom we Catholics believe is truly present under the form of bread and wine in the Holy Eucharist when it has been consecrated by a validly ordained priest.
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Sanity Restorative

Posted August 8, 2014 By John C Wright

During a polite but wide disagreement with a reader, he referred to a painting by Picasso which he called ‘solid work’. Trustingly, and giving him the benefit of the doubt, I looked at the picture, and suffered the fate of many unhappy scholarly characters in an H.P. Lovecraft novel upon beholding an eldritch horror, but without the glamor or strangeness or sense of the unearthly which beholding non-euclidean shapes of a cruel cephalopod or malign mollusc might impart. It was merely banal ugliness, as one might see scrawled in poop by a lunatic on the walls of Bedlam by an inmate after his weekly beating by surly and uncaring guards.

To force the echo of the ghastly imagine from my brain, I am posting some girly pictures. This is because girls are pretty, and can restore, in Call of Cthulhu terms, 1d6 of lost SAN points.

I would particularly like the readers to note that these are done in a variety of styles, and meant some for refined artistic tastes and some for lowbrow cheesecake, with every gradation between high art and low comic inbetween. But notice what is present in all, even the humblest: they are sincere attempts to portray an attractive sight.

There is nothing distorted, warped, vile, childish, crude, abhorrent or aberrant about any of them.  The thing, the only thing, present in the art of Picasso and the other moderns, pure, jarring, insolent, stomach-wrenching ugliness is what is missing.

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Quotha: Argumentum ad Awesomesauce

Posted August 8, 2014 By John C Wright

Guillermo del Toro gave us Idris Elba rocket punching Godzillas with a giant Voltron. Your argument is invalid.

Today’s quote. The italics is NPR (National Panhandler Radio) preaching racism and racebaiting and nodarnfun-for-noone. The bold print is from the bold Larry Correia, author of HARD MAGIC and MONSTER HUNTER INTERNATIONAL, as well as being a Wise Latino ™ :

But two of the most prominent films of last year led by Hispanic directors — Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity and Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim — had just one major part for a Hispanic actor between them.

Why do Latino directors have to have some sort of Latino solidarity? Why is NPR against ethnic mixing and free association? Why is NPR in favor of keeping everyone in their ghetto? Why does NPR get a dime of tax money to produce this bullshit?

Why is NPR interested in ethnic purity, where Latino directors pick Latino actors and direct Latino films, and white directors pick white actors for their white films? Alfonso Cuaron and Guillermo del Toro are both brilliant artists making art. Why don’t you let them make their art, rather than lecture them about your artificial Social Justice bullshit? Nope. Instead SJWs try to paint artists as some sort of race traitors for not complying to their arbitrary rules.

Guillermo del Toro gave us Idris Elba rocket punching Godzillas with a giant Voltron. Your argument is invalid.

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An announcement to any authors willing to help out:

The basic guidelines for the Sci Phi Journal:

Email: contact@sciphijournal.com
Website: http://sciphijournal.com
Contact: Jason Rennie

Quaterly Magazine for general audience, byline given, Pays on acceptance.
Accepts queries and submissions by email. Guidelines available online. Pays 5c/word for original works. 1000 – 4000 words, will consider longer but please contact in advance.

FICTION: We are looking for science fiction stories that explore a philosophical idea or have a philosophical hook. Stories must include a ‘food for though’ set of questions for readers along with the manuscript. Please include in your cover letter the philosophical themes explored in the story.

NONFICTION: We are looking for general level philosophical discussions that use science fiction elements as launching points for explorations of ideas. Any philosophical area considered but it must be pitched at a general reader.

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Heinlein and Rewriting

Posted August 6, 2014 By John C Wright

Tom Simon, that prince of essayists, has an essay on a topic perennially fascinating to me up at his website:

http://bondwine.com/2014/08/05/heinleins-rules-vs-amazons-game/

I also may have a more substantial announcement to make in days to come concerning a book of his essays. Since his is one of the finest pens and with the most insightful comments in the Science Fiction field (for my money, better than Damon Knight or Alexei Panshin).

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